Trust

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Square Peg in a Round Hole

 

Jeff Gorman Keller Schroeder PresidentJeff Gorman  – [President]

Years ago, a commercial aired with two mechanics pounding on an obviously incorrectly sized car part saying, “It will fit, we’ll make it fit.”  The advertisement worked because the concept of forcing the wrong solution onto a problem was relatable.  Common sense tells us square pegs do not belong in round holes.  If the problem you are trying to solve is filling in a round hole, and someone offers to assist by giving you a square peg, you will likely suggest they help someone else instead.

Square Peg in A Round HoleAs simple as that concept is for people to understand, somehow it frequently gets lost in the world of technology.   People become infatuated with the newest “square peg” technology and become fixated on pounding it into a “round hole” issue just to have the privilege of using the latest and greatest.  As a technology company in the performance improvement business, Keller Schroeder firmly believes the role of Information Technology is to make businesses perform better.  Information Technology companies and departments should serve the business functions, not vice versa.  IT professionals should have a box full of different shaped pegs, and when they collaborate with business units, should be able to identify solutions that specifically address business needs and improve overall performance.

Business units should not play the role of being a showcase for technology; technology should be used to better showcase and empower business units.  Your company and companies you partner with for technology must understand and perform in a manner which makes it clear everyone agrees with that intent.  If not, you may end up with some really cool “square pegs,” having made no progress in filling your company’s “round hole” issues.

Look for our newsletters this year to follow this theme.  We will talk more about the issues affecting different industries and how to apply technology to solve specific problems.  For more than forty years, we have grown relationships by first seeking to understand the business of our partners and then leveraging technology to improve their business’ performance.  If you want to talk more with us about how technology might be able to solve a business problem you are experiencing, we would love the opportunity to meet with you.

 

by Carissa Carissa No Comments

Building a High-Trust Culture

Building TrustTrust is a powerful thing.  It serves as a foundation for organizational success.  It builds bridges between people of different persuasions, allowing them to move forward together in a common direction.  I suppose our politicians, and our country as a whole, could benefit from a higher level of genuine trust… ya think?

In Keller Schroeder’s most recent, internal survey (we collect feedback anonymously about every three years), responses from our employee-owners were 95% favorable to the statement, “Management delivers on its promises”, and 96% favorable to, “Management’s actions match its words”.  Lest we too quickly conclude that trust is all about management, our staff also responded 99% favorably to both of the following statements:  “People care about each other here”, and “People avoid politicking and backstabbing as a way to get things done”.

While all of us at Keller Schroeder are humbled and blessed to work in such a positive, high-trust culture, we never endeavored specifically to build one.  No one ever said, “You know, we really need to increase trust here!”  So how does trust happen, and what contributes most to trust in the marketplace?

Avoidance of any major violations of trust is certainly important.  Keller Schroeder consists of about 85 high-integrity individuals who are trustworthy and honest.   But I would suggest that trust is more than a moral issue.  Of all the bosses in my career, the one I respected and trusted the least was, by most standards, a trustworthy person with high moral standards.  I trusted his morals, but I doubted his intentions.  Conversely, the people who have influenced me most have been ones in whom I could place complete trust.  These mentors, peers and bosses each had two things in common:  (1) all their cards were on the table – I knew their intentions – and (2) they had a genuine interest in me and in others, ahead of themselves.

These may sound like very different attributes – clear intentions and other-centered interests – but upon closer examination I believe they are very much related.  It is difficult to have all your cards on the table – to be completely open and honest about your intentions – when those intentions are primarily self-indulgent.  And, when you are genuinely interested in what is best for those around you, it is not difficult at all to be candid and transparent about your thoughts and plans.

We all know people who we absolutely do not trust, based on obvious reasons or personal history, but the overwhelming majority of those we interact with have the basic moral fiber to be trusted.  The development of a high-trust culture for your organization depends on your intentions and your interests.  If it is first about you, trust will be compromised.  If the well-being of your colleagues ranks high among your priorities, trust will grow.  This is a leadership principle which may start at the top, but we all have the opportunity to influence how our organization’s culture evolves.

So before we too quickly point upward or outward as it pertains to trust and culture, let’s look inward.  No organization can build trust.  Only individual members of an organization, on an encounter-by-encounter basis, can demonstrate the authentic interest in others necessary to build a healthy culture.

Larry May [President]

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