Checking Organization Trust/Distrust

As promised in the podcast, here are the questions and bullet points for checking organizational trust.

Take a few minutes to ask these questions before reading further.

  1. How would you describe a low-trust organization?
  2. How would you describe a high-trust organization?
  3. Which description best represents your organization?
  4. What are the results?

Low-Trust Organization

  • People maniupulate or distort facts
  • people withhold and hoard information
  • Getting the credit is very important
  • People spin the truth to their advantage
  • New ideas are openly resisted and stifled
  • Mistakes are covered up or covered over
  • Most people are involved in a blame game, bad-mouthing others
  • There is an abundance of watercooler talk
  • There are numerous “meetings after the meetings”
  • There are many “undiscussables”
  • People tend to overpromise and under deliver
  • There are a lot of violated expectations, for which people try to make excuses
  • People pretend bad things aren’t happening or are in denial
  • The energy is very low
  • People often feel unproductive tension — sometimes even fear

High-Trust Organization

  • Information is shared openly
  • Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
  • The culture is innovative and creative
  • People are loyal to those who are absent
  • People talk straight and confront real issues
  • There is real communication and real collaboration
  • People share credit abundantly
  • There are few “meetings after the meetings”
  • Transparency is a practiced value
  • People are candid and authentic
  • There is a high degree of accountability
  • There is palpable vitality and energy — people can feel the positive momentum

Over to you

  • What is it like to work in your company?
  • What percentage of your time is focused on the real work?
  • What is your ability to partner — internally? Externally?
  • How are “sacred cows” dealt with?
  • How collaborative is your culture?
  • What is innovation like?
  • Are coworkers engaged?
  • How well are people able to execute the strategy?
  • Do people know what the organization’s priorities are?
  • Do the decision makers get the data they need — unfiltered?
  • What are meetings like?
  • What about ethics….is it a matter of compliance or of doing the right thing?
  • What is the span of control?
  • What kinds of systems and processes are in place?
  • What is the impact on speed?
  • What is the impact on cost?


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