“Above all, success in business requires two things: a winning competitive strategy, and superb organizational execution. Distrust is the enemy of both. I submit that while high trust won’t necessarily rescue a poor strategy, low trust will almost always derail a good one. ”
― Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

My copy of M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust is one of my most dog-eared. So much needed wisdom for me at the time, and it has served me well. Lencioni, too, works with building trust as the first order of addressing dysfunction in teams. His approach is to counter our need for invulnerability, and I don’t outright disagree with that. He even addresses the need for accountability at a later stage. However, I find myself dwelling on accountability as a fundamental aspect of trust.

Accountability is when we say what we will do, then do as we say. When that isn’t possible, we communicate proactively as to any changes we must make. Accountability develops trust in our word because our actions follow, and we otherwise manage expectations.

So, in professional environments that have yet to pursue emotional competence as a way to enhance trust for effectiveness, the pursuit of accountability among individuals and teams (i.e. departments) and across an organization is a suitable avenue.

In my early days at A.T. Kearney as an Operations Assistant, VP Ron Seger saw talent in me and within the year had me moved into a national position looking after the development of a couple of systems / processes we eventually implemented globally. To this day, I am thankful for his trust in me to see and support the pursuit of his vision. I have just started reading “Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Mighty Oak in the Acorn” by Tojo Thatchenkery & Carol Metzker. It strikes me that Ron was abundant in this type of intelligence.

There appear to be a combination of ways to view our human assets. There are those who have deep experience; there are those who have talent for quickly learning what interests them; there are those who have a talent for building on their experience. I imagine there are as many combinations as there are people on Earth.

I wonder, though, do we as readily recognize the talent as the experience? I think we can agree that resumes reveal experience, and what of talent? Is talent for a new endeavour apparent on a resume, and if so, how so? Or is this why networking to make personal connections and build relationships is so important?

I am curious. Care to share your thoughts on the matter?

Something has got to give.  If you haven’t read it, Hofstede’s Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind has a lot of great insight.  I’d like to share a piece with you here.   Hofstede refers to differences between cultures that have either a short-term or long-term orientation.  One of these differences is the axiom that serves as the code to how cultures approach differences.  The axioms are that we can look at our differences in two ways:  1) If A is true, it’s opposite B must be false or 2) If A is true, it’s opposite B can also be true.  Within the broader text, the second axiom goes further to say … and together they produce a wisdom superior to either A or B.

There are a number of interpretations that might be drawn.  Win-Lose vs Win-Win being one.  When we are able to accept another’s perspective and appreciate both our own needs and those of another or others, with time, attention and effort, we are often able to produce a greater solution.  One could argue that such ability is key to innovation.  Perspectives come together to find a solution taking into account as many angles as exist perspectives.  This brings to mind how valuable diversity of thought can be when we are able to transcend our need to win at another’s expense and appreciate and assimilate alternate viewpoints.

The question is raised, how does this happen?  How do we create such a situation?  I submit it starts with creating a foundation of trust, starting with self trust, which inevitably builds our trust of others.  Because we see the world as we are, when we trust ourselves, we in turn trust the world around us.  Such trust enables us to approach others and situations trusting unknown intent.  We drop the assumption of bad intent and replace it with good.  Just following the 80/20 rule, a vast majority of the time, especially within communities, whether neighborhood or professional, we are going to encounter trustworthiness.  I would go so far as to argue that even half of the 20% encompasses misinterpreation and miscommunication.

Folks, there is more positive than negative in our world.  It is simply our focus on the negative that magnifies it.  We want more of the same than our need to “win” will let us realize.  So next time someone has a different view than you, practice listening with heart.  You might just hear something familiar.  I’m willing to bet on it.

Hugs,

Jacqueline

I have started facilitating sessions with folks in job clubs on the subject of Building Trust in Transition.  In preparation, I shared my drafts with a couple of colleagues, and one colleague, Steve Gawron, suggested addressing Grief In Transition as a precursor.  So I have, recognizing that along the lines of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, some folks may just not be in a place to think about, let alone address, actioning trust in their lives.

I also attended a professional development network meeting where Lee Hecht Harrison introduced us to a method they offer to help companies through change.  As we discussed the process that employees traverse as they deal with change, it occurred to me that the issues we face with regard to change are fundamentally involved with the grief process.  Bottom line, change is about the loss of what has been, moving toward what is to be.  Evidence exists that the grief process, although most evident with the loss of a loved one, is also observed with the loss of employment and other stressors.  So, although we may not negotiate grief to the depths we do in these more stressful situations, it must be our human nature to do so to some degree, though at different paces depending on personality, with regard to all loss; hence, with all change.

