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


The Transactional Nature of Trust

July 11, 2015

Coins in handTo experience maximum trust with the individuals in our lives, we need to be aware of the transactional nature of trust. Everything that happens between us will have some impact on the level of trust.

It is important to build trust constantly by our words and deeds. Sometimes we will encounter a loss of trust, and we need the equity of past trust-building transactions to withstand an inevitable let down.

Here is a true story from my past that included a trust transaction.

George came into my office and closed the door. He was a manager reporting to me, and we had a relationship of high trust.

My Division had just been combined with another Division to form a larger organization. George wanted to tell me some unflattering things about one of the managers I was inheriting.

Rather than my trust in George going up, it went down that day because he was undermining a peer. I told him that I would rather not deal in gossip and wanted to give the new manager a chance to start out with a clean slate.

As we interface with people in daily activities, our level of trust goes up or down constantly depending on the transactions happening between us. This adjustment includes e-mail, phone calls, and even body language in a meeting. Any interface creates an opportunity to modify the level of trust.

Exercise for you: Seek to pay more attention to the transactions you have with other people today. Notice the small things that happen which have a positive or negative impact on trust.

Learn to read the body language of others so you can read when something you have said or done has made the level of trust go down.

Trust is never static. It is always moving depending on our assessment of the character, consistency, competence, congeniality, and care the other person is showing us. I call these elements the five C’s of trust.

Also realize the other person is making similar judgments of us. So trust is an ever-moving target. Make sure you are always doing things to build rather than destroy trust with other people.

 

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

 


Planting a Seed of Trust in the First 10 Seconds

July 6, 2015

Investment concept, close up of female hand holding stack of golLast summer I attended a “Speed Networking” event at my local Chamber of Commerce. It was one of those affairs where you meet a series of new people but only get to talk with each one for three minutes.

I met over 20 people that morning and paid attention to how well they did at making a first impression of being trustworthy. Most people did OK, but there was one young man who I thought totally blew everyone else away with his ability to connect with me instantly.

By his body language, he was able to convey that he was totally interested in meeting me in a way the others were unable to do. It was like the way a puppy can look at you and compel you to take him home.

At the moment we met, this young man let me know I was the most important person in the world to him at that time.

Before we even shook hands he had me convinced that he was special. When we did shake hands instead of saying how nice it was to meet him, I said

“Congratulations! You are going to be a very wealthy man.”

He had an amazing gift of connecting and planting a seed of trust in just a few seconds.

In his book, “Blink,” Malcolm Gladwell described how human beings have an amazing ability to size each other up in a heartbeat. Malcolm called the phenomenon “thin slices,” for the ability to gather huge amounts of data about another person in a second.

He suggested we make a first impression in about three seconds. I say we can stretch it out all the way to 10 seconds, but the exact duration isn’t important.

The point is that we can form a relationship that can point toward trust with another person in a remarkably short time.

Anyone can learn how to plant a seed of trust when first meeting people, and it will result in their relationship progressing at 10 times the rate that it otherwise would.

Exercise for you: Today, as you meet new people, pay attention to their body language. For example, eye contact is extremely important, even before the handshake.

Make sure you show them how important they are and how anxious you are to meet them.

Your posture is also important to send the message of a sincere individual. A slight head tilt is often a good sign because it can indicate a desire to listen carefully. Good posture also shows respect for the other individual.

The magic is in the body language and what is going on in your subconscious mind. What you are thinking comes through automatically on the inaudible channel. Last summer I made a brief (10 minute) video about the techniques for Trust Across America: Trust Around the World.

You can plant seeds of trust with people very quickly once you learn to project the right attitude. Trust comes from the heart, and people often have the ability to read what is going on in your mind.

I believe the first 10 seconds when meeting someone new can be golden opportunity if handled well.

This concept can have a huge impact on your success in life because your relationships will progress much faster toward mature trusting relationships.

 

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 is Bilateral

June 27, 2015

small babies twins on parental hands isolated on white backgrounMy daughter taught me a vital lesson about trust when she was four years old. I used to travel a lot for work, and when I would come home exhausted from a week on the road, she would run up to me and shout “Daddy, Daddy, twirl me.”

I would grab hold of her little wrists being careful to not jerk them, and rotate backward lifting her off the ground. She would laugh and giggle as I rotated her around for 15 seconds, then when I set her down, she would always say “Again!”

So I would pick her up and do it all over. The lesson she taught me is that of all the times I twirled her, I hardly ever dropped her.

Because she was trusting me with her life, I was compelled to rise to that level of trustworthiness and protect her.

The lesson she taught me was that trust is bilateral. If we want to receive more trust in our lives, we need to find ways to show more trust in other people.

I have come to call this phenomenon “The First Law of Trust.”

If you are not happy with the level of trust you are seeing from other people, the first thing to do is find ways to show more trust in them.

