The Art And Science Of Accelerating Trust
Listen to Episode 15:
Episode 15 Transcript:
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters Radio episode 15. The Art And Science Of Accelerating Trust. This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of growth. On the web at www.businessadvance.com. Now, here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks Chris. I’m Pam Harper Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Incorporated, and with me is Scott Harper, my business partner and husband. Hi, Scott.
Scott Harper: Good morning, Pam. How are you today?
Pam Harper: Just wonderful.
Scott Harper: It’s terrific to be here.
If this is your first time listening out there, the purpose of the Growth Igniters Radio is to spark new insights, inspiration, and immediately useful ideas for leaders to take themselves and their companies to the next level of success.
Pam, I have two words for you about today’s episode − Trust me.
Pam Harper: Okay, I do. But then, we’ve had decades together to build that trust.
Scott Harper: That’s true. (And incidentally, Happy Anniversary.)
Pam Harper: Happy Anniversary.
But I don’t think that you should try that “Trust me” on somebody who doesn’t know you very well. Here’s the thing, if you consider the dozens, or even hundreds of personal interactions that we have that are essential to doing business − building strong trust, and building it quickly, can go a long way towards accelerating successful business outcomes.
Scott Harper: You’re right about that. Today though, it’s really made more difficult by the fact that people have to create trusting relationships of all kinds across an ever- widening array of cultures and organization types, and a bewildering array of technologies at that. This can result in all kinds of not talking to each other about issues that should be talked about − you know, “elephants in the room.” If that happens, you’ve got what? Confusion, conflict, delays, missed opportunities. It can be all a real drag on top and bottom line results.
Pam Harper: That’s serious. And that’s why we’re delighted to have our friend, Judith E. Glaser, with us once again to delve into the art and science behind this very challenging question. Judith is CEO of Creating WE, and is the award winning author of the best selling books, Creating WE and Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. Judith, welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio.
Judith Glaser: I’m thrilled to be back today, especially to talk about one of my favorite subjects, trust.
Pam Harper: It’s quite a big topic. In fact, the last time we spoke with you about Conversational Intelligence in episode 3, you mentioned that − this was the thing that really got to us − on meeting someone, it takes only 0.07 seconds for our brains and bodies to form an initial impression about the person, and whether we feel we can trust them. See, we remember this. Here’s the question, if it happens that quickly, why does it … Why do we perceive that building trust takes so long?
Judith Glaser: There’s not one person I’ve talked to who doesn’t believe that trust is something that we all need in all of our relationships − whether it’s family, whether it’s friends, whether it’s work. It’s a code word for I’m willing to be transparent with you, open up with you, bring you into my inner circle. I mean, it has so many meanings. It’s like, one word that represents what it’s all about. It’s about being able to have a relationship so that you can turn to that person and know that they’re not going to hurt you, they’re not going to harm you, that they have your best interest at heart.
Pam Harper: Again, I don’t understand. It seems like so many people that I speak with, that we speak with on a frequent basis, are saying, “I wish we could accelerate trust building.” Accelerate is the word. Everyone knows there’s a lot you have to go through to gain trust. Why does it seem like such a slow process?
Judith Glaser: I don’t know if it’s … It’s maybe slow because people are testing the waters with trust all the time. You can test it in different ways.
Scott Harper: What you’re saying is, we can test trust − but it seems like there are probably multiple levels of trust. When someone says, “I wish I could build trust more quickly,” they’re probably talking about that more open sharing you spoke of − the things that really get us to working together most effectively. There aren’t these elephants in the room lurking in the corners that everyone knows are there, but aren’t talking about.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. Transparency is the first part of trust that I think [about] every time I go into companies and talk about this topic. “Right − how do we put the real issues on the table?” I don’t want to have you thinking about that you don’t like me or thinking about I’ve done something bad and not giving me a chance to work on it with you. I want to be able to trust − well, say to me, “this is the issue, this the challenge, and let’s do something about it.” It’s that transparency that’s meant when people talk about elephants in the room or straight talk.
There’s clients of mine that have created these buttons that you’ve put in the middle of the table and when you start the meeting, everybody bangs the button that says, “tell the truth” or “straight talk,” right? “We’re going to start the meeting this way.” Because it is hard.
