Today, trust is more
than a highly esteemed human value. It is one of the most powerful forces
available to us in business. We are a society in search of trust. The less we
find itin our personal interactions, in government, in commercethe
more precious it becomes.
An organization in which people trust one
another, and which commands trust from the public, has a competitive advantage.
It can draw the best people, inspire customer loyalty, reach out successfully
to new markets, and provide better, more innovative products and services.
What many people don't realize is that you can intentionally create
trust in your organization. You can drive a culture of earned trust that
includes everyone in the company and harvests opportunities to increase
productivity, profits, and job satisfaction with virtually no cost to you. In
this book, we will give you a model for creating that culture, and show you how
to work with its two most powerful componentsclosure and
offer: The book Built On Trust is
about building genuine, earned trust in your organization deliberately and
systematically, using a proven model based on our combined fifty years of
experience. We offer you the revolutionary premise, and promise, that you can
actually create a culture of trust in your organization. You don't have to let
your organizational culture develop randomly. When this happens, the vacuum
often fills with fear, greed, hallway buzzing, and other negative dynamics. The
alternative is to design and promote a trust-based culture consciously and
systematically, using the principles and steps in this book.
Model contains six essential areas that must be addressed in order to build a
culture of trust: closure, commitment, communication, speedy resolution,
respect, and responsibility. We will show you how to shape guidelines for your
organization in each of these areas, and how to use even the process of
developing, implementing, and maintaining these guidelines to build trust among
IBM was one of the first major corporations to learn the
value of trust. Over the years of their market dominance, they inadvertently
developed a culture which punished sound risk that failed. Some people became
very carefulmore careful than they were creative. They played defense,
watched their backs. A rigidity grew, partly based on a sense of entitlement.
Innovation suffered. By the late 1980's, some were more concerned with looking
good to top management than they were with market performance. The result was
that IBM began failing in the market. When they examined their culture, they
discovered how much damage the risk-aversion dynamic had caused.
Beginning in 1991, IBM developed risk guidelines that enhanced trust,
and executed one of the most dramatic turnarounds in business history. In this
book, you will learn how to use one of the most powerful forces on
Earththe ability to trust and be trustedto generate a dynamic team
culture that makes your organization more innovative and self-starting, less
fearful of sound risk, and competitive beyond what you thought was possible.
Authentic trust, valid trust, trust felt in the gut, can transform the
work experience along lines that people are just beginning to imagineand
give you a competitive advantage you couldn't get any other way. This book is
for existing teams facing new challenges, for new teams in the process of being
formed, for mature teams going through reorganizations, for already successful
teams striving to be even better, and also for teams that are immobilized and
may require entirely new strategies in order to survive.
If you want
the greater productivity, higher performance, and synergy of people working
together toward genuine common values that bring a quantum competitive
advantage in business, then this book is for you. You can read this information
over the weekend and begin implementing it on Monday morning. We will show you
how to get started right away; how to find the highest payoff areas; how to
minimize destructive misunderstandings, misalignments, buzzing and trashing;
and how to gain a new level of intelligence from your teamusually in a
matter of weeks.
New Competitive Edge. Free markets demand that we keep our competitive
edge. But to the business manager scrambling to keep up, Adam Smith's
"invisible hand" often feels more like a clenched fist jammed into the small of
his or her back. One after another, management theories emerge and capture the
collective imagination of the market, only to fade from sight. The business
books lined up on our shelves can read like a fashion parade passing in review.
Perhaps we are stuck.
We have been preoccupied for most of this century
with the notion of organization as machine. This model deals only with what can
be observed, measured, manipulated, structured, and modified. Early fascination
with time studiesorganizations as clocks and people as cogsgave way
to Business Process Re-engineering and Time-Based Competition, both essentially
mechanistic perspectives on how to win in the marketplace. Even our language
reflects the idea of organization-as-machine.
We speak of systems,
hierarchies, structures, processes, interfaces, and cycles. We step on the gas,
take off like a rocket, smack one out of the park, turn up the heat, restart
the program, and hit the wall. We seem trapped in a mind-set of externals,
pursuing the management program du jour to try to squeeze a little more blood
out of something that looks increasingly like a turnip.
thinking looks for competitive advantage in the realm of the human spirit. As
we step into this new territory, we begin to deal in meaning, trust,
inspiration, depth, paradox, transcendence, and connectionas well as with
their dark-side counterparts of doubt, fear, conflict, isolation, and just
plain feeling stuck.
