Tag Archives: trust

Trust is the Answer to Any Question

Trust is the Answer to Any Question

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

If you want to make a difference, build trust.

If you want to build trust, do a project together.

If you want to build more trust, help the team do work they think is impossible.

If you want to build more trust, contribute to the project in the background.

If you want to build more trust, actively give credit to others.

If you want to build more trust, deny your involvement.

If you want to create change, build trust.

If you want to build trust, be patient.

If you want to build more trust, be more patient.

If you want to build more trust, check your ego at the door so you can be even more patient.

If you want to have influence, build trust.

If you want to build trust, do something for others.

If you want to build more trust, do something for others that keeps them out of trouble.

If you want to build more trust, do something for others that comes at your expense.

If you want to build more trust, do it all behind the scenes.

If you want to build more trust, plead ignorance.

If you want the next project to be successful, build trust.

If you want to build trust, deliver what you promise.

If you want to build more trust, deliver more than you promise.

If you want to build more trust, deliver more than you promise and give the credit to others.

If you want deep friendships, build trust.

If you want to build trust, give reinforcing feedback.

If you want to build more trust, give reinforcing and correcting feedback in equal amounts.

If you want to build trust, give reinforcing feedback in public and correcting feedback in private.

If you want your work to have meaning, build trust.

Image credit: misterinnovation.com

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Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

100% agreement means there’s less than 100% truth. If, as a senior leader, you know there are differing opinions left unsaid, what would you do? Would you chastise the untruthful who are afraid to speak their minds? Would you simply ignore what you know to be true and play Angry Birds on your phone? Would you make it safe for the fearful to share their truth? Or would you take it on the chin and speak their truth? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

Best practice is sometimes a worst practice. If, as a senior leader, you know a more senior leader is putting immense pressure put on the team to follow a best practice, yet the context requires a new practice, what would you do? Would you go along with the ruse and support the worst practice? Would you keep your mouth shut and play tick-tack-toe until the meeting is over? Would you suggest a new practice, help the team implement it, and take the heat from the Status Quo Police? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

Truth builds trust. If, as a senior leader, you know the justification for a new project has been doctored, what would you do? Would you go along with the charade because it’s easy? Would call out the duplicity and preserve the trust you’ve earned from the team over the last decade? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

The loudest voice isn’t the rightest voice. If, as a senior leader, you know a more senior leader is using their positional power to strong-arm the team into a decision that is not supported by the data, what would you do? Would you go along with it, even though you know it’s wrong? Would you ask a probing question that makes it clear there is some serious steamrolling going on? And if that doesn’t work, would you be more direct and call out the steamrolling for what it is? As a senior leader, I’d do the last two.

What’s best for the company is not always best for your career. When you speak truth to power in the name of doing what’s best for the company, your career may suffer. When you see duplicity and call it by name, the company will be better for it, but your career may not. When you protect people from the steam roller, the team will thank you, but it may cost you a promotion. When you tell the truth, the right work happens and you earn the trust and respect of most everyone. As a senior leader, if your career suffers, so be it.

When you do the right thing, people remember. When, in a trying time, you have someone’s back, they remember. When a team is unduly pressured and you put yourself between them and the pressure, they remember. When you step in front of the steamroller, people remember. And when you silence the loudest voice so the right decision is made, people remember. As a senior leader, I want to be remembered.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

  1. Do you want to be remembered as someone who played Angry Birds or advocated for those too afraid to speak their truth?
  2. Do you want to be remembered as someone who doodled on their notepad or spoke truth to power?
  3. Do you want to be remembered as someone who kept their mouth shut or called out the inconvenient truth?
  4. Do you want to be remembered as someone who did all they could to advance their career or someone who earned the trust and respect of those they worked with?

In the four cases above, I choose the latter.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Building Teams with a Culture Of Trust

Building Teams with a Culture Of Trust

GUEST POST from David Burkus

Trust is the foundation of any successful team. Without trust, team members will not feel comfortable sharing their ideas, taking risks, or admitting their mistakes. Building a culture of trust on a team is crucial for achieving better results, higher levels of engagement, and less stress.

But first, we need to confront a brutal truth up front: trust alone is not enough. What teams need is a culture of psychological safety. When team members feel safe to express their opinions and ideas without fear of judgment or retribution, they are more likely to take risks and share their failures.

And the process of building psychological safety on a team has three stages: trust, risk, and respect. In this article, we will explore the three stages of and offer some advice on how leaders can guide their team through each one.

