Trust in and across the members of the collaborative network is a foundational feature that must be nurtured and encouraged across the network and especially in the new members to the network. The other foundational functions also encourage trust across the network such as sharing the leadership, developing guiding principles and a participation platform.  These foundational function though all encourage and support the development and growth of trust across the network partners.  Without a level of trust across the partners it becomes very difficult to retain network partners and to maintain the growth of the network and especially the value delivered through network initiatives, or programs.

Trust is very difficult to develop and requires encouragement and nurturing in order to develop and grow.  Initially trust is a fleeting entity that is easily and quickly lost due to intentional or unintentional actions.  Developing trust in and across others first requires that you show trust in and across others.  This sometimes requires setting aside past experience and disappointments when dealing with others in order to grow trust and confidence in your current partners.  This initial suspension of past difficulties can be very difficult however without this initial willingness to give trust when there is no foundation is the single most important ingredient and first step in gaining and developing the trust across the network members.

I am not saying that you should act foolishly in trusting these new partners with the keys to your success, or your industry secrets.  I am saying however that you must show trust in your actions with others to act in the best interest of the collaborative network.  This act of showing trust initially in your interaction with your network partners will cause and encourage your network partners to show trust in their interaction as well.  I understand that these initial steps are taken hesitantly and in a spirit of ‘trust but verify’ and there is nothing wrong with this.  In fact, I think it would be foolish to recklessly trust partners initially without a period of verification.  These actions of verification and confirmation should, in fact, be encouraged across your network and interaction with partners in that network.  These actions in themselves will also encourage and breed trust across the collaborative network.

Trust breeds trust is a foundational principle of the collaborative network.  There is no reason for partners to participate in the network if they cannot trust their partners.  While this trust should not be given blindly, it should also not be held back simply because there was a previous transgression or broken trust with another partner.  Trust requires honesty first and foremost and this means openly communicating with your partners to communicate and identify actions that cause a loss of trust to ensure they are recognized and addressed before the trust is lost.  This is important because your partner may not realize that their actions are causing you to lose trust in them.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?