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The 6 characteristics of trust agents

‘ To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.’  George MacDonald

Creating legacy and engendering trust

Ambitious legacy projects often require the input of more than one individual. If you are a legacy creator in need of help, you therefore need to learn how to engender trust. In other words, you will have to become a trust agent, a term used by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith in their excellent book by the same title.

What being a trust agent entails

As Chris and Julien emphasise, being a trust agent is something that can be learnt, it’s not necessarily something you have to be born with. Here are six defining characteristics of ‘fully formed’ trust agents:

1. Making your own game. Trust agents, like most legacy creators, are particularly good at getting things off the ground without the gatekeepers. Bit by bit, their pioneering work becomes known by others who want to join them.

 2. Becoming ‘one of us’. Trust agents have a knack for getting people to identify with them. They do this by being highly aware of the unwritten rules of the community they are targetting, and behaving in such a way as not to upset the sensibilities of the people within that community.

 3. Using leverage. Trust agents often use something they have accomplished as leverage for more visibility with their next project. This again is something that legacy creators are also very good at, and yet another reason why legacy creators are well-suited to becoming trust agents.

 4. Becoming Agent Zero. Trust agents are good at being at the centre of wide, powerful networks. They do so by jumping at the chance to meet others online and at events, and connecting these new acquaintances with other people. This is course is strongly connected to leverage, as such networks are then highly useful in leveraging previous projects to reach more recognition with one’s current legacy project.

 5. Being a human artist. Trust agents are excellent at learning how to work well with people, empowering them, and recognising their strengths and weaknesses. They know when to improve relationships and when to step away, thereby constantly increasing the number of people who are willing to help them out on a project.

 6. Building an army. Trust agents are skilled at getting large groups of people together, to collaborate on specific legacy projects. When you can get a large group to collaborate, you can achieve monumental tasks that may have been previously impossible.

Are you a trust agent? How do you go about gaining people’s trust in your ability to lead a legacy project through to completion?

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