Tag Archives: trust

Are You Building Trust or Destroying It?

Are You Building Trust or Destroying It?

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When someone tells you their truth, what do you do? Do you ask them to defend? Do you tell them what you think? Do you dismiss them? Do you listen? Do you believe them?

When someone has the courage to tell you their truth, they demonstrate they trust you. If you want to destroy their trust, ask them to defend their truth. Sooner or later, or then and there, they’ll stop trusting you. And like falling off a cliff, it’s almost impossible for things to be the same.

When someone confesses their truth, they demonstrate they trust you enough to share a difficult issue with you. If you want them to feel small and block them from sharing their truth in the future, tell them why their truth isn’t right. That will be the last time they speak candidly with you. Ever.

When someone reluctantly shares their truth, they demonstrate they’re willing to push through their discomfort due to the significance and their trust in you. If you want them to get angry, explain how they see things incorrectly or tell them what they don’t understand. Either one will cause them to move to a purely transactional relationship with you. And there’s no coming back from that.

When someone confides in you and shares their truth, you ask them to defend it, and, despite your unskillful response they share it again, believe them. And if you don’t, you’ll damn yourself twice.

When someone shares their truth and you listen without judging, you build trust.

When someone sends you a heartfelt email describing a dilemma and your response is to set up a meeting to gain a fuller understanding, you build trust.

When someone demonstrates the courage to share a truth that they know contradicts the mission, believe them. You’ll build trust.

When someone shares their truth, you have an opportunity to build trust or break it. Which will you choose?

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6 Ways to Create Trust with Your Employees

6 Ways to Create Trust with Your Employees

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Last week I wrote an article, 4 Ways to Create Trust with Your Customers. I don’t think anyone would argue (and the stats prove it) that a customer who trusts you is more likely to do more business with you. After all, why would they want to risk doing business elsewhere?

Well, it’s the same for employees. With so many employment issues today, it’s more important than ever to get and keep good employees. One of the crucial areas that can drive employee retention is trust. Just like customers, if employees don’t trust you, they may eventually leave for a competitor. And in the world of employee retention, a competitor is any other company that offers employment opportunities.

With that in mind, here are six ways to build trust with your employees.

1. Listen to your employees. Ask them for feedback. Frontline employees often have a better opportunity to know what customers think and say about you than anyone else in the company. Listen to them. And many employees have suggestions about processes and systems that can be improved. Creating an easy way for employees to share feedback and make suggestions can be a powerful way to improve the experience—for both customers and the employees themselves.

2. Act on the feedback and insights employees share with you. If you ask your employees for their feedback and insights and do nothing with it, employees eventually resent that they took the time to offer up their ideas and suggestions. And at some point, they will see it as a futile effort and waste of time, even if what they share with you is important. Employees often provide even more valuable feedback than customers. So, even if you choose not to use their suggestions, at least acknowledge their effort, express appreciation and let them know why.

3. Make sure leadership and management are accessible. If there is a metaphorical wall between employees and leadership, employees will always feel like they are on the outside. And if they feel like outsiders, any organization that may make them feel more included and appreciated could be the next place your employee—who you thought was happy—ends up working. There are different ways to go about this. An open-door policy is not always realistic. As an alternative, consider having “office hours”—a special time each week when employees can make an appointment. The point is that it needs to be easy for employees to connect with their managers, supervisors, and leadership.

4. Get out of the office and mingle with “the people.” If the only time employees see management or leadership is when there are problems, then the sight of them will create a level of fear and tension. Years ago, I read Tom Peter’s strategy he referred to as MBWA, Management by Wandering Around. The idea is that employees would not fear the sight of management, because they become used to seeing their bosses and leaders walking around. If a manager shows up just to point out problems or criticize, employees will always have concern whenever they see a manager or leader walking anywhere near them. The goal is to achieve trust, not fear.

5. Trust employees to do the jobs you hired them to do. If you hire good people and train them well, let them do their jobs. If employees feel like they are always being watched, scrutinized for their work and not being allowed to make the decisions you hired them to make, they will feel unfulfilled and frustrated. This is “Empowerment 101.”

6. Treat employees the way you want the customer to be treated. I refer to this as The Employee Golden Rule. You can’t expect employees to behave toward customers and each other in a way that’s different—as in better—than the way they are treated by their managers and leaders. Your actions and attitude toward your employees must be congruent with how you want them to treat your customers. You can’t invite them to your office, yell at them and then them, “Now go out there and be nice to our customers.”

