Trust and Successful Enterprises.

If there was only one thing that you had time for - apart from your day job - building trust and an environment congenial for trust, is a single most important investment to be made on the job.

The problem with trust is - everyone wants to be able to trust - but none wants to go through any pain to make themselves trustworthy. Integrity, hard work, honesty - let's face it - these are not easy virtues to practice. They are not easy to practice in your personal life, as a single human being. They are all the more difficult to practice, in a team, when your career is on line. We have all gone through these internal dialogues...

  1. I just have to get that code across - I know there are a couple of bugs - what is the benefit of calling them out. QA will find them. 
  2. I want that next position and being seen in the vicinity of success is going to help - so why not talk about the excellent job that one guy of your team did, and without actually explicitly saying it, leave an impression that I had something to do about it - while I did nothing really. 
  3. Let me tidy up that report - highlight the achievements - and play down on the risks. Risks look bad on the report. 

These small "innocent" under hand techniques that we all do (and I am not talking about crimes or breaking law) - because everybody else does - is like karma. You do it to. Someone else sees it and does it too. You do more. More gets done around you. You push the envelope of your moral further. Someone else tops it. This is just a vicious circle.

And who wins? I don't know who does. I guess the "pointy haired boss" or the "wally" s of the day wins. But this is for sure, that anyone who is just working hard, doing an honest day's job, with passion and dedication for the job, he doesn't win - without going for any underhand techniques, he looses. And someone else looses. The job, the actual project, the actual business, that looses out to employee's own battles.

So, tell you what, I don't think it is a battle that each one of us - individually - could fight and win alone. I think the biggest looser in the game - the enterprise, the business, the job, the project - that needs to pitch in.  Since the enterprise is nothing but you and me and us - it is in the best interest of all of us, to try in our own spheres of influence, to make building an environment congenial of trust our priority.

Tim Cook says very clearly "You look for people that are not political. People that are not bureaucrats. People that can privately celebrate the achievement, but not care if their name that is in the one in the lights. There are greater reasons to do things." Well, he is doing his bit :).

What are you going to do, to ensure that your team is a place of trust? Leave a comment.