A 2016 survey of CEOs by PWC showed that a strong majority of business leaders — 55%— believe a lack of trust in the workplace constitutes a foundational threat to their company. Source: Forbes
Trust is an interesting animal. It not only involves trusting someone’s intentions, but also their competence in being able to do what they say. It is more than trust in an individual, but also in ourselves, the process, the world, other people in general, life, etc. Without trust, both organizational and personal lives are not as fun or productive. We believe a recent Harvard Business article, The Neuroscience of Trust, validates what many of us have learned through hard experience.
Employees in organization with high trust are happier, more productive, collaborate better and are more resilient. They also stay with organizations longer and those organizations are more profitable and capable. As Stephen Covey points out in his book, “The Speed of Trust”, trust allows organizations to move much more swiftly with confidence. This is particularly powerful when reacting to a need of a customer, an employee or a changing marketplace.
One of the biological ties to trust is the production of the neurotransmitter Oxytocin in the brain. With the vast majority of our clients, they notice that as they focus more on working with a purpose and making a difference in people’s lives, there is much higher trust and productivity. Paul Zak, who has been studying this for 10+ years, correlates trust reinforced with purpose and high levels of joy at a level of 0.77. In other words, employees that are working for a higher purpose enjoy their job more and have higher trust.
An analogy we sometimes use in our work is that of a family driving to Disney World for a vacation. On the trip, we do a better and happier job of fixing a flat tire in the rain if our purpose is to create a closer and better family by taking a trip to Disney World. If changing the tire is “just a job” with no sense of higher purpose, some employees would not even get out of the car to help or encourage those doing the hard work.
“High trust won’t necessarily rescue a poor strategy; low trust will almost always derail a good one.” – Stephen M.R. Covey
There are some specific ways to build trust:
Other ways to build trust can be found below in this summary of what we believe as well as ideas from the Harvard Business Review article. It shows that respondents whose companies were in the top 25% experienced:
If your leaders and managers are not building the trust that you desire, let us help. We will work with you and them to create a culture that is capable, productive and profitable. Call one of our experts at 1-800-786-4332 or email our Chief Guide, Don Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org.