What’s happening on the inside of the organization is felt on the outside by customers. To create the best customer experience, you must create a similar employee experience, if not even better. While there are many components that go into creating a great culture for an organization, trust is one of the essentials. Without it, you can’t expect to get and keep your best employees.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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4 Ways to Create Trust with Your Customers

4 Ways to Create Trust with Your Customers

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

What brands do you trust the most? And why? There are certain products and companies that seem to own the trust of their customers. It stems from product quality, reliability, managing expectations, good customer service and, perhaps most importantly, consistency.

Keep in mind that consistency is related to all of the attributes mentioned. A consistently bad experience and poor quality, while still consistent, is the opposite of what you’re trying to create. And inconsistency is almost as bad. A great experience one day followed by an average or poor experience will cause customers to question what the next experience is going to be. A pattern of inconsistency kills confidence and trust.

Let’s break it down:

1. Quality and Reliability: A product or service must do what it’s supposed to do. When you think of the most successful brands, you trust them because you know what you’re going to get. That comes from confidence in the product and/or the customer service. If that confidence is broken, it can take a long time to rebuild trust—if the customer even chooses to give the company or brand another chance. For example, a popular restaurant chain had an E. coli outbreak. Even with a stellar reputation, it took years to regain the trust of its customers.

2. Customer Experience: Customer service must be easily available. Customer service isn’t a department. The best companies know that serving the customer is more than reacting to problems, answering questions and resolving complaints. It’s the way customers are treated throughout their entire journey with a company or brand.

And while you may want to have a 100% flawless experience in which the customer never has to reach out, it’s impossible. Every company is going to have problems. In the early days of Amazon, Jeff Bezos was famous for saying that Amazon should be so good that it didn’t need a customer support department. Maybe it was that good, but when the product left the warehouse a third party took over the shipping. And if the package was lost in transit, who would the customer blame? To the customer, it was Amazon’s fault. So, Amazon needed a support center, even for problems that weren’t its fault.

It’s not if there will ever be a customer service issue, it’s when. The best organizations recognize the need for an excellent experience combined with excellent customer support, when needed.

3. Managing Expectations: You don’t have to WOW a customer to get them to say, “Wow.” When people describe a “Wow” experience, it’s typically over-the-top. The problem is that you can’t always be over the top. The opportunities to be over-the-top or go above and beyond happen when there are special situations, such as a problem that is handled so well that the customer says, “Wow!”

The key is to not worry about trying to be over-the-top with every interaction, but to be just a little above average. It is consistent and predictable above-average experiences—even just a tiny bit above average—that make customers say, “Wow!” Speaking of consistent and predictable, we move on to the next attribute …

4. Consistency: Anything less than a consistent experience erodes trust. Consistency is where “the rubber meets the road.” As just mentioned, it is the consistent and predictable above-average experience that gets customers to say, “Wow!” What gets them to that point is when they say, “They are always so helpful … always so knowledgeable … they always respond quickly. …” It’s the word always followed by a positive comment. Often, those comments are basic expectations. Shouldn’t all employees be helpful, knowledgeable and respond quickly? Of course. Just meeting a customer’s expectations, with maybe a more positive attitude, will fuel the experience to be better than average. Consistency creates trust. Anything less erodes it!

Think of the brands you trust and why. The product does what it’s supposed to and meets your expectations. The experience is consistent, and the customer service is great. And to emphasize just how important the customer service part of this is, our 2022 customer service research found that 83% of customers trusted a company or brand more if it provided an excellent customer service experience.

If all of this seems like common sense, it is. Unfortunately, common sense is not always so common. So, be a little uncommon. Deliver quality and reliability, manage expectations and create a consistent and predictable experience that gets customers to say, “I’ll be back.”

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Pexels

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5 Ways to Encourage Employee Engagement

5 Ways to Encourage Employee Engagement

GUEST POST from Douglas Ferguson

How do we become disengaged? What triggers disengagement in employees? When employees are engaged they embody the vision, values, and purpose of the company. The ultimate goal is to have a team of passionate contributors who are driven toward innovation and are positive and innovative problem solvers. As Leaders, we need to understand what causes our team to be disengaged if we want to shift them towards innovation.

Problems

When considering the signs of disengagement, often the first thing that comes to mind is laziness, apathy, and dissidence. These are merely symptoms, and as leaders, we need to dig deeper to discover what is happening at the core of our company and organizational culture that is causing these symptoms to surface.