Stage 1: Trust

The first stage of building a culture of psychological safety on a team is trust. Team members need to trust each other before anyone takes any interpersonal risk like speaking up or disagreeing. And while many leaders go to elaborate lengths like trust falls, team-building activities, and personality tests, for most teams, trust is built by building relationships. People trust people they know and like. And for teams, that means finding uncommon commonalities between members of the team. When team members share their interests, hobbies, and personal stories, they can find common ground and build rapport. This can lead to more open and honest communication, which is essential for building trust.

The most common way leaders can help team members find uncommon commonalities is by creating unstructured moments for conversation. This could be through shared meals, shared activities, or even just small moments before or after meetings when the conversation drifts away from work. When team members have the opportunity to connect on a personal level, they can build relationships beyond their work roles and that builds trust in their work roles.

Stage 2: Risk

The second stage of building a culture of psychological safety on a team is risk. Once team members trust each other, they’re more willing to take risks. Risk-taking involves being vulnerable and sharing failures. It also involves airing disagreements. And can even mean sharing a “crazy” idea that’s outside the norm. All of those moments are forms of interpersonal risk—and teams need those risks. When team members take risks, they are more likely to come up with innovative ideas and solutions. However, taking risks can be scary, especially if team members do not feel safe to share their failures.

The most common way leaders can help team members take more risks is by modeling the way as a leader and being vulnerable first. When leaders share their own failures, or at a minimum admit when their weakness or doubts, they demonstrate that they are trusting the team. And when people feel trusted, they’re more likely to respond with trustworthy behavior and to trust the person being vulnerable more—which makes it more likely they’ll take interpersonal risks in the future too.

Stage 3: Respect

The final stage of building a culture of psychological safety on a team is respect. Respect happens after the risk—and is all about how people respond to one another’s risk-taking. It’s great to build small amounts of trust on a team, and great when people start to take interpersonal risks. But when someone speaks up, airs a disagreement, or admits a failure and they don’t feel heard, respected, and cared for—their trust is immediately diminished. And the trust levels of anyone watching the exchange go down as well. That’s the reason trust on a team is not enough. Trust needs to lead to risk taking which leads to respectful responses—otherwise the level of trust stays low.

The most common way leaders can help team members respond respectful is by practicing active listening. When vulnerable moments occur, leaders need to be focused on the person sharing, offer non-verbals that encourage more sharing, and ask clarifying questions to draw out even more. If leaders are focused elsewhere or snapping back with quick responses or criticisms, then not only does the person sharing feel slighted, but the team also begins to believe that is how to respond to divergent ideas. In contrast, active listening signals respect, which increases trust and encourages more sharing in the future, which offers more opportunities to signal respect.

In that way, the cycle of trust, risk, and respect operates like a flywheel and needs to be consistently maintained to keep the culture of trust high. By finding uncommon commonalities that build trust, encouraging interpersonal risk-taking, and responding to risk-taking with respect, teams can continue to increase their level of psychological safety—and provide a climate where everyone can do their best work ever.

Image credit: Pixabay

Originally published at https://davidburkus.com on June 12, 2023

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How to Create Energy with Customers (And Everyone Else)

How to Create Energy with Customers (And Everyone Else)

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

The heliotropic effect is the tendency for any living thing to be drawn toward energy. For example, if you put a plant on a windowsill, it will eventually lean toward the window where the sun comes in, soaking up those rays as the nourishment it needs to sustain its life.

Dr. Harry Cohen took this scientific concept and applied it to humans. In his book Be the Sun, Not the Salt, he defines the human version of the heliotropic effect as “being kind, authentic, compassionate, grateful and positive. … When you are being heliotropic, you are a positive energizer that uplifts others.”

In this short book that most people could read in less than an hour, Dr. Cohen shares 30 simple yet powerful principles and tactics that will create the energy that draws people to you. For leaders, you will build a stronger following. For managers, you will create a better work environment. And if you deal with customers, which is the focus of my work, you will get them to like you, trust you and want to do more business with you. And the best part about these thirty (30) ideas is that they don’t cost money, and you can put them into practice immediately.

Here are a few of my favorites that will make you think and, if you practice them, will have a heliotropic effect of attracting others toward you.