Some striking case studies are emerging in this
new realm. From Vermont, Ben and Jerry explain the philosophy that helped them
build a $160 million international business on ice cream: "...a values-led
company earns the kind of customer most corporations only dream ofbecause
it appeals to its customers on the basis of more than a product. It offers them
a new way to connect with kindred spirits, to express their most deeply held
values when they spend their money...buying a product you believe in transcends
"The Trust Model" combines the practical needs of the
organization with the individual needs of people working in teams. It infuses
solid business structures with a spirit of trust. It works both with the
visible external systems and with the invisible emotional dynamics that are
always in play when people work togetherand it focuses this powerful
combination of form and substance directly and specifically toward trust. This
is what gives Trust Model organizations their quantum competitive advantage.
Barbara was a Senior Vice-President of Product Development in a Trust
Model company. One of their principles was that she could speak up if she saw
that her CEO was making a mistake, or about to make a mistake. The fact that
she felt comfortable doing so, and even felt an obligation to do so, added her
intelligence and abilities to hisand saved the company from making
serious mistakes on several occasions. It was a perfect example of an external,
visible system (their relationship on the organization chart) being enhanced by
guidelines for invisible emotional support that helped Barbara, the CEO, and
the company succeed.
What is Trust? One reason the Trust Model produces
extraordinary results is that it is designed to meet trust on its own terms,
and to work with the very nature of trust. Trust is a dual concept. It has both
a feeling or emotional component, what Webster's calls "assured anticipation;
confident hope," and an intellectual component. This intellectual component is
based on a track record of performance that confirms trust, or "assured
reliance on another's integrity, veracity, justice, etc."
result of trust is confidencein the honesty and reliability of the
company's leadership. The passive result is the absence of worry or suspicion.
Trust, then, is confidence, the absence of suspicion, confirmed by track record
and our ability to self-correct. The Trust Model not only covers all these
basesemotional and intellectual, active and passivebut it also
works quickly, which is essential for success in the marketplace.
know that it can take up to two years to establish trust between individuals.
This is why we reserve our greatest trust for our most established
relationshipsour family, our long-term friends, and our social circles.
But in business, we are in a hurry. Time is of the essence. Two years includes
eight financial quarters, more than enough time to perish in the current
economic climate. We need something faster and more efficient.
premise behind the Trust Model is that people are willing to trust more quickly
when principles that promote trust have been explicitly and universally adopted
by the team. And they are willing to continue that trust for as long as
people's behavior, particularly the behavior of key leaders, is consistent with
those principles. Provisional trust, confirmed by experience, then deepens into
institutional trust. So rather than waiting two years to establish trust among
the team, the Trust Model lets you establish a substantial level of trust in
only a few weeks, the time it takes to develop your particular adaptation of
the Trust Model, and a short period in which people watch others (especially
the leaders) demonstrate their adherence to it.
It's "Bigger Than Any Of Us". For
the Trust Model to work this quickly and effectively, it has to be "bigger than
any of us." No one in the organization can be above it, even and especially the
leadership. We build into the Trust Model evaluations that are frequent, and
include everybody. These evaluations are objective, explicit, open, and not
easily evaded. In fact, evasion defines non-compliance, especially when it is
attempted by leadership. Since there is no hiding, the team quickly understands
exactly how committed the organization is, or is not, to trust as a central
People know the Trust Model is working when trust is more
important than any personality, no matter how charismatic, in the
organizational culture. It even provides a screening process for selecting new
team members, since it clearly defines how the organization will conduct its
business. When Tom ran Pretty Good Privacy, for instance, he would always spend
about an hour with prospective employees just talking about Trust Model
principlesclosure, commitment, communication, speedy resolution, respect,
and responsibility. They were always surprised when he spent so much time
talking about these principles, rather than about specific job
responsibilities, but the result was that he hired people who were committed to
these concepts, and who were on the same page with one another and with the
company. They enjoyed an extraordinary level of unity, because they all thought
the same way about trust. They became a community that is still a close
personal network, even though many of them have gone on to different
Elevates Performance. When the organization trusts its own, starting with
its leadership, a culture grows up that dramatically enhances individual and
organizational productivity, and makes the competitive advantage both
self-sustaining and self-renewing. It is alive in every moment, active in the
spirit of the people who are doing and managing the work.
This is how
it works. Stan is a design engineer helping to develop a hot new digital
product. As he works, he realizes that a certain new feature will make the
product much more attractive to customersand even expand the market. This
is his dilemma: Should he, or should he not, run his idea for the new feature
by Marketing? If he trusts the Marketing people to respond objectively and
competently, and to respect his desire to contribute even if they don't agree
with his idea, then he will probably run it by them. If he doesn't trust that
they will respond in this way, he probably won't. He'll either forget about it
and just stick to his job description, with the result that the company may
lose an opportunityor he may go ahead and implement the feature within
his own engineers' circle, with the result of wasted time and effort if it
doesn't work for some reason, or if he is wrong about the marketing advantages.