Change has been dubbed “The New Normal”, and rightly so, though it occurs to me that the quote “the only constant is change” has been around, well, since well before our “New Normal”.  I find that simply bringing awareness of the grief process to folks in transition makes it all the more bearable, transition that is.  There comes a sense of camaraderie in learning it is simply part of our human nature, that it is a process, that it is a process we can witness once aware of the steps, and a process with which we can eventually become comfortable with practice. 

And so it can be with the grief of change.  Let’s say change is the ocean, vast and looming.  As it hits shore, it crashes in waves, large waves down to small waves.  Each time I visit the beach, I always take my first encounter to just watch.  I stand, or sit, and watch the waves come in.  I look beyond the waves to the seeming calm.  Next, I reacquaint myself with the water, ankle-deep first, then inch myself in deeper until I must hop over the smaller waves.  At waist deep, I must jump up and over to keep my head above water.  Eventually, I become used to the rhythm of the waves, they become familiar.  I actually start to enjoy them passing as if through me.  Then, I take on the larger waves.  I dive straight into them, confident.  Then it is time to swim on through them to the other side where my feet no longer touch bottom, where I tread water and float in calmness and familiarity and trust in my ability to swim.

No doubt you, the reader, may approach the ocean in a different fashion for all kinds of reasons.  Perhaps you are completely unfamiliar with the ocean.  Perhaps unfamiliar, mostly, with how to manage an encounter with the ocean.  Perhaps fearful of this unknown entity.  We are like that with change, aren’t we?  Each approaching change in our unique way, each encountering the grief process as individuals at different paces.  And what if each of us was aware of the commonality among us to traverse grief as a process?  And what if we each was gifted with the realization that it is normal, part of being human?  And what if we all knew with certainty that the last stage of grief is acceptance, light at then end of the “grief tunnel”?

Awareness of the grief associated with change could very well be our saving grace toward success in a changing world.  Let’s appreciate grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – in each other, and support one another through it by sharing our grief experiences and its process.  Let’s all get to treading change, calmly and confidently, to succeed in this “new normal” world.

Hugs out to ya…

~ Jacqueline

Do you feel it?  Do you sense it?  Do you see it?  There is a paradigm shift of great proportion occurring in our society, the world.  Sound research over the years has led us to better information about parenting, propelling us – finally – out of the “behaviorist era”.  We are discovering that behaviorism is unsuitable, in and of itself, to bestowing on our children the hopes and dreams we have always wished for them – self-worth and self-esteem, an innate sense of direction, loving values.

So, the dawn of the “Millennials” feels disturbing.  It is my observation that “Millennials” represent the extreme pendulum swing encountered in rebellion of out dated tradition and action, though this is the beginning.  As these “Millennials” enter our workforce, they do not respond to the behaviorist ideals of management traditionally effective with a population raised in this way.  We are left feeling uneasy, disturbed, fearful even.  Add to the “Millennials” the general “enlightenment” of the older workforce.  We no longer want our buttons pushed.  We want something to believe in.  Many of those values we held dear as children – because we never lose our life’s essence so evident in childhood – of fairness, of individuality, of self-directed fulfillment, of choice – play out throughout our years, no matter how hard we try to continue “parenting them out”.

“Be efficient with things; be effective with people.”  Popular quote, bound to become even more so, as it reveals everything about this paradigm shift we are experiencing.  To be the most effective in a global economy, we need to take the time and effort necessary to create the awareness and relationship skills required to support successful individuals to be successful teams to be successful organizations, to be a successful market… to be a successful society.   There is something to everything.  There is value to everything under the sun and moon, though no one thing has the market cornered.  Funny though, how it seems to be our human nature to constantly seek that “one thing”.  Ok, so there is “one thing”, but it is not at the level we wish to find it.  It is a global thing, not a detail.

There is enough awareness that the fulcrum is tipping away from the effectiveness of fear mongering, a fundamental aspect of the “behaviorist era”.  Trust, work/life integration, nurturing of our strengths, synergistic teams are future themes of the human asset equation.  They will prove most effective, and they will mean us taking the time.  Truly, if we have efficient process and system tools in place, the time is there.  We just need to consciously make the distinction to focus on educating and elevating the human spirit, and success will come, in more forms than currency.

Give someone a hug, it is so much more than a handshake…

~ Jacqueline