Personal & Organizational Trust The Spark that Delivers Excellence

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

City Leadership, we stand on the shoulders of fierce women and men who have led valiantly for thousands of years. Some led selfishly and others led selflessly. We build on their heritage and create our own legacy.

"The home we seek resides not in some distant land! It's in us! and in our actions... and we choose to make it so!"

Arthur is thought by many to have lived 1600 years ago. He may have been a Roman-affiliated military leader who successfully staved off a Saxon invasion during the 5th to 6th centuries.

Arthur did not leave his legacy alone, he lived fully, he was not sleepwalking through life. Together, they led, in pain and in victory with men and women who were committed to a noble purpose. They left a spark of greatness that has echoed throughout hundreds of years.

Today, We are leading the city of Olathe to where very few other cities have ever gone… throughout time. The greatness we seek resides, not in some other city, not in some book, or in some management leadership guru. It resides in us, in our collective wisdom, our collective knowledge, our values and our behaviors. We are writing the text book of great leadership and architecting leadership capacity throughout our staff….from our hearts! It’s not in some distant land. Not that it matters, but someday others will write about our legacy. Others will write and blog about the impact we have left in this great city! They did the same for King Arthur, the knights of the round table and Merlin. Even with their faults, they left a legacy. We are doing the same thing.

EI and EQ

Emotional Quotient is the representative score received on an Emotional Intelligence test. Often Emotional Intelligence is referred to as simply EQ.

Emotional Intelligence - Two Aspects

This is the essential premise of EQ: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

  • Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses, and behaviors.
  • Understanding others, and their feelings.

Emotional Intelligence - The Four Domains

Daniel Goleman identified four ‘domains’ of EQ as:

  1. Knowing your emotions-Self Awareness
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions-Empathy.
  4. Managing relationships.
Involves understanding your own interpersonal style and determining the interpersonal style of others. Extended DISC provides a powerful method for better understanding yourself and others.

Extended DISC Model

The more you understand the model, the less you will try to fit people into one style and the more you will understand their behavior or group of behaviors.

There are 160 base styles and millions of variation in the reports beyond that, so don’t stereotype—seek to understand and appreciate the way others think and behave.

Most Behavioral styles are a combination of multiple behavioral styles.

As you review this chart, notice the difference between opposite styles.

TRUST Behavior Styles and Tendencies

Four Trust Factors:

Am I primarily concerned how others trust me (trust BY others)

or how I trust others (trust IN others)?

Trust is on the personal, emotional level or technical competence level.

Myths About Trust

  • Trust matters, but there is little we can do about it.
  • If I am trustworthy, others will trust me.
  • Integrity does not equate to trust

What we know about Trust

There are often significant differences between intentions and how behaviors are interpreted. The difference is referred to as the trust gap. Organizational Trust results from intentions, behaviors and interpretations; and equally important, Organizational Trust influences intentions, behaviors and interpretation. (Shockley-Zalabak et al.)

Intentions-Behaviors-Interpretation Trust Gap

Perceptions of organizational trust result from acts of interpretation—in short communication.

It is through Communication processes that individuals can describe an ideal organizational life. And it is against this ideal that they compare their current organizational experiences. Leaders throughout an organization reveal their perceptions about levels of trust, everyday, in the stories they tell. When the gap is small, organizational members will report higher levels of trust, while a widening gap contributes to lower levels of trust.

Integrity, Intent, Capabilities & Results

Integrity (Character)

The First Core is Integrity. Most of the major violations of trust are violations of integrity. Covey asserts that integrity is more than honesty. In addition to honesty, integrity is made up of three other virtues.

Congruency is when one acts according to his values. It is when there is no gap between what one intends to do and what one actually does.

Humility is the ability to look out for the good of others in addition to what is good for you. Covey says, “A humble person is more concerned about what is right than about being right, about acting on good ideas than about having the ideas, about embracing new truth than defending an outdated position, about building the team than exalting self, about recognizing contribution than being recognized for it.”

Courage is the ability to do the right thing even when it may be difficult. It is when you do what you know is right regardless of the possible consequences.

Intent (Character)

The Second Core is Intent. Intent springs from our character. It is part of our value system. It is how we know we should act. Covey breaks intent down to three things.

Motive is why you do what you do. The best motive in building trust is genuinely caring about people. If you don’t care and have no desire to care, be honest and let people know you don’t care. If you don’t care but want to care, start to do caring things. Often, the feelings will follow the actions.

Agenda stems from our motive. The best agenda is honestly seeking what is good for others. Notice that your agenda is much more than wanting what is good for others, but seeking what is good for others.

