“In the end, you have to choose whether or not to trust someone.” Sophie Kinsella
It was roughly a year ago that I joined and wrote my first post for TeamFit. The topic highlighted in my first post was Trust in People. A year later, recent conversations have reminded me that trust remains fundamental in driving team performance and innovation. Trust is how we make decisions on whom we want to work with and whom we put together to execute on teams.
Trust for Customers
McKinsey has opened an office in Vancouver and I was fortunate to connect with one of their partners recently. He shared with me that ‘who customers’ trust’ is critical to a consulting organization’s success. He pointed me to the trust equation.
Credibility – “You can take her word for it; trust her because she is a leading authority on the subject.”
Reliability – “I can trust and rely on him; he has never missed a deliverable.”
Intimacy – “I trust her to be discreet, she has never violated my or our client’s confidentiality.”
Self-orientation relates to an individual’s own focus and can detract from trust. “We’re not sure we can trust him, its not about the team for him, it’s all about what he will get out of the deal.” This is way it is so critical not only to have alignment across the individual, team and firm level within your organization but to also have alignment with your customer’s aspirations.
Trust at TeamFit
When I look at our current crew, I have comfort in knowing that all of us at TeamFit trust each other. Like all companies, we have had some really great people leave to pursue new paths where they continue to excel and do great things. Our existing team does continue to have huge debates where we openly question each other’s ideas, opinions and decisions. We acknowledge our shortcomings and openly call out where we are failing. We have the privilege to be able to do this without fear and judgment because it is a given that we respect and want what is best for each other. We trust that each of us is committed to the aspirations we have set out for the company. This is evidenced by some of the testimony we gathered when we conducted our internal skills audit (we practice what we preach), “Everyone on this team has the same passion and same mission.” All of us believe that we are building something that will really impact how people acquire expertise and get onto meaningful projects.
Trust in supporting younger generations
Earlier this month, I was a panelist for Coast Capital Venture Connection at SFU to share experience on science startups. The aim of the Venture Connection program is to help students consider entrepreneurship. One of the questions that was posed to the panel was “What are some of the initiatives we as hiring managers see that education is ‘doing right’ in preparing our younger generations for their future careers.” My response was that we need to help people get good at working on teams. And we need to do that from elementary school on.
Students are evaluated not only on their independent studies but are on team projects. Sometimes the teacher assigns people to the team; other times, the teams self select. Some high performing students dread team assignments, especially when there are unable to choose whom they work with. Some students didn’t like that their grade would be at risk because they could not control the quality of work of their partners. Students worry about being paired with a “slacker” and therefore left to carry the weight alone.
One of the professors came up to me later saying that it is a challenge to get students to warm up to the idea of teamwork and thanked me for hitting home the point that this is what is required in the working world. Finding effective ways to work on teams is a core skill. The team needs to understand what the goals of the project are. They need to understand the mandate and how they can achieve it together. They will quickly identify roles each of them can fulfill. Aside from filling those roles, they need to assess who on the team is best suited for certain tasks. To have good dynamics they have to think about fair distribution of effort. They have to build trust in each other. Often people will self-select and volunteer in areas where they can utilize their strengths. To earn the grade, everyone on the team has to deliver to bring the entire project together.
TeamFit, a year from now?
A year from now, I believe trust will continue to be a strong theme for us. The core value that TeamFit will deliver is trust. We will provide transparency for our community to understand the strength of the skills and capabilities they have to offer. We will provide a foundation for people to earn trust within their new and existing networks. We will allow ways for teams to self-select, take ownership of their projects to deliver better outcomes for themselves, their teams and their clients.
TeamFit will demonstrate trust by providing credibility validated by both social data and machine learning evidence. The reliability can be tracked in the history of skills applied and projects performed. Intimacy can be made more transparent by understanding the social interactions across teams. TeamFit provides insight on aspirations and self-orientation to build alignment.
We will help your company build better teams.
And we will make you more competitive in a world where skilled people are in demand.