Week 34, 2020
High Trust: Success Formula, Financial Results, and Foundational Elements
Each week I share three ideas on and about the future of work. The theme for this week is trust.
Why am I writing about this? I’ve written about trust before. This time, the impetus was a quote from Cindy Gallop:
1. Success Formula
Entrepreneur Cindy Gallop sets the stage:
“There is a formula for success in business, and it goes like this: You set out to find the very best talent in the marketplace, and then give them a compelling and inspirational vision of what you want them to achieve for you and the company. Then you empower them to achieve those goals using their own skills and talents in any way they choose. If, at the same time, you demonstrate how enormously you value them, not just through compensation, but also verbally, every single day, and if you enable that talent to share in the profit that they help create for you, you’ll be successful. It’s so simple, and virtually nobody does it, because it requires a high-trust working environment, and most business environments are low-trust. In order to own the future of your business, you have to design it around trust.”
2. Financial Results
Professor Paul J. Zak runs the numbers:
“Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout… [H]igh-trust companies also pay more. Employees earn an additional $6,450 a year, or 17% more, at companies in the highest quartile of trust, compared with those in the lowest quartile. The only way this can occur in a competitive labor market is if employees in high-trust companies are more productive and innovative.”
3. Foundational Elements
John Baldoni breaks it down using Charles M. Green’s Trust Equation:
“[W]hat Green has done is define trust as a being composed of four attributes: credibility, reliability, intimacy and self orientation…By quantifying trust, [he] makes evaluating it more accessible as well as improving more practical. “[I]t forces people to conceive of trust in different ways,” says Green. “In particular, the idea of trust as being hurt by the level of one’s own self-orientation, and the formulation of that in equation format, is thought-provoking…[S]elf orientation, refers to personal focus, e.g. yourself or others. Too much self-focus will lower your degree of trustworthiness. It is important to demonstrate a strong ego but if your power is all about you, then few will follow.”
Green’s equation explains what trust is. Zak’s research explains why it’s important. And Gallop makes clear how it’s done.
I’ve written about Green’s Trust Equation before (see w332019). It identifies the degree of people's self-orientation as the critical element in building trust. It suggests that if we want to take Gallop up on her idea of using trust as a competitive advantage and realize some of the benefits identified by Zak, we need to start with self-orientation. People need common goals. And they need to understand that they have common goals even if their ideas for how to achieve them can sometimes diverge.
This is what purpose is all about. Your organization’s purpose is your North Star, your aspiration, your rallying cry. But above all, it’s your way of building alignment and, with that, trust. And as Gallop said above: “In order to own the future of your business, you have to design it around trust” (emphasis mine).
That’s all for this week.
Until next time, stay calm.