INC. PARTNER INSIGHTS  •  VISA

Why Your People Don't Trust You - And How To Change This

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There’s you.

There’s them.

You’re not the same.

That’s the net-net on why people don’t trust one another. When we experience a person as the same as us we’re far more likely to trust quickly, consistently, deeply.

Having compelling company values is one of the best ways to create a “same as” experience.

But wait a sec, what if you have values and they aren’t working?

When values are not being embodied/lived by teams it’s often because:

Values are too hard to remember; use an acronym, like P-A-T-H, C-I-R-C-L-E, C-A-R-E.

People don’t know how to model your values; explain in bullets how to live your values. For example: 

Integrity guides our decisions and actions.

We keep our commitments.

We deliver quality work on time, as specified.

We speak the truth, even when it’s unpopular.

We do not hide bad news.

We honor confidentiality at all costs. 

People modeling your values are not celebrated weekly, as in, “High Five to George for being Results Oriented and Creative! He found a work-around to the CRM bug and ensured the system was released on time and per spec. Rock on George!”

People don’t feel emotionally connected to the mission and vision, so the values aren’t helping them to make the world a better place

Here’s a process to set emotionally compelling values. You may want to do this with your executive team, as a set of values that are shared across the team is even more emotionally engaging. Thanks to Sharon Pira for turning me on to this simple process. 

Think about a time in your life when you felt happy, powerful, and had many choices, the best time of your life. This can be a day, a period of time, a time when you were young, in high school, college, or the present.

Write about it briefly, and write about the feelings associated with it for you. What values were being honored during this time? Confidence, commitment, contribution, joy, integrity? Make a list.

Now think about one of the worst times in your life. A time when you felt trapped, you had few or no choices, a time when you were at rock bottom.

Write about it briefly, and write down the feelings associated with it for you. What values were not being honored during this time?

Fill in the blanks:

If ___________, ___________, ___________, ___________, ___________ [list more than five values if needed] were missing from my life, I would be totally miserable.

When I have ___________, ___________, ___________, ___________, ___________ [list more than five values if needed] I feel peace and harmony with myself and the world.

Notice the values that kept showing up and make a new list of what words showed up more than twice.

Decide on your top five values.

 Now take the top five values from each team member and create your top five list for your company.

Now there’s longer you and them. There’s Us.

In my next blog I’ll cover how to recruit for values to ensure your team is aligned with your tribal code of conduct.

Last updated: Aug 20, 2014

CHRISTINE COMAFORD | Columnist

For over 30 years, Christine Comaford has been helping leaders create predictable revenue, deeply engaged teams, and profitable growth. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller Smart Tribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com or Visa.



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