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TEDxWarsaw - Jacek Olechowski - 3/05/10

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I forgot my white tights too, so I'm sorry to dissapoint you guys. What's more, my topic is going to be perhaps slightly less about saving the world and building great houses, but maybe more about building trust, in general, that helps us build houses that in the end save the world. All of us are surrounded by networks today. We see them everywhere. One of them has actually brought us together today here. And these networks really bring the question of whether-- are they sort of a recipe for trust, and what trust is all about. Now, to me, trust is really the big issue in everything we do. Whether it be business collaboration or any other type of collaboration. If you think about it, before you start thinking about being creative, before you start thinking about what we can do together, you really think about whether we can trust each other. Now, we think about whether we can trust the products we use, and sorry for that maybe mean example of products we've stopped trusting, but trust is really, really important. We think about the companies we work together with, and even great big companies, when they lose the trust, the good will they have, they stop being great big companies. Even if the courts prove them right in the end. That is the case for Andersen. They didn't do anything wrong with Enron, apparently, yet they disappeared as a company, because their clients stopped trusting them. And, as it is in business, if you don't have the trust, you don't have the clients. And it's also about the people. Now, that gentleman has already been mentioned today, but I think he's a good example of someone a lot of people trusted, and ended up stopping to trust. So trust is really the foundation of anything we do, especially in business, and I come from the business realm. As I said, without trust you cannot sell a product, you cannot do a business, you cannot convince people to do business with you. And that's why it's so important to find efficient ways of building trust. That might seem less obvious to people who are not in the business world, because you don't think about the trust and efficiency in one sentence, you would say: "Hey, trust is a long-term process. It's something you really need to breathe over a long period of time." But that's not how business works. In business, you want to do business together really fast, but trust is the biggest-- or lack of trust is the biggest barrier you encounter. So you're really looking for ways to build that trust fast. And, surprising or not, networks are the easiest and the best way of building trust, because they bring people who don't know each other, together. They show them stuff that brings them together, common values, common interests, common purposes, and they encourage them to build a sort of little trust aroung that, and then go deeper, and deeper, and deeper, and trust each other. I'm pretty sure all of you, if they bumped into each other in 20 years' time, in 10 years' time, in 5 months, and realized that you've both been to a TEDx event, are going to start to feel more trust than they did a minute before. Even though you're just in one room, you're listening to one, or twenty presentetions today. You've not done anything together, but the simple fact that you notice this common ground, is going to help you build trust which is so crucial in business, but not only business. And networks are actually the best way of efficiently building trust, quickly building trust. But you need to follow certain rules in that. And you've seen plenty of networks surround you. You've probably been in millions of networks, whether they be on-line of off-line, I'm not sure if you're still in all of them, probably not, I'm not sure it you were satisfied with the experience, probably not, and I probably know why. Although my recipe is not an ideal one. There's a couple of stuff you need to follow, if you want to build an effective network. One: It needs to be a pure network. If you put too much hierarchy, and again, TED is a great example [of not doing that], in a network, it stops working. Because it's just a way of-- It's a pyramid, it's not a true network, a network works only if its people who feel that they can relate, who feel that are on par, on the same-- roughly on the same level. So, should you ever build a network, make sure you bring peers together, and not different people, people that are too different. The second thing is, networks need to have a long-term goal. It's not-- especially in business, they shouldn't be deal-driven. If you bring people in a network and you tell them: do business together fast, that's a marketplace, that's not a network. That's not something that should work in a long run. So that's why you need to make sure that if you ever build a network, the goals are long-term, you get to know each other first, and then you start doing business together. Not the other way around. And the third thing, and that's maybe not going to be the most politically correct of statements, but networks need to be homogenic. Of course diversity is good, and of course, diversity brings, you know, different ideas in one room, which couldn't happen if the people in the room were too similar to eachother. On the other hand, in a network, if you want to work together, and not to implode, it needs to be-- it needs to be roughly, relatively, homogenic. It needs to have a few sets of rules that are exactly the same for everyone, a set of values that are exactly the same for everyone, and people agree together to follow. If you try to make networks that are too diverse, they stop being networks. They're just groups of people who have nothing in common. So the more stuff people have in common, the better for the network. So to summarize, a good network, one that can efficiently build trust between the members of it, is one where everyone feels at the same level, it's a pure network, not a hierarchical network. It's one where the goal is more long-term than short-term, we have a common vision that unites us, rather than we try to make quick deals together. And finally we have that common goal, meaning, we're pretty homogenic at what we try to do, rather than just focusing on the differences. It's more focusing at what brings us together, than focusing on how diverse we are. And I want to give you a personal example of something which I manage to be involved in, and have the privilege to be involved in, which when you thing back at it, it's pretty amazing. 