Never has trust been so integral to our day to day lives.
Trust in our leaders. Trust in the information that we consume. Trust in our decision making. Trust in each other.
I have written in the past that relationships really matter and long-term relationships matter the most. Relationships thrive with trust and without trust you can never foster a long-term relationship. Now more than ever, we must live up to these values that we set ourselves in good times and bad.
In this time of physical separation, how is it that I feel more connected with my work mates than any other time? We share high levels of trust that have been built up over the years. Trust that has been built on spending time together, sharing stories and dreams. We have called each other out when we have behaved in a way that is inconsistent. We have led and been led in different situations. We have a collective history and a future together. We have been generous in body and spirit. But given the physical separation, why the sudden closeness?
Due to the extreme uncertainty in the world, I can only put this closeness down to the collective vulnerability that we are sharing.
Without wanting to go all Brené Brown on you, the ability to be both vulnerable and trusting is the combination that provides a culture with the resilience to deal with the extreme situation in which we now find ourselves. Or any other situation for that matter. The only way for the leader of a team to create a safe environment where team members can be vulnerable is by stepping up and doing something that feels unsafe and uncomfortable first. By taking the risk of being vulnerable with no guarantee that other members of the team will respond in kind. As Patrick Lencioni says “a leader demonstrates an extraordinary level of selflessness and dedication to the team. And that gives the right, and the confidence, to ask others to do the same”.
At EG, all staff have shared a virtual morning huddle. This has been a cathartic experience for a mere 15 minutes at the beginning of each workday. Each of us have shared our vulnerability as we absorbed and reflected back what has been happening around us. Some days we each felt strong and all-conquering and some days were more sober. We’ve shared our stories and listened intensely. We have not judged each other’s genuine fears but been generous with offers of help and support. We have provided random acts of kindness to people who are very close to us and also to those we will never meet halfway around the world.
For the past 20 years, the EG culture has been evolving. It has never had a test like the current one. Although we never thought that it would face such a test, all our thinking and theorising about how a strong culture can make us more able to meet any challenge and thrive, has proven to be so true.
Importantly, the trust that has been built will never be lost.