Trust is one of those invisible forces, like the wind. We cannot see it but we can feel it.
Like the wind, trust can blow extra air into our sails when we need to get things done. Like the wind, trust can clear clouds of misunderstanding in important conversations preventing stalemates and conflicts. Like the wind, we can observe what is possible and how things flow when trust is present and what happens when it is missing – personally and in the business.
Despite the critical role trust plays in the business it remains a tricky subject in practice. Many managers would easily admit that having trust in business is important. However, because it is apparently hard to measure as objectively and readily as quantifiable variables, like financials, we often times make decisions that destroy or impair trust – with our colleagues, suppliers, customers or communities – and thus immediately or with some delay severely impair or even completely destroy our team performance, business results as well as the responsiveness, ingenuity and contribution of pivotal people around us.
Put very simply, without trust there is no sustainable business. What enhances trust enhances business, even if it is not visible straight away, and vice versa. We know that with low trust, everything lasts longer, costs more and flows less. So ignoring trust or putting it on the back burner could be a serious mistake of any business.
Organisations like Google, Apple, or Ocado (home delivery service in the UK) have shown that focus on continually building and growing trust with key people and parties involved makes very good business sense. They are willing to leave money and “irresistible” business opportunities on the table if it could impair trust and the quality of relationships with the these important constituents now and in the future. They know that even in the times of difficult trade-offs, imperfect information, unintentional mistakes and fast-moving changes, maintaining and restoring trust is pivotal to their thriving place in the market, engagement of their talent, performance under pressure and prospects for their future.
Focusing on and measuring trust is not just in the domain of the large and innovative companies anymore. Currently there are many ways to measure, and consequently cultivate trust on a regular basis for everyone – from simple and playful tools like the TRUST test on Facebook that gauges how people create value and most naturally build trust to more complex 360 tools that engage entire teams and organisations to monitor and accelerate their trust and flow quarter by quarter, month by month, and even day by day.
If trust is so important for your business and teamwork choose to regularly pay attention to it, track it, measure it – in all the key business relationships. You will find that it becomes the perfect catalyst for you make to magic happen in your business and keep it moving forward with both great speed and lasting joy – like the blowing wind moves the sailboat swiftly along its journey on the sea.