Anthony Zolezzi, Serial Entrepreneur, CEO Advisor and Author
As an advocate for success, I find myself asking many of the same old questions. What made that team so successful? How did that group get so much more done than the rest? How does this person make everything seem effortless and how are they so productive? Why do some “play in the sandbox” so well and others don’t? I am constantly in search of learning what makes personal and work relationships buzz with joy. I know there are multiple components and many times I see different virtues come to light, but throughout my own experience it usually comes down to one simple virtue that stands above the rest.
Recently, I was reminded of this when I met up with one of my Code Blue Innovation partners in Chicago to look at a new facility poised to be a critical link in our success for a sustainability project we are currently working on. This meeting was unique in that I didn’t need to go in to any specific details on the project because my partner Paul had already did the analysis prior to my arrival. In this case, my job was just to make sure the meeting for all attendees was creative and fun. It was much more important for me to work as a cheerleader in this situation than discussing standard industry business, technology or the unit economics for the business.
Upon reflection after everyone left, I realized that we had a very productive, game changing meeting and we had fun; the kind of fun that you want to get together and do again. Walking around Chicago on a bright and sunny end of summer day, I realized what made our two-person tag team work that day was one thing — I totally and unequivocally trusted Paul.
The “trust factor,” (integrity, confidence, strength, surety and ability) that I have in Paul’s competency to fully analyze a business, think through where it needs to go and compile all the mobile technology aspects for its success, is unprecedented. Without this trust, we would not be able to enjoy each other’s company professionally, or get things done as quickly and efficiently. Upon further reflection, I realized that trust is a “productivity lubricant” because it makes working with people effortless. If your team has total trust, you don’t have to waste time; you can skip multiple steps and can instead, totally focus on the job at hand, being creative, innovative and effective.
Do you trust your team members at work? Do you completely trust your family members at home? Think about the “trust factor” on a scale of one through five (1-5). How much do you trust their decision making and cognitive or creative abilities? Going back to my business partner Paul, I would rate him at five plus (5+) in assessing a business and thinking how to take it to the next level. You should also assess yourself. How are you doing? Are you making the progress you had hoped for in that project or solving that problem? Are you having Fun in the process? Fun is a really good indicator of the trust level; the more trust, the more fun. So, how are you going to build trust immediately or at least key people on the team?
Trust is basic and necessary but here are a few things to do today. First and foremost, recognize that trust starts with you, not them. Yes, you! Make sure you recognize all the little things count. For example, if you are supposed to have a report or a summary for a project by end of day, have it by end of day, even if it is only 80 percent complete.
If you say you are going to call before 4:00 p.m., make sure you do it and if you can’t, send an email or a text that you are tied up. Additionally, it is absolutely necessary to have other team members, family members and employees backs. Make sure you are always covering for your team members or direct reports. Tell them today and mean it from the bottom of your heart that you have their back, no matter what. If you are willing to die on the sword for them, they will feel it and return the same loyalty to you. Be genuinely concerned about them because they are people first.
Now, what if there is someone on your team, working for you or someone else whose back you just can’t see covering? Recognize this will inhibit your ability to be as effective and efficient, and probably make the load a little heavier. Personally, I run in to this all the time, and it’s not just as easy as saying, “I am not going to work with that person.” Many times, you have no choice but to work with that person. To be honest, I’m not sure I have I a sufficient answer to that scenario, but I believe it’s a major problem in organizations today, as the digital transformation impacts jobs and the rate of happy employees decrease dramatically.
However, I can share with you what I do in those awkward situations.
First, I try to find something in common with the person. Then, perhaps, I go out of my way to be complimentary or even share an opinion with them publicly at a meeting. I try to keep this consistent and make it a personal goal to have some level of trust between the individual and myself. To make sure the individual knows I am going to do everything I can to build a certain level of confidence and trust between us and mean it.
Honestly, this is difficult but sometimes there is nothing you can do but be the bigger person and focus on giving to make sure the team works efficiently. Ultimately, if you are constantly conscience of the “trust factor,” and do what you can every day to make sure those around you know it, you will gain their trust and you will become one of those people that seems to get things accomplished effortlessly, that seems light airy and happy. The person that everyone wants to hang with. Trust is the factor that makes a difference in your happiness and everyone else around you. Trust on.
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[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]
About the Author
Anthony Zolezzi, is a serial entrepreneur who plays a leading role in advising corporations on ways to innovate with their existing strengths given the expectations of today’s socially conscious culture, while increasing profitability and uncovering new innovations. His work has resulted in numerous entrepreneurial companies and product developments focused on sustainability and health. Sign up for more inspirations at: www.anthonyzolezzi.com and follow him on Twitter @anthonyzolezzi.