Trust Creates Motivation

August 29, 2015

When managers use the word “motivate” as a verb, it is as if motivation is something they can “do to” the workers. This approach shows a lack of understanding of what motivation truly is and where it comes from.

Over fifty years ago, Frederick Herzberg taught us that the strongest motivation is created intrinsically, not by some extrinsic factor, like money.

The only person who can truly motivate you is you. It is the role of leaders to create the environment such that people freely elect to become motivated. Here is a quick story of a manager who knew how to create motivation.

In 1993, I asked Alice to take over a production department with about 120 employees. It was a tough assignment because the prior leader was competent but not a good builder of culture.

Some workers were apathetic and just floated along without much focus. Others were angry and verbally hostile most of the time.

I have never witnessed such a turnaround in my life. Within six months, the department had doubled productivity and the employees were really turned on and having a great time smashing the aggressive goals they had set up.

How did Alice accomplish this amazing turn around?

She simply worked to drive out fear and replaced it with trust.

Most managers try to find ways to “motivate” the workers, but Alice was more of a leader than a manager. She focused on creating a culture of trust where the workers decided to motivate themselves.

Exercise for you: Pay attention to the words you use when describing motivating people. Notice how many times you use the word “motivate” as a verb. You may utter phrases like “We have to find a better way to motivate the team.”

This error in leading people is very common in most cultures, and that is why motivation is typically low. A culture of trust avoids the problem.

Always use the word “motivation” as a noun, like something that will occur within people when they are well led. You will find your track record of producing exceptional results is greatly enhanced.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Building Trust for Life

August 22, 2015

Early in my career, I was sent to Japan to negotiate a deal on a large supply of high capacity floppy disks.

I was nervous going over as my boss was busy preparing a law suit against many of the companies I would be negotiating with for dumping low capacity floppy disks on the US market.

On the flight, my buddy and I amused ourselves by making notes in a periodical that described the tension between our organization and the Japanese companies. We probably wrote some things that were too juicy for public consumption.

The trip went very well, and there was no acrimony with our hosts. Coming back from a long lunch on the final day, I noticed that I had left my briefcase open and the periodical was on top of the stack.

I realized that someone could have read and copied some of the private information, which would have damaged our case. I was terrified that my actions could possibly turn into a major gaffe with my boss.

As soon as I got back I went to my boss immediately and told him that I did something really stupid in Japan the prior week. He said, “What did you do?” My reply was,

“You would never know this unless I told you, but here is what happened…”

He looked up at me and said, “You know you are right, Bob. That’s not the smartest thing you ever did. The smartest thing you ever did was to tell me about it.”

From that day on for the next 25 years until he retired, I was golden boy to him. Reason: I blew myself in (admitted my mistake) when I didn’t have to.

Essentially I earned his trust for life by owning up to my indiscretion.

The lesson that I learned was that even though I did something admittedly dumb, I was able to turn it into a major step forward for my entire career. Most of us intellectually know that admitting a mistake is usually a trust-building action.

There are two kinds of mistakes where this would not be the case:

1. If the mistake is a repeat of one that was made once or many times in the past
2. If the mistake was so stupid that it revealed the person to be clueless

Most mistakes are things that simply did not go the way we planned, so they are easily forgiven when we openly admit to them. This method is particularly potent for people in power positions like top executives or politicians. Reason: From past experience most of us view power people as having a hard time admitting mistakes.

Exercise for you: Look for opportunities to admit your own vulnerability. Obviously it is a silly strategy to create mistakes so you can admit them, but we all do have lapses from time to time.

When you are smart enough to blow yourself in, it usually impacts your long term prognosis favorably. Try it and see if you agree.

Human beings normally have the capacity to forgive an occasional error if it was done with good intent. By admitting an error, you will give a powerful demonstration of your own personal integrity. That is a tangible sign of being a trustworthy person.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Trust and the Need to be Perfect

August 15, 2015

MistakeWhile writing my third book, I studied the personalities of numerous CEOs to determine their characteristics. I found an interesting trend that has an important lesson about trust.

The most highly successful leaders seemed to be having more fun while the leaders who were not doing well were really miserable.

