Building the right organisation is a complex process that requires constant and on-going focus and adjustment. Regardless of organisational size – whether it’s a small start-up with only a few employees or a large organisation with a large number of employees – the ingredients are the same; recruitment of the right people, putting the right team together and setting the conditions is crucial. In line with this, making sure that the employees have the right competences, and have clear agreement of expectations also, calls for attention. Furthermore, the direction should be set; goals, vision and strategies should be well defined, shared and become a part of the every-day work environment. All together, ingredients that all add to the process of building a great organisation.
However, one main aspect needs to be addressed in order to fulfil the organisational cocktail. This is trust! Regardless of organisational size or age – this small little word with great effect – need to be taken into consideration in order to build an organisation, that is capable of adapting to the conditions of modern markets.
Trust is a frequently used word within contemporary management – and is a crucial piece to fulfil the great organisational puzzle. Trust is a small but never the less – a powerful word that is reflected in many organisational processes. Trust is about having established relations to others you can depend on, relations that creates the flexibility to create a great flow within the organisation. This is an indispensable asset within modern business.
Especially in the Nordics, we are well known for our high level of trust, involving employees, delegating tasks and provide employees with responsibility. Employees who deals with tasks at an everyday level – have a specialized knowledge – and therefore also a great knowledge about consumers, products and market, that should be put into play. All this, allow us to create agile organisations, that moves forward by adjusting rapidly to the changing costumers and market needs. However, it is not always the case! We are not good enough to unfold the vacant potential that is within our organisations that follow the involvement of employees and applying their knowledge and competences. Furthermore, we do not engage the fully potential, that benefit from satisfied employees, who wants to be involved and ‘go an extra mile’. Therefore, we simply miss out on a resource pool – resulting in slower and less adaptive organisations. Trust is however a major piece to unlock this potential!
But why is trust so important?
Studies have shown, that there are great advantages within managing a high level of trust in organisations. For example, relations build on a high level of trust have a wide range of organisational as well as personal benefits. When we have a high level of trust our relations are more confident. This means, that we are more relaxed and less reluctant to create unnecessary control. This result in time and cost reduction – due to the fact that we simply reduce time spend on unnecessary control. Taking part of a team means that the trust factor creates conditions of a better corporation between team members as well as creating a spirit of confidence and dependency.
Studies have also shown, that with trust we are more likely to commit to a mutual understanding of things. We easily take the same views on things. Taking this into perspective, we easily move simultaneously toward same goal with little or no resistance. Having a workforce that work simultaneously toward the same goal – within the same pace – has a great advantage. In a competitive light, this is a main factor when competing in a global and differentiated market. The ability to adhere fast to consumer and market change makes an indispensable factor for competition.
Finally, studies have also shown, that with a high level of trust we have a higher job satisfaction. This calls for a very simple point; when we trust our colleagues or managers we are happier at work. We get through the workday easier and we enjoy work more. This again reflects our level of motivation and the impact of contributions towards the common goal – we are more likely to create ideas and be proactive when we have great job satisfaction. Again, happy employees easily adapt to changes and adhere to these because resistance is reduced.
The point that trust plays an important role within organisations has also been supported by a study done by DI in 2014. This showed that 90 % of the interviewed managers agreed that trust is an important element for organisations competitive abilities. This was also supported by a Top 100 Best Companies analysis from the US. This also showed, that employees who experience a high level of trust within their organisation are also better performers.
All in all trust is a considerable factor when building a strong and agile organisation. That involve an dedicated workforce who are motivated to do their best every day and have the willingness to take part and unfold the full potential – at all times.
There is however, undeniably no easy way to creating an organisation of high trust. There is no quick fix within the world of trust. Building trust is a long-term process that requires determination and dedicated step-by-step progress requiring improvement of relations, adjustment of conditions and also willingness for personal development. This is regardless of geography, cultural tradition of trust or organisational size or age. Trust always starts out with improving our own behaviour – taking a critical view on our own relations and attitudes and ability to “walk-the-talk”. From here – we can build and expand and make major improvements. Trust requires dedication – but is definitely worth it.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”
Founder of LivingLean