Trust can be an interesting concept. Sometimes esoteric and sometimes as clear as day. What is “trust?” What is the impact of “trust” on a business or organization? What is the impact on a team? An individual? First, let’s define “Trust” as a concept.
Trust is dependability, believability, and authenticity. We can believe in, rely on, and see individuals and organizations as authentic. Unfortunately, many of us do not trust others or organizations as a whole.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer 62% of 25 to 64 year olds trust corporations less today than they did one year ago. And in one of Performancepoint’s surveys “Trust in Senior Leadership” was cited as the top reason for lower engagement levels in organizations.
To create trust we must be able to take an interest in others more consistently. Organizations and individuals tend to be self oriented relating things back to themselves. Why? Pace, distractions, egos, agenda’s and bureaucracy get in the way. Also, culturally many of us are brought up to focus on self achievements and place value on self. Here are a number of examples of how self oriented behavior plays out in the workplace:
- Sales representatives that miss sales opportunities because they are pushing a specific product
- Customer service reps that quote policy prior to even understanding the customer complaint and situation
- Front desk clerks that use your name artificially in a conversation rather than paying attention to you because they are focused on standards regardless of their value
- A manager that talks to you about your career while finishing emails
- A co-worker that spends more time looking at their blackberry rather than engaging in the team initiative during a meeting
The Trust Impact
Trust makes the world go round. Without trust we:
- Alienate people we work with.
- Reduce healthy discussion and buy-in.
- Stop change from occurring or being successful.
- Promote unnecessary internal competition.
- Reduce collaboration.
- Reduce productivity.
- Create misunderstandings.
- Promote group think.
- Increase turnover.
- Create “Or” thinking.
- Drive overconfidence.
- Limit other’s contributions.
In the end trust is the ability to focus on others rather than ourselves. It is the ability to be present. Be here now and deal with each moment as it comes!
For a more in-depth look at the state of trust check of the Trust Barometer 2009: