I went to KM Australia this week and the issue of trust was mentioned many times. I noticed, however, that very few people went beyond generic statements like trust is essential for knowledge sharing, trust is the bandwidth of communication etc. I find these high-level statements unhelpful in practice and so I suggested to the conference participants that we come up with some specific trust creating behaviours and then use a dotmocracy to vote on what everyone thought was most important.
Here are the trust creating behaviours I suggested. I also invited others to suggest their own. There were two additions; the last two in this list.
- Being open and honest about your intentions
- Looking after your colleagues when times are tough
- Consistently delivering good work
- Team members are involved in decision-making
- Being able to speak your mind in meetings
- Being generous with what you know
- Giving credit where credit is due
- Making promises and keeping them
- Being prepared to allow the group to come up with “your idea” rather than tell them how you believe it must be
- Creating an environment where positive feedback always comes first and participation is encouraged
Here are the results. About 50 people participated in the vote.
‘Making promises and keeping them’ comes out on top followed by ‘Being open and honest about your intentions’ and ‘Giving credit where credit is due.’
There were only two votes cast on the new proposals, the last two listed above, which probably reflected an error in our process. They were added to the dotmocracy after most people had already voted.
What do you think are the essential behaviours for fostering trust? Remember, behaviours are something you can spot, not abstract concepts like dedication, being humble or caring for your colleagues.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: