Don’t build trust, just eliminate distrust..

17 Feb

A CEO friend was talking about how to build trust in his organization. And after we had gone through all the issues we came to the conclusion that to build trust, we have to eliminate distrust. Distrust is the real issue.

The root cause of distrust is the many-many times managers / management / Boards make promises that they don’t keep and they don’t walk the talk. Over time the workforce has become cynical to management promises.

To overcome this, we are going to focus on what we say and what we do. Our believe is that the more congruent our actions are to our words, the lower will distrust become and when we become fully congruent between words and action, trust will grow.

We recognize it is a process that will take time and we also recognize that the problem emanates from the TOP of the organization and therefore the solution to the problem is also at the TOP. We are confident that by focusing on the top team, it will have a cascade impact down the organization. No need for sloganeering screaming “let trust each other”, developing of competency assessment tools, appraisals, new core values etc.

This is a keep it simple solution – do what you say…. and people will start saying what you are doing… then again that is our job in MindSpring – to take out the complexity of business. For us it is so rewarding to work with CEOs that are so broad minded and self confident that they are able to accept reality heads on. This allows for simple interventions that give rise to rapid increases in performance, without spending truckloads of money.


Posted by on February 17, 2007 in Leadership, Transformation


3 responses to “Don’t build trust, just eliminate distrust..

  1. Alsaid

    February 21, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Why distrust happens? It is our actions that create distrust around us. (example by not keeping promises). If you want to eliminate distrust, you must start with yourself. Being truthful is one of the key to TRUST.

    The key is to get to know people and trust them to be who they are. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be- and when they’re not, we cry.

    “Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed; they are armed because they mistrust each other.”
    Ronald Reagan quotes (American 40th US President (1981- 89), 1911-2004)

  2. noone

    February 22, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Yessss, i agree with Alsaid. Distrust happens because of our own action but we can never eliminate distrust…. it is all about perception. What we need to do is to identify the root cause of distrust and lower it…if possible. The main key to reduce distrust is through communication and transparency.

  3. m0-o2

    March 4, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Robert Hurley, in the September 2006 Harvard Business Review, quantified TRUST into 10 elements. 7 of them are situational factors while 3 are interestingly, internal in nature. For a quick overview, the elements are as follows:

    a. Risk Tolerance
    b. Adaptability
    c. Relative Power

    a. Job security
    b. Similarities
    c. Allignment of interest
    d. Benevolent concern of the leader
    e. Leadership capability
    f. Leadership predictability & integrity
    g. Communication level

    A leader, although he controls the majority of these elements, may not still be able to eliminate distrust. These ten elements may have different weightage that effect a person willingness to trust.

    The benevolent concern is of an interesting topic. Perhaps in the capitalist world, the true reason of being is all about ME. Rare we find those who care about US and even more sparse, just about YOU. So much so, if a leader is a true YOU-motivated person in his subconscious reason of being, that leader may stand a chance to be on par with the greatest leaders; those who shifted the mindset of others with the littlest of means & resources. Those who brought about civilization from the ashes of ruins.

    Removing distrust seems to take a long & painful time; but its permanent elimination may need a special extra from deep down inside.

    Get real.


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