Interview with Charles H. Green, founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates
What are your main areas of research?
I’m not an academic, so I’ll have to define “research” a little loosely. But for the last 20 years, what I’ve focused on is the role played by trust in business relationships, particularly complex B2B relationships – and particularly in sales and in advisory relationships.
In practice, that has meant pointing out a distinction rarely used in business, even though it’s fairly obvious: the relationship between the trustor and the trustee. You can’t talk about trust in practical terms without distinguishing between those two very distinct roles (though most general discussions about ’trust’ do just that). The trustor initiates the relationship by taking a risk; the trustee responds, or not. And then the roles shift for the next go-round. Trust is iterative, dynamic, and creates itself around risk.
I have also focused on the role of personal relationships rather than institutional relationships, because trust is like politics – as Tip O’Neill said years ago, it’s all local. Or personal, in the case of trust. Institutional trust, like branding, is a far weaker force. The role of institutions in trust is largely to foster or hinder personal trust.