Behavior is putting your agenda into practice. It is what we do based upon what we intend to do and what we are actively seeking. Behavior is where the rubber meets the road. Behavior is important because it is what people see and judge. Telling someone you love them is important, but showing them you love them is essential.

Covey gives three suggestions to improve intent.

  • First, examine and refine your motives.
  • Second, declare your intent.
  • Third, choose abundance.

Capabilities (Competency)

The Third Core is Capabilities. Capabilities are “the talents, skills, knowledge, capacities and abilities that we have that enable us to perform with excellence.” To help think about the various dimensions of capabilities, Covey uses the acronym TASKS: Talents, Attitude, Skills, Knowledge, and Style.

Talents are the things we naturally do well. These are the things we usually love to do. Your attitude is how you see things. It is how we are inside. Skills are the things you have learned to do well. Covey does point out that it is easy to get so comfortable with our skills that we never fulfill our talents. He suggests that talent is a deeper well than skill. Knowledge is what you know and continue to learn. Style is your unique way of doing things. It involves your personality.

How to Increase Your Capabilities:

  • First, follow your strengths and your passions.
  • Second, remain relevant by continually increasing your knowledge and improving your skills.
  • Third, know where you are going. The people you lead will follow if you know where you are going.

Results (Competency)

The Fourth Core is Results. People don’t trust people who don’t deliver results. Results are the deliverables. They are what you contribute to the company. You can’t hide from your results. Covey states, “... if the results aren’t there, neither is the credibility. Neither is the trust. It’s just that simple; it’s just that harsh.”

There are three areas of results people look at to judge your credibility. First, your past results: what you have proven you can do. Second, your current results: what you are contributing right now. Third, your potential results: what people anticipate you will accomplish in the future.

How to improve your results:

  • First, take responsibility for results, not activity.
  • Second, expect to achieve your goals. Assume you will be successful. This assumption will translate into action.
  • Third, finish strong. “Results are all about finishing. You are probably aware of the old adage;

“Beginners are many; finishers are few.”

Trust and Self Actualization

Abraham Maslow’s model helps us understand the 5 levels of human needs. As leaders, we are most fulfilled and can serve most effectively at the level of self-actualization. Richard Barrett adds insight to Maslow’s 4th level Esteem, Trust and Acceptance. Barrett calls this the fifth level of consciousness. Maslow and Barrett both assert that we must develop Esteem and Trust skills in order to achieve the highest levels of service, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, creativity and authenticity.

The Fifth Level of Personal Consciousness

The ability to display and engender trust corresponds to the fifth level of personal consciousness. Trust increases the speed at which the group is able to accomplish tasks and takes the bureaucracy out of communication.

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said. - Peter Drucker

"You"ll know you're a good leader, when people follow you, if only out of curiosity." -- Colin Powell (2012)

Leaders take organizations past the levels that the Science of management tells us what is possible. The essence of leadership is about TRUST, creating the conditions that exist for trust in an organization. Leadership is about doing all that the science of management tells us, the leader provides a clear mission & vision, selflessly serves as the leader, prepares the followers, trains them, ensures the resources are available and then is prepared to take the risks with them. (A great) leader takes that extra step, giving it the spark, and that extra spark is getting people to trust you. So that they will follow you, if only out of curiosity. -- Colin Powell. 2012

Organizational Perceptions of Trust

A primary goal as executive leaders is to constantly develop and extend trust as an individual and also foster, behaviors, systems, processes, behaviors, a culture if you will that embodies organizational trust.

Individual trust most often is built from personal experience. However, organizational trust is a more complex alignment of multiple behaviors, emotions, intentions and interpretations. Organizational trust is built from indirect and impersonal experiences.

Organizational trust drives individual behaviors which in turn become the creativity and productivity of the organization. Organizational trust is the ‘Main Thing” for overall effectiveness and the capacity to achieve organizational excellence. --Shickley-Zalabak et al. Building the high-trust organization:

A high-trust culture is a powerful advantage for every team and organization.

What profits are to the private sector . . .trust is to the public sector. Public sector organizations succeed or fail on the powerful currency of trust.

Trust and concern for employee stakeholders is directly related to employee satisfaction and perceptions of overall organizational effectiveness. Employees are retained at a higher rate when they trust their organizations are concerned for their welfare. Employees are more productive when they believe they are working in an organization that cares about their welfare and well being. P. 108 Building the high trust organization Shockley-Zalabak, Morreal and Hackman.

Organizational Trust looks at with how leaders can generate trust in all kinds of organizations, including businesses, non-profits, government entities, educational institutions, and families, as well as in teams and other micro-units within organizations. The key principle is alignment where leaders create structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust.

