Everywhere I go I hear people talking about the need for increased trust.  Trust and respect are often seen as values on organizational Mission, Vision, Values statements.  Few seem to know how to go about building trust and making it an organizational priority.  Why is trust so important?

“The most cherished and valuable commodity in a work environment.”

                                                            Brad Anderson former CEO  Best Buy

“With Trust people can make things happen in a fraction of the time it takes other colleagues who don’t have that bond”

                                                Strength Based Leadership  Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

“Trust is the glue of life.  It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication.  It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

                                                            Steven Covey

Trust has a double nature.  It is on one hand the notion of honesty, integrity and transparency.  It also has a connotation of competency.  “I trust that you are able to do what is needed.”  “I can give you a project and know that you can and will deliver.”

Making trust a priority requires more than putting it on a values statement.  Like most things, it requires some ongoing focus.  Appreciative Inquiry is an amazing process to get an organization engaged in positive dialogue about what Trust is, what it looks like in action, why it is important, what results it generates when it is mastered and how to maintain it as a priority.

Additionally, when organizations engage in positive dialogue on change efforts of importance and people create a co-constructed vision there emerges a unity of purpose.  This inclusive process and unity of purpose creates an ongoing visibility to, and appreciation for where others in their organization stand.  When people learn they are on the same page, the trust meter registers at unprecedented levels.

You can’t mandate change.  You have to allow people to co-discover what it looks like and how they want it to live in their organizations and allow them to commit to it.

Tenny Poole is Co-Principal of Corporation for Positive Change and Principal of West Coast Center for Positive Change in Orange County, CA.