A way to create more trust

It has been interesting; recently working with two clients I heard the following phrase: “I don’t know if they (Their teams) trust that they can share openly”.  I contrast that with a trend I see on the various blog posts and feeds where leaders are recognizing the value and need to create more trust in their organization.

So here is the question I have been pondering; “If leaders know trust is important AND they understand that trust makes business more profitable (There is some great data here). Why is it so difficult? I mean is it really rocket science?

My observation is that the reason trust is difficult in organizations is because there are mixed messages and values.  For example, I have been in sales for a long time and I have observed that there are some sellers who will sandbag their upcoming sales. That is they will tell you there is less likelihood of a win so they are not under pressure to do more.  There are others who over inflate their sales because they want to look good. As a result as a leader I have to sort through the data, my experience with each of these reps and then make a guess as to what is coming in.

This guess affects everything else in the organization – hiring plans, resource demands, growth or contraction plans. I am willing to bet every manager wants accuracy here.  So why does the team “fudge” the numbers? They don’t feel safe to tell the truth.

If Chris was honest about the super big deal that he had in the wings, then Jim would count on him to close it and make up for the shortfall that Jerry was forecasting. And Jerry is not telling Jim about his shortfall because he is praying that he can find a way to make it up before the end of the quarter so his job is not at risk.

What might work better? Here are my suggestions:

  • Be intentional with your team and communicate that the good, the bad and the ugly all need to be front and center.
  • Let them know it is safe in the near term.
    • That is to say, keep the high expectations AND be sure to nurture the people on your team. So while the rep may not control the buyer’s decision they do control their own activity.
    • As a leader I can keep you safe as long as you are hustling. And I can look for ways to keep your head in the game.
  • Be clear about values and expectations. I am fortunate to be affiliated with a number of great firms where people are clear on values and where these are communicated and reinforced regularly. If you think about this the values are the boundaries that create the container within which we can be free to operate.

What will you do to increase the levels of trust within your organization?

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