NSL Blog

I don't see these things as risk, I see them as trust

May 12, 2013

Amanda-Palmer-Art-of-AskingI came across Amanda Palmer and was compelled by her story. In fact her entire life is non-linear, and through that life she has explored a different way of seeing, and through that a different type of wisdom. It resonated with me and with No Straight Lines.

In her words, when we really see each other we help each other – and, we are asking the wrong question, its not how do we make people pay for music but how do we let people pay for music is the insight of Amanda Palmer. In the same way one might ask how does one invite an invitation? Strip away everything else this is a story about authenticity, listening and receiving, aligning value and commerce, the power of the citizen over the institution.

Palmer explores ideas of trust, of being seen, of being recognised – as an “I”, as an individual, as a sentient being and how that relates into a gift exchange that is both powerful and bonding. In fact when we recognise “I” then “I” becomes a “We”, or Me We as Muhammad Ali used to say, its a short hand for a deeper connection, the difference between being authentic and being fake.

Palmers story of couch surfing, fan engagement, or the deep engagement she has with her fan community reminds me that through the process of social gifting we create deeper bonds of connection, a more implicit form of mutual connection and shared responsibility. It is a common saying that trust is a future bet on the contingent actions of others. It is also how identity is made, through strong social bonds.

Here is her TED Talk which I highly recommend “;+).

The 4C's model

The 4C’s model

In reflecting on Palmers story of trust I turn to Max DePree and the current problems of many of our organisations, civil or commercial. Because as trust erodes, we loose so much value. Efficient, numbers driven organisations, you only sold 25,000 copies so you have failed, loose sight of where trust and in fact purpose can take us – 25,000 people pledged $1.5m to make our next recording project. This also reminds me of my last book Communities Dominate Brands, in which I sketched a model called the 4C’s: Commerce, Culture, Connectivity and Community – it seems Palmer is pretty much talking about the same thing, anyway back to DePree,

In much of our thinking and talking about how organisations work, the power of one word is regularly underestimated – trust. Trust is an enormous treasure for any organisation … Trust doesn’t arrive in our possession easily or cheaply, nor does it guarantee to stay around … Trust requires respect – which means we take every person seriously. Trust multiplies with truth – without adjectives and not subject to redefinition by cornered leaders.  Trust requires moral purpose, as well as keeping our promises. Demonstrating competence and making the nobler choice are part of how followers judge the character of leaders and whether to award them their trust.  When leaders fail to see their obligations to be the initiators of reconciliation, trust begins to wane.

De Pree argues that trust:

  • Begins with a personal commitment to respect others, to take everyone seriously.
  • Grows when people see leaders translate their personal integrity into organisational fidelity.
  • Can take root and grow in the soil of the moral purpose of our organisations and personal commitments.
  • Is built on kept promises. To be chosen means to be entrusted.
  • In organisations, depends on the reasonable assumption by followers that leaders can be depended on to do the right thing.
  • Requires leaders to hold the group accountable.
All these points pop up in Palmer’s compelling talk.
Gert Steens who sent me the Palmer link made his own notes, key points he found relevant

“I don’t see these things as risk, I see them as trust”

0:40 this was my day job
1:30 the beautiful moment of prolonged eye contact allowed in a city street
1:50 and my eyes would say thank you
2:55 we made an art out of asking people to help us
3:35 and then twitter came along
3:55 i love this kind of random closeness
4:55 your music has helped my daughter so much

6:30 couch-surfing and crowd-surfing are the same thing
7:15 i become the hat after my own show
8:45 i fell into the thousands of connection i made, and i asked my crowd to catch me
9:30 through the very act of asking people, i connected with them
10:50 i trust you this much, should i? show me
11:30 it’s about a few people loving you up close, and about those people being enough
12:00 to give and receive fearlessly, but more important: to ask, without shame
12:45 when we really see each other, we want to help each other

 Journey further:

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