I thought I’d share something interesting about trust among teams based on research I recently did. Team trust level is something that gets pooh-poohed by those who scorn “touchy feely” stuff, but it’s critical to any real success.
Just about every two years, I’ve done research about enterprise project management, and I’ve just gotten back some interesting results from the 2014 study. No “big reveal” of the research itself until InformationWeek publishes the report, of course, but when I asked about trust among teams, the types of words used in the “other” category were fairly revealing.
Normally, I’m pretty good at writing survey questions where the great majority of participants pick one of the options, and only 1 or 2 percent pick “other.” The statistician in me calls those “outliers” and while they have valid opinions, there aren’t enough of them to really sway a trend.
When I asked about activities that build trust in teams, I listed the usual suspects: breaking bread together; doing work style assessments such as Myers-Briggs; 360º leadership feedback systems such as the Leadership Challenge’s Leadership Practices Inventory; shared experiences such as high ropes.
But instead of getting 1 or 2 percent of other, I got a mammoth 15% of “other!” Color my inner statistician intrigued.
And, there were so many different comments that it was hard to nail down a common theme.
So, like any card-carrying member of the Internet generation, I ran a word cloud on it, and I thought not only was it interesting, it was worth sharing, even if it’s only from 15% of respondents.
I used Wordle to show the variety of the things that respondents said created trust in teams: competency, being “open”, sharing. As you can see, what rose to the top were “working” (right on!) “communication” and “together”, as did “shared” and “goals”. The list goes on. And what didn’t show up writ large was as interesting as what didn’t: “leadership” is in there, but it’s not what most people were interested in.
Simply lovely. And I wanted to share it with you all — see below. I hope you find it as interesting as I do. Full report to follow; stay tuned.
Postscript: When I shared this post with some friends, I wrote, “Actually putting forth work, communication, having goals, being open seem to be more important to some than things like leadership when it comes to building trust among a team”. My colleague and friend Dave Rettinger, director of the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service at the University of Mary Washington, fired back: “but that is leadership!” Great point.