Creating A Culture Of Trust

November 14, 2014


Wallaby eating from hand

According to Great Place To Work, from 2004-2008 the top 100 high trust companies out performed the next 100 by 43% in terms of revenue. In 2009, the year after the start of the global economic crisis, that grew to 126%. Building trust in your organization has a real impact on the business.

During her presentation, Building A Culture of Trust, Pollyanna Pixton asked everyone in the packed room to raise their hand if they trusted their entire management chain – all the way up to the CEO. Only two people – who worked for the same major insurance company – raised their hand. While the statistic is discouraging, it does say a lot for that insurance company. Insurance is a business of trust and that company is building it from the inside out.

Pixton described several ways we can foster trust in our teams:

  • Advance each others’ intentions and don’t get in the way.
  • Be proactive in moving work forward.
  • Create honest and open communication, along with transparency.
  • Share experiences, particularly failures. Stories of failures and what you learned are powerful.
  • Build trust between teams.
  • Accept risks collectively and create a safe place to fail.
  • Let your teams figure out how to solve the problem or meet the business goal.
  • Don’t take back ownership.
  • Use team-based measurements. Measurements based on individual success impair team collaboration.
  • Ask questions that help teams discover the solutions, such as: “How would you like to solve it?” and “What would you like me to do?”
  • Achieve short goals to find early wins and celebrate success.
  • Protect the team and the team boundaries.

As leaders, we also have to work to build the trust our teams have in us. To do this, we need to:

  • be authentic,
  • stay positive,
  • trust and be trustworthy,
  • put purpose over personal agenda, and
  • provide continuous feedback.

After attending this presentation, I will be adding The Agile Culture: Leading Through Trust and Ownership to my reading list.

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About Liza Wood

After a dozen years leading video game development projects in a variety of roles, I decided to pursue a Master of Data Science at the University of British Columbia. Studying data science doesn’t mean I’m moving away from leading people. Growing data science teams need collaborative, pragmatic, Agile leadership to connect data to all areas of the business. I would like to share that point of view, along with my experiences, on this blog.

View all posts by Liza Wood

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