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Three Ways to Build Trust in Your Organization’s Culture


Shkan Woodruff

Date Published

Mar 01, 2020
4 minute read

“Trust is earned when actions meet words.” – Chris Butler 

At The Clearing, we believe company culture goes beyond nitro coffee bars and ping pong tables. A ping pong table is an amenity; its presence doesn’t equate to a positive or outcome-oriented company culture.

Trust, not office amenities, is the foundation for strong teams and intentional cultures.

55% of business leaders believe a lack of trust in the workplace constitutes a foundational threat to their company. For this reason, organizations and individuals must find ways to build and maintain trust with their employees, clients, and each other.

“Greatness in the workplace happens when people forget that financial necessity has thrust them together, and they instead focus on the more human elements we have in common.” Forbes

Trust is fundamental but it is not automatic; trust must be earned gradually over time. Building trust is risky: both parties must be willing to communicate, live with integrity, and give without gain. Under these conditions, trust between individuals and between individuals and the system can begin to mature and grow stronger. Below are three ways to build trust in your everyday life and within your organization.

Operate with Integrity. Integrity Prime Operating with integrity isn’t based on value, morality, or intention. Integrity is based on action. If you say you will do something, do it. Say → do, it’s that simple. When people choose to operate in integrity, their words literally create the world. They reach a level of performance that otherwise would be unattainable. Unkept promises are not merely empty; they’re destructive, breed mistrust, and alienate individuals whom we have labored to enroll. (See INTEGRITY PRIME (right). The PRIMES© are documented in the book, The PRIMES: How Any Group Can Solve Any Problem, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., copyright © 2012) authored by Chris McGoff, founder of The Clearing.)

Focus on Giving. How can you create and add value even if it provides no direct benefit to you? Build trust by being generous with your time, network, and knowledge. Think of ways that you can help your clients and colleagues, adding value to their day. When you give without the expectation of receiving, you generate appreciation and increase social connectedness, the foundations of a trusting relationship.

Listen with Intention. Show up and be present in the moment. When connecting with others one-on-one it’s important to make the other person feel as if what they are saying and experiencing is the most important thing at the current time. You can achieve this by putting away devices and distractions and actively participating in the conversation by asking questions. Listen more than you speak. The art of listening with intention builds trust and leaves your colleagues feeling heard and better understood.

Building trust between individuals and between individuals with the system brings measurable value to the collective. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.”

It’s clear that individuals and organizations can benefit beyond the bottom line by infusing more trust in their relationships. How are you building trust? Drop me an email, I’d love to hear about your journey to developing impactful trust-based relationships.