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Trust AND Verify

Alan Andersen

Would anyone actually say that "Trust" isn't valuable? I doubt it, however, I find that most Leaders, Managers and Front-line staff don't pause long enough to realize many of their individual or organizational issues are due to lack of trust.

Instead of realizing the power of mutual trust and working to create space for trust to grow, we skip past the interpersonal effort and jump straight to blaming. We accuse slim profit margins, poor performance and even lost productivity for our individual or organizational mistakes. This lack of trust is not merely corrosive, eventually it will sandbag you and your business from performing at its full capacity.

What's more is that in 2004 Stephen M. R. Covey discovered that the cost of complying with federal rules and regulations in the U.S. was right around $1.1 trillion! The essence of rules and regulations pertain to a fundamental distrust that people will follow implemented guidelines. Think about that within the context of your organization. What is the hard cost that you're paying because you don't have a culture of trust?

Okay, Alan. I get it, as the Leader I need to foster an environment that will allow trust to grow. What is the quickest route to growing a culture of real trust?

Great question! You may recall that President Reagan popularized an old Russian phrase, "Trust but verify". We will take our cue from President Reagan here and "Shandel" the concept 😉 ...

Instead of "trust but verify" we are going to replace the "but" with an "and". This important edit indicates that Leaders, Managers and Front-line employees are willing to begin trusting one another and agree to create the space to verify a job or project well done

The pushback we usually hear is that, "this 'Trust AND Verify' idea seems like semantics". However, I assure you that this not the case. This approach allows your people to more closely and more often see how KPI's are being achieved, not to mention an increased opportunity to give praise where praise is due because you're looking at deliverables together.

Well then, why are you highlighting the importance of a couple of conjunction words if it's more than semantics? We need a practical tool that will help our organization foster this culture of trust!

Agreed and much like setting expectations for a newly licensed driver, I want to make sure that we are on the same page for using this new vehicle for communication and action. In other words, unless we intend to earnestly commit to working "Trust AND Verify" into our cultural DNA from the top down, we will only poison what organizational health we do have. Merely announcing a new concept for getting things done but eventually forgetting the practice will be detrimental. 

Now that we share the same perspective for this concept and understand the importance of consistent follow through, I will share 5 steps* for cultivating organizational trust in the day-to-day tasks... 

5 Phases of Empowerment:

1) I do. You watch. We Talk.

2) I do. You help. We Talk.

3) You do. I help. We talk.

4) You do. I watch. We Talk.

5) You do. We Talk.


I'll close with this...

If you, your Leaders, Managers and Front-Line employees commit to practicing the healthy discipline of "Trust AND Verify" you will not only grow a strong culture but you will create a healthy organizational ecosystem.

We have found that when people (of all levels of responsibility) commit to this way of getting things done, job satisfaction and overall morale has grown exponentially! Do you have feedback on the "Trust AND Verify" approach to growing a culture of trust? Share with us what has or hasn't worked. 

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

*These 5 Steps are our adaptation from various leadership materials. The core concept however is not original to Shandel Group.

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