Enters, Stephen M.R. Covey…
Stephen began his presentation by recommending that we become more conscious about the people we influence and how we influence them. As Leaders, instead of thinking, why did I get that response, we need to ask instead “What did I do to generate that response?” We need to reflect on whether every interaction with another human being is building trust or destroying it.
The #1 Leadership Competency needed today is the ability to build trust. Trust is the foundation of a Healthy Organization and Workplace Culture and is a learnable skill. If you aren’t sure if you’re a Leader that builds trust or is a trust-breaker, look around at what is happening within your organization. Is information flowing smoothly and efficiently from department to department? Is the work environment energizing, exciting and fun? Are you able to be responsive and innovative in a rapidly changing marketplace? If you can answer yes to these questions, it’s safe to assume your organization has a fairly high level of trust.
If you are experiencing the following, learning how to build trust may need to become a priority:
Any business exhibiting one or more of these warning signs should consider if the source of the problem stems from its company culture. If so, they need to take steps to improve the culture, starting with building trust, reaffirming the company's mission and goals and establishing more open, trusting relationships with employees.
- Increased turnover
- Difficulty hiring talented people
- Low attendance at company events
- A lack of honest communication and understanding of the company mission
- An "us-versus-them" mentality between employees and management
- Declining quality and customer satisfaction
Stephen M.R. Covey defines trust as confidence in and the opposite of trust as the suspicion of. Trust also includes character and competence; you must have both! So do you focus on positive intentions or do you question everything? If you don’t trust anyone with anything you certainly won’t be able to inspire them to follow your lead. You have to give trust to get it. Maybe not instantaneously, but eventually.
Another example of lack of trust verses high trust is the difference between coordinating and collaborating. Most corporate teams coordinate, meaning that each team member has their piece of a project they are responsible for and the Leader of the team just puts all of the pieces together. High performing teams on the other hand, collaborate. Meaning each member has their responsibilities, but they are willing to share and support each other, giving team members what they need to be successful, even if it takes time away from what they are working on. More simply, the team members have each other’s back. It becomes more about the group’s success rather than individual success.
The conference ROI attended was about how to be a Servant Leader and what value that brings to a business. What profit is to most businesses, trust is to a Servant Leader. There is a high cost to low trust. The lack of employee engagement in the US, cost businesses $250 Billion last year alone. When there is low trust, everything takes longer and costs more to do. Low trust derails a good strategy. Companies who have a culture with high levels of trust, and yes it is measurable, outperform companies with low trust by 286% in Total return to shareholders. Mutual trust is a performance multiplier. It also increases the intellect of an organization. Trust makes you better at every other competency.
When you have a company culture that believes in the importance of trust and knows how to build it, you will experience reduced turnover, increased employee engagement and passion, accelerated change and an atmosphere of positive energy and joy. Trust is a game changer and a differentiator in the marketplace.
In our next issue, we will share how to begin to build trust from the inside out and share more wisdom and insights from Stephen M.R. Covey’s workshop.
ROI believes in and provides a systematic approach for helping leaders to invest in people, ignite passion and inspire performance both efficiently and effectively. ROI is an authorized partner of Wiley Workplace Learning Solutions and a certified associate of Integro Leadership Institute
Dana Riker Jackson, CEO
Riker Opportunity Institute, Inc.