May 29, 2009 Chris Fuller

Trust is the basis for communication.

Safety (and Self Preservation) are in the top 5 needs of Humans. When people don’t feel safe, when they don’t trust the environment that they are in – they can’t communicate. Their belief is that I will be harmed if I communicate. Cultures that lack trust, foster sarcasm, retaliate for open/honest debate, or criticize anything beyond the status quo CANNOT have productive communication.

Trust does not mean predictability of behavior, trust means a belief that there is safety, integrity, and a full desire for the best in the life of another. You could say, “I TRUST that John will use this information and twist it to his benefit.” Or “I TRUST that Jane will take credit for this idea.” Those are when the word trust is more about predictability. To say, “I TRUST that if Sue says the idea needs to be fleshed out a little more that is what she means” implies that you believe that Sue is operating with authenticity and integrity and not just trying to buy time to get her own agenda implemented.

Where is the trust level in your organization? On your team?

What are the factors that impact trust?

I’ll throw out a couple and then ask that the group adds more in the comments section.

· Hidden agendas

· Unresolved offenses

· Misinterpretation

· Overly competitive culture

· Lack of confrontation of wrong behaviors

What other points can you add to the mix? What are the issues that you have seen in the past that cause distrust?

We need Organizations and teams that can have the “rigorous” honesty and debate without fear of rejection, retaliation or humiliation!

When we spend more time guarding information, fighting each other, or simply closed off to working together as a team, we limit our success for the mission. Our “Trail to Glory” becomes more of a “Trial of the Gory”.

Many times sickness and disease can ravage a team and spread to other teams nearby in Dog Sled races. The cure is to treat each team member and it can take a number of weeks to get the group back to health. If it happens during the race, your race could be over!

There is hope! There are communication programs and remedies that can be put into place to grow and heal your communication culture. Step 1 of all of them goes to understanding and fixing the Trust level in the team.

Please jump in on this Friday blog and let’s discuss communication, trust, and having a healthy team!

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