Trust Is Earned

Cody Royle
Jul 10 · 2 min read

In the first address to his new team, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich bristled: “One good season is not good enough, I’m just going to tell you that right now.”

With long-time superstar Peyton Manning having transitioned to an elite new quarterback in Andrew Luck, the Colts had spent the better part of 15 years as a dominant force in the NFL, including winning the Super Bowl in 2006.

Recently, though, the club has been decimated by injuries, poor recruitment, and a lack of identity. As the 2018 squad looked on attentively, Reich outlined the key ingredients that he saw as necessary for the team to return to being perennial contenders:

  1. Trust
  2. Toughness
  3. Teamwork

Describing his idea of Teamwork, Reich said “It’s about us. It’s got to be about us.” Further defining Toughness, he noted, “There’s no room for complacency, no room for coasting. Toughness is the relentless drive to get better every day.” But it was the conviction behind his first ingredient, Trust, that I found particularly enchanting.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich

Anyone that has led teams knows that trust is a mandatory element of success, but it was especially poignant in this case given Reich only got the Colts job because their original hire, Josh McDaniels, backed out at the 11th hour.

“Trust is the foundation of everything, and we can’t get to where we want to go unless you trust each other, and trust the process,” Reich told his players.

A mesmerizing orator, Reich was now on a role. He continued, “There is an element of earning each other’s trust, but because [of the Colts’ DNA] it means that trust is given. We’re going to start with trust.”

We’re going to start with trust.

And why wouldn’t the Colts start with trust? Players that make it to the NFL are put through a stringent vetting process that resembles a covert CIA agent who has the nuclear launch codes.

However, under normal circumstances, when any new leader comes into any environment they tend to monitor every single detail until they’re fully up to speed. You might have had a new boss whose first activity was to cut back on expense limits, or sit in on every meeting, or be CC’d on all emails. To that type of boss, trust is earned.

But if your organization attacks its recruitment process with purpose and is thorough in its cultural development, what reason would there be skeptical of your people?

Your people are adults, treat them that way.

Where Others Won’t

Author and podcaster Cody Royle explores the crossover of leadership between sports and business.

Cody Royle

Written by

I study how teams create sustained success | Where Others Won’t | Head Coach of AFL Team Canada | Avocado Toast Aficionado | #altMBA

Where Others Won’t

Author and podcaster Cody Royle explores the crossover of leadership between sports and business.

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