Last week, we attended Changeboard’s Future Talent Conference at The Royal Geographical Society where the opening keynote, Margaret Heffernan, Author, talked about trust.

The discussion from speakers later in the day, on the panels, and in the breakout areas followed this theme: A lack of trust can negatively impact communication, delegation, empowerment and productivity. What causes trust to break down? How can we re-build trust? How can we encourage leaders to be open and honest? There were no easy answers, but the 700+ delegates definitely came away with some actions. Here are just a few of the insights from the day:

  • Paralympic gold medallist swimmer, Lord Chris Holmes talked about the need to embrace diversity and how he has had to put his complete trust in others – not just people but also his guide dogs. Chris said, “It is important to focus on relationships rather than transactions.”
  • Olympic gold medallist rower, Dame Katherine Grainger, talked about the need to establish a shared vision and understanding for what drives others on your team. She said, “You may not get on with everyone you work with but knowing that they are committed to the end goal will help build a sense of trust.”
  • Rugby World Cup winning England manager, Sir Clive Woodward argued that trust is earned through the quality of your actions over time. He set out his three teamship rules:

1. All players shake hands
2. Don’t give the coach a hard time
3. Behave as if you’re in the team

  • More trust is not the answer. We need to think about trustworthiness instead, according to Robert Phillips, Author of Trust Me, PR is Dead and Co-Founder of Jericho Chambers. He said, “The fight for truth is real. We must show the moral courage to lead. We can only negotiate, not impose, the future. Each one of us needs to do something – and be the change. Hope and optimism can defeat cynicism and despair.”
  • Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey, Dean of the School of Management at the University of Bath said trust is more important in time of change. She said, “People generate trust through ability, benevolence, integrity and consistency.”

The importance of building trust was clearly on everyone’s agenda and is essential if we are to create game-changing teams. We see this in our work with teams and organisations – The GC Index framework and language is simple, effective and outcome driven which creates a level playing field where people feel they can be open. It’s this openness that helps builds trust.