    1. Do All the Good You Can — Let’s start with the first one in the book. Just do good. People will be drawn to you, you’ll be more effective in what you do, and you’ll feel good yourself. It’s a fulfilling idea. When you do good, you feel good.
    2. Be Helpful — This seems so simple and obvious, but consider this. In our annual customer experience research, we asked more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, “What customer service experiences are most likely to cause you to come back?” The No. 1 answer was helpful. Such a simple concept!
    3. Show You Care — Insincerity is easy to spot, and nobody likes to do business or be around insincere people. You can’t fake caring—so don’t try. Be authentic about it. Maya Angelou said, “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” I also like the Theodore Roosevelt quote Dr. Cohen included in this chapter, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
    4. Apologize Well — When you find yourself faced with a confrontation, mistake or problem, the first words that come out of your mouth should be an acknowledgment and apology. Saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can start to turn a negative situation around. A clear, sincere apology at the beginning of a conversation does two things. First, it positively kicks off the process of fixing a problem. Second, it helps restore the customer’s confidence.
    5. Hold the Salt — The opposite of the heliotropic sun, as the book title implies, is salt. To “hold the salt” is about not always saying everything on your mind. It’s sometimes better to bite your tongue and say nothing rather than try to get the last word or emphasize a point that doesn’t really need to be emphasized.
    6. Don’t Be a Complexifier — I’ve always believed that part of my success is simplifying the complicated. I recently wrote an article about how to make your business simple. Simplicity usually makes things better. Complex processes make it hard for customers and employees. Be easy, convenient and simple to do business with!
    7. Speak Fluent Gratitude — This is the perfect one to end on. Expressing appreciation to others is powerful. Dr. Cohen shared research that shows “cultivating gratitude makes you and the people around you feel better.” I love people who have an attitude of gratitude. And this is also an opportunity to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to read and share this article! Thank you!

    .

    This article originally appeared on Forbes.com

    Image Credits: Shep Hyken

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of August 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of August 2023Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are August’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. The Paradox of Innovation Leadership — by Janet Sernack
  2. Why Most Corporate Innovation Programs Fail — by Greg Satell
  3. A Top-Down Open Innovation Approach — by Geoffrey A. Moore
  4. Innovation Management ISO 56000 Series Explained — by Diana Porumboiu
  5. Scale Your Innovation by Mapping Your Value Network — by John Bessant
  6. The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Future Employment — by Chateau G Pato
  7. Leaders Avoid Doing This One Thing — by Robyn Bolton
  8. Navigating the Unpredictable Terrain of Modern Business — by Teresa Spangler
  9. Imagination versus Knowledge — by Janet Sernack
  10. Productive Disagreement Requires Trust — by Mike Shipulski

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in July that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last three years:

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Productive Disagreement Requires Trust

Productive Disagreement Requires Trust

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

When there’s disagreement between words and behavior, believe the behavior. This is especially true when the words deny the behavior.

When there’s disagreement between the data and the decision, the data is innocent.

When there’s agreement that there’s insufficient data but a decision must be made, there should be no disagreement that the decision is judgment-based.

When there’s disagreement on the fact that there’s no data to support the decision, that’s a problem.

When there’s disagreement on the path forward, it’s helpful to have agreement on the process to decide.

When there’s disagreement among professionals, there is no place for argument.

When there’s disagreement, there is respect for the individual and a healthy disrespect for the ideas.

When there’s disagreement, the decisions are better.

When there’s disagreement, there’s independent thinking.

When there’s disagreement, there is learning.

When there’s disagreement, there is vulnerability.

When there’s disagreement, there is courage.

When there’s disagreement, there is trust.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of April 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of April 2023Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are April’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. Rethinking Customer Journeys — by Geoffrey A. Moore
  2. What Have We Learned About Digital Transformation Thus Far? — by Geoffrey A. Moore
  3. Design Thinking Facilitator Guide — by Douglas Ferguson
  4. Building A Positive Team Culture — by David Burkus
  5. Questions Are More Powerful Than We Think — by Greg Satell
  6. 3 Examples of Why Innovation is a Leadership Problem — by Robyn Bolton
  7. How Has Innovation Changed Since the Pandemic? — by Robyn Bolton
  8. 5 Questions to Answer Before Spending $1 on Innovation — by Robyn Bolton
  9. Customers Care About the Destination Not the Journey — by Shep Hyken
  10. Get Ready for the Age of Acceleration — by Robert B. Tucker

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in March that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last three years:

Subscribe to Human-Centered Change & Innovation WeeklySign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.

