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How do we build trust?

By Louise Cantrill - Head of Consultancy

How do we build trust?  header image

I know many of us are parents, and can probably sympathise with my daily strive to strike that happy balance between my rules, and my teen's need for independence. I try to be the anchor to my teen's boat, giving enough freedom so the boat can bob up and down in the swell of the tide, but careful not to have the anchor too loose. I don't want the boat to have too much freedom, and crash into the things around it.

And just like my teen who craves the trust to be able to do things on his own or with his friends, trust is also fundamental in teams. Stephen Covey describes "Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." So, let's explore trust further and what it means in product and offer up a range of things you can try to build even more trust in your teams, and with your customers.

Firstly, why do teams need to build trust and why is it harder in a remote first world

For teams to be successful, we need to be able to trust one another; to share information and ideas and feel comfortable that our team will listen to our ideas. When we trust each other, we are more likely to stick to our commitments and follow through on promises. Trust is especially important in remote teams, and it's arguably harder to achieve in remote teams, because trust is ultimately about relationships and communication, and working in a remote first environment makes it harder to build those things. We are more often meeting online and collaborating, but we are doing so in structured ways, mostly in structured meetings which follow an agenda. We are therefore, lacking those unstructured opportunities that are so vital to build relationships. Without those shared moments of walking to the meeting together, hanging out at the coffee machine, or standing in the lunch queue to get a sandwich, there are many less moments for pleasantries, exchanging information about our views, our weekends, our interests, our families. All of those things build relationships and allow us to form strong bonds, to more quickly understand each other's tendencies and personalities, that ultimately make collaboration easier.

Here is an idea to connect and build trust in your teams

Your teams have grown and changed over the past 24 months, new people have joined and they've probably not all met in person. Take time to share, who they are, and who they've become, and how you can support each other. Build a moment of connection into your virtual team meetings, be genuinely interested in your team members, and talk to their interests, find out about their family, their points of view.

Here's an idea, invite a different person each week to share a photograph of their family or an interest or a passion that they have. What is interesting about photos is they have this ability to create connections between people faster than just words.

Give it a go!

trust child on a beach scooter photo

Remember my teen? Here is he is! He's on the left of this photograph, playing Pokemon Go! on his phone. There on the right is my 6 year old, this was taken on holiday in Spain in February. It was a beautiful day at 26 degrees and it felt fabulous to have the warm sun on our faces as we scootered along the beach boulevard in Spain.

By ensuring a core value of trust runs through our teams, we create a more successful and sustainable business.

Here's an idea to build trust with customers

Create a culture that keeps lines of communication open with our customers, create opportunities at all moments to connect. Authentic interaction with your clients goes a long way to building customer trust, and we know that in product knowing our market and customers is what's vital. Remember, we don't need to solution or sell to talk to customers, often, questions do more to demonstrate our credibility and trustworthiness than positioning a great solution, so there no excuse to not connect with customers. Be genuinely curious about their world and their challenges. Make it about what they are interested in, and they will be flattered that you want to understand them more. Be interested in their interests, make it about them, and not you. It'll work a charm.

See your team, and your customers in a fresh light, your team members, and customers have grown and changed over the past months. Take the time to learn who they've become and how you can best support them now.

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