Building Trust in Your Organization

When it comes to trust, where does your organization lie?

Trust is the seed from which successful business relationships grow.   In order for an organization to reach its fullest potential, there needs to be an atmosphere of trust within that organization.  A franchise or cooperative cannot be entirely successful if its franchisees or members do not trust their organization.  In fact, in many cultures, trust and interpersonal relationships are of utmost importance in the business world.  Many times, trust must be built and relationships established in order for business to even begin.

Unfortunately, trust is often considered a taboo subject.  Conversations around trust are avoided in many organizations; perhaps because franchisors or members are afraid of what they will discover.  But franchises and cooperatives should understand that a conversation about levels of trust is one worth having because high levels of trust correlate with high levels of success.  Even if members of an organization trust each other, levels of trust can always be improved with a deeper understanding of the dynamics of trust in the business world.

Creating trust within an organization is important and it is certainly not impossible.  Most important is the knowledge that trust is earned, not given.  A new member or franchisee will not enter an organization with complete trust in its operations.  Trust is something that will develop over time.  As management builds trust, members or franchisees will feel more able to participate in the organization and will become engaged.

Gaining trust is a step worth taking because members and franchisees will become more active and engaged in their environment.  If management is seen by any member of an organization as untrustworthy, this can lead to actively disengaged members who do not contribute to the success of the organization.

The process of building trust is, in itself, a way to engage members or franchisees.  Everyone’s idea of what it takes to earn trust is different so when working to build trust in your organization, ask members or franchisees what you can do to earn their trust.  By talking with people about a lack of trust, you may actually gain some of their trust.  Some people’s trust may be easier to earn than others so it is important to understand that building trust takes work.

Some methods of building trust may work better or faster than others.  One way to gather information about trust in your organization and create trust at the same time is to talk to attendees at a conference or meeting about how the organization can be more transparent and create higher levels of trust.  This type of conversation will be both eye-opening and helpful to any member of an organization trying to build trust.  As I previously mentioned, these conversations are often avoided because of a fear of the unknown.  What if no one wants to talk about trust?  It may seem like this approach to gaining trust is far-fetched but participants in this conversation about trust will be very appreciative of management’s openness and willingness to talk about tough topics.  It does not take much to start a conversation around trust.  So give it a try and you will not be disappointed.

Do you have complete trust in your organization and its leaders?  What has happened to chip away any trust you may have in them?  How could they earn your trust back?