What does ‘Trust’ mean?


Within the context of Leadership – trust means your actions are:

Predictable, dependable, & repeatable

Copyright (c) 2011 James Stanbridge Picture of Trust

A Picture of Trust

As I look back on my own career, the consistent complaint is that I “randomize” the team – what they are telling me here is that I am “unpredictable” and no matter how hard I try (and I do) to tell myself that constant unpredictability is really predictable, this has been a struggle and a challenge for me personally and one that I pay a lot of attention to. What works for me is to try to connect through my communications a predictable cluster of goals and methods. Caring about the same things week in week out.

If in January I stated the goal to be raising by 20pts service quality for the consumer – in March, July and September this must be my headline too. And I need to be authentic to sustain this effort. Picking service quality for the consumer would have been totally fake if it did not make my blood boil and rage when I see it drop or ignored.

There is a lot in common here with the themes on focus vs priority – and in parables of great leadership and that is: members of your constituency, your followers must be able to predict accurately your stance. You can’t hope to be everywhere and in every meeting – so you should expect and create opportunities for your leadership to become a thing others can put in their pocket and pull out when they need it – “Stanbridge would say… ” or “I was chatting to Stanbridge about blah and he believes…” . Do watch out for your own ego here – there is a real trap you get far to impressed with yourself here and I’ll write a post about how you need your circle of influence to help you ‘keep it real’

Dependable is a nuance of trust that is deeply important to you followers – when they see a broad email thread for example, they must be able to depend on you paying attention, diverting, burying or what ever action they depend on you to take. In order to achieve this you must regularly talk about what matters to you and as importantly – what does not. For example – I don’t chose to spend all day reading and replying to email, so I have to chose large swathes of email not to read or pay attention to. Most of my team know not to cc me on email if they want it acted on. Either you are having a dialogue with me or you are not.

Fanatics make surprisingly good leaders (well, not so surprising if you apply what I said above)

fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. Churchill

It is a good test to ask yourself

Do my team think I am a

  1. Good Leader?
  2. FANATICAL Leader?

if the answer is 2) then you will be able to spot that you are inspiring Missionaries and not Mercenaries (thanks to Martin Walker for that quote!)

I’m suggesting here that you can’t invest heavily enough in developing your authentic, led from within leadership. Go! start now

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a theme for the week


This week I have themed my blog to focus on ‘change’ and the leadership opportunities change presents.Working titles are
1) how people and leaders embrace change (or not)
2) why change is the new normal
3) from wanting change to getting changeWatch out for these later this week – change is such an interesting thing; almost all of us want it, but in the abstract we want change from everyone else not ourselves. Obviously self improvement desires are all about change in one’s self – but change addressing poverty, war, climate change are easy to salute and yet hard to write the check for.

The dissonance here reminds me of some other but opposite examples like time travel or teleportation which turn out to be only any good if you are the only person that has it! I would be rudely interrupted to find my great great great grandchildren popping in for a chat, and the idea of my mother-in-law being able to teleport herself into my bathroom is quite alarming to say the least.

Right, back to the serious stuff…

Triangle of Worth ™


Some advice with regard to strategies that I can *prove* deliver results for diverse, geo-distributed teams:

The Secret Sauce: Based on a recipe I cooked up a few years ago called “Triangle of Worth” the key philosophy is a combination of elemental needs for teams and individuals to have a high sense of worth in the workplace and they are:

  1. sense of vital mission – am I working on the critical path?
  2. sense of equity – do I get out something commensurate to what I put in?
  3. sense of respect – am I able to respect the values and mission of my colleagues and peers – and can I assume they respect mine?

Many of the best trends you can observe in the ‘organisational health’ stats I am proud to have been associated with across a number years, teams and geos are influenced by putting this philosophy into action

Ingredients:
  • Clear Vision and Mission
  • OnePager or Equivalent set of goals and KPIs
  • Regular review period not > 3 months
  • Actionable Scorecard
  • Great communications
Method:

Take your OnePagers and make sure they represent a nuclear group – there are 10 active OnePagers for a team of around 60 peeps – so in aggregate no more than 6 people can describe their work in 1 page. I don’t know what the maximum size is to be effective – but it is not huge

Happy to supply some examples / templates – mail me directly

Finally – get into the rhythm of sending weekly notes from staff meetings to all hands – but these notes always start with a commentary from the leader and follow with the wildly important goals for the team this week (not a status of things got done. The focus on goals for the week makes a difference as they tie back to OnePagers or KPIs and so ground that cannot be overwatered is watered again. Regular and consistent is key.

Go, start now!

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So you want to be a leader? Stop being a drone!


We’ve all become slaves to a work style that encourages us to be drones. Don’t believe me? go look at your ‘Sent Items’ in you email client and roughly estimate how much of your output in the past week are ‘replies to’ as opposed to original thought, created content on your part. Satisfied?

If you are like me, the first time you pay attention to this, you will be shocked to see that you spend most of your intellectual capital as a router, reactively responding to stimulus. This is not the way of the leader.

Here are some simple habits that can help –but they all demand that you build a self awareness that allows you to define what makes the bar for your reply. If the bar is not met – then move on! resist the itch to pitch in with your say too. Instead, focus on original thought and content creation – ADD VALUE!

For reference, here is the filter I try to apply:

1) Impact? will I have an impact in replying… if I am only contributing, don’t bother, I have more valuable things to do.
2) Passion? is this a subject I have authentic passion for? if not, get out of the way for the people that do.
3) Learning? Will I learn something if I question? (If i already know the answer… or don’t care much about the answer…. move on)

it is hard, but when I get to under 60% in a week, I know it was a good week for me.

Also helps me build a consistent profile – authenticity and predictability about who you are and what you care about.

Drone = An idle person who lives off others
American Heritage Dictionary

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