Are You Finishing 2018 in a Better Place?

Throughout 2018, you will no doubt have led your organisation through much change, some planned and perhaps some unplanned. Reflecting on your year, how did you do with your change leadership?

One measure of the quality of your change leadership is the volume of trust in your organisation now compared with the start of the year.

Why Trust?

Trust in an organisation is the glue that holds it together.

The better the level of trust the stronger relationships are, the higher the productivity of the team, and the more successful the organisation.

Characteristics of a High Trust Organisation

The features of a high trust organisation are these:

  • Leaders serve their stakeholders and are positive role models;
  • Accountability and support levels are strong with and for stakeholders;
  • There is a general feeling of ‘one team’ or ‘one family’;
  • Ownership of the organisation and what it does builds through active engagement and empowerment of staff;
  • There is a strong focus on frontline staff needs;
  • Success is celebrated inclusively and consistently, with all contributors sharing in rewards;
  • Learning is encouraged, as is experimentation and innovation;
  • Mistakes are learning opportunities;
  • Healthy risk-taking is encouraged, and everyone’s focus is on continuous improvement;
  • A collaborative approach to information and ideas is a norm;
  • Sharing constructive feedback is another norm;
  • Staff take action based on feedback regularly and consistently;
  • There is a consistent organisational approach to gauging staff performance and opinions, and decisive responses result from that feedback;
  • The organisation recognises and promotes talent.

Characteristics of a Low Trust Organisation

By contrast, the features of a low trust organisation are these:

  • Managers employ a top-down, rigid approach to the organisation’s hierarchy;
  • Those managers are status-orientated and use, or try to apply position power;
  • There will be a sense of ‘Them and Us’, and a widespread belief that authority is best not challenged;
  • Managers will be remote from the front line and, when present, will be seen as spying, not supporting;
  • Leaders will take credit for successful performance, rather than sharing this appropriately;
  • They will also take available rewards, whether in ‘perks’ or otherwise;
  • They will often, quite shamelessly, be self-serving in their pursuit of position, or power, or recognition;
  • Managers will punish mistakes, mete out blame, and scapegoat others to avoid responsibility;
  • Managers will also be risk-averse, and take a defensive position when uncertain of their ground;
  • A result of this behaviour is hiding problems and issues, a reduction in learning and retention of the status quo, which inhibits on-going improvement;
  • This management approach leads to limited sharing of ideas and information, or even of sharing potential ideas for improvement;
  • ‘Not rocking the boat’ is a favoured option for staff;
  • Feedback is not encouraged, and conversations take a round-about fashion, rather than directly addressing issues or concerns;
  • That way it is easier to avoid offence or to raise difficult questions;
  • Staff opinions are not valued, and any given receive limited follow-through; and,
  • Talent is either seen as a threat or an opportunity to promote self-interests;
  • Either way, talented staff are controlled, rather than liberated.

Where do you know you are, now that the year is almost at an end?

The two sets of features offered may be seen as either end of a spectrum of trust, and your version maybe somewhere along that spectrum, perhaps even nowhere near the ideal position.

Given the two comparisons, where do you know you are? A rough comparison should give you a sense of the actions required in 2019 to move towards becoming a high trust organisation.

If you are unsure where you are, what help do you need to improve your view?

I enjoy engaging in meaningful conversation. I am always happy to listen and ready to help. I would love to help you improve, so drop me a line and let’s set up a call.

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