“Without trust we don’t truly collaborate; we coordinate or at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.”—Stephen Covey
It’s happened to you. It’s happened to me. It happens more often than people would like to believe. You are handed a statement of work, a person’s name to contact and told to go make it happen. Your mission, should you choose to accept it …
With that, you become the action hero in your own movie with a team that’s already been assembled for you.
Hollywood makes roles like this seem glamourous. You and I, however, we live in the real world and it takes experience to know what needs to be done next to make your mission successful.
For any client engagement to be successful, we must establish trust. This goes beyond the trust that was established at a relationship level with client services. We are now at the stage where trust needs to be established with those responsible for execution.
It makes for a difficult day when your teammates on the other side don’t like you or respect you and have a different agenda than you. It’s natural for people to feel threatened or insecure when a new group of technologists come to team; but, if trust isn’t established early and constantly re-enforced, a cycle of distrust and suspicion can negatively impact your odds for success.
So, how do you build trust? It’s not easy and will require disarmingly honest (sometimes, painful) conversations that no one wants to talk about. It’s in our nature to want to sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away.
Trust – It starts with someone being willing to take the first step, letting down their guard and being able to put their cards on the table. By being transparent, the hope is that your peer on the other side will reciprocate; and, that you can take this journey together with aligned interests.
It will start slowly and with little things, which will lead to bigger initiatives:
- Following-up on your words and actions (regardless how minute)
- Creating a culture that encourages open dialogue and feedback
- Developing solutions together with shared responsibilities and accountability
- Celebrating and sharing accomplishments
It’s in everyone’s best interest to establish trust so that the foundation of a successful project can be put in place. Otherwise, Hollywood has already written the script for us:
"As always, should you or any of your project team fail, the director will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This email will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Mr. Hunt."