The depth and breadth of many of the social, economic, and spiritual problems in Jamaica can oftentimes only be addressed through strategic collaborative initiatives. In reality, the complexity inherent in these challenges makes it absolutely essential for us to pay close attention to strategies for building and nurturing trust.
When individuals and organizations work together, they are able to accomplish what each one could not have accomplished alone. So, it makes sense that we are intentional about acting in ways that will nurture trusting relationships if we are to effectively serve our communities and our nation. Building these kinds of relationships is easier when individuals share the same priorities and values.
In a meaningful and thought-provoking conversation with an old and wise friend who has been involved in community development work for decades, he stressed the importance of ‘faithfulness’, just doing the things you say you are going to do and showing up if you say you are going to be somewhere. Just as important, is taking the time to apologize if things go awry.
As we interact with each other as individuals today there seems to be almost an epidemic of unfaithfulness. It almost appears that casually making and breaking promises has become a cultural norm. Brothers and sisters, we must remain vigilant about our word and our commitments. In fact, this may be a good place for transformation to begin in Jamaica as each of us becomes more sensitive and considerate of others as we develop the habit of keeping our word, even in the small things.
Trust building must be pursued both at the interpersonal and organizational levels. It is true that when relationships are new there is always some element of risk. But, with each new interaction, we have an opportunity to learn to trust each other more so that over time the sense of risk is reduced.
The goal is for trust to grow and develop as expectations are met and new endeavors are undertaken with people and organizations we have come to know, to love, and depend on.
Even though formal agreements can and should be used be used to establish a framework for collaboration, informal understandings based on trust often prove to be more important. And, yes, it is true that trust is only one factor in a successful partnership, but when there is trust, other elements that contribute to successful outcomes are much more likely to fall into place.