Becoming More Trustworthy

August 31, 2018 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Trust is a central facet of human interaction, one that cannot be ignored in a dental or business setting. This blog reviews some interesting concepts on trust from Oxford professor Rachel Botsman

Trust: Known and Unknown

Botsman is a thought leader and significant contributor to the current conversation surrounding the role of trust in our personal and business relationships as well as our culture. She says that trust lives in the unique tension between our hopes and fears. It is about vulnerability and expectations.

Trust acts as the bridge between the known, where we are comfortable, and the unknown, where we are fearful. She defines trust as, “a confident relationship to the unknown.”

Similarly, when we enter into a relationship with a patient, there is a great deal unknown to them concerning their dental condition. They don’t necessarily sense what is required to establish good health, function, and esthetics.

A Relationship Strategy

According to Botsman, in developing our strategy of building high trust relationships, our goal should not be to build more trust. Our goal should be to become more trustworthy.

The established science of trustworthiness says that it requires high levels of competence, reliability, benevolence, and integrity in our life and practice to be present and experienced by others. Integrity, or aligning our intentions with our actions, is the most important.  

That same science says that real trust takes time and friction, at least some minimal friction, to establish. When a relationship is established seamlessly and instantly, there isn’t even the time and opportunity to ask the question: “Should I trust this person with something that is important to me?” That is the minimum amount of friction required.

Many organizations and a significant amount of behavioral research conclude that the strongest relationships are those that have experienced a problem and found a way to reconcile the issue. In other words, friction strengthened the relationship through solving the problem.

Have you listened to or read anything by Rachel Botsman? Join the conversation below … !

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

One thought on “Becoming More Trustworthy

  1. Brilliantly and concisely stated Mac…and so, trustworthyness isn’t a virtue until it is tested – little moments of truth where manipulating, dodging, obfuscation, or even lying was an option, but was the path not chosen.

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