A disruptive world, trust, and can we learn from native American wisdom?

The world is facing significant disruption and increasingly urgent global challenges affecting individuals, families, organizations, governments, and society.

This VUCA-driven (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) age of disruption brings new complexities, opportunities, as well as risks for businesses. The potential for crises has intensified, driven by rapid technological change due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and amplified by societal expectations linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) phenomena.

Throughout the COVID-19 response, we’ve seen an acceleration of these trends. We have seen how some businesses have been successful in looking beyond the pandemic and into recovery, while others have failed and many perished, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As the world becomes more complex and connected, the threat of a corporate crisis grows.

Disruptive events, including crises such as pandemics, have no borders or boundaries. They can happen anytime, anywhere, and to any organization. The interconnectedness of the global economy and its political realities can magnify the ripple effect of any single crisis, making it a common feature of corporate life.

The new business reality is that there will be several challenges concerning the new world of work that organizations are expected to face as we enter the ‘new normal’ or ‘next normal’ era of the endemic phase of COVID-19. Just as organizations across the globe went fully remote at the start of the pandemic, many organizations now need to build a successful hybrid work model—or risk losing their employees.

A functioning society is built on trust. Whether we’re drinking water from a faucet, riding an elevator or sending an e-mail, we’re trusting that somebody, somewhere, has taken the necessary steps to make sure that activity is safe.

Yet today, our shared foundation of trust is under strain as never before. Rapid social and economic change, deepening political divisions, and the disruptive impact of new technologies are stretching the limits of traditional systems of trust-building. Governments, businesses and civil society are struggling to keep up.

Our changing digital age has made it harder and harder to know just whom to trust. Is the person or company you’re dealing with real or just an online facade? Is the video you’re looking at genuine or a deepfake? Where exactly does your data go when you share it? There’s no way to fact-check everything, creating anxiety. If people can only trust what they’ve seen and touched, or people they’ve met personally, society can’t function. The system is under strain and we can no longer take trust and trust-building for granted.

Trust is both a glue and a lubricant, holding society together and allowing its many parts to move smoothly. If trust can’t be made suitable for the digital age, the digital age won’t function.

Such mindset shifts will not happen just once – they will evolve with society’s needs. That is at the heart of the trust and governance project: constantly finding new ways to maximize the reach and power of trust across different stakeholders.

It’s an effort that has to be horizontal and cross-sectoral. In a new age, there is no single guarantor of trust. It’s a responsibility all stakeholders must share and prioritize.

There are wonderful opportunities to learn from other cultures how to manage our emotional turmoil and stop the self-blame and the wild goose chase. When we look at other cultures through a wide lens, it empowers us with new insights and strategies that have enabled others to remain resilient and satisfied.

Native Americans, for example, have lived in synchrony with the human and natural world. Their experiences help teach how to find strength, peace and emotional wellness.

They have encountered vast and devastating experiential upheavals in the confrontation with Western values and practices. Yet, many have sustainable belief systems and cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations and serve as models that we can consider in order to improve our own well-being.

The overarching descriptive word for the American Indian worldview is holistic. They view the natural world, the spirit world and human beings as an integrated whole and they cherish balance and harmony in the collective universe.

Some of the richest stories we are not taught in our educational system are those of Native Americans. I recently read a great book by DJ Vanas called ‘The Warrior Within’ – the book discusses your own your power to serve, fight, protect and heal, providing a compass to live an extraordinary life (I have always said we are extraordinary, the question is how we use extraordinary in our everyday lives).

In native American culture, a warrior may surrender, but he never gives up.

June 25, 1876: General Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn between the US Army and the Sioux Indians, commanded by Chief Crazy Horse. Custer had underestimated the size of the camp and his entire column was killed.

During a raging blizzard in early January 1877 along the Tong River in Montana, General Miles and his troops opened fire on Crazy Horse and his camp. He was able to return fire, but they eventually held off the soldiers firing ammunition with bows and arrows. Although he succeeded in retreating 1,100 Indians to Fort Robinson, he never gave up or lacked effort – but eventually surrendered because his tribe was cold and hungry – and it was the best option to avoid all being pursued .

