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Mistrust is not bad, although some think so. What is the function of mistrust? Mistrust, just like trust, reduces complexity. Those who mistrust, know where they stand and what must be done. They must be prepared to watch around the clock, to be ready for conflict; they need alternatives or must accept that the other party will act differently to what was agreed. If you mistrust, you use up resources. That is an effort, so that no individual, no team, no organisation, can operate only with mistrust. You would not be able to survive. There have to be areas within one’s environment which don’t need to be observed for danger.

On the other hand, every system needs a limitation of what it can process in the way of disappointment. This is why mistrust is also required. Once mistrust has been established, it is relatively stable. It is not immediately questioned by the trustworthy behaviour of the other side, but confirms itself. This is particularly important for consultancy, as systems often have to be made aware by consultants about those activities which create the occasions that justify the mistrust. In organisations, it is critical to exercise control without this being taken personally by the affected people as an expression of mistrust.