Trust is a building block of teams. Without it, everything breaks down – communication, leadership, collaboration, compromise – and conflict goes up.
Think of your best friends. They can say exactly the WRONG thing but you know what they meant and take it the right way. The opposite is true as well. Someone you don’t trust could say exactly the right thing in the right way and you are still looking for their angle. You just don’t believe they don’t have some ulterior motive.
Practicing trust as a team is critical to your success. Why? We make assumptions, which damage trust. We have beliefs we are not even aware of that may damage trust and/or prevent you from trusting the team.
This basic agenda has been the premise of long term work for me with executive teams and specifically in turn arounds and strategic interventions.
One of my favorite activities for trust is the Trust Walk. Of course, we run our activities to connect heart and mind which is why we use mouse and rat traps in the course area!
Here is the basic agenda I have run in orientation programs to senior executives from GE:
Short discussion about Trust (using Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey) preferably in a circle:
- What is trust?
- Why is trust important?
- What happens in an environment with low trust? High Trust
- What happens when trust is broken or lost? Can it be repaired? (trying to get to some beliefs)
Show Business Case for Trust
Use examples – read book for this:
- Warren Buffets 23B acquisition of McLane from Walmart, NO due diligence and it took 30 days saving millions of dollars (High Trust = Speed up, Cost down)
- Air Travel – Trust is low due to terrorism = Speed down, Cost up
Character and Competence (see graphic)
Use doctor example – I need heart surgery, I love and completely ‘Trust’ my wife. However, she will not need my surgeon! Is she upset that I don’t ‘Trust’ her? Of course not. I trust her character but not her competence in surgery.
Where else do we see this exact scenario playing out but with negative outcomes and people upset?
Put Character and Competence into ACTION!
The Trust Walk (already set up with mouse and rat traps and people take their shoes off)
Further debrief and discussion about the Trust Walk
In every single action you take you are either adding or subtracting to your trust account with others. Short discussion.
Trust Taxes and Trust Dividends from your Trust Accounts:
- Taxes – a person automatically discounts what you say by XX% due to low trust
- Dividends – a person automatically gives you benefit of the doubt by XX% due to high trust
At this point, we are easily at the two hour mark and sometimes more. We might go several different directions from here, but ALWAYS end with application:
- What are we going to do differently moving forward?
- What are the small daily behaviors that will show us we are deliberately seeking to increase trust?
- How will we recognize someone attempting to repair or deepen trust?