In our last Insider we gave you a chance to discover your company’s “Trust Quotient”. This time we’ll help you think about when to take action and what actions are appropriate to grow trust in your company.
Many people think there is only one kind of time, but in reality, there are at least two kinds of time. We understand and feel all too well the tyranny our Google and Outlook Calendars ply us with as we attempt to do too many things in too little time.
However, the other more important kind of time is Kairos time. Kairos time is the opportune or supreme moment of knowing what action to take at a particular time.
How do you know what time it is in your business?
How do you know what time it is in your business? Often we find ourselves faced with two conflicting actions before us to build trust. Let’s consider two that can come into conflict: to build trust by running with your strengths or to build trust by keeping yourself relevant.
- Running with your strengths:
To undertake this strategy to build trust is to stay within that area where your talents, abilities and passion allow you to be the best in your world. Your team mates know that they can count on you to deliver in that area and you have a great track record of consistency.
Consider Michael Jordan, who is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. What you may not remember is that there was a short time when he did not focus on his strengths. He made a short foray into playing AA minor league baseball. While few athletes could even consider playing at a professional level in more than one sport, he discovered that he could—but that he was merely a mediocre baseball player:
As a player, Jordan appeared in 127 games and made 497 PA as an outfielder posting a .202 with 3 homers, 17 doubles and a triple. He stole 30 bases in 48 attempts – 61% – walked 51 times, struck out 119 times and produced 51 RBIs.
Perhaps he confused his excellence as an athlete who could play two sport professionally with his excellence as basketball savant. So after he returned to basketball, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to three more championships to add to the three he had already won.
His teammates trusted in his skill on the basketball court to win those championships. 1
Can your team mates count on you to hit the “winning bucket”?
So consider your strengths: can your team mates count on you to hit the “winning bucket?” Are you or someone on your team diminishing trust by trying something else, spreading yourself too thin, and NOT going with your greatest strengths?
- Keeping yourself relevant.
If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.
Gen. Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army Chief of Staff 2
Sometimes going with one’s strengths leads to the opposite result: rather than growing for 10 years in your strengths you may be having one year repeated ten times over. Consider the challenge of keeping your skills continually developing to grow your relevance in the workplace. Because it’s often difficult to predict which trend is real and which will take you to a dead end, you may end up following the fad of the day rather than staying focused on growing in the utilization of your strength. You may end up repeating one year’s experience ten times rather than honing your craft.
We business owners need to be like this gentleman when it comes to pushing ourselves to the cutting edge of relevance:
I am always learning and working at the margin of my ignorance.
Harvey Golub, Chairman of Campbell Soup Company and former CEO of American Express3
We need to be learning to chip away at our ignorance while not going so far out on a limb that we chase relevance until we get too far afield from what we do well. To follow learning just for its own sake may rapidly take us out of the sweet spot of our strength.
Kaizen, continual improvement, is what separates a growing company in today’s hyper competitive environment. And yet continual improvement must build upon and not undermine trust. What will ultimately separate your firm from your competitors is strengths-based execution linked by chains of trust.
Let’s consider a situation that may be facing your company.
You have an employee who believes he is building trust by operating in his strengths so the team knows they can always count on him. On the other hand, he is unwilling to learn new software that the team will be adopting because he fears it will diminish his performance. Another team mate decides to focus on the latest technology and is continually learning while never mastering the newest technology.
So who’s doing right? Who’s actually building trust with their team?
The answer is it depends on what time it is, on the kairos in your business. Here are a few questions that may help you discern what trust-building time it is in your business:
- What are the overall company and departmental goals and objectives? Do you need to improve quality/consistency–which may favor the approach of the first person—or do you need to deal with rapid change in customer expectations—which may favor the second?
- What is the temperament and core talent of each person and how do their choices fit or conflict with their choices?
- What is the Kairos for building trust within the team?
- Where is each member in their development? Is each person doing what’s comfortable or what’s needed?
1 Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust, p. 105
2 Ibid., p. 103
3 Ibid., p. 106
Let us know of a trust dilemma you may be facing – we’ll be glad to address it in a future Insider. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 303-871-9550 with your dilemma or to get our complementary “Trust Quotient”
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