Tecumseh, the great Shawnee chief and warrior said: “When you get up in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of life.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies with you.” In this moral, Tecumseh speaks to our ability to see the prize first.

The Ottawa tribe used birch bark for dwellings and canoes which made them successful in trade and warfare. The Lakota used every part of the buffalo to make everything from clothing to bowstrings and chairs. Oftentimes, when we have limitations, it forces us to be resourceful. When we get past our fear, resistance, and confusion, we realize that we are all surrounded by an embarrassment of riches.

In Native American culture, the medicine bag is filled with sacred, meaningful objects, such as herbs, tobacco and cedar, beads, bones, arrowheads, stones, and animal claws or teeth—that hold the power of protection, strength, luck, or healing for the person who wears it. People often wore them around their necks and they became significant during ceremonies, battles or illnesses.

It helps you visualize how the Indians carry their own medicine bag of things and experiences that make you unique and strong in your own way.

In the early 1800s, Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation had a vision of his people reading and writing — or what he would call “talking leaves.” They didn’t have a system back then and people thought he was crazy to invest all this time to develop it. So much so that his wife threw his project into the fire. He was undeterred, and by the 1830s he had developed a writing system that helped his tribe become one of the most literate groups in the Americas.

The plains tribes had a tradition of fighting that was more honorable than killing an enemy on the battlefield. It was called a “census coup”. Instead of striking their enemy with an arrow, they would simply touch him with a coup staff, a decorated staff resembling a horse, while in the heat of battle. That act of courage to stand face to face with the enemy and essentially say, “I’m not afraid of you.” is the ultimate act of bravery.

One of the best lessons from the book was the one about keeping fire in Native American culture, which was clearly a sacred duty. A good fire was the heart of a village. It provides an opportunity to cook food, shine a light in the dark, warm the village and provide a place for people to gather. Most importantly, it was a crucial component of the ceremonies. Just like the keeper of the fire – we must maintain our own physical and mental well-being so that our fire does not burn to embers or even burn out.

Most people who do not speak up in public meetings have perfectly functioning voices, and training them on better enunciation will not help matters much. Many technology projects have been hampered by inadequate theorizing, by political economy and social movement analysis, and by the lack of reference to historical evidence. And while clear and imaginative thinking is universally valuable, by necessity this analysis needs to be contextual. In particular, we need to be particularly cautious about transferring the successful use of technology from one place and time to another.

Napoleon Hill once said “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

However, transparent communication can open new doors for us to access a more extensive level of information in our lives. When we let go of our individual focus, we are able to experience the dynamics of life to a much greater extent. This allows us to move beyond the interpretation (understanding) of humans as objects in the physical world and thus experience humans from within.

If we recognise that rather than meeting people, we encounter realities in which these people emerge, based on what they believe and defend, we develop a deeper compassion and understanding. We are aware that in this world we all wear a false smile.

Once we begin to comprehend the inner experiences of others, and to create through our being, we make a quantum leap in our communication. We lift communication up to the next level of evolution. This helps us to acknowledge the true cause of many conflicts, looking beyond the symptoms to the root of the problem.

Have we created a separated culture in society, where we disguise the truth and transparency for what people would prefer to hear across technology?

Cultures also differ in how much they encourage individuality and uniqueness vs. conformity and interdependence. Individualistic cultures stress self-reliance, decision-making based on individual needs, and the right to a private life.

Having a defined place within a family, a community and a culture enhances a sense of purpose, stability and resilience over time. In AI culture, roles are clearly defined and egalitarian.

Men and women exist in a cooperative partnership, elders are respected for their wisdom, children are raised to honour adults and to be part of the community as well as the family.

I was discussing with friends recently the morals around an Indian tipi. For more than 400 years, knowledgeable people have agreed that the Indian tipi is absolutely the finest of all moveable shelters. To the Native peoples whose concept of life and religion was deeper and infinitely more unified than his conqueror, the tipi was much more. Both home and church the tipi was a Sacred Being and sharing with family, nature and Creator. The tipi allowed the Plains Indians to move entire villages to suit the seasons and to be nearer to a good supply of food, wood & fresh supply for their horses.

