Thursday, 26 July 2012

Trust, a bridge to better quality

Remember my post on organisational entropy? One of the key secrets to lowering the entropy with everyone in your organisation is the building of trust. You can tell when trust is lost with any individual, because every interaction becomes almost impossible. Working in the quality and governance space is a highly sensitive dynamic, for who will trust you with their business problems if they believe you are not trustworthy?

You can take the role of a critical friend; you can become a master of body language and unspoken communication; you can even learn NLP. But these are all superfluous without the core principles to building trust. Here is my take on building trust:

Deliver to your promise
Say what you are going to do, when you will do it, and deliver. When you can consistently do this, you are well on the way to building trust. Broken promises damage trust. If you find that you cannot deliver on something, go immediately to your customer, apologise and let them know what you can do. The earlier you can tell your customer about a potential problem, the better they manage expectations elsewhere.

Keep things private and personal, appropriately
Nothing destroys trust more than if you blurt out gossip that is told to you in confidence. This is particularly damaging if you talk about one department's troubles to another one. Word gets around that you can't be discreet, and that can cause problems. However, this is not the same as keeping secrets from colleagues who should be informed. If someone tells you of criminal activities, report them to the appropriate officials, and not to your friends on coffee break.

Delegate to educate
When you delegate something, you are also telling your colleague that you trust them. But don't just drop it and run. Use it as an opportunity to coach them in your area of expertise. Share the decision making that you would make if you were doing it yourself. Build that rapport.

Deliver together
If you have worked on something with someone, present the results together. Make sure they know they are being recognised as a key contributor. 

Take responsibility appropriately 
Don't blame others when things go wrong. At the same time, don't accept blame when it is not your fault. 

When dealing with data quality or governance issues, you are in a position of trust. Therefore, be worthy of that trust. It is one of the most important things you can build with your colleagues. Be consistent, be effective, be reliable and fair. The rewards are great, as Emerson said...... 
"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great."

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