Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2006

Whether you are in the U.S. (where Thanksgiving is a national holiday)

or elsewhere around the planet,

may you have a safe and Happy day!

Update: Also check out the  Thankful for Learning post at Joyful Jubilant Learning.

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About me

August 9, 2006

If you would like to know a little more about me, check out the new page at the top of the Stronger Teams Blog entitled Q and A.


Three steps for building trust in teams and organizations

August 1, 2006

I recently discussed how team leaders need to align incentives to achieve a high level of trust among teams which, in turn, supports better performance and results. A recent article by ASTD’s Ernie Kahane, Trust and Powerful Learning, proposes that organizational learning can be a powerful tool in building the kind of trust needed for effective teamwork.

This article makes me envision a three-step process for building trust through learning:

STEP 1: Conduct a Trust Audit

STEP 2: Build an Environment of Trust

STEP 3: Nurture Communities of Trust

Let’s examine each of these steps more closely.

Trust Audits

A trust audit is an assessment of the current organization to determine whether growth opportunity exist.

A trust audit gauges the current level of trust and identifies a plan of action for learning programs…

Activities can include organization-wide questionnaires, focus group discussions, or one-on-one interviews. There is a rich set of literature dedicated to developing good measurement tools for such an audit. Where trust is judged to be low, leaders will want to plan tactics for change.

Trust Environment

An environment of trust can only been built when leaders take the first steps to set the example. A leader who identifies that greater trust is needed, will begin by publicly acknowledging the need for change and making a commitment to learning.

Since trust is about perceived care, competence, and integrity, these values need to be demonstrated through interaction and design choice. By respecting participants and fostering an environment where people can feel safe acknowledging what they do not know, an organization can go a long way toward achieving long range objectives. Genuine participation, clear strategies, direct talk, fairness, and re-entry strategies can all create high-trust environments.

Trust Communities

Even when the environmental stage is set for learning, organizational culture is not going to change overnight. Some teams, or even small groups of team members, will adopt trusting behaviors more readily than others. Leaders will want to identify and nurture these change agents.

Learning professionals [and team leaders] should aim to build small communities of trust by demonstrating actions that promote trust and by addressing issues openly.

treepineconesFinally, a trust simile

Building trust within an organization or team is like planting a tree from seed. The leader plants the seed by modeling the behavior of trust. The leader cultivates the ground and waters the environment to ensure that the seedling will take root. As the tree begins to grow, the leader nurtures the strong trust communities (branches) and prunes away the sprouts and under-branches.

I am curious. How have you built trust in your teams? How has learning helped build and reinforce a culture of trust in your organization?

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Still learning

June 11, 2006

While I have been participating in, and leading, teams in the workplace for over two decades, I find that there is always more to learn. This is natural considering that every team is different, with a unique purpose, group dynamics, and context within which they operate. As diverse as teams are, so too are the strategies, tools, techniques, and leadership that can be applied to achieving results through teams.

In an effort to spur my own learning, this blog will explore and share information and ideas about all things teams. My hope is that others will find benefit as well.

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