Hindsight Series: Build Trust

We're taking a look at some of the things I've learned over 2020. With a little bit of 2020 hindsight. In this session I'm going to cover, the importance of building trust. Lincoln Chafee, the American politician said, “trust is built with consistency.” Very true, but I would add transparency and integrity.

As a leader when you don't have trust, or haven't created an environment of trust for your team, things move slowly. With low trust you experience low productivity and even toxic environments. Often when there is no trust, that gap is filled with fear.

If we do build trust, we can create a dynamic environment with enabled powerful teams. Trust is the yeast that can influence an entire environment and release the latent potential of your people. In short with trust, you can get things done!

A survey by YPO of CEOs in 115 countries, showed that leaders recognise the importance of stakeholder trust for business success. However, they also reported building and maintaining trust is no easy task. Competing priorities, lack of time, and lack of alignment within senior leadership threaten the effectiveness of trust-building efforts. And although chief executives are personally working hard to build and maintain employee trust, only one-third report that their businesses have defined specific plans and processes to build and maintain that trust.

The survey showed, nearly all (96%) chief executives rate building and maintaining trust with stakeholders a high priority. Chief executives reported communication and transparency as the most important actions they take to build trust with employees. I my opinion leaders who operate in this way have had more success in coping with and thriving in 2020. They are more connected with their teams, and the teams in turn are more responsive. Though leaders are generally renowned planners for matters of importance, just one-third (34%) had defined specific plans for building employee trust within their organizations.

The conclusion of the YPO survey was that the chief executive of the future will define, measure, and scale trust, within and outside of their organization, with determination and enthusiasm.

In my experience I have found that for most leaders, trust is seem as a nice to have. Although many leaders would like to have more trust, very few are working on building it. For me it's as simple as the old sales saying, “We do business with people we know, like, and trust.” I think that's a truth that goes well beyond sales.

Trust takes time to build and just a moment to tear down. It can be hard to handle. Sometimes as leaders we don’t want to be vulnerable and exercise trust. But as Frank Crane said, “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough.” The importance of leaders building trust in their teams has been highlighted to me throughout 2020, with a definite correlation between high trust and high performance.

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