As the early morning of a new day unfolded, the quiet procession of trucks, men, and equipment were nearly silent; you could barely make out their silhouettes in the low light of dawn. They were getting ready to take care of a large tree at my neighbor’s home that was beginning to lose its footing.
Although it wasn’t clear to me, they seemed to understand what each other needed and how they worked together. It didn’t take long to see that each member had a specific role and duty to carry out.
This is dangerous work and you could see the trust each man placed in the other.
The story caught my attention, in part, because my father used to tell me stories of the tree removal crew he worked on as a young man. Perhaps because of that experience, Dad taught my brothers and me how to look out for the safety of each other when handling tools and equipment during group work such as hay baling or trout line rigging. Even more, we learned to accomplish our tasks in ways that helped add to the efficiency and effectiveness of the other person.
As with the tree crew in Peter’s story or my own youthful experiences, teams in professional organizations require a high level of trust among team members to meet their performance objectives.
How is a high level of trust achieved? Through kept promises!
Here is how Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith explain it in The Wisdom of Teams.
At its core, team accountability is about the sincere promises we make to ourselves and others, promises that underpin two critical aspects of effective teams: commitment and trust. By promising to hold our selves accountable to the team’s goals, we each earn the right to express our own views about all aspects of the team’s effort and to have our views receive a fair and constructive hearing. By following through on such a promise we preserve and extend the trust upon which any team must be built.
Whether the team’s goal is the safe felling of a large tree or the on-time, within-budget production of a project deliverable, success rests upon the team members’ trust of one another; trust to keep promises.
Find Peter’s entire post here.
Rebuilding shattered trust
8 essential elements for trusting teams
Trust is a two-way street
Three steps for building trust in teams and organizations
Technorati: Peter Kusterer, Jon R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith, The Wisdom of Teams, accountability, keeping promises