Can we trust you?

Years ago I worked with a man I will call ‘James’. We had a different value set, on a personal level I disliked him, and we disagreed on many things. Despite this I admired James – he was very clear on who he was and what he stood for, and his behaviour was always predictable. In this way I trusted him.

Fast-forward to now and my working relationship with my two co-authors. (If you don’t know about the book project, you’ll hear more about it soon.) We share similar values, I like them both, and whilst we have robust discussions we agree on many things. After working with them for 2 years, we can speak as one and there is a high level of trust between us.

Two very different scenarios and yet trust was created in both.

Recent Australian research commissioned by the Commonwealth Attorney–General’s Department# considering the perspective of CEOs (51 CEOs from across sectors) about organisational resilience has uncovered some interesting results.

A key finding was that CEOs believe trust is vital in fostering an organisation’s resilience. Trust was considered three times as important as the next cultural characteristic of ‘staff committed and engaged’.

Of greater interest to me was that the CEOs’ definition of trust did not so much relate to moral concepts, but rather the ability to predict how others (and the organisation) are likely to act in a particular situation.The report authors referred to this as ‘patterns of prediction’.

So in an organisational context, liking someone or agreeing with them may not be necessary for trust, hence why I trusted James. Conversely, distrusting someone may not mean disliking them or their values; it might just mean an inability to draw predictions about how that person might act in different circumstances.

On a daily basis, all your actions will be developing or destroying the trust of others, based on whether your behaviour is predictable or unpredictable. Can we trust you?
One way of creating trust through increasing predictability is to understand the below conscious motivations that drive behaviour. Motivational profiling provides the understanding to crack the code for performance. Give me a call if you would like to explore how my Fearless Leadership workshops have helped other leaders and teams build trust and exceed objectives through motivational profiling.

Have an Extraordinary day

#Dr Robert Kay, Executive Director and Dr Chris Goldspink, Chief Scientific Officer of Incept Labs, 2012 ‘CEO Perspectives on Organisational Resilience – Research Paper 1’, Commonwealth of Australia.