Trust – its role in decision-making

I was reflecting on the nature of trust in business.

And on its impact on decision-making (that’s what we spend most of our time doing in Business Decision Design®).

I recently did a strategy implementation event design and facilitation for a really interesting medium-sized business. With all the changes to my work focus and new contracts I realised that I had not done one of those for ~ 2 years.

I miss it – it is such fun!

 And stressful and tiring (event deadlines don’t slide!). But the experience of helping 100 people to engage more deeply with their business is amazing.

Trust is a big issue for their business. They have history and scars but then which organisation doesn’t? I was curious about their decision to use an external facilitator and their method of resource selection (they did not know me). Also how they would manage a significant business risk (annual staff event for all staff – if it’s a mess everyone will know!).

For their part they:

  • Met me through a business network – so at least I was not a random stranger;
  • Interviewed me 3 times with increasingly senior people;
  • Held off issuing a Purchase Order until they were comfortable that it could be OK;
  • Scoured the detail and challenged everything.

All sensible practice but what did I do to make it easier for us to get to a state of mutual  ‘Trust’? I:

  • Invested design effort up front (at risk);
  • Explained my designs and the underpinning methods;
  • Adopted a co-creation approach so that they were in control of what we were building;
  • Engaged with complete openness;
  • Delivered what we agreed, on time and with agility.

These last two points:

‘Transparency’ & ‘Delivery’ remind me of a Trust Model that I came across some years ago now. The point being that if you want to be completely trusted then it’s not enough to have a great track record of delivery or to prove that you act transparently at all times;

You have to do both!

The feedback from the event was very positive so we both made a good decision 🙂

How does your decision-making change when you have differing levels of trust in the people involved?

When doing business decision design® we don’t just create frameworks for managing risk and opportunity. We look at how your business can be more agile by developing greater trust between individuals so that;

risk management shifts from bureaucracy to relationships.

Happy to discuss.

Link to this week’s picture.

Have a great week



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