Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trust: The Cornerstone of Teams of Integrity

Several years ago, Lisa was working with a team of leaders who trusted each other implicitly. Most of the leaders were at the Vice President level and were asked to form a team that would seek process improvements in their various departments and evaluate how they might be able to work together to cut costs and improve performance by understanding each other’s area of expertise and recognizing the value created when they formed a unified unit.

At the time, Lisa managed the business analysts and testing units within the Information Technology arena. They were charged with not only understanding the systems, the vast internal calculations of a giant accounting system, state and federal regulations, but also the intricacies of the products they built on the software system used to process the business. Business leaders understand the criticality of moving new product through the pipeline from design, to development and ultimately to production and sales. What was unique during this time was that Lisa’s company president made a request of the leadership team to bring a new product up and get it out the door in less than three weeks. Of course, their initial reaction was one of disbelief. This had never been done in the history of the company, and was virtually impossible given the design and development time.

Because of the trust built within the leadership team, they worked together to devise a plan to move a core team of people from every department into a “design and dream” room. Their task was to work together to define and design the product, create the mainframe systems code, design the testing protocol, and design the marketing plan all at the same time. They reasoned that if everyone was involved from the very beginning, they could eliminate the hand-offs and the critical path would be the one path that would take the longest, while all others were moving forward with incredible speed. The definition and design was completed in three hours, and all team members split off to accomplish their individual tasks with help from their own teams, and personnel from every department. The systems code took several days. Even before the coding was completed, the testing began. Marketing materials and copyright searches were completed simultaneously. The team beat their target date by several days. How was this possible?

Each leader gave up turf, staff, and budget to create a unique process on the fly. This generosity and the conviction that each member could be depended upon to do their part was the cornerstone of the team. It allowed for disagreements and conversation to occur without the need for vindication or apology. Everyone did not always think the same way, but the dialogue was such that decisions could be made quickly, agreed to by all and implemented with speed. Members worked within the “design and dream” room whenever possible so they were available to each other for questions and conversations seeking solutions throughout the process. Each day the team met to discuss obstacles, resolution and gain clarification. As one member completed the tasks in their area of expertise, they quickly moved to help another.

This type of trust is the cornerstone of teams of integrity. The team above helped each other do the work necessary outside of their own areas of responsibility. They quickly recognized and tapped one another’s skills and experiences to create a team with one mind, rather than a team of ten individuals. When one made a mistake, two others jumped in to help rectify it. When the project was done, and the product was on the street, the joy and celebratory atmosphere was palpable.

Imagine the thrill you would feel if you could say, “I am part of a whole, trusting my team mates to support encourage and inspire me to take the lead in being a solid component to our success.”

Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a life transitions coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She specializes in career and personal life transitions for people seeking change in their life. Georgia is uniquely skilled in providing support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. Her website is, where she blogs about business and career, and, where she and many other coaches blog about mind, body, spirit and emotion. Georgia can be reached at (402) 304-1902.

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