- December 2012: Vol. 24 No. 11

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No Excuse: Trust Ultimately Rests on Full and Fair Disclosure

by Geoffrey Dohrmann

Ronald Reagan once was asked if he trusted the Kremlin to comply with a nuclear anti-proliferation pact between the United States and Russia. “Our policy,” responded the president, “is to trust but verify.”

Actually, in practice, the two are integrally related. We trust what we can verify, and we trust what we understand. Our almost automatic response to anyone who says to us, “What? You don’t trust me?” is to suspend trust.

Think how trust is formed in personal relationships. It starts … and builds … with mutual self-disclosure. You tell someone a little about yourself; they tell you a little something about themselves, and gradually a bond is formed. You come to know enough about the other person to start developing confidence in your ability to predict his or her behavior. And when you feel you can rely on what is said and predict what is likely to happen in a given situation, you feel better about the relationship.

This is also the reason t

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