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Building the Circle of Faith: How Corporate Culture Builds Trust

An important metric for corporate culture is information flow, which is important for three different reasons. First, information is the lifeblood of the organization, and in technical organizations, success correlates with information flow. Second, information flow also tends to predict other important features of the organization, such as the level of trust. Third, information flow reflects the type of leadership in the organization. Organizations with pathological, bureaucratic and generative organizations build distinctive features into their organizations. The majority of high-performing organizations have generative leaders, as shown by their ability to build psychological safety and trust. This is shown not only in their internal organizational culture, but often in their relationship with their customers.

A "circle of faith" is a virtual social contract created by repeated successes, enabling the organization to do difficult tasks, and "impossible" ones on occasion. This circle of faith is also an important guarantee of safety, since the ability to identify latent pathogens depends on information flow. Just as developers need to recognize design issues through "requisite imagination," safety management needs to enable workers' ability to speak up to prevent missing "faint signals" of pending danger.