Do you trust your team members at work? Think about the Trust Factor in business and then, on a scale of 1-5, ask yourself how much you trust their decision making and cognitive or creative abilities. Being able to trust those that you work with can make or break not just one project, but all your projects.

Many times when I am evaluating businesses, I wonder what makes this team or that team so successful. How did that group get so much more done than the rest? What makes the people on this team fit together effortlessly and be so productive? Why do some people seem to “play in the sandbox” so well while others don’t? Throughout my own experience, it usually comes down this one basic virtue: trust. Yep!

In business as well as in my personal life, I believe trust is the productivity lubricant. Trust makes working with people effortless, and can even cut down on the [email protected]#$% attitude that I’ve written about lately. If your team has total trust, you don’t have to waste time. You are able to skip multiple steps that you would typically have to go through and can focus totally on getting to the job at hand, being creative, innovative, effective and having fun. The kind of fun that makes you want to get together and do it again–and again!

For example, I totally and unequivocally trust the team that has come together for a major sustainability project that will have people reevaluating their ideas about waste and recycling. I love major impact projects with a team that totally trusts one another. Oh, my! How many times does that truly happen?

My innovation partners, Carl and Bill, met me and another team we have worked with before in Philadelphia to look at a new facility that has state of the art recycling equipment. This facility is a critical link to our success in this recycling venture that will ultimately create a new approach that is much more energy efficient and economical than current systems. The new system will be inclusive, enabling all companies to play on a different playing field than anyone has imagined (or at least we think so!)

What made this meeting so unique is that I didn’t need to dig in and question any details or sniff out personal agendas because we have all worked together before. We trust each other, especially when determining the viability of the business, conducting plant audits, inspections, analysis, and securing investment for the business. All these things were accomplished long before the meeting. This made our team’s job easier, so we could all focus on making sure the ensuing meeting was fun, creative and productive for all that flew in to attend. And we did just that! We had a very productive, game-changing meeting and we had fun. Later, while walking around the airport waiting on my flight, I realized what made everything work was one thing: The Trust Factor.

In the team of Marc, Bill, Carl, Randy and Rick, I have not only the team, but their ability to analyze a business, think through where it needs to go and put all the technology into place––from heavy equipment to mobile and cloud. Without trust, we would not have been able to enjoy each other’s company when we all got together or get things done as quickly and efficiently as we did.

These 2 Questions Can Determine Your Team’s Trust Factor:

  1. Are you making the progress you had hoped for in your project?
  2. Are you having fun? Fun is a really good indicator of the Trust Factor. More trust, more fun.

Do This If Your Team’s Trust Factor is low:

  1. Recognize that trust starts with you, not them.
  2. Understand that the little things count. If you have said that you would have a report or a summary of something by end of day, have it by end of day– even if only 80% complete. If you say you are going to call before 4 pm make sure you do it and if you can’t, send a email or a text that you are tied up.
  3. Always have their backs. Make sure you are always covering for your team members or direct reports. Tell them today (and mean it from the bottom of your heart) that you have their back no matter what. If you are willing to fall on a sword for them they will feel it and they will give it back to you.
  4. Be genuinely concerned about them as people first.

How To Resolve Serious Trust Issues:

  1. First, try and find something in common with the person. Go out of your way to reach out during meetings. Be complementary where you can and even share an opinion by agreeing with them, if appropriate. I make it a specific goal to establish some level of trust between the individual and myself, to make sure the individual knows I am going to do everything I can to build a confidence and trust between us and that I am sincere about it.
  2. Recognize that this will probably make the load a little heavier, and may inhibit your ability to be effective and efficient. I run into this myself all the time and it’s not as easy as saying I am not going to work with that person. Many times you have no choice but to work with that person.
  3. Accept that sometimes there is no way to change the dynamic between the two of you, so be the bigger person and focus on making sure the team can be efficient.

Ultimately, if you are constantly conscious of the Trust Factor and do everything you can everyday to make sure everyone around you knows it, you will gain their trust and you will become one of those people that seems to get things accomplished effortlessly–that seems light, airy and happy. You will be the person that everyone wants to hang with.

The Trust Factor is the thing that makes a difference in your happiness, and the happiness of everyone around you.

Trust me on this––