How Trust Helps Solve Problems

Leadership SolutionsThe level of trust in a group has a profound impact on the ease with which they solve problems.

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.

Low trust groups often fail to solve the real problem and frequently have to deal with a lot of acrimony, often unrelated to the problem.

This low trust group can discuss things for an hour and not even 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.

It is very frustrating because we waste a lot of time and energy with low output.

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 people 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.

The quality of solutions is higher because people are not afraid to voice creative ideas. They don’t need to protect themselves from ridicule. Brainstorming possible actions is spontaneous, light, and often comical.

It is important to assess the level of trust on every team. There are numerous surveys available online if you just do a quick search. As an alternative, I have developed a quick survey that can be very helpful at understanding the level of trust on your team. It is available at the following link

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZZGQVD3 .

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. Here is a link to several articles about trust on my Leadergrow Website

http://www.leadergrow.com/articles/categories/17-trust

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.

4 Responses to How Trust Helps Solve Problems

  1. billfotsch says:

    I agree with your point about the power of trust, similar to the points made by Stephen Covey in his book, “The Speed of Trust”. I think it begs the question of how to develop trust in an organization, and keep it high. I find making the economics of a business transparent, involving all employees to understand and improve the business, one creates an organizational structural that drives improved trust and profits. The share goals and focus on the common good captures the employees’ hearts while the information captures their minds. Commonly referred to as Open-Book Management, this creates an empowered, learning organization. I have seen this work in 400+ companies I have worked with in the past 20+years, from small / medium sized companies to larger publicly traded companies like Southwest Airlines. If interested, these Harvard Business Review articles provide more background:
    http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/12/a-winning-culture-keeps-score/
    http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/share-your-financials-to-engage-employees/
    http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/track-customer-experience-but-dont-forget-the-financials/
    Are you familiar with open-book, and if so, are you a fan?

    • trustambassador says:

      Hi Bill. Yes I am familiar through the work of Jack Stack. We used the technique to good advantage in my organization.

  2. Jon Rennie says:

    Great article Robert. I’m working with a low trust team at the moment and I see a lot of the same issues as your low trust group.

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