Dr. Jack R. Gibb is a pioneer in the broad fields of human understanding and organisation development.  While Gibb was Research Director at the National Training Laboratories (NTL) he observed hundreds of training groups in action and concluded that the ability of the individuals within those groups to trust each other was key to the effectiveness of their training.   These observations led him to theorise that trust is a vital component in all human relationships.  In Gibb’s words:
A person learns to grow through his increasing acceptance of himself and others.  Serving as the primary block to such acceptance are the defensive feelings of fear and distrust.”

 Jack Gibb has dedicated his professional life to examining the importance of individual trust as the key to individual growth and development.  In his book, Trust - A New View of Personal and Organisational Development,  he presents the model below to explain how healthy groups function.

 Trust as base

While studying the process of group development at NTL, Gibb noticed that there were four dynamics going on in all groups.  These dynamics can be given as questions:

  1. What is the level of trust and acceptance in this group?
  2. What is the quality of our communication?
  3. What are we here for?  What is our goal?
  4. How are we going to function... what are the rules (control)?

Unfortunately our own experience, and that of others, shows a reverse of the triangle in most situations.  The triangle is unstable and likely to fall.  The instability, caused by the need for control, is typical of most families and businesses.


This we know.  The earth does not belong to man;
Man belongs to the earth.  This we know.
All things are connected like the blood
which unites one family.
Whatever befalls the earth,
befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life;
he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
he does to himself.

- Chief Seattle

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