Organizational Trust, Surtaxes & Dividends

Organizational trust is about establishing trust with internal stakeholders. Organizational trust can apply to the macro level (interdepartmental) as well as to the micro level (your department). In this section it will be helpful to define organization on the most relevant, actionable level to your sphere of influence and the internal stakeholders you relate to.

Low-trust organizations see the following behaviors:

  • People manipulate or distort facts
  • People withhold information
  • Getting the credit is very important
  • People spin the truth to their advantage
  • New ideas are openly resisted
  • Mistakes are covered up
  • People are involved in the blame game and bad-mouthing others
  • There are numerous meetings after meetings
  • There are many “undiscussables”
  • People tend to over promise and under deliver
  • There are a lot of violated expectations

High-trust organizations experience the following:

  • Information is openly shared
  • Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
  • The culture is innovative and creative
  • People are loyal to those who are absent
  • People talk straight and confront real issues
  • There is real communication and collaboration
  • People share credit abundantly
  • Transparency is a practiced value
  • People are candid and authentic
  • There is a high degree of accountability

The 7 low-trust organizational taxes:

1. Redundancy: is unnecessary duplication. It includes excessive hierarchy, layers of management, and overlapping structures all designed to ensure control. It grows out of a paradigm that unless people are tightly supervised, they can’t be trusted. And it is very costly.

2. Bureaucracy: includes complex and cumbersome rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and processes. It’s reflected in excessive paperwork, red tape, controls, multiple approval layers, etc.

3. Politics: is defined as the use of tactics and strategy to gain power. Office politics generate behaviors such as withholding information, infighting, operating with hidden agendas, interdepartmental rivalries, backbiting, and meetings after meetings.

4. Disengagement: is what happens when people continue to work at a company, but have effectively quit. They are not giving their talent, creativity, energy, or passion. Their bodies are there, but not their hearts or minds. Reason: People don’t feel trusted.

5. Turnover: represents a huge cost and in low-trust cultures is above the industry standard. Low trust creates disengagement which leads to turnover. Performers like to be trusted and work in high-trust environments.

6. Churn: is the turnover of stakeholders other than employees. It’s the turnover of customers, suppliers, distributors and investors due to low-trust.

7. Fraud: is flat-out dishonesty, sabotage, obstruction, deception, and disruption. Fraud is almost exclusively an issue of character – a lack of integrity coupled with self-centered intent. The key is to strengthen the cultural mores and values.

The 7 high-trust organizational dividends:

1. Increased Value: has two dimensions. First is shareholder value where organizations outperform others in returning value to stakeholders. The second is customer value where more value is delivered to customers which cause an upward cycle.

2. Accelerated Growth: is high performance in servic. High-trust among customers generates a surprising amount of growth.

3. Enhanced Innovation: in products and services offered to customers thrive in high-trust cultures, the fruits of which include: information sharing, willingness to take risks, not caring who gets the credit, safety to make mistakes, and the ability to collaborate.

4. Improved Collaboration: creates teamwork and opportunities.

5. Stronger Partnering: produce high-trust dividends.

6. Better Execution: stems from high-trust.

7. Heightened Loyalty: from their primary stakeholders.


Extended DISC Team Roles

Developer DC

Centered on the facts, creative, demanding, analyzing, distant. Produces brand new ideas, demands a lot from everybody

Stimulator I

Extrovert, open, sociable, jovial. Makes things happy, ready to go along

Changer D

Reforming, straight, decisive, impatient, tough. Knows what they want, makes quick decisions

Influencer DI

(Lee B., Michael W.)

Vivid, idea rich, talkative, spontaneous, restless. Talks people on to their side, acts on instinct

Planner SD

(Tim D., Jeff D., Mary J., Michael M.)

Prudent, target-minded, demanding, systematic. Holds on to their outlook, goes where they want

Participator SI

(Emily B.)

Pleasant, friendly, calm, helpful. Doesn’t put oneself first, understands people.

Communicator IC

Friendly, accurate, justifying, modest, open. Understands different opinions, tells why things are how they are

Doer S

Careful, smooth tempered, trustworthy, calm. Doesn’t try to attain the impossible, wants to help others

Assurer SC

(Steve M., Kristi O., Ron S., Susan S., Dianna W., Shawn W.)

Thorough, prudent, accurate, pensive, quiet. Doesn’t tell his/her own opinion, does things the way they should be done.

