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Is your organization ‘high trust’?

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 Is your organization a ‘High trust’ organization or a ‘Low trust’ organization?

This question is one of my favorite workshop themes for my clients. Let me explain why.

Beginning with ‘the experience’.

Take a group of employees, preferably mixing executives and non-executives, and split them into two groups.

The first group is asked to brainstorm on the following subject:

Imagine a ‘high trust’ company

You may offer the group a list of sub-questions, for instance:

  • What if made a drawing of this company? What would it look like? (the team then imagines and creates the drawing).
  • How do people feel in this company?
  • How do they interact internally, and with their stakeholders ?
  • How do they organize?
  • How do they make decisions?
  • How do they work on strategies?
  • How do they innovate?
  • How do they manage talents development?
  • How do they recruit new members?

As you may have guessed, the second group works on the opposite idea:

high trust organization

Imagine a ‘Low Trust’ company

‘Imagine a low trust company’, followed by the same sub-questions…

Before the team begins, it is important to explain that imagination and cooperation is required to create a fictional company, so placing the team in a virtual context will help to do so! In other words, the company to be invented (high trust or low trust) is not connected to the reality of the company people work for. This is pure play….

Also, an interesting variant can be for each team to role-play the imagined company for a short time. 

As the two subgroups engage in the process, the same two observations always strike me:

– How quickly the two teams get started: talking about trust or confidence is inspirational.

– The difference between the energy of the 2 teams…

Why I enjoy facilitating such workshop

Then comes the debriefing to the whole group, and the opportunity for me to explain why I enjoy facilitating this workshop so much:

  1. The subject is inspirational and will inevitably generate an amazing level of energy and creativity among the teams. Not so surprising you might say: who would claim trust is not a subject?
  2. New insights always emerge when people start to understand just how different the two companies look, and how the ‘being and doing’ are profoundly affected by each alternative.
  3. A new collective conscience always emerges. A typical example: most of the processes which had until now appeared as ‘obvious’ are in fact ingrained in a fear culture, or a low trust culture. Take the planning process, the decision making process, the innovation process, salary systems etc.
  4. A new individual conscience always starts to emerge. When people realize that quite a lot of their ‘automatic’ behavior is close (if not similar) to that described by the ‘low trust’ team.
  5. From this emerging individual and collective conscience something fascinating begins to happen when teams realize that their daily reality is closer to the ‘low-trust’ model, and then start dreaming of a new way of being and working together!

This can be the starting point of an amazing journey. A journey in which individuals and teams revisit their beliefs, experiment with openness, new ways to organize, decide, innovate, interact …

Where they will get a glimpse of the Confidenceship journey !


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