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Craving Trust

Craving Trust - some thought on Paul Zak's new book: Trust Factor

“Regarding the release of oxytocin, our research found that any kind of positive shared experience will do it. Singing, dancing, laughing—all of these things bond people and create a mini-culture that invites experimentation. Spontaneous connection happens. People feel comfortable playing, something most organizations undervalue.”

Paul Zak, Trust Factor

In today’s world, there is a systemic lack of trust in institutions in all realms of life. This plays duet with a demise of empathy and has become a threat to innovation, something we desperately need now to solve giant problems with fresh thinking.

Imagine for a moment there’s a path forward to the creative land of milk and honey where we find solace in the storm.

Dr. Paul Zak arrives on the scene with a new book called Trust Factor. Dr. Zak is the founding Director of the Center for Neureconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University.

Paul Zak knows where empathy resides in the brain and how to create conditions to generate it. There is a deceptively simple formula to building trust among diverse people in large organizations.

Empathy and trust emerge from positive human interactions and ideal physical environments. These elements generate oxytocin in the hypothalamus, a short burst of biochemical yumminess that one can feel as a result of giving and receiving love. This tango between positive relationships and biochemistry leads to creativity and innovation. Oxytocin make us feel safe to express and evolve ideas.

Paul refers to oxytocin as the “Moral Molecule” because it generates empathy.

Paul’s new book Trust Factor opens a window onto how brain chemicals affect behavior, why trust gets squashed, and ways to consciously stimulate trust by celebrating effort, sharing information, promoting ownership and more.

He uses “OXYTOCIN” as a mnemonic device to summarize his scientific findings. The eight classes of management that lead to better-functioning, more trusting organizations are:









Trust and comfort breed courage, and courage leads to “brave new world” ideas and improvements.

In Paul’s eyes, there are two sources of courage:

“One version is, ‘Holy crap, we have no other options now.’ Like a soldier in battle. You can be really courageous when you have no other options. Move forward, or you’re dead anyway. If we don’t innovate hard now, then the existing business will cease to function.

The second version is more interesting. It comes from having culture and leadership that says:

‘Go try things, go make some mistakes, go play.’

All those things have only occurred in an environment where you trust the people around you to support you and not take shots at you if things don’t work out.”

It’s time to imagine a new path forward built on trust and experimentation, unveiling inherent courage in people and fostering innovation. Dr. Zak will show you the way. Keep that foundation of oxytocin flowing.

Imagine Trust.

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