Specialist C

Seeks perfection, pedantic, pertinent, inquiring. Examines why things are why they are, notices details


Extended DISC Additional Charts


Culture of Trust

by Edgar Schein

Edgar Schein, an expert on culture, states: “Culture defines leadership. Leaders should be conscious of culture; otherwise, it will manage them.” As guardians of culture, leaders need to live the values. Enron’s espoused “values” of respect, integrity, communication and excellence, meant nothing. In a values -based organization, a leader’s actions and behaviors align with stated values and beliefs. The leaders at Google, #1 on the list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, figured out the formula that works for them: treat people with respect, support their creative endeavors, and adhere to the motto of “Don’t be evil.” Another basis for trust is the belief that you, as a leader, are acting in an ethical manner and promoting ethical ideas and practices. Culture plays a greater role than formal ethics and compliance programs when it comes to preventing unethical behaviors. Even after Enron and other scandals and enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley, few leaders have changed their culture to be one where ethical violations are simply not tolerated. This change can only come from the top, and leaders must involve employees at all levels. Leaders must adopt an enterprise wide cultural approach to ethics that extends beyond a compliance mentality. By creating a strong ethical culture, shaped by ethical leadership and values, you dramatically reduce misconduct. A well-implemented ethics and compliance program and a strong ethical culture greatly reduce ethics risk. Reputation is a company’s most important asset and a critical factor in earning and creating trust. Based on actions rather than words, reputation is about staying true to who you are. Companies that set high aspirations through their branding and marketing need to live up to that promise. When a gap exists between who a company is and who they say they are, an environment of distrust is created. In promoting social responsibility, leaders must do right by employees. While protecting the environment, supporting the community, and adopting socially responsible practices are all important, leaders should be first committed to their own employees.

10 Actions Cultivate Trust

To cultivate a culture of trust, follow 10 actions:

  1. Live the values. Match actions with words. Walk the talk. Live up to the values you espouse. Inspire people through leading by example. Practice and promote alignment with the values daily and send clear signals about what the values are. Make ethics a priority. Model ethical behavior and support those who uphold standards.
  2. Tell the truth. Be honest. Get rid of hidden agendas. Be simple, straight forward, and consistent. Admit what you don't know when asked a question, and promise to find out. Share what you know, when you know it. If you don't know, say so. If you can't tell, say so.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Encourage open communication. Keep employees informed and address issues when you observe them. Create a dialogue. Listen. Engage and involve people at the grassroots of a project or decision when possible. Value people's input and opinions. Communicate the importance of ethics and integrity, along with shared vision and values. Provide clear and consistent communication to key stakeholders.
  4. Be in integrity. Make good on your promises and commitments. Be realistic. Don't overpromise. Do what you say you're going to do. Take responsibility for your actions and act ethically.
  5. Be authentic. Engage in honest conversations. Be credible. Be who you say you are. Demonstrate company values through thoughts, words, intentions and actions. Bring words and actions into alignment.
  6. Be accountable. Admit mistakes. Hold yourself accountable for your actions, words, and decisions to your employees and customers.
  7. Be transparent. Be visible. Disclose information as needed. Clearly communicate facts to build trust and credibility with stakeholders.
  8. Respect the individual. Promote mutual trust and respect. Be inclusive. Show empathy. Acknowledge and honor people's feelings and concerns.
  9. Share information. Keep employees informed and address issues when they are observed. Note that decisions may change, and provide timely feed back. Involve people at the grassroots level of a project or decision whenever possible. Involve those who are or could be affected. Sharing of information within and between teams creates dialogue, promotes cooperation, and helps build community over time.
  10. Do the right thing. Much evidence supports the impact of values, ethics and reputation on the bottom line: Values driven companies are the most successful. Companies that fail to look after the reputation aspects of performance ultimately suffer financially. Companies that are great places to work are more financially successful. Organizations with high trust benefit from increased profitability, market value, and lower costs. Beyond bottom-line implications, leaders should create a culture of trust simply because it's the right thing to do. Adam Smith, author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), believed that virtues like trust, fairness and reciprocity are vital for the functioning of a market economy. Consider the high costs of breaking trust, risking reputation, and sacrificing ethical standards. Creating a trust culture takes commitment and action. Trust begets trust. Trust sustains trust and repairs lost trust. Leaders who choose to trust, value, respect, and empower their people are rewarded with motivated and productive people and greater profitability. Leaders who communicate openly and honestly create mutual trust, bolster credibility and engage their people. Move away from fear-based values toward positive values, and create connections and conversations that maintain trust. In a spirit of reciprocity, participation, dialogue and hope, a culture of trust can be achieved.

Noreen Kelly is president of Trust Matters. Call 312.988.7562, email ACTION: Create a culture of trust. Used by permission;

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