There’s some people that I want to be able to just talk to and not tell anybody else what I’m telling this person like, my best friend who I’ve had for 40 years. I want to be able to go out with her and tell her things. We have a special type of trust. It’s not the trust that … I don’t even want to tell what I told her to anybody else. It’s almost like … Some people are special, special, special trust partners and then I think there are other people that are another level of trust and then both share other things with. I think what I guess I’m saying Scott and Pam is that trust is not a simple yes or no. It doesn’t happen over night.
Although, with some people you could make it but it’s a conversation that I’m so thrilled people putting on the table so every company and every relationship can figure out what trust looks like for them so that in those relationships people are doing what they need to do to really create trust. Not just to talk about it but to create it.
Scott Harper: Okay. Let’s go back to that 0.07 seconds − because it really stuck in my mind. “I get this first impression and bang, I’ve got this gut feeling” − how accurate is that? And if I unintentionally make an impression on someone that makes them a little uneasy, can I take it back?
Judith Glaser: The question is how … Is it … If I get it in 0.07 seconds − which is very fast − is that a truism about that person that I hold at 100% level all the time or is it just in the moment? − I’m translating a little bit. Is it just at the moment for that time, or is it forever? I think that people get into trouble when we give 100% trust forever, forever. It’s like, I hope and I wish ,but because 0.07 seconds, because we get activated every time we meet them − I really do think that our body wants to double check and triple check. Check in and see is it still the case, because so many things go on in our life everyday that can challenge the trust equation. There’s a lot of research that says that people that give it 100% can often get into trouble because they stop using their, real truth surveillance to check it out.
Scott Harper: I supposed the opposite is true for if you withhold that trust 100% − that could be just as wrong, right?
Judith Glaser: Just as wrong, and even more debilitating. Again, human beings need [to validate trust] … Do you know that that even animals play trust games with each other?
Scott Harper: No kidding?
Judith Glaser: Yes. Yeah, yeah.
Pam Harper: That’s amazing, but I guess in one sense we all share certain commonalities with animals in that way.
We need to take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll talk more with Judith E. Glaser, CEO of Creating WE about a story that she has that illustrates the art of science of accelerating trust, and about some animals too. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio. With Pam Harper and Scott Harper brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated. On the web at www.businessadvance.com. Subscribe to the Growth Igniters Community by going to www.growthignitersradio.com and clicking the “Join Our Community” button in the upper right corner. This will let us send you weekly updates and add value to each episode. You’ll get easy access to each episode, and the play button, show notes, guest bio, and links to resources mentioned in the episode.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper − that’s me − and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking today with Judith E. Glaser, CEO of Creating WE, about accelerating the process of building trust that so critical in every aspect of business. Judith, how can people find out about your books, about you, about Creating WE?
Judith Glaser: We have a website. It’s www.creatingwe.com and that’s one place to go for lots of resources. In addition, we have another website which is tied to our book − Conversational Intelligence, which I highly recommend people go to. It’s www.conversationalintelligence.com, and we have lots of resources and interviews − and your interview is up there, by the way.
Scott Harper: That’s great.
Judith Glaser: I really want people to really start to dig into this everywhere in the world. I want Conversational Intelligence to be something that everybody understands, because at its heart is what we’re talking about today, which is trust. And the world really needs to have a jolt of trust.
Scott Harper: Absolutely. And you were saying before we broke that even animals play trust games…
Judith Glaser: Yeah. There’s two different animal stories. One is that there was some really amazing research done with monkeys − it was monkeys and bananas, and they were all in a cage together. The people that were doing the experiment gave a banana to one monkey, and there are others sitting there, and the game that they were playing was a trust game, really. Because it turns out that when the monkey was willing to share, fairly share their banana with other monkeys that were with them, then they were − in the minds of the other monkeys − this person was someone that they respected. When monkey was one − and they did this over and over again − that would not share their banana with the people, with their friends in some fair way, they felt that they could not trust them to become friends and to be part of the team. They’ve shown examples of where monkeys actually tossed out the selfish monkey.
Scott Harper: My goodness.
Judith Glaser: Yeah, they threw … They really harmed the monkey. They didn’t want it in their cage. Right − trust. They wanted to trust that the monkey would share with them the most important thing, which is food. Isn’t that fascinating?
Scott Harper: Wow.
