Thursday, June 8, 2006

Trust and organization success

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, June 8, 2006

By Moje Ramos-Aquino, FPM
Trust and organization success

I observe that the amount of trust among the members of the organization equals the success of that organization. No trust, no success. More trust, more success. Whatever the nature of your organization or group—business, government, civic or social, family, academe, barkada, others.

There are three types of trust according to authors Robert Galford and Anne Seibold Drapeau in their book, The Trusted Leader. These are Strategic trust or trust that people have that the organization is doing the right things. It is trust that the company has the capability to be successful in its avowed vision, mission, values, goals and strategies. “Our employees trust us as leaders to be correct, or at least directionally correct, in what we do in the marketplace, how we compete, how we price and how we present ourselves.”

The second kind of trust is organizational trust that is created through personal trust and more. It is employees’ trust in internal systems and procedures. A trust that these systems are above board and that its leaders will stick to these policies and make fair and informed decisions.

The third category is personal trust. It is the employees’ trust that organizational leaders, as individual and as leaders, will treat them fairly and will care for their well-being. “Employees in this trust, in return, show at least some loyalty to its leaders. It’s: I trust you, whether or not I trust the company. Sometimes it’s: I trust you to protect me from the company!”

That is why Filipinos are very fond of getting their bosses as godparents for their own wedding or their child’s wedding or baptism or whatever. They are investing their trust on their bosses. Who is the boss who will refuse the offer?

While the boss invites his people to his confidence and invest his trust on them by way of letting them in on little organizational secrets or inviting them over to his house for some drinks.

The authors note that you can have personal trust without organizational trust. This is more of personal loyalty. And many organizational bosses aspire for personal loyalty without regard to organizational and strategic trust. Organizational trust requires a fair amount of personal trust.

You don’t need either personal or organizational trust to have strategic trust. “The company might be a hotbed of deceit, but it might have a brilliant product, or it might just happen to be sitting on a lot of oil. But the leader who has strategic trust without the other two is headed rapidly for rough waters.” As they say, people join organizations, they leave the boss.

Galford and Drapeau wax sentimental: “It would be a wonderful world if we could have complete, unerring, unending trust in everyone we like or respect for their knowledge. But it ain’t gonna happen. At least not in our lifetimes. Total trust isn’t viable. Here’s a more realistic ideal. Aim for having a fair idea of where you stand, a ‘minimum requirement’ for yourself and for those around you, and a desire to push out, or ‘improve’ in all directions as time goes on. There’s a minimum requirement of taking that first step—and after you take the first step, the going gets easier.”

I am a very trusting person and my personal take is that you simply give 100% trust. No ifs, no buts. It shouldn’t be a black and white issue. Trust shouldn’t be based on conditions or climate or whatever. Trust couldn’t be partial as in, I don’t really trust you, but I trust you to do your job well. Meanwhile, I will be watching you all the time.

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. Please e-mail your reactions or personal view at

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