The Power of the Trust Network

The Power of the Trust Network

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

The members of the Trust Network have worked together for a long time. And over that time together they’ve developed trust-based relationships that are more powerful than almost anything in the universe.

The Trust Network knows the work intimately and can do it in their sleep. They intuitively know the work should be started, the work should come next, the work should come after that, and the work should be scuttled.

In meetings, members of the Trust Network represent each other’s positions and protect each other’s interests. They’ve worked so long together that they know what each other think and can anticipate each other’s moves. The Trust Network communicates so quickly you’d think they’re telepathic. In truth, they’re only almost telepathic.

Members of the Trust Network don’t wear team jackets or advertise their membership status in any way. In fact, they never even call the network by name. You don’t know who they are, but they do. They hold regular meetings, though those meetings look like every other regular meeting. The Trust Network hides in plain sight.

When a project slowly emerges from the ether and blossoms into something special, that’s the workings of the Trust Network. When there’s no money to pay for an important purchase, yet the money mysteriously finds its way to the person who needs it, that’s the workings of the Trust Network. When a highly utilized piece of equipment suddenly comes available to support a seemingly unimportant project, that’s because the Trust Network knows it is truly an important project.

When a Vice President starts a pet project and tries to push it over the finish line, it’s the Trust Network that creates the resistance. When resources are slow to start the work, that’s the Trust Network. When emergency-type problems conveniently pull resources from the critical path, that’s the Trust Network. When the technical people stand up and say “this won’t work,” it’s the Trust Network that made it safe for them to say it.

When the formal org chart can’t get it done, the Trust Network engages to get it done. They simply come together to get the right people working on the right work, get the right analyses done, and invoke the right processes and tools right tools. The Trust Network doesn’t ask permission.

In an arm-wrestling match between the formal organizational network and the informal Trust Network, the formal network doesn’t stand a chance.

When the Trust Network sees organizational shenanigans, it turns the volume up to eleven. When the Trust Network sees people being mistreated, they get angry and swarm the troublemakers. And though it’s an invisible swarm, it’s a swarm that stings. And because its prime directive is to protect the hive, it’s a swarm that will not stop until the mistreatment stops. And because they know the work so well, they know how to sting in the most painful way.

If you want to be tapped for membership in the Trust Network, here’s what you should do. When there’s a big problem, run toward that problem like your hair is on fire and fix the problem. Don’t ask permission. Just fix it. When there’s a project that’s in trouble, donate resources and your time. Don’t ask. Just get the project back on the rails. When you see someone that’s suffering or having difficulty, help them. Don’t ask them if they want your help. Just help them. When you see someone that is about to make a big mistake, invite them to coffee, and help them make a better decision or take a better approach. Don’t ask, just help.

The Trust Network is always looking for new members and will reach out to you after you make a habit of demonstrating the right behavior.

Here are two more posts on the Trust Network — The Trust Network and Trust Network II.

Image credit: MarilynJane on Flickr

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The Trust Network – Part Two

The Trust Network - Part Two

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

I stand by my statement that trust is the most important element in business (see The Trust Network.)

The Trust Network are the group of people who get the work done. They don’t do the work to get promoted, they just do the work because they like doing the work. They don’t take others’ credit (they’re not striving,) they just do the work. And they help each other do the work because, well, it’s the right thing to do.

Sometimes, they use their judgement to protect the company from bad ideas. But to be clear, they don’t protect the Status Quo. They use their good judgement to decide if a new idea has merit, and if it doesn’t, they try to shape it. And if they can’t shape it, they block it. Their judgement is good because their mutual trust allows them to talk openly and honestly and listen to each other. And through the process, they come to a decision and act on it.

But there’s another side to the Trust Network. They also bring new ideas to the company.

Trying new things is scary, but the Trust Network makes it safe. When someone has a good idea, the Network positively reinforces the goodness of the idea and recommends a small experiment. And when one installment of positivity doesn’t carry the day, the Trust Network comes together to create the additional positivity need to grow the idea into an experiment.

To make it safe, the Trust Network knows to keep the experiment small. If the small experiment doesn’t go as planned, they know there will be no negative consequences. And if the experiment’s results do attract attention, they dismiss the negativity of failure and talk about the positivity of learning. And if there is no money to run the experiment, they scare it up. They don’t stop until the experiment is completed.