Pam Harper: It really is. I mean I could see people doing some of that.
Judith Glaser: Yes, exactly.
Scott Harper: “We’re voting you off the island…”
Pam Harper: That’s right. That’s right. Let’s take it back over to people now; we’ve learned about the animal kingdom. You have a real live example here that would help us to understand some of the art and science of accelerating trust, right?
Scott Harper: In the context of business.
Pam Harper: In the context of business, and people in business, right. How can you explain this this to us in a situation that would be common?
Judith Glaser: I’m going to use the monkey story, now applied to humans.
Scott Harper: All right.
Judith Glaser: Okay, instead of bananas, think of a banana as information in a company, and you have a leader who is a CFO of a company that I’ve worked with. In fact, I’m sitting in one of the offices in that company now, still working with them. The CFO would go to meetings with the CEO and the executive team and learn tons and tons and tons of stuff about what was going in the company.
When he would come back to talk with the team, the team felt − and very quickly all of them felt it because I’ve interviewed all of them − they felt that he was not fully sharing and disclosing with the team. What was really going on in the senior level? As a result of it, they started to get really paranoid. Some picked it up right away and held it in and said, “well, maybe he’ll talk more later.” Other started to talk to each other, and quickly the whole team started to distrust their CFO of giving truth.
They started to actually go around and meddle in the company in different places trying to find out what was missing. Why? Because they just felt that inability to share on his part. Does that make any sense?
Scott Harper: Yeah. It sounds like the old story of gossip around the water cooler. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll make things up.”
Judith Glaser: Yeah. Yeah. Because they could not … It was not good and it’s just something so simple. To jump forward to what I did with them, is that I debriefed with the CFO about how this behavior … like, why was he doing it? What was going on in his mind that he didn’t feel comfortable enough to share with everybody in his team? That’s the most important place where you build trust with your team, right?
Pam Harper: Of course.
Judith Glaser: Right? They can’t strategize unless they have all that important information. He said he really didn’t feel that he was holding back what was happening.
Pam Harper: He didn’t?
Judith Glaser: He did not feel he was holding back. The people felt that he was, but he did not … He was not. What he was not saying to them − which is an interesting missing piece of trust − he wasn’t saying, “Look do you know what? Our team doesn’t have all the answers. What we’re doing is we’re going to play this out week by week, month by month.” They felt that because they didn’t ask him in the beginning, they made assumptions that weren’t true, causing distrust on their part for their, for their boss. Isn’t that incredible like, on both sides?
Pam Harper: You can’t make this up.
Judith Glaser: You can’t make this up.
Pam Harper: You just can’t.
Judith Glaser: You can’t make this up, and when we … Everybody got together and they shared and they were transparent about what they were thinking that brought the feeling of distrust to the table, all of them had the biggest ah-ha they’d ever had. What the team learned is that they have to continue to ask the boss, “is there anything else? Is there something that we’re missing?” Instead of assuming that he didn’t share, to actually ask it in a very open assertive way.
He also has to frame up the conversations with them saying, “I’m going to tell you everything I know and I’m also going to tell you what we don’t know so that you see how challenging for us in the organization.”
Pam Harper: Perception is everything, and we all get locked into our own way of looking at things. It creates a certain natural distrust at times that we have to learn to adjust to.
Scott Harper: You need to, interestingly enough, invest trust to build trust. That can be a challenge.
Here’s one more challenging situation that is composite of some things that we’ve seen. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Say, you’re a new CEO and you’re a month or two into your first 90 days of leadership, which we all recognize is really critical. You’ve gone on a listening tour. You’ve encountered different stakeholders, partners, employees, and you’ve been talking a lot about your vision and your values and your objectives.
Yet, the employees just don’t seem to be getting off the ground with trust − not as fast as you want to. People aren’t taking initiative, which you’ve explained is really important to you. They’re not taking risks for innovation, which you’ve explained is really important for the company success.
And nobody is complaining; no one is saying, “this is terrible,” but no one is sharing what’s going on. I mean − back to the CFO story for you, okay you’ve got − “I don’t think trust is coming around;” what will you do about it?
We’re going to have to talk about that in some detail as we get into the next segment.
Pam Harper: Okay. We’re going to take another quick break and when we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Judith E. Glaser about the mystifying case of …
Scott Harper: Missing trust.
