Trust is the fundamental quality of successful, productive and sustainable relationships. Without trust between the board and staff, an association’s ability to serve its members suffers. This leads to the logical question, how can the executive approach, in a systematic manner, the challenge of building trust to achieve performance?
Here are some facts to consider:
- Ninety-one percent of employees rated “being trusted to get the job done” as the most important thing to them in their work setting (2001 Randstad North American Employee Review)
- A Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey found only half of employees trusted senior management.
- Watson Wyatt also found that in terms of performance, companies where employees trusted top executives posted shareholder returns 42% higher than companies where distrust was the rule.
While I know of no research that documents relationship between trust and performance in associations, I have no doubt there is a close correlation. The following shows the differences between two organizations, one with high degrees of fear and distrust versus one where the culture is built on a foundation of trust.
Culture of Distrust and Fear
Culture Built on Trust
High levels of collaboration
Open Sharing of Information
Low levels of innovation
High Levels of Innovation
Sabotage/Behind the Back Gossip
As I look over the left-hand column there is an air of familiarity about it. Sad to say, many of the behaviors in left hand column are all too common in the realm of board-staff relationships.