To fully understand disengagement we first need to realize there are 3 employee classifications, according to Gallup; engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. Less than 31% of U.S workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014 and while it is easy to see the signs of an employee who is not engaged, actively disengaged employees tend to blend in as they are choosing this path, and just want to blend in.

There are a few telltale signs to look out for:

  • No initiative in employee performance
  • Unhealthy Activities
  • Silence can indicate a problem in the workplace
  • Lack of learning and lack of motivation
  • Wasted weekends

When we begin to look at our company culture and organizational culture we can start defining what the cause of this dissidence is. Systemic cultural issues can be due to:

  • Lack of challenge in the workplace
  • Lack of recognition
  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of trust
  • Siloed teamwork
  • Missing transparency

Employee Burnout

Disengaged employees sometimes need a spark. They are almost never bad employees, check out these 5 tips to reengage the disengaged.

1. How Might We

Addressing a lack of challenge in the workplace can seem like a difficult task, but one easy shift a leader can make lies in reframing. The first step in this type of reframing is identifying themes and insights for your company. This sheds light on problem areas for clients and employees alike. Reframing the insights to include ‘How might we’ creates an opportunity for would-be innovators to freely share ideas openly because it is framed as a possibility rather than a perfected final product. Reframing to these 3 words suggests that a solution is possible and it opens the door for a variety of creative ideation and problem-solving. When we pose a question to the team in the form of ‘How Might We’ we are encouraging them rather than inhibiting them. This combats disengagement by inviting each member of the team to voice their ideas in determining the solution. Every idea is valuable, and when you create a psychologically safe environment for all voices to be heard, your team will be fully unleashed.

2. Embrace Flexibility

The future of work is shifting, and with it many organizations are realizing that the traditional way we worked in the past, 9-5 in the office, may not necessarily be the best for unlocking teams’ full potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 50 million jobs are work-at-home capable. This means offering employees options for in-office, remote, or hybrid schedules is not only feasible, but it could increase positive productivity, and decrease the percentage of disengaged employees.

3. Employee Experience

Understanding the expectations and needs of your employees is vital to a company’s team health. When we work to recognize employees on a deeper level we can begin to change the culture to one that is thriving with ideas. Transparency and psychological safety will elevate your team and pave the way for healthy interactions that are sure to combat disengaged employees. A critical organization system we utilize is our Employee User Manual. This document is intended to open up conversations company-wide, to ensure every employee has the ability to share preferences, growth plans, and core values. By leading teams with an exercise such as this, you are building a foundation of psychological safety, transparency, and trust.

United Employees

4. Compassion and Empathy

As leaders, there has never been a better time to build meaningful relationships with employees and communities alike. Nurturing these relationships is key to keeping disengaged employees happy, productive, and satisfied with their work.

Happy Employees

“High-performing leaders of today are different. They’re empathetic, they think about people and society, and they really listen. There will always be financially-driven executives, but they’re getting pummeled and won’t be effective today,”

leading industry analyst, Josh Bersin.

Empathy, ethics, and values lining up between leaders and teams has the potential to increase retention, cultivate ideas, and deliver a healthy work environment.

5. Motivation and Talent

Disengaged employees may simply be lacking the recognition to develop their talents. It is reported that 69% of employers say they are struggling to find the talent that they need, but with a shift in organizational culture, that talent may be present and in need of a little nurturing to fully blossom. As Terry Lee outlines, there is great potential inside everyone. It’s up to great leaders to bring it out in four nurturing ways:

  • Training

Leaders should connect with their teams as they help them better understand their importance and the value they bring to the organization.

Employee Engagement

  • Connection

Leaders should connect with their teams as they help them better understand their importance and the value they bring to the organization. Every leader should understand their company’s mission and articulate that message to staff consistently and authentically.

  • Challenges

When team members complete meaningful tasks, they may receive an intrinsic reward. One way to amplify this reward is by talking to teams to determine what they think are the most important parts of their job. Then leaders can help them structure their day around tasks that give them a feeling of purpose.

  • Coaching

Team members need coaches to meet them where they’re at. They help staff identify what options they may have to reach goals and then set the appropriate challenges that lead them to success.

Shifting Work Culture to Engage the Disengaged

At Voltage Control we believe that every team member has potential that is waiting to be released. We believe that change is necessary to remain relevant in the world of work, and through interventions and training, we can help leaders and teams unlock and unleash that potential.

