Sep 12, 2015

Why is Trust so Important?

Developers solve problems. We do that by discovering new useful ideas and concepts.

It's a highly creative effort which requires lots of thinking, questioning and experimentation, often in collaboration with others. When that stuff is working, a dev team can do astonishing work.

But to get there, some fundamentals are needed: 
  • It must be ok to fail 
  • Everyone must feel safe to express their ideas 
The concept underpinning all this is trust.

Trust must exist between team members, but also between team and organization. It is the first step towards any kind of development performance.

From the well of trust springs courage. Courage is the ability to speak up, to try new things, to be creative, to pose bold, radical ideas, to undo accepted decisions, challenge the status quo and the organization itself.
Lack of trust is the no:1 reason organizations fails to improve
In my experience, lack of trust is the no:1 reason organizations fails to improve their team development effort.

Without trust, fear starts to dominate. Fear of failure, fear of speaking up, fear of being punished, fear of trying new things, fear of losing control.

Given enough time, this gives way to a command-and-control organization where people spend more time following protocol and covering their own backs rather than doing actual work.

Obviously don't allow your team go careening over a cliff, but use the opportunities that arise everyday to let them fail.

Teams that fail and recover together are much stronger than ones that are protected. So a bit of trust coupled with clear expectations goes a long way to show you mean business.

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