The Cree people use 15 poles to make the structure of the tipi. For every pole in that tipi, there is a teaching. So there are 15 teachings that hold up the tipi. The poles also teach us that no matter what version of the Great Spirit we believe in, we still go to the same Creator from those many directions and belief systems; we just have different journeys to get there.

And where the poles come out together at the top, it’s like they’re creating a nest. And they also resemble a bird with its wings up when it comes to land, and that’s another teaching: the spirit coming to land, holding its wings up.

A full set of Tipi poles, represent: obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, good child rearing, hope, ultimate protection, control flaps.

The tipi teaches us that we are all connected by relationship and that we depend on each other. Having respect for and understanding this connection creates and controls harmony and balance in the circle of life. For every time that a pole is added, a rope goes around to bind that pole into place. You have to be there and see it to appreciate that teaching. That rope is a sacred bond, binding all the teachings together until they are all connected.

So do we have much to learn from the Native American Indians about trust, integrity, humility, and human 2 human communication?

In summary, transparent communication is a way of life in which different levels of consciousness, as well as different levels of development and intelligence, are included. It requires of us that we engage in an experientially oriented exploration of life.

Only then will we truly learn to comprehend the world as a form of exchange in which we share a common space of interaction and learn to recognise the cosmic addresses of conscious content.

A great quote by Stephen R Covey sums up this article when he stated:

“If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me ‘an offender for a word’. When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

The Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

The first interview for ‘The Trust Paradigm Book’, Geoff Hudson-Searle and Mark Herbert discuss some incredibly important questions about trust and the launch of their new book.

The authors discuss trust and the importance of trust in relationships. Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of government, public institutions and family, the very cornerstone in which relationships are built and is crucial for maintaining social cohesion.

Covid-19 is a crucible within which resilient leadership has been refined since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. Acting without perfect information and no playbook, and often with only a few hours or days to spare, CEOs have had to guide their organizations through the myriad of decisions and challenges that have had significant implications for their company’s whole system: employees, customers, clients, financial partners, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as for society as a whole.

At the same time, almost everywhere we turn, trust is on the decline.

Trust in our culture at large, in our institutions and in our companies is significantly lower than a generation ago. Research commissioned in 2020 by International Business and Executive Management found that 69 percent of employees trust their CEO a little or not at all. Consider the loss of trust and confidence in the financial markets today. Indeed, trust makes the world go round – and right now we’re experiencing a crisis of trust.

In the words of Tom Peters – American writer on business practices – “TRUST, not technology, is the issue of the decade.”

In any normality trust is paramount, but given current world events, never has there been more need for increased trust. This simple formula emphasizes the key elements of trust for individuals and for organizations:

Trust = Transparency + Relationship + Experience

The dynamics of trust are delicate in important relationships, and the loss of trust can be costly — not only psychologically, but also financially and in terms of work and livelihood. What’s helpful to remember is that trust is an ongoing exchange between people and is not static.

Trust can be earned. It can be lost. And it can be regained. ‘The Trust Paradigm’ draws on the hard-won truths of two authors and draws on their deep personal lessons from life and business practice, and their efforts to distill those lessons into principles that lead toward a more purposeful life.

The book is intended to be both a holistic overview of what generates and builds trust and a hands-on guide to how that can be done. A wide range of tips, models, and techniques that will help to build strong and effective trust solutions in today’s business world is combined with a range of insights into the topical subjects of the day.

The term ‘trust’ has been overused forever and, during the last decade, considerably devalued. In this book, the authors aim to take the concept back to its essentials and to re-evaluate how real, meaningful trust can be incorporated into management and leadership.

Although all the chapters in the book are strongly interrelated, for ease of reference it is divided into three key sections: Communications; Strategy, and Business Development and Growth. You can start with your particular area of interest, or you can read the book from the first page to the end; there really is a topic for everyone.

