“Technique and technology are important, but adding trust is the issue of the decade.” – Tom Peters
While businesses fight to win on strategy, product, innovation, and route to market, the biggest intangible asset of all languishes in the corner, condemned as soft, fluffy and irrelevant. That asset is trust.
When trust is absent, you know it. The lack of it topples governments, destroys relationships and undermines businesses. It shows up in turf wars and fiefdoms, hidden agendas and politicking, interpersonal conflict, gossip and defend-and protect communication. It impedes debate, slows decisions, obstructs teamwork and restricts creativity. It creates an “us” and “them” divide that management teeters across on an unsteady bridge of engagement surveys.
"Our distrust is very expensive." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many companies function with a lack of trust at their heart, but few would recognize it as an economic drain. Some businesses put up with the lack of trust or try a variety of palliative measures. For others, however, the economic nature of trust is becoming more and more apparent. When trust goes down, speed goes down and costs go up. When trust goes up, speed goes up and costs go down.
Think about the relationships you have where trust is high. It’s easier to get things done, to put issues on the table and discuss them, to be yourself, to believe in the agreements you make. If something goes wrong, you are more likely to see it in a positive light.
Then think about the opposite. When trust is low, what happens? You may be spending a lot of time and energy managing a relationship, making sure things don’t go wrong, trying to come to an agreement and dodging the issues. When things go awry, you are very unlikely to give the other side the benefit of the doubt.
How much effort and energy is burned up by businesses dealing with this kind of friction? How much time and money is lost? Most companies, irrespective of size and sector, are made up of a fabric of relationships between individuals, teams, managers, stakeholders, clients, and pliers. Most, at some point, will experience competing priorities, multiple (and sometimes opposing) objectives and erratic communication. Potentially, you have a constant source of fuel for the frictional fire and its impact on results.
Building trust is not an overnight sensation. It cannot be mandated or forced. It takes gaining insight into yourself and to others and sharing experiences over time. It takes a leader with the courage to step forward and believe it’s possible to bridge a level of trust. It’s frustrating, challenging and demanding, but the rewards it yields are massive for individuals, for teams, and for businesses.
Most significantly, when there is trust, we can adjust perceptions of one another and work together differently, feel happier, enjoy ourselves more and lift our individual productivity as a result. And that is gold dust for any company.
Third Level works to create teams built on trust, which in turn, brings new heights of collaboration and productivity. For more information about how Third Level can help your employees learn to power listen, call US 800.262.0705/ UK 44 345 056 3383 or email Info@ThirdLevel.com.
I’ve engaged Third Level with multiple teams over 12 years and we continue to generate exceptional business results. I see the program as my gift for all those who I’ve worked with and led. Without exception they feel much better about themselves and the world they live in – delivering more through improving satisfaction and engagement as leaders and teams.
I am a better leader, husband and father as a result of the work I do with Third Level.
Nick Williams Deputy Director, Group TransformationLloyds Banking Group
You managed to take a healthy, vibrant, and talented team to a new level of commitment to their careers, their lives and each other. Each member of our top management team has thanked me for the experience and related that this has been one of the best professional experiences of their lives. The outcome was clearly of great benefit to my businesses over the years. We identify issues that probably wouldn’t have surfaced for two years, saving ourselves at least five times our investment with you. And we are solving problems and confronting issues much more quickly. Our foundation of trust has grown quickly. More recently, the Fascination profile has helped us understand and collaborate far more quickly together as new teams form, and decision-making progresses.
Gary Press President,ARS and Chairman, Lifestyle Media Group