Trust Nets: A Story On How You Build Trust

Trust Nets: A Story On How You Build Trust

When the French designer Georges Camille Imbault was constructing the Victoria Falls Bridge, they built foundations on each side of the Batoka Gorge. The engineers had to figure out a way to make that first point of contact from both sides of the gorge. They needed that first string, which would lead to a cable, which would eventually lead to the bridge.

First, they tried to fly the string over the canyon with a kite. The wind gusts from the falls pushed the kite all over the place and the plan failed.

Then, they tried to fire a rocket from the Zimbabwean side to the Zambian side. It failed too. So they went back to the kite.

Finally, the kite did the trick and the initial connection was made. The gap started to be closed.

  • First a string on the tail of a kite.
  • Then a thin rope was pulled across the string.
  • Next a larger rope.
  • And finally the first cable.

The bridge was 111 meters up from the sheer cliffs that plummeted to the raging waters. As the foundation extended over the drop, it became more dangerous to work on the bridge. So a large net was tied underneath the suspended construction to catch tools, or people, that fell off the bridge.

Trust nets helped people work without fear.

To build trust, we need to start with the kite. Then put down the net. Then finally the bridge will be strong and you won’t know how you operated without it before.

Build bridges of trust. Here’s how to get started:

  • Communicate
  • Keep your word
  • Follow through
  • Be honest
  • Smile & be genuine in your interactions
  • Under promise and overdeliver
  • Ban liars from working with you
  • Don’t associate with untrustworthy characters
  • Show up on time
  • Provide value wherever you go
  • Help others
  • Thank those that help you
  • Be consistent in the above things

It’s hard. It takes time. Not everyone can be disciplined enough to do it. But like a drop of water over time can build a giant stalagmite in a cave, you too can build a mountain of trust.

[Fun fact: the first animal to cross the bridge was a leopard.]


(photo via meraj chhaya)