The business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive and disrupted business world now have renewed responsibility for what business does best: they must innovate, invest and grow their organizations.

Change and transformation can be radical and painful, yet many wait until circumstances force their hand, even when they know that change must, and should, come. Whether change has been forced upon you, or whether you are openly seeking and embracing transformation, this book will arm you with tips, advice and techniques to spark fresh thinking about the status quo and inspire the innovation your circumstances demand for the creation of a better business environment.

‘The Trust Paradigm’s’ lessons are also relevant far beyond the business world. They can support a clearer understanding of institutional behaviour for all kinds of people: students, budding entrepreneurs, volunteers, social enterprise organizers – quite simply, anyone who aspires to do better.

The book will be released in October 2022.

Preorder the book at Troubadour: https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/self-help/the-trust-paradigm/

Our New Forthcoming Book: ‘The Trust Paradigm’

A very proud and privileged moment to have just finished the final manuscript of my sixth book, “The Trust Paradigm”.

The Trust Paradigm draws on the hard-won truths of two authors: Geoff Hudson-Searle and Mark Herbert, in addition to wisdom, deep personal lessons from one’s life and business practice and disciplines towards a more purposeful life.

Matador Publishing has confirmed that this will be the 4th book from Geoff Hudson-Searle that they will now publish in a series of writings aimed to provide individuals with a better lens to understand the opportunities and challenges ahead, to chart your course for change and fulfillment of dreams, desires and aspirations; through wisdom, knowledge and learnings from the book.

Jeremy Thompson, Managing Director, and Hannah Dakin, Customer Services Manager at Matador are truly excited to be working with Mark and me on book number six through their publishing house, I must say working with Matador has really been a seamless process, a truly great and committed team.

Hannah recently quoted ‘Geoff is back with a brand new book, The Trust Paradigm. The book has been written in the hope to help governments, businesses and individuals have a better understanding on a range of subjects across trust — whether that be those who are a part of a government or agency, company/organisation, to students, and any aspiring individuals. It’s always a pleasure to work with Geoff and at Matador Publishing we very much look forward to working with him again on The Trust Paradigm!’
Hannah Daikin, Customer Services Manager Matador Publishing

The Trust Paradigm provides a holistic overview of the essential leading methods in these areas and can be viewed as a hands-on guide. Readers will gain insights into topical subjects, including a wide range of tips, models and techniques that will help to build strong and effective trust solutions in today’s business world.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
American educator and author, Steven R. Covey.

The term Trust has been overused forever and during the last decade devalued. In this book, we aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership by addressing topics and subjects in each chapter.

Each component can be located by the titles at the top of the pages. The sections within the three components relate strongly to each other and are interrelated to all the other sections. You can start with your area of interest, or you can read the book from the first page to the end; there really is a topic for everyone.

Government, Business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive business world have renewed responsibility for what business does best: innovate, invest, and grow.

The business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive and disrupted business world now have renewed responsibility for what business does best: they must innovate, invest, and grow their organizations. Change and transformation can be radical and painful, yet many wait until circumstances force their hand even when they know that change must, and should, come.

Whether the change has been forced upon you, or whether you are openly seeking and embracing transformation, this book will arm you with tips, advice, and techniques to spark fresh thinking about the status quo and inspire the innovation your circumstances demand the creation of a better business environment.

The Trust Paradigm’s lessons are also relevant far beyond the business world. They can support a clearer understanding of institutional behaviour for all kinds of people: students, budding entrepreneurs, volunteers, social enterprise organizers – quite simply, anyone who aspires to do better.

The Trust Paradigm will be a 2022 publication!

In February 2014, I set out as an author with my first book, “Freedom after the Sharks”, to write a weekly blog across a variety of subjects and foremost about people in business, opinions, research and tips, advise on some revelations, past and present.

Each person, no matter their age, occupation or place in the world has a tremendous story to share. A vast tapestry of experiences, truths & pearls of wisdom lies in the vault of the mind, waiting to be unlocked. It takes the slightest intuitive spark to get us talking about our inner lives, the details and dynamics of being human. We are all aware of how important technology is in our lives and keeping our individual worlds connected.

