The # 1 Key to Greater Growth and Prolific Profits… Trust Me
By Tom Welch
This week alone, it’s already come up twice and that’s not unusual. The first time was during a discussion with a Vice President of a major logistics company here in the United States. The nest time happened in a meeting with a Senior Vice President of one of the largest global companies in the world headquartered in Germany.
As long as I continue coaching global executives on leadership effectiveness and peak performance, I’m sure it will keep raising its head over and over again. And that’s a good thing because trust and the presence of it or lack of it in your organization is critical to your success and profitability.
Significant improvement in your business begins like a chain reaction. The key is knowing where to start. You can’t improve everything at once. The most effective approach is to identify the minimum number of leverage points that will have the most dramatic impact on creating a culture of superior performance.
Since the level of trust in your organization is the foundation for future success, my advice to you would be to start right there. Figure out where you and your team are when it comes to trust. After all, sustainable results and growth are all but impossible without it.
A few weeks back, I facilitated a day of strategic planning for the leaders of one of our client companies. We discussed strategy, structure, culture, execution, effective leadership, what they did well and what they might do differently or better. Many of the factors that lead to growth, profitability and success. But that’s not where we started the day. We began with trust and its definition.
Defining trust in terms of what it means to success for an organization is important because it’s somewhat different from the every day meaning of trust. What I don’t mean when I say trust is the idea that you tell me you are going to do something and I trust you to do it.
In the context of a superior performing organization, what I mean by trust is complete vulnerability. No fear that your openness will be used against you. Each person on the team can say whatever is on their mind because they are saying it for the benefit of the entire group. And the group is accepting those comments in the same light.
Management consultant and business book author, Patrick Lencioni, also offers a good definition. He says that. “….trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.”
Once that definition of trust was understood, I gave each leader in the room a small, blank piece of paper. I then asked them this question. On a scale of one to ten (with one being low and ten being high), in your opinion, what is the level of trust among folks in this room?
In the many times over the years that I have done this exercise, I can tell you that the highest ranking leader in the room usually believes that the trust will be an eight or nine. In the majority of cases, it is not.
On this morning, when we averaged the numbers, the trust level was a 4.5. With that level of trust, the question now became, how could we achieve any measureable results over the course of the day with trust below 50%?
The answer is that we would have made little, if any, progress toward meaningful improvement if we had not first addressed trust. However, the news is not all bad for that group of leaders.
In reality, knowing what we now knew, we could initiate some brainstorming on things the group could do to improve their level of trust. The discussion itself was somewhat freeing for those leaders. Once action items for improvement were in pace, it actually set the tone for a highly successful day.
Next time, we’ll compare some characteristics of teams who lack trust and those who have a high degree of trust. We will also discuss some of the things you can do in your organization to increase your level of trust thus smoothing the path for growth and greater profitability.
Here’s hoping that this helps you move closer to peak performance leadership and the success that follows.
Tom Welch, America’s Career Coach, is a leadership and peak performance expert. With his unique understanding of human behavior, achievement and business success, he is an executive coach to global leaders who want to accelerate business results. Tom helps people and organizations excel. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ricsearch.com