Trust Trust Trust
It's all you hear about these days, but no one will tell you what they mean by it.
Dr. Enfield writes: "Our immediate priority is to restore public trust in Seattle Public Schools."
The Times Editorial Board writes "New Seattle Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield must restore trust and order"
Crosscut writer Knute Berger is very concerned about trust.
I think about trust a lot also. A lot. It's my business. And here's what I know about trust: How do you get people to trust you?
--------------------------------By being trustworthy.
It's not a joke, it's a simple, powerful answer.
There are four simple steps to earning trust:
1. Say what you mean. Speak plainly and reveal your true intent. Don't hide your goals. No guile, no euphemisms, no spin.
2. Mean what you say. Don't make claims you won't back up. Don't weasel.
3. Keep your commitments. Do the things you commit to doing. If you can't, because sometimes all of us find ourselves in a situation in which we cannot keep a commitment, then come right out and acknowledge that you won't be able to keep your commitment. Don't deny the commitment or diminish it. And be contrite.
4. Speak the truth. No lies. And no lies of omission. Full disclosure.
Do these things and you will earn trust. That's a key point. Trust has to be EARNED. And you don't get to say when you've earned it; the people granting the trust get to say when you've earned it. And you haven't earned it from them until you meet their standard - not yours.
So let's not have any more talk about Trust unless people are talking about HOW the District can earn the public's trust. And that's going to require some talk about how the District lost the public's trust. It wasn't from a single scandal or even two. The District has no credibility because for the past ten years the District has about a 98% fail rate for keeping its commitments and about a 98% fail rate on the truth.
If Susan Enfield wants to earn the public's trust, here's a good place for her to start: Harium Martin-Morris' blog has a thread with about a hundred commmitments that the District hasn't kept. Fulfill those commmitments.
If Susan Enfield wants to earn the public's trust, here's a good place for her to start: publish a complete org chart with every central office employee and every department's budget. Tell that truth.
If Susan Enfield wants to earn the public's trust, here's a good place for her to start: Answer the questions. So when you're interviewed on KUOW and they ask you if you will apply for the superintendent job, just answer the question. Yes or no will do. Evading the very first question you're asked is no way to build trust.
When Dr. Goodloe-Johnson started with the District I meant to keep track of her statements and promises and see how many she kept. I have always regretted not doing it. Now I have another chance. Starting now I will keep a trust scorecard for Dr. Enfield. I will track how well she says what she means, means what she says, keeps her commitments, and tells the truth. So far she's starting out behind by evading the question on KUOW. That's a point against her. I'll go through the Seattle Times interview and score that next.