People have only recently begun to study the role of trust in business.
Fukuyama examined the differences in economic prosperity among different
cultures and concluded, "A nation's well-being, as well as its ability to
compete, is conditioned by a single, pervasive cultural characteristic: the
level of trust inherent in the society." In our current global struggle for
economic predominance, he believes that "social capital represented by trust
will be as important as physical capital." Putnam builds on the notion of
social capital, "features of social organization, such as networks, norms, and
trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit." He
examines differences in economic well-being in different regions of Italy, and
traces success to an abundance or lack of social capital.
that the same principles apply in individual businesses, that trust represents
enormous social capital with consumers. Further, we know that the social
capital of trust works within organizations to create connections and cohesion
among team members, which leads to greater productivity.
Fear Or Trust: Which Is More
Powerful? Which makes people more productivefear or trust? Many
corporations have used fear to keep employees "in line" and "on their toes."
They have overtly or covertly encouraged people to compete with one another so
that they "stay sharp" and keep in "hunting trim." But more often than not,
they are finding that this philosophy reaches a point of diminishing returns
Jim was president of a subsidiary of an Eastern high-tech
organization. He had a strong personality, and a very strong ego. He ran his
ship without help, using liberal doses of fear and intimidation. Senior
personnel at the parent company called him "Old John Wayne," but never to his
face. People who reported directly to him resented him, and people at the
parent company were intimidated by him, but his style was overlooked because of
his success. His habitual response to inquiries was, "Everything's fine. If you
don't like the profits, sell us!"
Gradually, the abyss between the
subsidiary and the parent company widened. Jim's staff stopped questioning him,
and was afraid to report information that was "bad news." This meant they
couldn't deal with changing market conditions, or with the warning signs that
were beginning to surround the business's highly volatile financial
transactions. The result was a mixture of financial disasters and ugly
behaviors. Because of Jim's style, many of those around him had been waiting
for his fall. When his underbelly was finally exposed, these people just wanted
to "get him," and he was eventually fired. It took four years of diligent
effort to overcome the residual attitudes created by his reign of terror, and
to turn the company around so that it succeeded.
Trust is a far
stronger, and more reliable, motivator than fear. In the presence of trust,
people can tap into the power of true teamwork. The foundation of our work is
leadership teams bound together by creating and maintaining an overarching set
of trust principles. In these teams, the lines of communication among team
members are consistently open. Contributions are given and received readily,
and there is an assurance that at least most of the members are "for" one
another. Earned trust, rather than fear, is the binding agent for this
Team. The leadership team becomes a new kind of collective entity, one that
is vastly superior to the sum of its individual participants. When teams
experience the creativity and synergy of coming together around a common set of
principles, the result is a passionate dedication to productivity that empowers
each individual, the team, and the organization as a whole.
fear-based environments, we only reveal what we feel is safe. That may be only
a small part of us, and the leader ends up trying to conduct a symphony of
one-string instruments. We worked with one high-tech company in Silicon Valley
whose success depended on keeping secrets. For this reason, management's
philosophy was that no one person, especially in the Research and Development
Department, should know everything. Even the philosophy of secrecy was kept
secret, and a low-grade fear pervaded the organization.
required that R&D be highly compartmentalized, and so naturally, Them vs.
Us dynamics rose up within R&D, between R&D and Manufacturing, between
R&D and Sales, and between R&D and customers. The result was
predictable. Despite the fact that people in R&D were highly competent and
wanted the company to succeed, their performance suffered. Everybody was
playing his or her own one-string instrument.
The leadership team
combines not only the intellectual assets of individual participants, but also
their instincts, hunches, dreams, aspirations, creative imaginings, gut
reactions, musings and moods. In a safe environment of trust and respect,
people are free to bring these gifts to the table. When everybody feels free to
contribute all their resources, they create a larger network of intelligence.
Everyone's contributions are gathered up, unified, and synergized toward a
This is exactly what happened at our high-tech Silicon
Valley company. The market suddenly demanded that R&D become the lead
department in the company. At the very time that R&D's performance was
lowest, competition demanded that it be at its peak! Management's fear of
losing market share became greater than their fear of losing secrets. The CEO
called a meeting with R&D, told the truth, and asked for help. His courage
and honesty had an electric effect. Everyone saw immediately how the Them vs.
Us dynamic had developed, and how disastrous the effect had been.
Within weeks, they found specific, effective ways to share ideas, and
the team devised ways for R&D to optimize their creativity and still
preserve secrets! The plan included ways to work prospective new employees, who
were seen as the greatest security threats, into the system without real risk.