We need to explore new and creative ways of listening, engaging, working together, learning, building community and being in conversation with the other. We are more connected than ever through technology and at the same time the disconnect with ourselves, others and our environment is growing. We need The Trust Paradigm to help us reconnect, going beyond our egos and our fears to build strong relationships, communities, networks and organisations, so that through trusted collaboration we can begin to co-create a more sustainable future.

Readers will gain insights into topical subjects, which include a wide range of tips, models and techniques that will help to build strong and effective solutions in today’s disruptive business world.

The Trust Paradigm will be available in e-book/kindle, paperback, hardback and audiobook formats.

Writing has changed my life. I have always believed that it is your right to speak truthfully in all matters that concern you and to speak from the heart.

It has been an overwhelming experience to receive emails and phone calls from people across all walks of life wanting to share their experiences, their story. Governments, entrepreneurs, business people, students, children, and universities and charitable causes have approached me for keynote sessions, general advice, and inspirational leadership.

I have been overwhelmed with inquiries but will continue to expand and express the journey that each and every one of us deserves.

Every audience has a different dynamic, a different rhythm, and a different reaction. The audience wants, needs, and expects pertinent, real-life information to enhance and support their lives and importantly what they’re facing. I believe it was my destiny in life to push things to the limit. You only get one chance to make an impression. I gave blogging and writing books every opportunity I had of the events that took place for what I believed to be right and true.

In life you survive. You move on but with a purpose and now ‘The Trust Paradigm’

Finally, in times of growing uncertainty, trust is built further when you demonstrate an ability to address unanticipated situations effectively and demonstrate a steady commitment to address the needs of all stakeholders in the best way possible.

The best business leaders begin by framing trust in economic terms for their companies. When an organization has low trust, the economic consequences can be huge. Everything will take longer and everything will cost more because the organization has to compensate for the lack of trust it commands. These costs can be quantified and when they are, leaders suddenly recognize that low trust is not merely a social issue, but it becomes an economic matter. The dividends of high trust can also be calculated and this can help leaders make a compelling business case for trust.

The best leaders focus on making the creation of trust an explicit objective. Like any other goal, it must be measured and improved. It must be made clear to everyone that trust matters to management and leadership. The unambiguous message must be that this is the right thing to do and it is the right economic thing to do. One of the best ways to do this is to make an initial baseline measurement of organizational trust and then to track improvements over time.

It’s clear from the news today that the leaders of some of our most influential governments and corporations are making morally questionable decisions. These decisions will lose the trust of society, customers and employees. No amount of electronic communication – staff intranet, corporate social media, marketing emails – will fix this, yet many organizations assume this can replace meaningful dialogue, which is the only real means of building trust and high-functioning relationships.

Finally, any true transformation starts with building credibility at the personal level. The foundation of trust is your own credibility, and it can be a real differentiator for any leader. A person’s reputation is a direct reflection of their credibility and it precedes them in any interactions or negotiations they might have. When a leader’s credibility and reputation are high, it enables them to establish trust quickly. Speed goes up, the cost goes down

A strong culture is one where there’s trust, connection and belonging, among more. Without trust, you don’t connect with colleagues and without connection, it’s only a matter of time before any sense of belonging to that employer dissipates and you start looking for a job elsewhere — likely with a competitor.

One of the best ways to gauge whether there’s connection or not is to look at your meetings. Do the right conversations take place during those meetings, or, do people wait for the meeting after the meeting so they can get “real work” done? If it’s the latter, then you might want to consider strategies for building trust.

Our intent in this book is to explore from our perspective some of the reasons we find ourselves in this environment and some of the things we need to at least consider changing unless we want to continue the path we are on. This is the rationale why Mark Herbert an I have written The Trust Paradigm.

In the words of Stephen R. Covey:

“If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me ‘an offender for a word’. When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

I will be making periodic updates on the progress of our new book, and invite you all to read the new tome on its release.

If there is any question, I can answer for you please leave me a note or send me an email.