Friday Thread: Why shared values and beliefs come before trust

One of the things we are seriously short of in Northern Ireland is ‘trust’. Trust, argues Simon Sinek, is not reliability, it springs from you share with others:

What’s a nation? A single group of people with common set of values and beliefs.And the single biggest challenge that any culture or any organisation will ever face is its own success.


This he says works fine at the beginning. But as time goes on:

The problem is why they do it starts to go fuzzy. And this is the biggest single challenge any organisation will face, the thing that I call ‘the split’.Symptoms of the split inside an organisation are when stress goes up and passion goes down.

Symptoms of split are things like when the old-timers, the people who were there from the founding, from the beginning start saying things like, “It’s not like it used to be. It doesn’t feel the same anymore.”

Other symptoms are when the organisation starts focussing more on what the competition is doing and worrying less about what they are doing. When they start asking outsiders, “Who should we be, how should we talk to you?”

At the beginning they never asked anybody, they ran on their own passion, on their own energy.

After a short potted history of the last three generations in the US, he comes to now:

The only thing that happens, the only thing that really grows in organisations and societies without going through a split is that distrust increases. We become distrustful of each other inside our own organisations, we become distrustful of management, we become distrustful of our politicians.

And now we find ourselves here today wondering what to do next.


  • “Trust, argues Simon Sinek, is not reliability, it springs from [values and beliefs] you share with others”

    SS 16:15: “Trust is human; it’s about human interactions; it’s about real conversations. What we need is more handshake conversation; what we need is more handshake discussion, more handshake debate, more handshake friends, more handshake leadership. If we don’t then we continue to go through this [split] and we will not find a sense of fulfilment and happiness and inspiration; it requires being amongst people who believe what we believe.”

    May be not just being amongst people; may be not just debating; but may be, as Ray Davey discovered, having informal conversations as we worked together:

    Ray: “We hope that Corrymeela will come to be known as ‘the Open Village’, open to all people of good will who are willing to meet each other, to learn from each other and work together for the good of all.”

  • David Crookes

    Get five loyalist men, five loyalist women, five nationalist men, and five nationalist women to sign up for a one-day harp-making course in the technology room of a school in East or West Belfast. Each person makes a simple eight-string harp from a kit prepared by the instructor. The harp-makers have to work so hard, in between shrieking with laughter at their own mistakes, that there’s no time for any forgive-us-the-hatred-in-our-hearts stuff.

    Repeat one thousand times all over the country.

  • “SS 9:40 “Technology is fantastic for the exchange of information and the exchange of ideas; technology is absolutely wonderful for speeding transactions; it’s wonderful for resourcing and finding people; it’s terrible for creating human connections; you cannot form trust through the internet.

    There’s something called the mirror neuron which they’ve recently discovered, that’s one of the things how people relate to each other and how we empathise. It’s the feeling you get, it’s the same part of the brain … that lights up when we smile, it’s what creates empathy; it’s necessary to create trust. .. Why don’t bloggers do it online? Because nothing replaces human contact.”

    I think you can form good bonds through the internet, through the likes of Facebook, but being face to face creates an extra dimension. And there’s nothing like a little bit of shared adversity to free-up a conversation; folks are more likely to smile and speak to one another in a supermarket on a day when the elements are wild, windy and wet 🙂

  • David Crookes

    Agree 100%, Nevin. In most lifts people stand in sardine-tin silence, but in the City Hospital lifts they often speak spontaneously to each other.

    I have made many good academic friends on the internet. When some of them come over to NI from the USA to see me, it takes our friendship on to a completely different level. Real life is great.