Pam Harper: That’s right. Stay tuned.
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Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last two segments, Scott and I have been talking with Judith E. Glaser, CEO of Creating We about the art and science of accelerating trust in business, and in life in general. Judith, can you tell us a little bit about how we can reach you.
Judith Glaser: I can be reached through my website, www.conversationalintelligence.com or www.creatingwe.com. We’d love to speak with anybody who’s interested.
Pam Harper: Great. Let’s get back to what Scott started, the mystifying case…
Scott Harper: … of the missing trust.
Pam Harper: Okay, go for it.
Judith Glaser: I’m going to take the example you just gave, and I’m actually going to try out this with you. I’m going to put a real life situation into what you just described.
Scott Harper: All right.
Judith Glaser: The story that you just told was about a CEO who went around the company − a new CEO sharing his vision with everyone. Then he turned around at some point and all of a sudden, realized that something hadn’t happened that he anticipated would happen, and my read on this situation is the people weren’t getting it. That he trusted them to take charge and to use his vision as a jumping off …
Scott Harper: Blueprint.
Judith Glaser: Blueprint, yeah, and that they would then begin to deliver on it. And he was really… as a new CEO, there’s a piece of trust there. I’m going to start out. I’m going to give them the messages and then let me see what my organization can do.
Pam Harper: There was actually a little bit of wrinkle here, because it was known as a listening tour − that he was there to listen.
Judith Glaser: Yeah.
Scott Harper: He was trying to get people to talk to him, and at some level they did…
Pam Harper: Best practices and all of that.
If you can superimpose a real life situation on this, that’s probably even better.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. That’s what I will do.
In 1999, Jacques Nasser was hired to become the CEO of Ford, and it was a great move. He was highly, highly, highly regarded in the industry. He was not part of the Ford family, but he was really believed to be the person that was going to do the turn around in that company, and back then they were in trouble. He went around the country − exactly what you were describing − doing this tour, meeting with the people, talking about his vision, getting people excited.
It was true that people said the sessions were quite wonderful, and he watched to see what would happen. His disappointment level became extraordinarily high. His trust of people and his organization became very low, and it became a quandary. He got on his horse again and went around and started to do the tour again and said, “this time I just have to tell them more about what I was thinking and make it clear so people don’t have any doubts in their mind that they could take it on.”
What happened is that things got worse and worse and worse, and within a short amount of time, Jacques Nasser was asked to step down as the CEO of Ford, and he was replaced with someone else. That is a real life story that in some ways simulates what you were talking about.
Scott Harper: Yeah.
Pam Harper: Very much so.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. Here is my deconstruction of what went on: too often, leaders get into a visionary telling mode. In fact, we have research that shows that vision is the easiest thing for a leader to do, because it’s them pontificating about what they believe is the future of the company. At the vision level, most people can agree as, “Right, that this is a good direction to go.”
But as you start to translate vision into goals, strategies, accountabilities, action plans − all of those things − that’s where complexity starts to step in. And just because you have a beautiful vision, it doesn’t mean that you have a team in place or people in place collaborating and co-creating and working together to execute. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and this is where company after company after company fail.
When leaders believe with unrealistic expectations that people can translate a telling style of leadership into an action style of getting results, that’s where the fault lies. It does not happen; most leaders do not have conversations. They have vision conversations. They have what they call “listening conversations” that are not listening. It’s telling people what they want them to do, and that’s why the field of conversational intelligence is becoming more and more important, because it’s the interaction dynamic.
The pattern of engagement is that it has to strike a chord inside of people. What goes back and forth is discovery, it’s questioning, it’s challenging. It’s many multiples of conversations that take people into a place where they’re getting more crystal clear about what can work and what can’t work, and where you move from expectations to reality.
Every great leader at some point must be shocked when they learn this, because it’s a lesson that they aren’t taught in business school, but one that comes from the hard knocks of understanding that you can’t impose trust on people, even if you’re the best orator in the world. [The lesson] that the likelihood of not achieving the trust equation in the way you wanted to − a trust meaning that people will deliver what I think they should − It doesn’t happen that way. This is fairy tale land. This is really not how it works in real life.
Pam Harper: You make a very good point. So let’s quickly deconstruct this. What are two or three things that anybody who’s listening could get and immediately start to apply right after this call?
