Trust me, trust is key

“It’s not my problem I passed it on to so and so.” Sound familiar? Buck passing is a sure sign there’s a lack of trust in your organisation.

We have been conducting workshops with a client’s finance, marketing and business improvement teams as part of a major culture change initiative. As the workshops evolved, a fundamental lack of trust among team members and within other areas of the business emerged as a major problem. It showed up as an inability to 'get things done' - lots of activity for too few results. The cost to the business was huge.

Our client is not alone: trust, or lack of, is a big deal for many organisations. Without trust there is no personal accountability, and if we don’t have trust internally it’s very hard to build it with customers.

So what is trust and how do we cultivate it?

Lewicki and his colleagues describe trust as “an individual's belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of the words, actions, and decisions of another." Trust is paramount in any successful relationship. It means we are reliable and transparent; we deliver on promises and expect others to do the same.

At Peak Performance we have a Trust Equation:

Intention + Competence + Commitment = Trust

Intention is our purpose or motives and beliefs.

Competence is our ability to deliver on our promise (knowledge, attitude, skills).

Commitment is our vow to do what we promise (responsible and accountable).

Some aspects of trust are based on early impressions – we evaluate a person’s integrity and ability to do what they say they will. A deeper aspect of trust is established over time, where we factor in a person’s level of benevolence; our perception of how much they care about us and whether they would act in our interest.

A little reflection
Before you can build trust in your own team and across your organisation you need to reflect. What kind of person are you? What’s it like to work for you – especially when the pressure’s on? Are you consistent, reliable and respectful or are your team walking on egg shells?

The truth is, the kind of person you are and the way you lead others has a direct impact on the quality of your team’s work – their dedication, level of care, and inclination to go the extra mile.

Trust is organisational bedrock that is strengthened through daily doing. An insightful person referred to trust as
a peculiar resource: it is built rather than depleted by use.

Steps to developing trust

There are several steps you can take to build trust in your team, which are particularly effective when performed repeatedly and in different contexts.

· Be good at what you do – strive to demonstrate that you are a safe set of hands. As others consider whether they can trust you, they will assess your qualifications and ability to perform.

· Be consistent and predictable – do what you say you will.

· Communicate openly and transparently – be clear about your intentions and motives.

· Share and delegate control – you have to give trust to get it.

· Show genuine concern for others – be respectful and avoid acting out of self interest.

Creating a culture of trust doesn’t happen overnight, but by making it a priority you’re already on the way to becoming an organisation your people and your customers can believe in.

Posted: Thursday 26 April 2012


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