Monday, June 20, 2011

Trust and Lord Stanley's Cup

We’ve been a little distracted in the New England region lately thanks to the success of the Boston Bruins. Now that I’ve resumed activity on this blog I’ve been wracking my brain trying to make a connection between the team winning the Stanley Cup and the issue of trust, but the connection wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was making it seem.

Consider the statement made by hockey great Wayne Gretzky who once explained his prolific success as a goal scorer by saying, “I skate to where the puck is going to be.”

The Great One’s advice is logical, but how do you know where the puck is going to be?

At times it may be a simple matter of calculating speed and trajectory, but most of the time the skater must have trust in a teammate to execute on a set play in such a way that the skater knows where the puck will be delivered in advance of a pass being made. Likewise, the passer needs to trust that the skater will be at the right place at the right time, giving him confidence that the pass will be completed.

Trust, after all, is a transactional relationship. Without trust it becomes difficult to invest in another party or object to achieve a desired goal. If I trust the ladder, I’ll climb the rungs in order to reach the desired height. If I trust the aircraft and its pilot, I’ll climb on board to reach the desired destination. If I lack trust in either, I won’t get very far.

The Bruins trusted in each other to be where they needed to be when they needed to be there, whether that meant skating to the appointed position, standing up for one another when play got chippy, or simply keeping a cool head when emotions threatened to take over. It took seven games, but for a team that was, by all objective accounts, over-matched in terms of pure hockey skill, that trust was rewarded with a championship trophy.

Today, with so much attention being paid to data security, information privacy, and operational integrity, trust has become a major transactional gate. It is difficult, if not impossible, to accurately measure trust, and recent events conspire to cause more companies and individuals to give some thought to whether they do or do not trust the parties with which they are considering doing business. Ignoring the critical trust component may well result in an embarrassing security event, the result of which will be a loss of trust, loss of customers, and loss of business opportunity.

We’ll explore the issue of trust in future editions of this blog.



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