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.