What is at the heart of power?


I mentioned in the last blog post that the two most influential thought leaders for me regarding what trust is and how to establish and maintain it are John Gottman and Fernando Flores.


Today, we take a very brief peek at the immense contribution of Fernando Flores to this field.
Flores is from Chile. He was the country’s finance minister until Augusto Pinochet rose to power and imprisoned him for three years, from 1973 to 1976. He often speaks of what a life changing experience his imprisonment was. Upon release from prison, he was forced into exile and settled in Palo Alto, California, working as a researcher at Stanford University.
Ultimately, he obtained his PhD from UC Berkeley under the guidance of, among others, professors Hubert Dreyfus and John Searle. Hubert Dreyfus is considered by many to be the foremost expert on Philosopher Martin Heidegger. John Searle’s expertise includes being an expert on the impact of speech acts (like promise and request). Much of the transformational movement in the United States that was birthed in the 1970’s was heavily influenced by Heideggerian philosophy. Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher from the 1800’s is another heavy influence in the realm of transformation, and formation of trust.
I give a bit of Flores’s history and influences because it is helpful to consider where all these thoughts and ideas come from. There have been a lot of people for thousands of years that spent much of their lives contemplating and observing things like trust, and then putting their learning in their own particular blender and offering their point of view regarding it. Then, it is handed off to others.
The flow of thought regarding what we think about trust borrows from this river of ideas, whether we are aware of it or not. And, to a significant degree, what you currently think is influenced by the particular river of thought you have been borrowing from. It could be the pop culture river, or the advertising-lingo river, or your particular religion’s river, or others. But there is an entire flow of thought that we are plopped into at birth.  Then, usually, we simply take on the zeitgeist of the culture and mistakenly believe that those thoughts are actually our thoughts.
But, in reality, it is simply the culture thinking for us.
Flores is a consultant and has started various companies through the years helping businesses more effectively produce optimal results. A colorful look at his consulting style is illustrated in this 1998 article from Fast Company.
I think a simple way to convey some of Flores’s thoughts regarding trust is to offer some quotes……all the following quotes are from Fernando Flores…
When trust improves, the mood improves.”
“The key to trust is action, and in particular commitment; commitments made and commitments met.”
“Speech acts are language rituals that build trust between colleagues and customers, word practices that open your eyes to new possibility.”
“Cordial hypocrisy:
–Because of loyalty or fear
–Pretend that there is trust when there is none
–Being polite when there is cynicism.”
“Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.”
“A feel-good style can be a symptom of unawareness of lack of caring.”
“I never told a victim story about my imprisonment. Instead, I told a transformation story-about how prison changed my outlook, about how I saw that communication, trust and truth are at the heart of power.”
We will take a look at John Gottman’s work and background in our next blog post.