Whilst we were never 100% certain that we would win the Rugby World Cup, many Kiwis had a quiet confidence. It was not arrogance, it was knowing our current All Blacks have done the hard yards, have great systems and reliable people involved surrounded by an overriding fantastic skill level – this made us think “we really should be ok on the day”… We knew that if they were faced with a decision that was potentially game-changing that Richie and co would make the right decisions. Due to the past, they collectively had the character to get us through to the right result – we trusted them. Does your business have that level of trust built into it? How about your own team and then you personally?
For you to retain customers and to win new customers, you need to be trusted. For you to be the best team leader possible you need to be trusted. For you to go somewhere with your career you need to be trusted. Trust is built and maintained by many small actions over time. Warren Buffett once said “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
I suggest that most of us do not take the time to think about our actions that build our trust factor nor our actions that reduce our trust factor. What I get clients to do is to make a list of all the things they do that makes them trust worthy in the eyes of a customer and conversely to make a list of all the things that they do (deliberately or inadvertently) that customers will be thinking “my trust here is dropping!”… I think that at some stage between Graham Henry, Steve Tew and Steve Hansen, they have done this with the All Blacks. They act as a team and as individuals in a way that exudes trust. You can take these two questions to the next level and ask yourself “what do I personally do that makes people trust me” and “what do I personally do that will make people doubt that they can trust me”. If you make the two lists, I am sure that you will come up with a really good list of what to keep doing and what to think about and stop doing. Without trust, you have nothing. With it, you can do great things. Think about it.
If you as the leader of your business or team are not consistent in your actions and how you manage and lead, your team will find it hard to trust you. Whilst I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, I imagine that Steve Hansen and his management team are very consistent in how they act… They will be trusted by the greater team. Trust then means that individuals can have those hard conversations with “management” when they need to (and vice versa) and they will be able to have those conversations sooner than later. All meaning that issues will be sorted quicker than otherwise and the issues will never become as big a problem as they might because they are openly raised and addressed today, rather than tomorrow (when the issue would be bigger). This is all based on trust. Trust enables people to talk to you about things that they naturally are not very keen to talk about.
One of the best business books I ever read is called “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. Peter Lencioni examines what you need to have in a team for it to be high performing. The first issue in “dysfunctional teams” is a lack of trust… In his opinion (I agree) teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage. Teamwork starts with people in the team trusting each other. What can you do to get people in your team to trust each other more? Ask them for their ideas on how to grow the trust in your team too.
This is something the All Blacks must have done. If working out how to trust each other more is good enough for them, it is good enough for the rest of us. If you can get all the people in your organisation rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time (eg. win a World Cup twice in a row)! Complete trust in each other is step number one to improvement and then potential greatness.
Zac de Silva is an award-winning business coach who owns www.businesschanging.com and www.accme.co where you can sign up for regular business-thinking questions. He is co-founder of www.nurturechange.com the Fiji business retreat November 11–15, 2015.
As published in the Sunday Star Times, November 21, 2015 – read it online here.
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