Practical Wisdom on Trust

The marble jar is a key metaphor for trust…

I have been grappling with how to create a culture of trust in the workplace for the last 3 years. I have led one team in discussions about Stephen M.R.Covey’s book The Speed of Trust and Charles Feltman’s The Slim Book of Trust.

There is another solid contribution on trust now available. Brene Brown, who broke into the public consciousness with her research on shame and vulnerability, is hosting a website called Here you can find massive open online courses (MOOCs) based on her research. The first course is The Anatomy of Trust.

Without tromping all over Brene Brown’s copyright, she provides a handy acronym for remembering the basic elements of building trust: BRAVING. The first three are Boundaries, Reliability, and Accountability. You will have to take the class to learn the rest. There are exercises tailored to individuals, teams and groups and organizations.

boundariesThe Anatomy of Trust is available free of charge at As with most MOOC’s you work at your own pace, so if you want to you can watch all of the videos at midnight and do the exercises at 2:00 a.m. There are two instructional videos for a total of about 27 minutes. The five exercises took me a couple of hours to complete, and your time of completion will depend on how much you want to think about the questions or discuss them with others. This is also a 27 minute Q&A session recorded in January that is optional but recommended. As with all learning, you get out of it commensurate with what you put into it.

BB Boundaries quote

I am still “rumbling with trust”. Like all of Brene Brown’s teaching, you have to be prepared for some messy middle stuff before you experience the reward of transformation. I am grappling with really getting boundaries in my bones. I definitely recommend the investment of your time in this course.

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