That may seem illogical, but it actually works. Trust given to others reflects back to us every time.

A conundrum for leaders is that not all employees are trustworthy. Surely I am not recommending that a leader trust someone who has consistently shown that he or she is not capable of rising to an acceptable level of performance.

Of course not! You would not trust a young biology student to perform open heart surgery on you. Instead you can find some way to extend some measure of trust that the person can achieve. You might trust the biology student to complete his homework assignment tonight.

With reinforcement and shaping of behavior, I believe it is possible to make solid gains over time toward more trustworthy behavior. Enough assignments along with specific training in school and as an intern means eventually the young student can be trusted to perform surgery.

The exercise for today is to find several ways you can show higher trust in other people. Often very small gestures can make a big difference in starting a new momentum of trust between people.

For example, you might allow them to try something that previously you always did yourself. You don’t need to take reckless chances with the extension of trust, but do allow your creativity to think about what might be a reasonable way to show higher trust.

Extending more trust is one of the best ways to obtain more trust yourself.

Most people forget this simple rule. Even when it seems people cannot be trusted, if you find small ways to show more trust in them, they will inevitably rise up and become more trustworthy. Try it, and you will see great progress in your relationships.

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


Categories of Trust

June 20, 2015

gears and teamworkI have always thought of trust as a single concept: I either trust you or I do not trust you at any time.

It seemed simple enough, but after studying the phenomenon for over 20 years, I have come to realize there are many different flavors of trust with other people that we experience all the time. Trust is a set of interlocking concepts that form a pattern for each person we know.

Here are a few examples:

Reliance:  I might trust you because I know you have my back and will do what is in my best interest.

Consistency: I might trust you because you are consistent and always do what you say.

Common Values: I might trust you because we share common values.

Safety:  I might trust you because I know I can tell you what I really think without feeling punished in some way.

So I now envision trust as it relates to others as a complex set of concepts about my relationships with them. I now think of it as a mosaic or pattern rather than a singular lens.

That pattern changes based on the transactions between myself and other people. The types of trust are ever evolving and either gaining or losing strength.

Picture the concept of trust as being like a kaleidoscope with an infinite number of complex designs that change as you move through time. The glass pieces that make up the design are a fixed number, but the mirrors in the kaleidoscope, just like the different categories of trust, make new patterns as you experience changes in your relations with others.

Exercise for you: Today, as you interface with people, try to visualize the different patterns of trust you have with them. Notice how the pattern shifts as the day progresses and transactions occur.

Witness the beauty and variety of trust in your relationships. Each transaction has the potential to increase or reduce the trust based on your perception of what is going on.

Understanding that trust is a complex set of interrelated concepts will allow you to experience the richness of your relationships with others. It may become confusing or frustrating at times, but that is the reality of life.

As you see the wonderful patterns of trust unfold in front of your eyes, you will begin to experience the beauty of life and relationships at a higher level.

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 www.avanoo.com/first3/517

 


Trust is Ubiquitous

June 13, 2015

Trust, Colorful words hang on rope by wooden pegMost people think of trust as a concept between themselves and the people they know.

Of course that is true, but that viewpoint is only a tiny part of how pervasive trust is in our lives. Trust is in the fabric of just about everything you do.

When you start your day, you go through several rituals of cleaning your body, getting dressed and groomed, feeding yourself, locking up your abode, and transporting yourself to your place of work.

By the time you get there, you have already experienced trust several hundred times.

You cannot turn on the shower without trusting the water system. Every time you go over a bridge, you are trusting that you won’t end up in the river. When you take a vitamin pill, you must trust the people in the drug company that made the pill.

On and on all day long, you instinctively experience trust and rarely think of it unless there is a power failure or something drastic happens in your environment that prevents you from trusting.

For all of us, trust in our lives is far more complex and ubiquitous than we recognize.

Since we are expert at trusting the things in our lives, it is ironic that trusting other people can sometimes be a major hurdle.

We need to recognize that trust is present every moment of every day, and we need to manage our feelings about trust with other people and even trust in ourselves.

By becoming more cognizant and appreciative of the role of trust in our lives, we gain a stronger grasp of the nature of it and the role it plays.

Exercise for you: For the next day, try to visualize how trust is working in your life. Experience the role of trust not only in your personal relationships but also in your everyday activities. Try to imagine what life would be like if you did not trust, in those moments that you absolutely need to. How would you cope?

This series of short articles over the next several weeks will illuminate dozens of aspects about trust that are often taken for granted but that have a profound impact on every one of us and the lives of others we know and love.

We will mostly deal with interpersonal trust in this series, but realize the topic is much broader, and often the more abstract types of trust end up influencing the trust we have in others and ourselves.

During this series, you will learn how to build more trust with the people you work with, and the people at home. You will begin to have a greater appreciation for the role that trust can play, and harness it to create astounding results in your life.

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 www.avanoo.com/first3/517


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