The team worked together, bringing all their resources to bear on the solution.
A higher order of creativity became available to them that helped them keep
their place in the market, and also made the company a much better place to
Fear-based organizations face yet another disadvantage. When new
people come into an environment where fear is dominant and connections among
team members are weak, the team intelligence increases only by what that one
person brings to the table. Add another member, and you get only his or her
individual potential added to the team. But when trust is dominant, then
communication becomes full and open. Emotional reinforcement is generous, and
people are committed to resolving issues quickly. When you add team members or
reorganize teams under these circumstances, the group intelligence grows
exponentially. People interact in ways that create an upward spiral of
creativity. Ideas are exchanged quickly and easily, and improved continuously.
The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
team represents team life in its highest, most creative, and most efficient
state. Leadership teams created within the Trust Model are not just another
management fad providing a new form of competitive advantage; they are part of
a process that can keep creating new forms of competitive advantage forever.
The Trust Model becomes the generator of technique, not the technique itself.
It integrates the raw intelligence and creativity of individual team members
into a new synthesis that operates on a much higher plane.
Why Trust Works. The rationale
behind the leadership team is that people have a natural inclination to give.
We have a need, even a hunger, to be part of something bigger than ourselves,
especially when that something bigger reflects and amplifies our inherent
values. Opposing the urge to contribute and participate is fear-fear of
rejection, failure, loss, retribution, and embarrassment. Sometimes we hang in
the balance, afraid to go this way or that, standing at the end of a diving
board not wanting to jump, not wanting to back down. Trust tips this balance,
especially when the leadership models trust. People feel reinforced, validated,
and supported. They are more likely to plunge in and put more of themselves
into their work, and far more likely to be creative and generous with their
talents. An organizational culture grows up that makes people want to support
and contribute to the company.
Carmen was recently recruited from her
position as Senior Vice-President of Sales for a cable TV station, where she
was a seasoned and celebrated success, to a similar position in an emerging
Internet company. Everyone assumed she knew exactly how to build a sales force
in this new medium, but she didn't. In fact, everyone in Internet sales was a
pioneer. No one really knew how to sell ad space on the Internet. This was
Carmen's dilemma: Should she admit she didn't know what to do and ask for
brainstorming help from her fellow executives, or should she continue to bluff
and tough it out? Which do you imagine would be more productive for the
company? If she could ask for help without fear of people judging or
denigrating her, Carmen would have considerably more resources available to
her. She could access the combined experience and intelligence of the
leadership team, use them to network into other sources of information, and
certainly do a better job of building and directing her sales force.
have seen over and over again that trust releases productive energy within an
organization in ways that are not possible in fear-driven organizations. To
keep our competitive edge, we need to innovate. To be innovative, we need to
work in an environment in which we trust and are trusted.
The Trust Advantages. Some of the
business advantages of an organizational culture based on trust are:
· Enduring competitive advantage. An environment rich in trust
creates an engine for innovation. There is no upper limit to the combined
intelligence and creativity of the team, and the Trust Model encourages
continuous improvement. No team is just like any other, because each team's
true identity emerges in the safe environment of mutual support. The promise of
trust is extended to the customer, which makes for an extraordinary level of
· Self-regulation. People at all levels of the
organization are motivated to identify and resolve open issues without
unnecessary or intrusive supervision by leadership. People become committed to
developing a habit of reliability and follow-through.
Efficiency. The Trust Model eliminates energy lost to suspicion, unresolved
issues, forgotten commitments, unclear agreements, missed deadlines, and the
associated propensity toward blame, gossip, resentment, and frustration. All of
this energy becomes available for productive use. On the leadership team,
somebody always knows when a particular issue has not been resolved, so you do
not have to wait for the customer or the marketplace to show you that you are
· Inspired Performance. The leadership team discusses
and processes ideas at every stage, so incremental "fixes" and improvements can
be made as needed. Ideas pass through many hands and are improved at each turn,
so these teams have an unusual ability to create superior products and
· Capacity. Trust-based organizations have a knack for
holding opposite conditions and points of view simultaneously, with grace and
clarity. They may, for example, have tight, structured, disciplined development
processes, and yet still be able to react quickly to changing market needs or
internal situations such as mergers. The leadership team is a crucible that can
stand the heat and contain their reactions until a new synthesis is reached.
This gives them a substantial competitive advantage.
Making trust a central principle anchors the organization in a set of values
that everyone agrees is attractive and meaningful. People become part of
something bigger than themselves-and that results in attracting the best
people, and keeping them happy and creative.
A culture of trust makes any
organization more effective, more productive, more competitive, and a better
place to work.
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