10 years ago, a group of young business people in Poland contacted each other, a bit randomly, they actually put little ads in business press, saying that: we're young, we started our businesses in-- after the system change, and we think we have a mutual sort of experiences and observations we want to share. That's the only thing that brought us together. At first there was 5 people, then there was 10 people, then there was 20 people, now it's roughly 30 people, who got together-- all people who started their businesses in the naughties, and-- or the late 1990's actually, and managed to be quite successfull at it, and wanted to share their experiences. And what happened is, despite the fact that we didn't know eachother at all to start with, despite the fact that all of us were coming from different cities, different businesses, had nothing to do with each other, we managed to, sort of, unite ourselves to create a platform where we would have these discussions every month about the challenges of business, meet with interesting people, have all that sharing. And ultimately, what happened two years ago is, Polska Rada Biznesu which is a sort of most notorious, prominent business association in Poland which has the top 1-- 2-- 3-- 4-- 5-- 6-- 7-- 20 businessmen in the country, asked us to merge. Because they were looking for a younger ingredient in their organization, and we ended up running Polska Rada Biznesu with four of us being on the seven-people board. And if you look at it from a business perspective, you have a small start-up company, made by, initially, 5 people who don't know each other at all, who just decided to go for one goal together, who manage to build trust around that, and ended taking over a much bigger organization in a fabulous M&A transaction. Now, the merger has worked for two years now so hopefully it won't be one of the big merger blow-ups, it's not a very big merger by the way, but it shows you how much you can go, if you manage to build trust between people based on a networking system, and a system that is relatively simple, as long as you follow the rules I mentioned before. So really, as I mentioned, trust is the foundation of any collaboration you might have, whether it be art, business, sports, whichever you mentioned today, or building a house for that matter. But to do that, you should follow certain-- to build that trust efficiently, you should follow certain rules, and I encourage you to do so, especially if you're in a network such as TEDx or whichever else you might want to choose. Thank you. (applause) (Ralph Talmont:) I've now forgotten what I was going to ask him. Isn't that great? No I haven't. (Jacek Olechowski:) I trust you haven't. (RT:) I haven't. Now technology, of course, makes it possible for us to plug into all sorts of networks, and in the context of what you're saying, it's interesting to consider how different networks work for different purposes. You have networks for one kind of purpose, then you have networks that concentrate on achieving a goal, such as what you just described. Can you maybe talk about how different networks function in the context of, you know, the purpose, or the goal, or maybe not having a goal immidiately, but possibly having a goal down the, you know, down the line. (JO:) I think the key thing of any network is to have a goal. And when you look at the plenty networks we're all in, I think the ones we, sort of, fall off from, are the ones where ultimately you don't find the goal, or the necessary purpose. That's something I tried to touch upon when I said that they need to be homogenic. I'm not, you know-- I think you can have a million goals, whichever one you want, and with the technology today, you can actually be simultaneously in a million networks, but you still only stick to the ones, that really cater for you, that have a specific goal. If you look at social networking sites, and I suppose a lot of us have migrated from one to the other, or from one to the other, to another, to another, and I don't want to mention names, but the ones that are working, are the ones that are really fulfilling some certain needs. The one's that were-- there was just diversity, the ability to be connected to a lot of people, they tend to die relatively fast. And that's what I was trying to say today. (RT:) Thank you very much. (JO:) Dziękuję bardzo. (RT:) Thank you. (JO:) Thank you. (RT:) Thank you very much. (JO:) Dziękuję bardzo. (RT:) Thank you. (JO:) Thank you. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 33 seconds
Country: Poland
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxWarsaw
Director: TEDxWarsaw
Views: 108
Posted by: tedxwarsaw on Mar 15, 2010

Jacek Olechowski is an entrepreneur and an investor who concentrates on media and marketing enterprises.

Jacek Olechowski's talk at TEDxWarsaw dealt with trust as business capital.

About TEDx, x=independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events which bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.*
(*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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