Every company has a story behind how and why it was founded. Ours begins when one of our founders, Lynn Varagona, chose to study resilience—the process of effective coping that leads to successful adaptation—for her dissertation topic.
Years later while taking a Global Macroeconomics course for her Executive MBA, Lynn had to do a research project with her team. Development economics caught her attention. One of the key questions that development economists still did not know the answer to is why some developing nations pull themselves out of their disadvantaged status and others do not. Might the same characteristics that enabled children from disadvantaged backgrounds to pull themselves out of their disadvantaged status apply to developing nations? After using World Bank metrics to explain as much per capita GDP as they could for a random sample of 50 developing nations, her team evaluated the effect of resilience variables and, each time, the ability to explain per capita GDP went up. Lynn went on to present their work at four international conferences, and their research was cited in Beyond Assistance: The HELP Commission Report on Foreign Assistance Reform that went to Congress and the President of the United States.
In the world of development economics, a term used to describe the social element behind economic development is social capital. Lynn realized that the resilient youth studied in the early literature had social capital. In other words, they were able to establish and maintain meaningful relationships that they reached out to for assistance. She also believed that the personal characteristics associated with resilient individuals increased the effectiveness of their relationships, and further strengthened their social capital. But she believed there was more to social capital than resilience alone could explain.
So she began to think through what the elements behind social capital might be, and to think about what her experience over the years had shown her made the most difference in building and sustaining effective relationships. Whenever she had observed things that didn’t work well, she always wondered why—and realized that such instances had a common thread. In some way, they all related to fundamental principles about how to treat others. When these timeless truths were lacking, something always suffered. And when she observed exceptional leaders and top-performing teams and organizations, the timeless truths were there. As she became increasingly more knowledgeable about social capital, she learned that what’s behind its development is largely unknown. But her experience told her otherwise—that infusing basic principles, promoting inclusive structures, giving everyone a true voice, encouraging strong relationships, fostering effective interactions, and rebuilding trust when it gets weakened or broken are critical to helping teams, leaders, and organizations be their best.
Developing the Methodology
To fine-tune her thinking, Lynn dove deep into the literature in various fields of study. From there, she created a comprehensive yet simple framework that integrates timeless truths. But the psychologist in her wanted to validate the model, so she conducted a two-years study of top-performing teams to do just that. The resulting Trustworthiness IndicatorTM captures what’s behind building effective relationships, and the Trust InfusionTM methodology is a unique blend of multiple disciplines, has a foundation built on fundamental principles, and reflects over 150 years of combined experience with what works.
Focusing on Healthcare
As the daughter of the town physician, Lynn went on house calls with her father at a young age. Her lifelong interest in medicine led her to get a bachelor’s and masters in nursing before getting her doctorate in community/organizational psychology. Wanting to understand the business issues, challenges, and opportunities that her C-suite clients faced, Lynn got an executive MBA from a top-ranked business school then later obtained an MBA concentration in healthcare management.
Although building trust-based cultures can benefit any industry, their greatest potential lies in healthcare. Together, the Trust Capital Institute’s seasoned consultants can help your organization take the lead in transforming healthcare through trust®.