The Trust Factor


Book Title:   The Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies
Author: Paul J. Zak
Publisher: AMACON
List Price:   $24.00
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: Jan 2017        
ISBN: 9780814437667
Reviewer:     Art Pratt, PMP       
Review Date: Feb/2017



Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies is focused on cultural soft skills at the organization level. The book summarizes multiple years of scientific research into empathy using the release of Oxytocin as the indicator. The Author, Paul Zak, uses his research into empathy to identify key factors that develop employee trust which leads to better organizational performance.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Paul Zak uses the letters of his “trust molecule”, O-X-Y-T-O-C-I-N, to describe eight factors that build trust: Ovation: recognizing colleagues and celebrating success; eXpectation: defining goals and challenging teams; Yield: yielding project control to the team; Transfer: self-direction and leadership; Openness: transparency; Caring: care and support of colleagues; Invest: career investment; Natural: honesty and vulnerability with. Each factor is a separate chapter in the book.

He completes the book by adding two chapters on purpose and performance. When trust is combined with purpose, joy in the workplace is created.   In the final chapter, a survey method to assess trust against the eight factors, Ofactor Survey, is presented with a case study. Each chapter includes supporting anecdotes and examples from recognized companies ending with a to-do list to implement each policy intervention.


By building on years of scientific research in brain chemistry the author has identified the positive and negative organizational factors for the hormone oxytocin. Organizing these factors and comparing them with high-performing corporate cultures the author chronicles implementation of each factor and its impact on an organization. Each of the O-X-Y-T-O-C-I-N factors, are presented in what is likely a priority order for many organizations and while these factors can stand alone, subsequent factors build upon and interact with previous factors.

In a trusting culture adding in purpose can lead to joy in the workplace and a high-performance culture. Developing a purpose narrative was shown to be a unifying element in advancing company culture and performance. In the final chapter, a survey method to assess trust against the eight factors, Ofactor Survey, is presented with a case study. With the anecdotal evidence presented throughout the book along with lists at the end of each chapter, actionable ideas are plentiful.


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About the Reviewer

Art Pratt, PMP

Madison WI, USA



Art Pratt has worked as a project manager since 2000. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a Project Management Professional Certification working in development programs in the Medical Device/Pharmaceutical industry. Art is a member of the Madison, WI PMI Chapter.

LinkedIn: Art Pratt


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