Trust is the number one efficiency booster

April 13, 2023

Trust is in many principles, reports and researches the number 1 efficiency and performance booster.

A strong culture of trust enables teams to say: “I’m stuck. I need help!” early on before it is too late.

Think of a release you wanted to do, but you couldn't because someone hid problems.

Finger pointing towards people diverts from the real problems and people can not act to their best abilities.

If trust is not gained and distrust is built, people will start doing various things such as

🥊 Telling managers what they want to hear, but not the truth they need to hear, even if it hurts
🥊 Make reports look good

Let's say your manager is asking their team members "How far are we with the product XY?" and the team member wants to avoid penalty, because the manager is known to provide this instead of safe failing, the team member will take the avoidance strategy and not provide the hard truth. They would provide, want the manager would like to hear. Until it is too late and the truth comes out as a surprise that can not be handled. Without transparency, teams and organisations have no ability to act. Transparency only comes with trust and psychological safety. Without making impediments transparent as early as possible, the organisation will go into unnecessary delays.

Interestingly, in every report organisations will find that something is way off, especially when there is one team, or person telling the bare truth. Organisations where teams make reports look good do more harm to the organisation than good. Hiding the transparency will create an inability for the organisation to react. But we want the organisation to help us, so we need to provide transparency. But the organisation needs to provide the safety to enable us to talk about impediments.

A real-world example, I once encountered, that even made portfolio managers thinking:

How is it possible, that teams of maximum of 8 members, that have 10 active projects at the same time, are all on time, whereas a single team that practice focus with only one active goal reports to be delayed by 6 weeks due to global technical issues, that prevents the teams of integrating their systems?

You see, those reports can be valuable to provide truth and transparency and it can hurt. It will take some process and process of thinking and understanding, what is happening. But it will provide healing and enable the organisation to generate a healthy culture of trust.

✅ Mature and effective teams check processes, not people, and welcome every impediment made transparent, enabling them to solve them.

When an impediment is made transparent, the best thing a team and a manager can do is to appreciate it and validate the person making it transparent. Doing that in a public round is even better. This will encourage other people to speak. If not before, it will generate a healing process within the organisation. People will see, it is not bad to speak about the problems they have. The tension will release and the people will find more comfort in working with their team members, managers and leaders and their organisation.

🥊 Make others seem to look bad

As people use the avoidance strategy, the attempt to redirect attention is done with finger pointing to a person. Disguising the bad or missing process. When we focus on people, we can't focus on the processes. We need to assume that people do the best in their ability to achieve the goal. However, in a toxic culture, people will drive a different mode: The survival mode and not the collaboration mode, which makes them compete against each other, instead of working with each other. In complex environments, as well as complicated environments, we need to work together, so that the bigger goal can be achieved.

✅ Companies create a culture for transparency and safe failing and learning

Organisations need to provide a culture for psychological safety and trust. This enables team members to feel comfortable in providing "bad news" and welcome them as "good news" in saying: "Thank you, for providing this valuable information. Now we can act on it and improve our processes." Organisations and managers need to make sure that their team members are not starting to finger point and re-direct their thoughts on improving the processes. A safe failing and an appreciative welcoming of transparency is the key to saving time.

I can help you to define the right culture

As a consultant and coach, I'll help you to create a culture of trust and psychological safety. I'll help you to establish regular transparency making in a way, that people feel comfortable with it and welcome every transparent made impediment.

Image from Surface on Unsplash

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