I noticed that the top CEOs had created high trust organizations, and they were allowed to be human beings. They could make occasional mistakes and the people would still respect them.

The CEOs who were doing poorly were bundles of nerves trying to figure out how to be perfect, because there was low trust in their organizations.

If they did not spin every statement the right way, people would jump all over them. These CEOs of low trust groups were staying up all night trying to outsmart the workers, while their effective counterparts were sleeping soundly knowing the employees were truly on their side.

Leaders who know how to build high trust consistently enjoy a better life for themselves. That also translates into a more relaxed work environment for everyone, which further enhances the level of trust, and the cycle continues.

These leaders are allowed the luxury of being fallible human beings because their employees know they are sincere. Even if something occasionally comes out with the wrong slant, the employees will cut these leaders some slack.

In environments of low trust, employees are poised and waiting to pounce on any misstep or misstatement the leader might make.

Exercise for you: If you operate in an environment of low trust, observe today how stressed the leaders are. Notice the amount of energy they have to put into every communication simply because employees are skeptical to begin with.

Think about what it would look and feel like if the environment could be transformed into one of higher trust.

When a work environment has high trust, it is a better life for everyone. In that culture, the organization will thrive, even if there are some tough challenges.

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Trust and Customer Retention

August 6, 2015

It takes only a few seconds for customers to assess the level of trust between people in any business. If your business has low trust, you are probably losing valuable customers every day.

Since trust is something you cannot fake, it does little good to tell the service people to “just smile and act nicely.” Customers see through a phony show of esprit de corps and put-on friendliness.

Instead of teaching employees to be fawning and sweet with customers, focus on creating a culture of high trust throughout your organization.

Customers notice and appreciate a real culture where people are not playing games with each other. Here are a couple examples you will recognize because you have undoubtedly experienced them in some form.

There is a McDonalds Restaurant on the Thruway that I avoid, if at all possible. The reason is that every time I go in there, I am semi ignored as the employees bicker between themselves or with their managers.

I find myself waiting for service and listening as the employees have their backs to me and focus their attention on their own petty problems. There is no trust in that group, and I certainly do not appreciate the aggravation.

On the other extreme, there is a Greek Restaurant that I often patronize because I get a warm feeling of friendly service based on how the employees treat me and each other. The interpersonal trust is evident within a few seconds of walking in the door.

Customers are very sensitive to the environment of an establishment, and if the culture is one of low trust, the customers will learn to avoid that business, just as I avoid that McDonalds.

Sometimes people in organizations forget that they are also customers of other businesses. It is like they do not see the difference between serving others at one point and being served an hour later.

It is helpful to picture yourself on both sides of the counter.

You can gain significant insights by paying attention to how you react when you are the customer. If change is needed in your area, why not start making change today?

Exercise for you: Take notice today of the groups you see at work. Do they display a culture of high trust, or are they just trying to act nice? Perhaps they are being hostile to each other in front of valuable customers.

If there is a deficit of trust in your environment, chances are it is impacting revenue. Work to change the culture with urgency.

Going back to the McDonalds example, the cure is to get the leaders to understand the value of real trust between people.

Perhaps some leaders need to be replaced or retrained about how customers expect to be treated: not just with a phony smile and “Welcome to McDonalds” but with a culture that truly values the employees and puts customer service ahead of slogans.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


The Link Between Trust and Communication

August 1, 2015

If you are the manager of a group where trust is low, people are likely to hear what they think you were going to say rather than what you actually said. It is critical to frame up the message in multiple ways to help people hear and absorb what you are really trying to convey.

A simple Town Hall Meeting is not sufficient to communicate sensitive information.

According to Richard Edelman in his “Trust Barometer,” people need to hear things from 3-5 times before they believe the information about a company is likely to be true. Here is a true story that illustrates the problem.

I once inherited a new group that did not have high trust in their prior manager. I could tell by their body language that they were skeptical of anything the managers said.

Before I had a chance to rebuild the trust, I had an occasion to communicate some good news to the workers. They were afraid that the operation would be shut down and moved to China.

