Friday, December 28, 2018

The Trust Formula

Trust = Communication +Transparency + Delegation + Reciprocity + Verification


High performing teams succeed because they are corporate in nature. There are many definitions of trust and what trust entails including role-based trust, vulnerability-based trust, and reciprocity. No blind trust or trust too little. There is no returning to the days when organizations expected and received unconditional loyalty. A company can have all the recognition, celebrations and such it wants, but unless the relationship is a trustworthy one, these activities will be of limited value in increasing engagement and employee performance. Trust is bi-directional.  Communicate, delegate, trust and hold accountable. Does trust have its magic formula: Trust = Communication +Transparency + Delegation + Reciprocity + Verification?

Communication: Communication is soft, but it’s one of the most critical factors of business success. There are all sorts of miscommunication at the different level of the organization, cause mistrust and decrease productivity. For example, there are communication gaps between management and employees, there’s “lost in translation” syndrome in cross-functional conversations. For communicating shared goals to build trust, effective communicators are working to spread that throughout the organization in a diverse set of activities with mixed communication styles, and sometimes, they have to be fluent in multiple business dialects, with contextual intelligence; and keep communication flow with verification.

Transparency: Generally speaking, transparency enforces trust in the organization. You could supervise with control of every move. But to build trust, it is really important for teams as every member is always aware of how the whole process is going on, what results have already been achieved. The transparency is to transform the organization into the system approach, not through command-control hierarchy only. It has to be implemented systematically and communicate democratically. But keep the word of caution: Transparency can be a double edge sword if the audience doesn't understand and embrace the intent in the right spirit.

Delegation: Micromanagement often diminishes trust. There is a logical scenario to good delegation practice for business leaders and managers today. Before you can assign a task to someone else and provide the necessary support and guidance to successfully complete it, you must know exactly what you want; define the job for yourself. Find the right person to do the job. Get agreement from the person to whom you delegate the task to accept responsibility and accountability for the job. It does not mean telling someone how to do it your way. This is giving them enough information to figure out how to do it their way.

Reciprocity: Trust is something we invest in based on our experiences, whatever the context. The true trust is multidimensional. It encompasses trusting self, trusting others, and earning the trust of others. Reciprocity is an important part of building trust and allows predictability and stability in the relationship. Reciprocity works because of shared goals, which create less stress on the relationship. Building a creative environment with a trustful relationship means that people take responsibilities for failures, be inclusive, and focus on learning and experimenting better way to do things.

Verification: Trust, but verify. The high degree of the team’s self-management capability reflects its maturity to be disciplined enough to do the work. You know the team will deliver the best outcome and give them the freedom to do it on their way, figure out alternative solutions, and deliver the best outcome. “Trust but verify" is easy to live by, but ignoring the impact on that micromanagement of your team's decisions and outputs can create a negative impact on the bottom line whether it is easily visible or not.


Trust is vital for the betterment of human existence and providing a competitive advantage for business. The key to trust is to establish trustworthiness as a character trait and the digital culture. To be able to innovate and is able to trust, have the courage to learn when you fail; which we all do every now and then, take responsibility for the failure, learn from it and move forward. Trust can only be built in an organizational environment conducive to process transparency and ideal-seeking behavior (behavior-enhancing organizational structure). Trust makes the business and the world a better place.

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