Recently, I had the pleasure of giving my 2017 State of the Union address to the employees of Veracity Solutions. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to work with this group of amazing, passionate, dedicated people, and I appreciate the time everyone took out of their day to listen to me.
Looking toward the future, I want us to focus on two very important areas.
The first is Our Brand.
Here are a few critical questions to get everyone thinking about that:
That final question leads us to the second Very Important Thing – Trust.
Stephen M.R. Covey said, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
Our brand promise is that our clients can trust us. Trust us to get it right. Trust us to solve their difficult problems. Trust us with their business intelligence and information.
**My challenge to everyone at Veracity for 2017 is to improve on that trust. Improving on that brand promise.**
It starts internally. We must improve our ability to make and keep commitments to each other. If we cannot trust each other, how can others trust us? Even the smallest adjustments to behavior can have a dramatic influence on an experience. And that can go either way – the failure to keep a commitment can have a cascading, negative effect on the entire team!
From there, we move outward to our clients. It’s so very important that we all understand how critical building and maintaining trust is to the future of our business. We must all be very deliberate about the way we stage every client experience so that it fosters trust. As we move ourselves and guide our clients through each engagement, we must stay aware of the consequences of our words and our actions. What are we doing that is fostering trust? Even more important – what we are doing that is losing their trust? What can we do as a team to put things back on track if this starts to happen?
It’s never enough to just say “Trust Us!” We all know where that can lead. Everything we do and say has to support and foster a sense of deep and enduring trust.
Making and keeping commitments
It’s not always easy to keep a commitment. Sometimes things happen that get in the way. Often we find that saying “yes” to one thing means saying “no” to another. So I ask us all to be smart about our time, and focus on where we can make the greatest contributions. Try to avoid overcommitting ourselves – saying “yes” to everyone every time puts us in the awkward position of not making anyone happy. Say “yes” to the essential tasks and requests, and be mindful over being impulsively agreeable.
Stephen M.R. Covey wrote an amazing book called “The Speed of Trust” In it he explains how we can measure trust as a set of dividends or a set of taxes. Things that can speed us up or slow us down. Things that add to the pot, or that take away from it. The bottom line is …
NOTHING BUILDS TRUST FASTER THAN DELIVERING RESULTS
And that brings us right back around to our brand promise.
Better Software Every Time.
Is a client testing us out? Are they going all in and handing us their trust and their project? Either way, it is incumbent on us to perform at our best and show them our true selves. Honesty, transparency, commitment … this is the way to foster trust.
I believe that there is a cycle of trust experiences, and that the faster we move through the cycle, the deeper the trust we build will be. As we go through it we have to be agile, of course, and adjust course based on reactions and results and revised expectations.
We must always remember – we are the representatives of our brand, and if we under deliver we lose trust and we damage our brand. It’s up to each of us to stay the course and deliver what we promise – every time.How do we do this? Good question! We have to pay attention. Often we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to pay attention to how we’re doing it. Think of the customers’ trust as accounts in a bank. The deposits and withdrawals we make affect the account’s viability and stability.
Covey (I do have a lot of respect for the man!) suggests that there are four components of trust – two related to competence, and two related to character. I see it as the parts of a tree – a living, reactive, organic thing:
1. Integrity – The root of who we are
2. Intent – The trunk – what we want to do
3. Capabilities – The limbs – we have to know what to do and deliver it
4. Results – The leaves and the fruits of our labor
So let’s earn the trust of our clients by always delivering on our brand promise!
Consider these questions: Are we keeping promises? Are we speaking the truth? Are we being fair? Are we being authentic and transparent? Are we being competent? Trust starts from within and ripples outward from there. As I said earlier – we must give and receive that trust from each other, and then gaining trust from our customers will follow naturally from the actions we take and the experiences we create going forward.
I’ll end this blog the way I ended the meeting – posing some questions I’d like us all to consider:
1. How much trust do we have today? Within the company … with each other…?
2. What can we do to increase / what have we done to decrease that trust?
3. What will it take in 2017 to deliver on our brand promise and our commitment to build and maintain trust?
4. Are we giving more than we are receiving? Because that is the recipe for success!
About the Author
Galen Murdock is a creative software executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience building world-class teams, innovative products and profitable companies in healthcare, finance, and education. Galen consults with software companies from Fortune 100 to startups to create market-driven web, mobile, native and cloud applications. He is co-creator of the blendsourcing™ model of trusted collaboration, a software architect, an Agile coach, and serves on advisory boards for several software companies and universities and on the U.S. HHS ONC’s Clinical Quality Workgroup. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his sweetheart, Danielle, and their four energetic children.