Judith Glaser: There’s two things. One is that you have to create a space for people to push back and ask questions, and to expect more space than what you thought you needed, because the translation of what’s in your head … I talked to leaders about what’s called unveiling your strategies. It’s a beautiful phrase − unveiling your strategies. In other words, the vision is not enough. You need to go down to a couple of levels, so that people start to unveil the strategy, and then create the space for people to ask questions to “double click” on what you’re saying − that’s a great we word that we use − and to try to find out what success would look like if that vision were to become true. What are some thing that we would see as a company happening, and you start to then create a bridge between a big idea and the reality that needs to be created. It’s a beautiful engagement process for leaders.
Scott Harper: Okay. And the second thing?
Judith Glaser: The next thing is to allow for people to speak up, and speak about feared implications. Because most of vision has to do with the future. Most of what’s in the now is that I’m stuck in a pattern that I’m very comfortable with, so there’s always disruption, and leaders need to provoke and ask people to say what are the biggest fears or challenges that you see in moving forward, or enabling them to speak up about them because that’s where people’s resistance comes from.
That’s why a leader will say, “nothing happened.” It’s because people are frozen in space. They could not … The fear − right, of making mistakes or doing it wrong with the new leader − right? It’s overwhelming.
Pam Harper: That’s true. How do you create that safe space for them to be able to share that fear.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. I have a wonderful leader that I spent many, many, many years working with at Dreyer’s and Edy’s Grand Ice Cream. He would always come into rooms with his people and he said, “let’s talk,” and he take off his tie, he’d take off his jacket, he’d sit down, and he’d lean in and he would say, “what are we working on now? What are the challenges that you’re facing? What are the things that you need my help with?” He always created a safe space where people could expect to ask for help, and expect to get helped and that’s a beautiful relationship.
Pam Harper: He probably followed through on that, and actually gave them what they said they needed.
Judith Glaser: Yes, he did. He did. And then he added something else. When he watched to see if the conversation gave them enough insight to move forward that he could give them a chance to… Trust them to produce some results, and he would always say in the meeting, “Did you have enough conversation to feel comfortable to move forward?” Then if people had more questions, they’d ask. When he finally thought that they were done − they knew enough − he’d say, “Do you know what? It’s time. You decide”. He said, “I’m going to … It’s now your turn. You decide how to do it.” He always trusted people at that point, because he knew that the conversation was rich enough to answer a lot of the fear questions that would often get in the way, and I loved him for that. That’s Gary Rogers from Dreyer’s and Edy’s Grand Ice Cream. He’s actually in my book called The DNA of Leadership. There’s a whole chapter about him and how he does that.
Pam Harper: We have to look that up.
Scott Harper: That’s wonderful. What he was doing was, he was signaling and listening in multiple ways − not just with his words, but with his actions − and he was also signaling trust. So you give trust and you get trust back. Is that what you’re saying?
Judith Glaser: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah, exactly.
Scott Harper: All right.
Pam Harper: This is a wonderful topic. Judith, thank you so much for shedding light on it. Any last thoughts about accelerating trust?
Judith Glaser: I think that trust starts from the very beginning a child is born, and the more people learn how to deal with trust and when trust doesn’t happen, the less distrust we have in the world.
The more people can have the conversations we were just talking about in this segment, from the time you’re very young because there’s always gaps between what I hope will happen and what might happen based on real circumstances. That’s life. That’s the wisdom − reality gaps exist between our aspirations and reality.
Finding ways to talk about it in a healthy way is probably the healthiest and the most important thing that human beings can do together. Trust is the golden thread that keeps us together. Let’s keep pulling on it in good ways with each other.
Scott Harper: That’s wonderful.
Pam Harper: That is wonderful. Thank you, Judith. Thank you very much.
Judith Glaser: You’re welcome.
Pam Harper: Okay. On that note, thank you all for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out resources related to today’s conversation, access Judith Glaser’s bio, share on social media, or open a conversation with us. Go to growthignitersradio.com and select episode 15. Until next time, this is Pam Harper…
Scott Harper: … and Scott Harper.
Pam Harper: Wishing you continued success, and leaving you with this question to discuss with your team…
Scott Harper: What can we start doing more of − and start doing less of − to accelerate trust in our company?