What a difference trust makes in our everyday lives and in business! We see evidence that link trust and performance tightly. In fact could we successfully manage crises without trust? Understanding how we undo or build trust will allow us to develop the right formula for improving performance.
Observing Trust And Performance In The Community
Even through the COVID-19 crisis, commentators are describing countries as either high trust (like Sweden) and low trust (like The USA).
How does this impact on how each country is dealing with COVID-19? Is one more likely to be successful than the other? By what measure? And for how long?
Sweden’s approach combines trust in its population (to apply physical distancing), clear communication and strategic controls.
No country can afford to “stay under the Doona” for ever! So could Sweden provide a valuable trust model for other countries trying to progress from tight lockdown commands and threats to a sustainable safe “new normal”?
Can we achieve the desired social behaviours by supporting, and appealing to, a sense of a shared individual responsibility to self-regulate? Conversely what might happen if we don’t build trust?
Today, few countries achieve the ideal definition of a high-trust society: mutual trust between citizens, and between the citizens and the state. Many organisations talk about trust yet also struggle with putting trust in practice.
When that “trust reciprocity” does not exist, how do you turn the ship around? Can you build or rebuild bridges?
The Effect Of Trust On The Outcome Of Challenges
Trust is the foundation to what we do at Bridgeworks when working with leaders and teams.
There is one simulation team exercise we do in Bridgeworks workshops, where the implicit trust of the ‘players’ is critical to the outcome of the challenge. Almost predictably, the majority of these challenges end up with a winner and a loser, or both sides losing.
And the challenge can get emotional. Trust is like that: It is driven by the emotions, not so much by the ‘head’.
Here is an interesting example from one of Bridgeworks workshops:
When he saw what he thought were untrustworthy behaviours, an MD announced that he was seriously looking to close the company, .
The sad reality was that he was the primary source of the untrustworthy behaviour! Fortunately, during the emotionally charged debrief, he saw this. He then apologised to the group, and recognised that this was holding back the company in real life.
Much was learned. Bridges were built as trust was restored. Consequently, their business had a new lease on life.
The Four Elements of Trust
People build trust differently depending on their natural way of looking at the world. According to Dr William Marsden, much of this comes from what motivates them deep in people’s “icebergs” (where behaviour is just the tip of the iceberg):
The first 2 elements are part of how people communicate:
1. Acceptance – “Who you are is OK with me”.
Respect and recognition underpin acceptance. People driven primarily by their need for acceptance and stability are key contributors of this element.
2. Openness – “I give and ask for feedback freely”.
Receptivity and disclosure underpin the principle of being open to feedback and willing to give feedback. People primarily acting under the need for recognition and influence drive this element of trust.
The second 2 elements are driven by consistency
3. Congruence – “What I say is what I mean”
Honesty and straightforwardness underpin congruence. In this case, the drivers are people who behave primarily from a need for power and control
4. Reliability – “I’ll do what I say I’ll do”
Seeking excellence and keeping commitments is the base of reliability. Notably the drivers of this factor are people primarily in need of security and correctness.
How Do Trust And Performance Develop In Your Organisation?
The reality is that all 4 elements are necessary to build trust. So here are 3 good questions to ask yourself:
- First, which of the above four is your strength?
- Then, which is your weakness
- And which do you value the most?
I would encourage you to have this discussion with others around you. Ask them the same question. And accept that there is no right or wrong answer. The truth is in the eye of the beholder.
Could you transform performance in your organisation?
Our virtual programs, just like our face-to-face programs, can help you develop AN ENGAGED CULTURE, INSPIRING LEADERS, & EFFECTIVE TEAMS
To discuss your opportunities, Contact Wayne