Learning from the neuroscience of trust

Trust is the foundation of human relationship, and the foundation of an effective team. I recently share how our behavior will create or destroy trust in the article The Evolution of Trust, and more about trust as the foundation of a team in the article The Five Dysfunction of a Team.

Paul J. Zak, the author of Trust Factor, shares in The Neuroscience of Trust the 8 management behaviors that will foster trust.

We could use the 8 behaviors as discussion points with teams to improve our way of working. The question could be, How are we doing on:

  1. Recognize excellence: personal public recognition from peers that occurs immediately after the fact, tangible and unexpected has the largest effect on trust.
  2. Induce “challenge stress”: stretch goal, but still achievable goal, assigned to a team will intensify focus and strengthen social connection.
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their work: autonomy and self-organization, is another important contributor, being trusted creates trust.
  4. Enable job crafting: trusting people to choose on what they will work will ensure focus and motivation. The author give the example of Valve, the gaming software company, I recommend their employee handbook to have an idea on how they work, and inspire the conversation with your teams.
  5. Share information broadly: uncertainty and stress undermine teamwork, openness, transparency and daily synchronization are the proposed antidotes.
  6. Intentionally build relationships: encourage people to care for each other will make them happier and more productive.
  7. Facilitate whole-person growth: meet frequently and give constant feedback on personal and professional growth.
  8. Show vulnerability: asking for help, and acknowledging what we don’t know, help to build credibility.

This discussion could be the Retrospective on Trust for your team?

The Advantage of a book discussion club

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business is a book by Patrick Lencioni. This one is not a business novel, like The Five Dysfunctions of a Team (you may have read that previous post).

The book purpose is to explain a model to bring organizational health.

I will not enter into the details of the book itself as you can read a summary there. The goal of that post is to explain how we used that book with a leadership team I work with.

I like to read books, so I usually recommend books to read to others. I am using some books as theme for retreat meetings for teams. I used the Five Dysfunction of a Team for the first meeting of that leadership team.

A few weeks later, one other reader in the group, shared his reading notes of The Practice of Management by Peter Druker and proposed actions based on what he learned in the book. The results were good, and this foster the idea to organize a book discussion club. The first book we chose: The Advantage, and the book club was organized the day before the quarterly meeting of the leadership team.

And so we used the book as an introduction for our meeting, as a warmup for the retrospective. And also decided to answer the 6 questions below as a way to prepare our review of our Objectives and Key Results.

1. Why do we exist? The answer to this question will yield a core purpose, or the fundamental reason the company is in business.
2. How do we behave? This question examines behaviors and values required for success.
3. What do we do? This answer provides a simple, direct explanation of the business.
4. How will we succeed? This question requires the team members to develop a strategy.
5. What is most important, right now? The answer to this question is the establishment of a unifying thematic goal and action plan.
6. Who must do what? This question addresses roles and responsibilities.

A few weeks later, I can say that this was a really effective meeting, and we already chose the next book: Competing Against Luck from Clayton Christensen.

Something to try with your team?

 

The Evolution of Trust

When forming a team, or starting to work with a team, I usually start with the foundation of a team: Trust.

I even used several times, the book from Patrick Lencioni: The Five Dysfunction of a Team, obviously because the “Absence of Trust” is the base of the pyramid.

I remembered playing 2 times, with large teams, a game based on the game theory, and variant of the prisoners dilemma. The effects with one of the team were really great, for the one, where one of the participant betrayed not only the other team, but also his own team, the results were not so good, for him and for his relationship with others in the larger team.

So I am always struggling with the idea of bringing that game to build trust, because we could have someone in the group that will betray the others, and after that, it is difficult to deal with it. One of the participants told me one time: “at least, now, we all know”.

The idea of the article has been triggered by the brilliant work from Nicky Case: The Evolution of Trust.

The recommendation (The ask?) is for you to play with it, and to get other people to play with it.

This could help you and others to better grasp how we build, or destroy trust.

Ready to play?

It’s here: http://ncase.me/trust/