Air Force

June 28, 2013

Improving organizational trust perks results

Lt. Col. JON WHEELER
310th Fighter Squadron Commander

Have you ever looked back at all the organizations you’ve been a part of and evaluated what makes an organization great? There is one characteristic that underlies every successful organization I have ever been a part of — trust. Organizational trust is a great characteristic for unit leadership and members to focus on improving in order to advance unit performance. It deserves this focus because trust directly contributes to organizational efficiency, can be improved and can be assessed.

Trust is vital to the output of an organization. When trust is high in an organization, the unit can get things done quickly. Think about how much faster a unit can produce results when layers of oversight are reduced. How much more could supervisors do if they didn’t have to cross-check every detail accomplished by the Airmen working for them? Additionally, when the people in the organization trust their leaders, they’re more likely to value mission accomplishment. Trust amplifies the processes, techniques and technologies that get results. On the contrary, lack of trust imposes a great tax on an organization. That tax takes the form of increased time and cost to get things done. Real trust based on assessments of the situation, personnel and experience can pay huge dividends.

Since trust amplifies organizational productivity or lack of productivity, organizations should seek to improve it. One of the great things about trust is it is something you can change. Although it is exponentially faster to lose trust than gain it, you can make it better. In Stephen Covey’s book, “The Speed of Trust,” he explains 13 behaviors that can increase trust. These are practical things that every member of a unit can work on to improve trust in themselves, their relationships and their organization. For example, one of these behaviors is to create transparency. This tip encourages us to be open and err on the side of disclosure. When we reveal agendas and mistakes in a timely manner, others learn to trust our intentions and don’t feel the need to keep constant oversight.

Another behavior key to improving trust is keeping commitments. Simply put, this is making sure we do what we say we are going to do. This behavior involves keeping commitments to ourselves, our coworkers and our customers (those outside our organization). If we concentrate on tracking commitments and honoring them, we can improve trust at all levels.

In addition to being improvable, trust is something leaders and Airmen can measure through direct feedback, observation and survey. The formal feedback session is a great place to get a sense of how much trust subordinates have in leadership and the unit. The person receiving feedback can also use this opportunity to assess how well they have established themselves as worthy of trust and what they can do to improve. Members can also use informal feedback to achieve these same goals through daily interaction. In addition to feedback, one of the easiest ways to assess organizational trust is to watch the unit in action. If you look at the processes and interactions, you can get a very clear sense of whether organizational trust is high … you just have to look for it. Finally, there are effective tools that commanders can use such as confidential surveys which will anonymously give some insight into the level of trust in the organization.

In the age of “do more with less,” units need to work efficiently to be effective. If an organization focuses on assessing and improving individual, relational and organizational trust, unit efficiency will improve.

In October 2012, Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein recommended the book “The Speed of Trust” to all the commanders in the wing. If you’re interested in improving this attribute in yourself and your unit, I recommend you read the book and draw from it your own lessons.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Hecker assumes command of 19th Air Force

Courtesy photo Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, presents the unit guidon to Maj. Gen. James Hecker during the 19th Air Force assumption of command ceremony June 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolp...
 
 

Air Force News – June 26, 2015

Alaska Firefighters from the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson recently assisted with the Division of Forestry’s efforts in containing the Sockeye wildfire near Willow. The fire is estimated to cover more than 7,000 acres of land.   Virginia The 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games opened June 19 with about 250 athletes...
 

 

People First – June 26, 2015

EPME enrollment notifications begin The Air Force Personnel Center recently initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified. In July 2014, the Air...
 
 

Air Force News – June 19, 2015

Poland In support of Baltic Operations 2015 June 5 through 20, a team of Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron deployed to Powidz Air Base, maintained communication requirements for the Air Force at the installation. Baltops is a multinational maritime exercise designed to enhance flexibility and interoperability. Southwest Asia Since Aug. 8, coalition airpower...
 
 

People First – June 19, 2015

Selected MSgt evals close out Sept. 30 Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve master sergeant and master sergeant-select enlisted performance reports will now close out annually on Sept. 30. In addition, as of June 3, , master sergeants and selects will no longer receive change-of-reporting-official EPRs. Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>