71 episodes

Trust is the invisible force that shapes our world, and at TrustTalk, we're committed to exploring its many dimensions. Join us as we engage with thought leaders from all walks of life to discuss the role of trust in every aspect of our world. From personal relationships to business, technology, society, and beyond, we explore the wonders of this essential human emotion. It's a journey you won't want to miss.

TrustTalk - It's all about Trust Severin de Wit

    • Society & Culture

Trust is the invisible force that shapes our world, and at TrustTalk, we're committed to exploring its many dimensions. Join us as we engage with thought leaders from all walks of life to discuss the role of trust in every aspect of our world. From personal relationships to business, technology, society, and beyond, we explore the wonders of this essential human emotion. It's a journey you won't want to miss.

    Building Trust and Empowering Women in Leadership

    Building Trust and Empowering Women in Leadership

    Our guest today is Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen, former Chairman of the Executive Board of Aon Holdings B.V. and member of SER Topvrouwen. She tells about her journey to her current position and her interest in supporting and encouraging women in leadership roles. She emphasizes the importance of trust in her career success and the success of the organizations she has led. Trust is particularly significant in the insurance industry, where she started her career, as it is based on the principle of ultimate good faith. Marguerite explains that building trust involves logic, empathy, and authenticity. She believes that trust is crucial in relationships and leadership and highlights the role of trust in women's leadership.

    The interview also discusses a study that suggests women are less prone to losing trust and more likely to regain trust even after repeated transgressions. Marguerite attributes this to women's optimism and relationship-driven nature. However, she notes that personal experiences and the frequency of trust violations can influence individual responses.

    When it comes to balancing trust and empathy with making sound business decisions, Marguerite mentions the importance of trust but verify approach. She emphasizes the need to gather all relevant information, maintain competence and confidence, and have realistic self-awareness. Building trust with underrepresented groups requires leaders to foster an inclusive and belonging culture. In her former role at Aon Holdings, trust is vital in providing risk and insurance solutions to clients. We talk about a recent report on sexually transgressive behavior in a TV show and the importance of independent and unbiased investigations to maintain trust. She offers advice to young women aspiring to leadership roles in underrepresented industries, the importance of continuous learning, asking questions, making oneself visible, and believing in oneself.

    • 17 min
    Why Trust Matters

    Why Trust Matters

    In this new episode, we explore the fascinating world of trust and cooperation in economics with economist Professor Benjamin Ho, author of "Why Trust Matters, An Economist's Guide to the Ties That Bind Us." He discusses how game theory offers insights into trust, highlighting the role of reputation, history of interactions, and vulnerability in building trust. He also explores the use of social signaling and mathematical principles in understanding trustworthiness, particularly in relation to apologies using Bayes' rule.

    The interview delves into the puzzle economists faced in explaining cooperation and altruism, emphasizing that most people are inherently cooperative, except for economists who are trained to be self-interested. The importance of cooperation, fairness, and altruism in human nature and society is highlighted, drawing from Robert Frank's book on the baseline economic model.

    Early hunter-gatherer societies faced the trust dilemma and developed accounting systems, language, and legal systems to facilitate trust and cooperation as communities expanded.

    The complexities of apologies are examined, emphasizing the need for them to carry a cost or commitment to be effective. The experiment involving Bill Clinton's apologies showcases the trade-offs between likability, respect, and authority for politicians. The cost associated with trust-building, such as in apologies, is emphasized, with costly apologies proving more effective in restoring trust.

    In cooperative dilemmas like climate change, trust plays a crucial role, as coercion is impractical at the international level. The Paris Climate Accords' approach of transparency to foster trust, accountability, and positive behaviors is discussed.

    The relationship between trust and contract enforcement is explored, noting that while trust and contract enforcement often go hand in hand, excessive rules in contracts can hinder trust-building by limiting vulnerability and risk-taking. The importance of including trust-building mechanisms in economic development is emphasized, as the absence of trusted institutions hinders poverty alleviation and overall progress.

    The interview sheds light on the significance of trust in economics, drawing from game theory, behavioral economics, and historical perspectives. It underscores the role of trust in cooperation, apologies, climate change, and contract enforcement, and emphasizes the need to prioritize trust-building in educational curricula and economic development efforts.


    • 28 min
    Trust & Lobbying

    Trust & Lobbying

    Our guest is Peter van Keulen, a prominent lobbyist in The Netherlands. He talks about trust as a fundamental aspect of lobbying, and the importance to establish and maintain it through transparency, integrity, and access. He discusses the essential elements for building trust in lobbying, namely integrity, and access. Integrity is demonstrated through a code of conduct that outlines how lobbyists protect their clients' interests and how they act towards the people they seek to influence. Access is the ability to interact with decision-makers due to relationships built over time. While knowing decision-makers does not guarantee success, it can be useful.

    In the United States, lobbyists must register and disclose certain information about their activities under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. In Europe, regulations have been introduced, but they vary by member state, and The Netherlands has been slow to regulate lobbying. The European Commission has rules in place that prohibit former commissioners or high-level professionals from acting as lobbyists for a specific party for a specific period after leaving their position.

