Business during the holidays froze for a month, while outside it was a mid-summer heatwave. I took the time to read Stephen MR Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust . It inspired me to share, more so on organizational trust. So here is a summary of what he says…
“…Credibility builds trust in 4 areas, namely- integrity and intent (character), capability and results (competence). These are needed to establish trust on a working level. For example, you can trust your friend but wouldn’t to go to them to get your teeth fixed unless they were a qualified dentist.
Building trust starts with yourself- and includes being trustworthy through behaviours such as: talk straight, demonstrate respect, clarify expectations, show loyalty, and confront reality.
At the second level, through the reciprocation of these behaviours, trust can then be created between people.
And at a third level, we have organizational trust, which centres around the ‘principle of alignment’. Here, the organization needs to show that its systems and processes are congruent with its trustworthy behaviours. For example, the way new employees are onboarded, rewarded, promoted, how customers are dealt with, and how communications are handled. All these need to congruent with behaviours in the organization – as led by its leaders – in order to earn the reciprocation that creates trust as an outcome.”
In addition, Covey is very clear about the impact of trust in an organization:
“Just as the tax created by low trust is real, measurable, and extremely high, so the dividends of high trust are also real, quantifiable, and incredibly high.”
To illustrate, the tables below say it all…
What does it look like in an organization when there is no trust?
|Sabotage, grievances, lawsuits|
|Punishing systems and hierarchy|
|Unhappy employees and stakeholders|
|Time wasted defending positions and decisions|
|Bureaucracy, redundancy and misalignment in systems and structures|
|Slow approvals / lack of overall agility|
|Hostile behaviours and confrontations|
|Labelling of others as enemies or allies|
|Communications coloured by fear, uncertainty, doubt and worry|
|Real issues not surfaced or dealt with effectively|
|Energy draining, joyless interactions|
|Evidence-gathering of other party’s weaknesses and mistakes|
|Guarded / grudging dispensing of information|
What does it look like in an organization when there is trust?
|Aligned systems and structures|
|A focus on work and results|
|Positive partnership relationships|
|Helpful systems and structures|
|Strong creativity and innovation|
|Engagement, confidence, loyalty|
|Inspiring work characterised by purpose, creativity and excitement|
|Open, transparent relationships|
|Cooperative, close, vibrant relationships|
|Cordial, healthy communications|
|Focus on smooth and efficient collaboration|
|Mutual tolerance and acceptance|
|Mistakes seen as learning opportunities|
Certainly, here at Mirror Mirror, we see that cognitive and behavioural alignment – which requires openness, respect and inclusivity – is the foundation of trust.