I’m used to saying that trust is at the basis of every efficient team or organization. It’s an enabler to healthy debates, clear communication, and relationships that develop a lot of energy to deliver the expected value.
It’s not easy to build this kind of trust. It takes time. It takes true exchanges and proof of commitment. It asks availability and resilience. But once in place, you succeed in creating the environment that helps being yourself, to put on the table any ideas, to try and make mistakes.
Even if there is a lot of way to lost the Trust you’ve built with your teammates, over the years, I’ve identified one reason that is not directly dependent on your deep behaviors. It gradually nibbles at what you are trying to build up to a difficult point of balance that can turn upside down at the slightest hitch.
I’m talking about direction & alignment. Precisely a lack of direction & alignment. And this highlights that above Trust, defining, believing, communicating, and selling the direction you are following are the bases of every organization. And everything else is built on top of it. If it seems pretty obvious at first sight, there are several steps in an organization where you can lose it.
- #1 At the start of the company, when incidentally the solution become more important than the problem to solve
- #2 During the growth, when it could be dangerous to take the easy way rather than the path that leads to the objective
- #3 During the maturity phase, when the direction is more uncertain as the company tries to find the right next strategy
And maintaining the direction is a day to day activity. It takes its essence from everyday actions, from every decision taken, and should be shared by everyone in the company. One of the best ways to lose the direction, is mis-alignment. When teams observe different voices that lead in different directions. And that’s the point where, no matter what you are trying to build with your teammates, you put at risk the Trust you have built. Teams start to feel a lack of coherence, a lack of drive, and then, feel lost.
TL;DR Act and take every decision in accordance with the defined direction. Make sure everyone follows the same path, with the same goal.