Q and A with Paul Zak

 

I first met Paul Zak as I was researching my book on trust. He’s one of the biggest names in the field, having studied the field both as an economist and a neuroscientist, and eventually Zak and I went skydiving together to see if the experience might boost my trust hormone. Zak has a new book out titled Trust Factor, and he answered a few questions via email.

Why did you write the book?

​After my research identifying the neurochemical oxytocin as a key signal that we trust another person, companies started coming to my lab telling me they thought trust was important at workplaces and asking ​me how they could create a culture of trust. I really did not know how to answer but I felt as a “trust expert” I should know this, so I spent 8 years measuring brain activity to figure out how to measure, manage, and improve trust in organizations.

Why does the book matter?
​My research showed that there are eight building blocks that leaders can influence to create​ ​a culture of trust, and my studies show how to change these to produce the biggest impact on brain and behavior. People who work in high trust companies are more productive, energetic, less likely to leave to work elsewhere, get sick less often, happier, and even get paid more. And, their companies are substantially more profitable. ​Trust improves the triple bottom line: it is good for employees, improves organizational performance, and strengthens families and communities.

What will readers gain?
​A brief introduction to the science of trust, access to a online survey to measure trust in their own organizations, and a step by step guide to building trust through examples of companies that have followed these guidelines. If you don’t manage culture, it will surely manage you, so it is time to to charge of culture using the latest science of human interactions. ​

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