Friday, September 17, 2021

What Builds Trust in Organizations?


PwC has recently conducted an extensive research study on the topic of trust in organizations.  They asked consumers, employees, and executives about the factors that enhance trust in a business.  Among consumers and employees, the top three factors that build trust were:

1.  Accountable to customers and employees

2.  Clear communications

3.  Admits to mistakes

I found #3 particularly interesting, and of course, it relates directly to the top item in the survey responses (accountability).  Every organization will make mistakes.  How does that firm respond in those situations? Do they own the mistakes, apologize to customers and/or employees, and work diligently and transparently to rectify the situation?  All too often, executives don't own up to mistakes in a timely fashion, if at all.  Or, they try to blame external conditions or uncontrollable factors for lower-than-expected performance.   Customers and employees see right through such unsatisfactory explanations.  Employees also come to believe that a double standard exists.  They are held accountable for errors, but executives are not.  Leaders need to create a safe environment where everyone, including the people at the top, can talk candidly about errors so that learning and improvement can take place.  

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Self-Reflection: How Am I Spending My Time?

Many people complain about their daily or weekly schedule.  Too many meetings.   Too much time spent fighting fires.  Not enough opportunities to interact with customers and other external constituents.  While these complaints may be justified, many of us don't take the opportunity to periodically engage in serious self-reflection about how we allocate our time.  Leaders at all levels should make it a regular habit to examine their calendar and ask themselves a few questions:

  1. What types of activities are taking up most of my time?
  2. Are there some important activities that are not receiving sufficient attention?
  3. Who in the organization or outside the organization should I be spending more time with in the coming weeks and months?
  4. How can I build in some time into my calendar for broader strategic and long term thinking/planning?
  5. What activities do I need to reduce or even eliminate so as to make time for other important matters?
  6. Where in my schedule will I build in an opportunity for systematic, routine self-reflection, not just about the allocation of my time, but about other important aspects of my professional and personal life?

In short, let's all stop complaining about our schedule and start doing something about it.  Carve out the time needed to conduct critical work.   Question 5, though, will be the most difficult one.  We can't make time for crucial activities without taking some things off our plate.  We have to give up some activities to make time for others.