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What Creates Trust?

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We use the word Trust all the time.  We know how important it is at all levels within an organization and without — with our customers, vendors, opinion leaders, our community.  But like so many broad and powerful words, we rarely dig deeper for a much more comprehensive and meaningful understanding of what the word means at an emotional level.  The word is meaningless if it carries no emotional value.

For us, when working with clients, we talk about the “felt experience” from our words and actions because it is precisely the felt experience of human beings that drives them to act, to wonder, to be curious, to behave differently.

The primary felt experience of Trust is safety.  If we trust someone, like our immediate supervisor/manager, then they become safer to us.  It is okay to be open and  honest (vulnerable).  Our guard drops, we are able to focus more on what we are doing rather than on protecting ourselves or being defensive.  The felt experience is one of being safe, comfortable, and at ease.  It opens up workplace bandwidth.

All of these characteristics nurture engagement.  If we want our employees to be more engaged in what they do, then they need to trust us.  Without trust, it would be difficult to get the high levels of engagement that translate to increased productivity and satisfaction.

So here are a few ways that you can build trust within your organization.  Please feel free to comment on other things you think we should add to the list.

•    Predictability
•    Consistency
•    Integrity
•    Fairness
•    Congruence

BEST PRACTICE — Write each of these words down at the top of a sheet of paper and list all the things you can do to improve them within your organization.

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Don Rheem’s presentation on Employee Engagement gets underneath the real “whys” on the behavior of discretionary effort. I found his examples to be relative and understandable. I see how our leaders are making better connections with the hearts of our people, so everyone better understands the goals of the enterprise.

--Peter Rittenhouse, Director of Supply Chain
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