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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Low Trust Environment

Yesterday I shared with you a scene I witnessed recently and asked what you thought had caused such a scene.

Photo courtesy of sshtroumpfy, Some Rights Reserved

If you missed yesterday's post, read it here.

Here is my opinion as to why the meeting went the way it did:

Short Answer: Low trust environment.

It's my opinion that if you were to ask these drivers why they responded how they did, they would tell you that the management cares very little about them, that all they care about is the bottom line. They would share this or that experience of when management broke a promise or somehow wronged them.

Is this accurate?

I don't know. It doesn't matter, perception is reality.

If you were to ask management they would probably tell you that the drivers had poor attitudes. That they had addressed complaints and don't understand why the drivers didn't appreciate the improvements that had been implemented.

Do they have a point?

Who knows. Again, it doesn't matter, perception is reality.

Neither side trusts the other's intentions, and therefore a seemingly simple form designed to improve efficiency, increase profits, and benefit, everyone serves as a wedge to drive the manager and the team he is trying to lead further apart.

This speaks to the importance of creating the correct company culture.  (Insert any of a million Chris LoCurto comments about culture here...)

If a culture of mutual trust and respect is not present, neither side will ever trust the other's intentions.

Now my question to you:

If you are in management in this position, what do you do to diffuse the situation and begin to improve the company culture?

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Twitter: @Skropp2


  1. The answer is simple... Explain WHY. My four-year-old knows that. She asks why she has to go to bed. I say "To get good rest so you can play tomorrow". Period. If management fails to present the benefits of this new tracking tool, such as "you will have better equipment because we'll keep track of what needs to be repaired and you won't be sitting on the side of the road with a broken machine" or so. People will know that no one is spying on them, but they're trying to help them do their job... or ... are they?

    1. Great point Lily. That sounds like a great title for a blog post: Even a four year old knows that.. Kinda a catchy concept ;)

      What would you say if I said that management DID explain the eh and it simply wasn't believed.(purely hypothetical, of course :) )?

    2. Dang. That is pretty much spot on Lily.

  2. Funny I don't remember working there, but it describes the situation I created once so perfectly. Mfft.

    I'm in the process of helping someone in this very situation. I am grasping at straws though man. It's a learn as I go...you know I'll report on it at some point, many years from now when the dust has settled. 'Cause right now I am getting dirty.

    1. You know Matt, after this comment, I'm really wondering if I'm part of an "Undercover Boss" and you really ARE my boss... If this is true, our twitter relationship has changed ;)

  3. If I were the manager in this situation I would explain to the crew the problem and then ask for their input and carefully consider it. People like knowing that their input makes a difference. Creating a team culture can be as simple as creating a shared vision and having shared goals. "We want to be the best in our industry and in order to be the best, we need to work as a team and tackle the problems and issues in front of us in a unified manner."

    1. I think you hit on one of the great keys of leadership Dannon, "carefully consider it". In other words, listen and value input. My buddy Matt McWilliams always says that you should not decide on a suggestion at that moment, but think about it for at least 10 min. I believe waiting allows you time to process the suggestion and the other person to feel like their opinion matters. VITAL to good leadership! Thanks bro!