In this Lightning Cast, we’ll discuss the key element to great teams: trust.  Trust increases the speed to deliver projects and reduces cost. Here’s how to develop and maintain trust on your team.

A Lightning Cast is a shorter form episode modeled after lightning talks.  You’ll get valuable content in 8 minutes or less.

Trust – It’s what Steven M. R. Covey calls “The one thing that changes everything.”  It can take a long time to build trust and only seconds to lose it.

As trust goes up, speed increases and cost goes down.  That’s because with high trust, people communicate openly, act with transparency, and meet their commitments.  Without spin, meetings are fewer, faster, and to the point.  There are less processes and less overhead needed to get things done.

Where there’s a lack of trust, people operate with hidden agendas.  There’s more documentation and heavy processes to prove what people said and did.  There’s more bureaucracy and rules, which makes it difficult to get things done.  In organizations where there’s low engagement, it’s usually due to a lack of trust.

All of this bureaucracy, red tape, disengagement, churn, and unnecessary processes is the tax low trust teams and organizations must pay.  It makes it harder to get things done.


Credibility is Key

To develop trust and be seen as a trusted advisor, we need to be trustworthy (worthy of someone’s trust).  Dale Carnegie outlined four ways that people evaluate us: what we say, how we say it, what we do, and how we do it.  It’s all about building credibility.

Credibility has four components:

Integrity: This is more than just being honest.  Do you do what you say and say what you mean?  Are you really living by your values?  Do you act with humility?  Do you act with courage and stand up for what you believe is right?

Intent: What are your motives? Do you have a hidden agenda or are you being open and transparent?  If people don’t believe that your intentions are true and honorable, they’ll never extend trust to you.

Capabilities: Your capabilities are your skills, knowledge, talents, and abilities.  We can increase our capabilities by constantly learning and improving.

Results: We need to be able to deliver the right outcomes.  Even if you have good intentions, if the results aren’t there, neither is credibility.  When people judge your credibility, they look at what results you’ve delivered in the past, what results you’re currently delivering, and what results you have the potential to deliver in the future.  To improve results, we need to be accountable, take action, and deliver on expectations.

Extending and Rebuilding Trust

To create trust within our teams and with stakeholders, we need to build trust and extend trust to others.  There’s a difference between extending trust and having blind trust in others.  We need to use good judgment when extending trust and do a little analysis.  Does the person to whom you’re extending trust have credibility and are they able to meet your expectations?  Are the expectations clear?

As the Russian proverb says, “Trust, but verify.”

When trust is lost, restoring it is difficult, but not impossible.  Think about the root cause of why trust was lost.  Did you overpromise and under deliver?  Were your intentions unclear?  Often, it’s caused by unclear expectations.

To rebuild trust, you’ll likely need to apologize or make restitution for what happened.  Be sure to speak with honesty and sincerity while discussing what happened and the current situation.  Don’t blame others and take responsibility for your actions (or inaction as the case may be).  Be sure to hear their side and act with respect for the value that others bring.  Going forward, you’ll need to be clear about expectations, keep your commitments, and deliver results.


When you have trust, people feel like you are truly listening to them, you have their best interests in mind, and your interactions will be truthful and transparent.  This leads to more engagement and it makes it easier to get things done.

Trust makes change easier, people don’t withhold information, we collaborate more, share helpful feedback, work together to improve, and innovate more.


Here are a few quick tips to help you build and maintain trust:

  • Make your motives clear by sharing the ‘why’ and intended outcomes of what you’re doing.
  • Be transparent and speak with candor. Make your work visible and speak directly without spinning the truth.
  • Be accountable and don’t use no excuses or blame.  Hold others accountable for their actions and deliverables as well.
  • Clarify and manage expectations by creating a shared understanding. Rephrasing expectations helps with this.
  • Fulfill your commitments and keep your promises. If for some reason you’ll miss a commitment, let the other person know as early as possible.  Letting them know that you weren’t able to meet a commitment you made after its due is too late.


Listen to the full episode to understand why trust is critical to success and how to build trust.



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