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Trust is key for Exceptional Performance


In our article “Why a 3 Pronged Approach to Lean,” we explored why we need to implement lean from the Top Down, Bottom Up and Inside out so that you will not be shocked by a lack of commitment and RISK losing your investment in yet another failed management approach. We know the Return on Investment of building a company like Toyota is worth the effort. So let’s get started by building a good foundation.

This week we establish why we need to hire people we can TRUST that be counted on to deliver on their PROMISES. In the building industry that is known for it’s INEFFICIENCY and BAD BEHAVIOUR this can be a daunting task. This should come as no surprise as team selection is most often based upon low tendered price and not on the team’s ability to work in a spirit of trust and collaboration. Building a trust based team is the foundation for exceptional work to occur. Without trust we cannot make reliable commitments and keep the promises needed for constraint free workflow.

The Speed of Trust

There is one thing that is common to every Team that if developed and levered has the potential to achieve unparalleled success, that is TRUST. The economics of TRUST is that when trust goes up the speed and cost of getting a deal done or a project completed goes down. [Covey, Speed of Trust]

Building a team based upon trust enables the team to accelerate through the forming, storming, norming stages of team development and get to performing. In the selection process of building a TEAM our checklist would include:

· Ability to commit and stand for something

· Chose the abundance model with the mindset that there will be more to go around

· Be confident in abilities with a focus on measurable results

· Be of good character including including straight talk, respectful & dependable

· Be competent including making commitment, being accountable and delivering results

· Be collaborative, listen and build trust

· The company needs to support these behaviours

· The company needs to demonstrate that trust is part of the DNA of doing Business

Teams that establish trust will out perform teams assembled for self interest, due to the efficiencies created through commitment and keeping promises that accelerate work flow.

Building TRUST

To build trust we need to lead by example by keeping commitment and promises. The team needs collaborate with open communications so that everyone is on the same page. The team needs to be get to know each other personally so that they can learn each others principles, values and what they enjoy outside of work life. It is also essential to not place blame and look into the mirror to question, what could I have done differently to avoid a situation that could negatively affect a relationship.


In traditional project delivery, working in silos is a barrier building the level of trust and collaboration needed to achieve much higher levels of performance. That is why teams often co-locate in a big room with systems and processes designed for building relationships, trust and collaboration. Finally, we need to commit to having the crucial conversations needed to transcend often perceived conflict. Knowing that only 10% of people will take the steps needed to address conflict, we need to create a safe environment for this to occur.

Trust is the foundation from which to build a high performance team, we have provided a checklist for the selection of the team, a recipe for creating the type of environment where trustful working relationship can be established and sustained.

In future, we will delve into PROMISE Based Management and how project and business management systems need to be built on a foundation of TRUST.

Murray Guy, Lean & Green Team Builder

EcoSmart Developments & Shift2Lean

Follow on Twitter @Lean_tobe_Green

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