A Trust Score – T* – Derived from Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents

A High Five column from Bob GilesHigh Five from Handshake 2.0:

“You’re having too much fun!” I’d yell at my playful young daughters. “Do your chores!”

I’m having too much fun reading Chris Brogan's Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust and can’t finish the book. There are too many suggestions on which I want to work…right now.

As I unwrapped the book from its Amazon.com box, I played with “trust,” thinking it might be the reverse of risk (the probability of failure in some circles). I had wrestled with the concept of risk before.  Then I read of The Trust Equation.

I just had to play with it. There seem to me to be six factors for personal (or perhaps corporate) trust. They are rarely of equal importance to everyone, so we weight them.  Here's how to "play" as I did: 

Give each factor your personal score of approximate relative importance (e.g., a, b, c, etc.). First, give a 10 for the highest or most important criterion or factor and give no zeroes.

Give others values relative to the most important factor. They may have equal values assigned. Then assign your estimated probability of each of the following factors for a person, company, or situation being evaluated at some time. (They, like reputations, can change quickly.) 

Here's the scale I used:

C1 = credibility type 1 - high probability (0.9 - 1.0) of correct identity - they are who they say.

C2 = credibility type 2 - probable goodness (0.9 - 1.0) - as good as they say

R1 = reliability type 1 - probability of showing up on time, appropriate dress, wellness, etc. (0.9 - 1.0)

R2 = probable over-all consistency

K = intimacy - high level of personal comfort with the person or company; probable confidence in secrecy (0.9 – 1.0)

S = probably “other” oriented, slightly “self” oriented; less “sale” oriented than customer or company oriented (0.9 – 1.0)

T* = the estimated current evaluator’s personal trust index

T* = (aC1 + bC2 + cR1 + dR2 + eK + fS) / 60

For example, here I assign importance to factors for me personally as I think about my desired personal trust for the employee pool:  a= 9; b= 8 ; c= 6 ; d = 7 ; e = 10 ; f = 9 . Then for a particular applicant or advisor, my T* value estimate computes as:

T* = ((9 x 0.9) + (8 x 0.8) + (6 x 0.7) + (7 x 0.8) + (10 x 0.7) + (9 x 0.8) ) / 6 = 64.

High in two criteria (a) and (f), the person being evaluated could not pull up a total score by low evaluations in the relatively low-importance criteria.

A top score for a person is between 90 to 100.


From Handshake 2.0's founder, Anne Giles Clelland, daughter of Bob Giles, who both does chores and has fun:  I trust – and I don't use that word lightly anymore because I'll have to think about trust in terms of T* – I trust, or at least risk a wager, that Chris Brogran never anticipated having his book looked at quite this way.


Robert H. Giles, Jr. writes High Five for Handshake 2.0.  The opinions Robert Giles expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its clients.

Feel free to follow Robert H. Giles, Jr. on Twitter @Bob_Giles

Robert H. Giles, Jr. is a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus with a vision for a rural land management system. He writes two blogs, The Survivalists and Faunal Force.

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