Article originally appeared on VoltageControl.com

Image credit: Pexels

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Weighing the Effectiveness of a Leader

Weighing the Effectiveness of a Leader

GUEST POST from Robert B. Tucker

As a college student, I was a volunteer on Joe Biden’s initial race for U.S. Senate. I recalled him saying something like, “If I’m elected, come see me in Washington.” Twenty or so years later I did just that. I put Biden to the test.

It was after a speaking engagement in Washington, D.C. I was about to head to the airport when I spotted the majestic Capitol dome in the distance. I remembered Biden’s promise. I had the cabbie to take me over to the Senate Office Building wherein the Delaware senator’s receptionist dutifully passed along my request.

Moments later a smiling and familiar figure appeared. The senator shook my hand and barely slowed down long enough to usher me to accompany him over to the Senate floor where he needed to cast a vote. We visited on the tram back and forth, and shortly we were back at his office, whereupon he thanked me for my service and disappeared.

Brief though it was, Biden passed my little test. He kept his word. He walked his talk. It was just that simple, yet I never forgot it.

I recall that incident from long ago because right now because it seems that leaders everywhere are being put to the test. Constituents, employees, and everybody else is asking tough questions about the competence and character of leaders.

As an innovation coach and public speaker, I’ve had a 35 year ringside seat to observe leadership in action. Working in 54 countries, and in every state and with businesses and trade groups of every size and industry, I’ve seen examples of great leadership that inspired me no end. I’ve worked with top teams of businesses in Rome, Charlotte, Bangkok and Abu Dabi. I’ve observed leadership in mobile phone companies in Bahrain, staffing companies in Kansas City, energy companies in Kenya, and direct selling companies in Peru. And lately, as we all have, I’ve seen dysfunctional and self-serving leadership at the national level that has disgusted me and made me fearful for future generations.

Never has there been such an urgent need for leadership as right now. Many of the readers of InnovationTrends are CEOs and senior leaders of large organizations. This is my call for you to step up to the plate: your company, your country needs you to lead.

And as leaders, you and I face three distinct challenges going forward:

  1. Can we build trust where trust is lacking?
  2. Can we anticipate change and think ahead of the curve?
  3. Can we execute skillfully and turn vision into reality?

Let’s examine these one-by-one:

The first thing leaders must do is build trust.

From the White House to the schoolhouse to the state house and to businesses and nonprofit organizations large and small, followers are asking those in leadership positions: are you the “real deal” and can I trust you? Do you have my back? And can I trust you to keep me and my family and my community safe? Can you steer and navigate this organization to a better place, or will you stand idly by as it is disrupted by forces you don’t understand, and don’t have a strategy to counteract?

The second thing leaders must do is to anticipate future threats and opportunities.

This week I’m interviewing Rick Sorkin, CEO of Jupiter Intelligence, a climate risk startup with headquarters in Silicon Valley, and whose business booked ten times as many contracts in the first quarter of this year as it did in the prior year. “I think that the pandemic was a bit of a near death experience,” Sorkin told the Washington Post. “Once people got past [it], they were like, ‘Oh, what else is there like this that we’re not worrying about?’” Climate change is at the top of that list.

By using advanced computer modeling, Jupiter forecasts the likelihood of a wildfire disaster, or the threat of a flood engulfing your chemical plant. Jupiter offers a whole new level of insight into what might previously have been considered “unforeseen” risks. Post Covid/Post Jan 6 everyone instinctively realizes we are living in a period of ever-broader “unsustainable” risks. Today’s leaders can no longer kick cans down the road. They must lead, for their anticipation skills are on full display. All leaders need to develop and use better tools and methods to help anticipate threats, but also, as Jupiter is doing, to position, wherever and whenever possible to translate them – using creativity and innovation thinking — into opportunities.

The third thing that leaders need to do is to execute successfully and turn vision into reality.

I once interviewed Warren Bennis, the late leadership guru and former president of the University of Cincinnati. Professor Bennis believed in the adage that great leaders are not born but made, insisting that “the process of becoming a leader is similar, if not identical, to becoming a fully integrated human being,” as he put it in an interview with the New York Times. Both, he said, were grounded in self-discovery.

Yet It was Bennis’s definition of leadership that I recall now, as being particularly appropriate to the times we are living in. Leadership, as Bennis saw it, is “the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

And that vision-to-reality transformation is what we need to study now, to celebrate now, and to strive to get better at. Instead of “just getting by” or muddling through, true leaders develop a vision of where they want to take the organization. They study the trends, they look back to be guided by history, and they inform themselves consciously and consistently as to where today’s trends are headed, and they take risks and make investments, rather than merely “kicking the can down the road” for future leaders to deal with.

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