I called a special meeting to tell them that the proposed outsourcing was not going to happen. Later that day, I heard that the workers thought I told them we would be shutting down.

Rather than hear what I actually said, the workers heard only what they thought I was going to say. This miscommunication happened because there was low trust in management, and I did not use multiple ways to communicate the message clearly enough.

Exercise for you: Today, test the level of understanding of some information from management. Ask some questions to see if people are able to understand and believe the input with just one exposure. It is more difficult than you think to get the message across in the first exposure.

Now begin to think of creative ways to get messages to people in different ways that really set the message.

Good communication requires consistency, and that often means repetition.

Get creative with the methods you use to communicate information to other people. It can be fun and it will really improve your leadership effectiveness.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Trust and Focus

July 25, 2015

VisionI claim to be able to accurately determine the level of trust in a group by just observing the interactions of people in the group for about 10-30 seconds. It is not hard at all. You just have to pay attention to what people are saying.

If you observe a team, and people are talking about the vision they are trying to accomplish or the new product they are launching, then you are likely observing a high trust group. That is because their focus is outward on what they are trying to accomplish.

Instead, if you observe people at work and they are talking about each other, usually in negative or defensive terms, chances are good that team is a low trust group.

If people are myopic and focus their energy inward defensively rather than outward with a positive attitude, it shows a lack of interpersonal trust.

Let’s take the exact same condition going on within a manufacturing unit and evesdrop on a short break room conversation:

Low Trust Group – No wonder we are falling behind, Fred and Margaret are more interested in their love affair than in doing their part of the work. We will never get there if they don’t pull their load, but management is so clueless they don’t see the problem.

High Trust Group – I think we are going to make the aggressive target for customer service this month. This will make three months in a row we have met their needs. Even though Fred and Margaret get starry-eyed sometimes, they are making a good contribution to production.

You don’t need to be a PhD to accurately identify the level of trust in a group. Simply pay attention to the words being used on a daily basis. It is a dead giveaway that can be applied very quickly. You will find it to be remarkably accurate.

Exercise for you: Try keeping track for a day by making hash marks on a 3X5 inch card. When you hear constructive comments about satisfying customers or pursuing the vision, put a mark on the right side of the card.

If you hear griping conversations about the other team members slacking off, or managers messing up, put the mark on the left side. At the end of the day, simply count up the marks, and you will have a good approximation of the trust level in that area.

It is not just the words but also the body language that shows the attitudes of people toward their fellow workers. It is very easy to detect supportive and positive feelings and even easier to see hatred or lack of care.

People working together day to day project their level of interpersonal comfort and trust, but most people ignore the signal. Now that you know the secret, pay attention to what people are saying and you will have better insights.


 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Trust and Solving Problems

July 18, 2015

When low trust teams have to tackle real problems, it can be a disaster. The interpersonal issues keep getting in the way.

If you can build high trust into the team dynamic, then the efficiency of solving problems goes up dramatically.

It is important to assess the level of trust on every team. I have developed a quick survey that can be very helpful at understanding the level of trust on your team. If you would like access, just drop me a line.

There are numerous other surveys available online if you just do a quick search.

I sit on several Boards of Directors, and one of them is a pretty low trust group. When a problem comes up, it seems the team is always tiptoeing around the interpersonal issues.

We can discuss things for an hour and not get close to the real problem at hand. We quite often end up putting “BandAids”® on the symptoms hoping the problem will resolve itself.

We all know the world does not work that way.

Another BOD I sit on is a particularly high trust group. They solve problems quickly and efficiently because they get to the heart of the issue fast without playing games with each other.

One hallmark of high trust groups is that they solve problems quickly and with high quality solutions while having fun. Low trust groups often fail to solve the real problem and frequently have to deal with a lot of acrimony.

Exercise for you: Take the time today to do an assessment of the trust level on your team. This is especially important if your team seems to struggle at times. Make sure all members of the team take the instrument and share the data.

If trust is lacking, then get a commitment to do something about it.

Putting up with interpersonal issues that result from low trust is a sign of mediocrity. You can move to excellence simply by investing some time and energy into raising the trust level. It is not impossible, and your team will become much more efficient.

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


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