Who Can You Trust?

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It seems like almost daily now, this question of who we can trust, keeps us shaking our heads in disbelief and adds to our feelings of disappointment, and being let down.

Almost a decade ago now I created the word Intentionomics and defined it as the economic value of our applied intentions. Which basically means, when we have positive intentions for others and we act on those positive intentions to benefit others (and not just to benefit ourselves) there’s real value created.

The reverse of this is true also.

When we have negative intentions for others and we act on those negative intentions to harm others in some way, there’s real costs created.

Sadly, over the last few days we’ve seen just how much impact Intentionomics can have in the fallout from the ball tampering fiasco involving Australian cricket captain, Steve Smith, vice-captain Dave Warner, and team member Cameron Bancroft.

Beyond the economic costs to each of these professional cricketers and the economic costs this will possibly bring to cricket Australia in general, there are more than simply monetary costs associated with applied negative intentions.

Reputations, careers, relationships, and trust will all be impacted.

I can only imagine what this might be doing to these three professional cricketers in terms of the confidence required for self-trust, the courage required to place their trust in others, and the combined character and competence required to earn others’ trust – it must be immense and almost overwhelming.

The act of rubbing a cricket ball with a bit of sandpaper, in the scheme of life’s bigger challenges, can be relatively easy to see as such a small act. After all, it’s just cricket – it’s not life or death.

But the reality is, we live in a world where trust is being continually held up in the light of day to be at risk. When we are continually being let down and disappointed by yet another breach of our trust, it creates doubt in each of our minds, and with that doubt we silently ask Who Can We Trust? Beyond our cricketers, we don’t have to look far to other breaches of our trust. Most recently on a global scale we’ve had Facebook’s data-mining scandal and Volkswagon’s cheating emissions tests. On a more local level, we’ve had major Australian banks caught out cheating customers and then there’s our politicians… enough said!

I know I keep harping on about one of the most powerful ethical decision making questions I’ve learned. It’s the Light of Day Test, and our cricketers, as well as the other leaders and employees of organisations across the globe ought to be applying on a daily basis.

The Light of Day Test is simply this:

With this decision you’re about to make or this action you’re about to make, would you make this decision or take this action if it were held up in the light of day for all to see?

Aside from the other obvious questions most of us are asking about the cricket ball tampering incident – How did you think you wouldn’t be caught on camera? How could you not think if you were caught, there would be serious implications beyond yourselves? Why, when you know it was against the rules, did you think it was OK to do it anyway?

This is more about what I see as a continual devaluing of one of the most, if not the most important elements that bond us as human beings – trust.

You see, when trust is at risk, everything is at risk. The platform principle of Intentionomics is this:

People Get Your Truth: Over time, your intentions, promises, actions and results will either promote you as trustworthy, or expose you as not.

Just ask these three Australian cricketers how true this is for them right now and will be long into their future.

None of us are perfect – that’s just part of being human. Under stressful situations people can have lapses in judgement, whether those decisions and actions are intentional or not.

These three cricketers are not ‘bad’ people… I’m sure most if not all would agree on this. They have sadly just made a bad decision that is costing them and others immensely.

Most of all, I hope they each receive the support they will need from the relationships they have (professionally and personally) to help them manage through, emotionally and otherwise, the fallout from such a small act, that has such large implications not only for the individuals themselves, but for so many more.

We are all role models to someone. We all influence others lives through our intentions, promises, actions and results.

Trust is at risk because I fear we are just taking it for granted and when we take things for granted, we devalue their importance.

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