    However, there are still stereotypes and misconceptions about lobbying that can impact the perception of the profession as a whole. When people view lobbyists as only representing big corporations or having questionable motives, it can be challenging to establish trust. That's why it is crucial to educate the public and policymakers about the diversity of actors involved in lobbying and how it operates to foster trust and create a more positive image of the profession.

    Ultimately, building trust is an ongoing process that requires open and honest communication and a commitment to ethical practices. NGOs, governments, and municipalities also engage in lobbying activities, and the growth of lobbying activities in the Netherlands is in the municipalities and provincial decision-making levels. By promoting transparency, integrity, and access, lobbyists can build and maintain trust with decision-makers and the public.

    • 25 min
    Trust & Ethics

    Trust & Ethics

    Our guest today is Alison Taylor, clinical associate professor at New York University Stern School and Business Executive Director of Ethical Systems, a non-profit research collaboration focused on bringing the best ideas on business ethics from academia into the corporate sector. She has had a diverse career working in corporate investigations in emerging markets, leading her to question the role of culture and leadership in businesses. Her background in political science, history, and organizational psychology has given her a unique perspective on business ethics. She believes that society has lost consensus on what it means to be a good business and her upcoming book aims to clarify this confusing debate.

    She argues that organizations should focus less on rules and compliance programs and more on building ethical decision-making capacity. They should bring in the wisdom of the collective and have debates about gray areas to jointly make decisions based on the collective's wisdom. Rather than treating ethics as a fundamental black-and-white issue, she suggests building thoughtful capacity for ethical reasoning among the workforce and in society in general.

    We talk about Elon Musk's decision to lay off the director of Ethics, Transparency and Accountability at Twitter, she believes that he may have underestimated the complexity of content moderation and is now facing the consequences of his decision.

    She raises the topic of transparency and questions the notion that more transparency leads to more trust in businesses, despite the increase in the level of information available about corporate conduct over the past two decades. She argues that that businesses need to change how they think about ethics and be more transparent and honest, while also being more restrained in what they promise to achieve.  She suggests corporations should have a more focused strategy on what they can and cannot solve and stop exaggerating and spinning a story to deflect scrutiny. Finally, she explains how leaders can navigate ethical dilemmas and make decisions in the best interest of their organization.

    • 20 min
    360 Degrees Trust

    360 Degrees Trust

    Our guest today is Jan van der Spoel, the author of "360 Degrees Trust." His approach, known as the Trust Compass, can elevate ordinary relationships into high-trust ones. During our interview, Jan discusses his background in graphic design and how his fascination with human behaviour led him to explore the concept of trust. He also shares how he created his own tools to better understand the challenges of achieving a consensus on trust.


    Jan then goes on to outline the top three things that organizations can do to foster team spirit through trust: intent, system, and power balance. He stresses that all three are critical in building a team that trusts one another. Furthermore, he explains that control is the antithesis of trust and details how organizations can transition from a culture of control to a culture of trust. Jan recommends providing employees with professional freedom and setting clear expectations instead of micromanaging them, as studies show that this approach can be more effective in motivating employees than having a task-based manager watching over their shoulders.

    • 17 min
    Exploring Trust in Law: a multi-disciplinary perspective

    Exploring Trust in Law: a multi-disciplinary perspective

    Our guest today is Esther van Zimmeren, Professor of Intellectual Property Law & Governance at the Faculty of Law of the University of Antwerp and coordinator of the Centre of Excellence GOVTRUST.

    The connection between trust and the legal profession is not a simple one. In legal literature, the concept of trust typically pertains to confidence in (legal) institutions, such as courts, judges, or "the legal system." Legitimacy is often used as a synonym for trust, despite its unclear relationship with trust in broader literature from other disciplines. The terms trust, rule of law, and legitimacy are used interchangeably without specifying their drivers or consequences, leading to a lack of clarity in their practical implications.

    Esther discusses the challenges of creating trust in contractual arrangements, particularly in complex IP licensing and patent pool agreements. They explore the balance between creating clarity and legal certainty while leaving room for innovation and open communication to build trust. She suggests that clear milestones can be imposed at the beginning of the contract, but renegotiation and mediation can be used when more space is needed. The use of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, can help to maintain good long-term relationships and build trust. She highlights the importance of considering the context in determining the effectiveness of rules and contracts. They suggest that differences in outcomes may be related to variations in empirical research and theoretical work, as well as factors such as the type of collaboration, contract, actors involved, and geographical scope.

    Esther van Zimmeren believes that legitimacy, fairness, and procedural justice are important considerations for trust in an organization or institution, especially in a regulatory governance context. She talks about the Unified Patent Court in Europe, which has promising rules for fairness and impartiality but faces challenges in terms of the independence of its technically qualified judges who work part-time for patent firms. She emphasizes the need to look at specific examples rather than general concepts when discussing trust in the legal system.

    • 29 min

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