How to Build Trust Quickly When Time is Limited – LogiSYM July/August 2017
How do you build trust quickly in a newly formed team, when time is short?
When talking to supply chain leaders about building trust, a key question I get asked is how do you build trust quickly in a newly formed team, when time is short?
This is a valid point. A study by Towers Watson found that it takes seven months to build trust with people and half that time to lose it.
In today’s fast-paced business world, we often don’t have the luxury of time to decide whether someone is trustworthy or needs more time to trust us. Teams must be put together quickly, decisions made and deadlines met.
Yet, when you scratch below the surface you find that most leaders are constantly fixing people and customer issues. It’s a struggle to work on business goals when most managers are in constant fire fighting mode.
The irony is that underpinning these challenges are trust problems. Trust is at the heart of every relationship, every interaction and every transaction. It even influences the systems you create.
Managers need to start thinking about creating an environment where trust thrives, so that trust can be built quickly and efficiently. Whilst this approach takes some time initially, it will drastically reduce the daily fire fighting and frustrations longer term.
Economically, high trust increases value. Imperative Research found that companies that are high in trust have 2.5 times the revenue generation of low trust organisations. While Great Places to Work Institute together with Fortune magazine discovered that high trust companies beat the average annualised returns of the American S&P 500 by a factor of three.
Trust enables different people within an organisation to consistently rely on each other. It’s trust that enables your customers and other stakeholders to believe that you will deliver on your promises and behave responsibly. It’s trust that enables a company or brand to bounce back after a reputational crisis.
Generating optimal trust enables an organisation to operate with greater efficiency and speed. Improved synergies across the company and within functional groups, is a crucial motivator.
What’s generally misunderstood or over-looked is that trust capital is an intangible that powerfully supports and activates other types of capital.
It reduces friction and stress within people capital – so that they take risks, innovate, and collaborate – to make more intellectual property. It’s the foundational element behind organisational capital; it fuels the ability of an organisation to mobilise and sustain change. It’s a precondition before teams and departments will share information, ideas, and work together on projects.
Trust underpins that the right decisions are being made based on the collective insights of employees, to create efficient and suitable supply chain systems to achieve strategic outcomes.
Trust capital provides a powerful source of sustainable, competitive advantage. Intangible assets represent more than 80% of corporate value and are hard for competitors to imitate. Competitors may use the same technology and hardware, but your trust competitive advantage is really about how fast your people can innovate and deliver.
In order to sustainably embed trustworthiness, it has to be fundamental to how the company operates as a whole, rather than just being embedded into a couple of processes and subsystems. This ensures that everyone in an organisation from the bottom right to the top can rely on others to do the right thing and deliver on their promises.
Savvy business leaders are constantly building and managing trust with those around them. This pays high dividends to make life easier when risk and uncertainty increase.
What I have found, is that average leaders do little to improve trust and there are two key reasons.
First, they are so caught up in deadlines and general fire fighting that they overlook that building trust with others would actually save time, not take time away.
Second, most leaders in general do little to increase trust. Not because they don’t want to, but because they aren’t even sure where to start. If they try to attempt change, they waste time focusing on the wrong trust elements. This results in a vicious cycle. Trust doesn’t get improved. And it is then relegated to the sidelines as being too hard.
But there is a proven way and knowing how is crucial!
Building trust starts with leaders who are intentional on building trust in their portfolio of competencies. Some organisations have comprehensive training programs on this topic that are aligned to a company trust framework. This ensures everyone is on the same page when they talk about trust and call out behavioural issues.
Of course, that’s not possible for every organisation or every leader. This is where the three-step trust formula helps you build trust no matter what the situation.
An organisation creates values through efficient internal business processes aligned to strategy.
Business leaders who cultivate trust, ensure that they flush out trust issues before they become problems. This ensures preventive actions avoid unnecessary stress, incoherence, and inefficiencies. Ultimately, you develop trust by ensuring people feel valued for who they are, understand how their work positively impacts those around them and through providing the right people and resources to see it through. By practising these behaviours, you will reduce fire fighting working mode. Instead, employees become more accountable, decision-making becomes faster and there is better collaboration between departments or teams.
Then, all you need to do is get out of the way and watch the magic unfold while you start hitting the real goals that get lost in the chaos.
Chief Corporate Catalyst, Trustologie
Marie-Claire Ross is the founder and Chief Corporate Catalyst at Trustologie. She is a workplace sociologist, author and consultant focused on helping leaders create high trust work environments. If you want to find out how well your organisation or team excels at trust, try a complimentary assessment at http://www.trustologie.com.au/trust-capital-score