But the real power of the Trust Network shows its hand after the successful experiment. The toughest part of innovation is the “now what” part, where successful experiments go to die. Since no one thought through what must happen to convert the successful experiment to a successful product, the follow-on actions are undefined and unbudgeted and the validated idea dies. But the Trust Network knows all this, so they help the experimenter define the “then what” activities before the experiment is run. That way, the resources are ready and waiting when the experiment is a success. The follow-on activities happen as planned.

The Trust Network always reminds each other that doing new things is difficult and that it’s okay that the outcome of the experiment is unknown. In fact, they go further and tell each other that the outcome of the experiment is unknowable. Regardless of the outcome of the experiment, the Trust Network is there for each other.

To start a Trust Network, find someone you trust and trust them. Support their new ideas, support their experiments and support the follow-on actions. If they’re afraid, tell them to be afraid and run the experiment. If they don’t have the resources to run the experiment, find the resources for them. And if they’re afraid they won’t get credit for all the success, tell them to trust you.

And to grow your Trust Network, find someone else you trust and trust them. And, repeat.

Image credit: Unsplash

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The Trust Network

The Trust Network

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

Trust is the most important element in business. It’s not organizational authority, it’s not alignment, it’s not execution, it’s not best practices, it’s not competitive advantage and it’s not intellectual property. It’s trust.

Trust is more powerful than the organizational chart. Don’t believe me? Draw the org chart and pretend the person at the top has a stupid idea and they try to push down into the organization. When the top person pushes, the trust network responds to protect the company. After the unrealistic edict is given, the people on the receiving end (the trust network) get together in secret and hatch a plan to protect the organization from the ill-informed, but well-intentioned edict. Because we trust each other, we openly share our thoughts on why the idea is less than good. We are not afraid to be judged by members of trust network and, certainly, we don’t judge other members of the network. And once our truths are shared, the plan starts to take shape.

The trust network knows how things really work because we’ve worked shoulder-to-shoulder to deliver the most successful new products and technologies in company history. And through our lens of what worked, we figure out how to organize the resistance. And with the plan roughed out, we reach out to our trust network. We hold meetings with people deep in the organization who do the real work and tell them about the plan to protect the company. You don’t know who those people are, but we do.

If you don’t know about the trust network, it’s because you’re not part of it. But, trust me, it’s real. We meet right in front of you, but you don’t see us. We coordinate in plain sight, but we’re invisible. We figure out how things are going to go, but we don’t ask you or tell you. And you don’t know about us because we don’t trust you.

When the trust network is on your side, everything runs smoothly. The right resources flow to the work, the needed support somehow finds the project and, mysteriously, things get done faster than imagined. But when the trust network does not believe in you and your initiative, the wheels fall off. Things that should go smoothly, don’t, resources don’t flow to the work and, mysteriously, no one knows why.

You can push on the trust network, but you can’t break us. You can use your control mechanisms, but we will feign alignment until your attention wanes. And once you’re distracted, we’ll silently help the company do the right thing. We’re more powerful than you because you’re striving and we’re thriving. We can wait you out because we don’t need the next job. And, when the going gets tough, we’ll stick together because we trust each other.

Trust is powerful because it must be earned. With years of consistent behavior, where words match actions year-on-year, strong bonds are created. In that way, trust can’t be faked. You’ve either earned it or you haven’t. And when you’ve earned trust, people in the network take you seriously and put their faith in you. And when you haven’t earned trust, people in the network are not swayed by your words or your trendy initiative. We won’t tell you we don’t believe in you, but we won’t believe in you.

The trust network won’t invite you to join. The only way in is to behave in ways that make you trustworthy. When you think the company is making a mistake, say it. The trust network likes when your inner thoughts match your outer words. When someone needs help, help them. Don’t look for anything in return, just help them. When someone is about to make a mistake, step in and protect them from danger. Don’t do it for you, do it for them. And when someone makes a mistake, take the bullets. Again, do it for them.

After five or ten years of unselfish, trustworthy behavior, you’ll find yourself in meetings where the formal agenda isn’t really the agenda. In the meeting you’ll chart the company’s path without the need to ask permission. And you’ll be listened to even when your opinion is contrary to the majority. And you’ll be surrounded by people that care about you.

Even if you don’t believe in the trust network, it’s a good idea to behave in a trustworthy way. It’s good for you and the company. And when the trust network finally accepts you, you’ll be doubly happy you behaved in a trustworthy way.

Image credit: Unsplash

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