A common objective of organizational change is to do process improvement, with a goal of being more efficient and effective. Part of what will allow the organization to reach that goal is to have defined roles and responsibilities, where each person understands what they are expected to do within the process. One key to efficiency is when everybody “gets” their role and trusts that everybody else “gets” their role, too.
The trust factor here is critical. When trust doesn’t exist that the other person has done their job, and done it well, the non-truster is going to repeat the work that was already done because they need to hear / see / do it themselves in order to truly believe. When you’ve introduced duplicate work, efficiency is gone.
A lack of trust is also damaging to the chances of the change actually taking hold and sustaining. When the non-trusting behavior is not challenged and is allowed to continue, the desired outcomes of the change can’t be achieved. In addition to not achieving the efficiency because of the duplicate work being done, the person who has done a good job and who is second-guessed gets upset because they’re not valued — escalating an efficiency problem into a people problem.
So, how do you attempt to deal with the trust issue… first start with understanding what’s the root cause of the lack of trust. Some possibilities:
- Is this based on a true issue with a person’s skills — are they really not able to do their job at the quality needed for somebody else to place trust in their work.
- Is this based on a personality issue — no matter how skilled somebody is, the non-truster is always going to question their work, just because they don’t like them.
- Is this based on a feeling that nobody else can do the work as well as they can — unless that person has had personal involvement they can’t trust that the right answer was arrived at.
There will be different ways to deal with the issue, depending on the root cause. When the lack of trust is due to perception instead of a true issue with skills, over time you may be able to turn it around by exhibiting leadership, persistence, and integrity, along with maintaining open communication.