Building Trust, Part 2

Intentional Trust

While building trust through everyday habits is effective, it takes time. Many communities want ways to build trust faster. I don’t believe anything can replace the small stuff, but I do think you can accelerate the process with intentional practices designed for trust building.  These intentional practices range from full weekend retreats to 15 minute meeting openers. They can be found in books or led by process professionals.  What they have in common is that the community, or some of its members, are intentionally using time to build trust and connection.     

Here again, vulnerability is a key ingredient. If everything about the activity feels 100% safe and comfortable, it’s probably not building trust. Activities that invite vulnerability and ideally find that sweet spot where folks feel a little bit exposed and vulnerable, but also safe enough to be engaged are the spaces where trust can be built more quickly. 

WebChat #2 contains one example of an activity that helps communities deepen their sharing and increase trust. The Cooperative Culture Handbook includes instructions for several activities that build trust, as does Creating a Life Together.  

Doing activities like this, both in community meetings and in gatherings specifically for the purpose, have several benefits. The most significant may be that members experience deeper relationships. As a result, they are more likely to stay in community. Prospective members tend to sense the high trust and sense of belonging and be drawn to communities that are doing this work.  Consensus is reached more easily as people feel more comfortable saying the hard things and concerns get addressed.  Perhaps the least considered benefit is the skills that are built along the way that result in improved relationships far beyond the community where the work begins. 

Category: Creating Relationships

Tags: building community, community, living in cohousing, relationships

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