All you need is … trust!

Every time when we talk about agile, self-organization, project teams we try to connect with team trust. Indeed, when starting a new project – you need to trust your team. Going to change the “team world” – you should earn trust. Trust is becoming a buzzword.

But what does it really mean?
What is your definition of trust?
I’m an agile coach and like to ask questions. And my questions today are:
Do you trust television news?

Do you trust the people who are you working with?

Do you trust your spouse?

If so, how do you understand it?  What are you feeling? How are you going to measure it? Is it really feasible?

What is Trust? 

From my point of view, the crucial factor of any attempt to improve and foster trust is understanding and clarifying what it really means for us. What we imply when we are talking about trust and trustworthy? What are our expectations of people? Especially, when we are talking about team trust. Here are several ways to grasp trust with your team members.

Ask questions!

This almost seems obvious, but for many it isn’t. Certainly, different teams and organizations have different definitions of what trust is.
Target Audience  — teams and managers
Exercise Objectives – Share ideas what is trust for everybody and what it is not
Learning Points – (1) Group similar ideas. (2) Try to avoid misunderstanding (3) Debrief in the end.
Preparation – All you need is clear flipchart, stickers and enough space for organize a short brainstorm.
Playing instructions – Teams and managers write down ideas what is trust for them and what is not. If it possible let them draw pictures or create other metaphors. After 10-15 min let them put all the stickers on the flipchart. After the first stage participants discuss result and group them. If you get a lot of ides let them vote and prioritize the list.

Define forces!

Over a year ago, I wrote about a force-field analysis. Force Field Analysis was developed by Kurt Lewin (1951) and is widely used to organize decision making process. It is a powerful method of gaining a overview of the different forces acting on a potential issue or challenge. When I decided to apply the FFA the main idea was to identify which positive and negative forces will influence team trust climate. This is another useful exercise which you may use for understanding trust.
Target Audience   — teams and managers
Exercise Objectives – Find factors which can boost team trust and which may destroy it.
Preparation – All you need is clear flipchart, stickers and enough space for organize a short brainstorm.
Playing instructions – I would recommend to organize separate groups (at least two). One of them is focusing on positive factors, another one – on negative. It is very important to have separate groups. I found that if we have only one team people tend to cheat the rules and generate only lists of antonyms. By the way, we want to identify real forces.Teams and managers write down ideas (one idea per one sticker). After 10-15 min teams present results back to back. Usually the list of negative things is bigger than the list of positives. Normally, I ask participants to debrief it.

Build answers!

When things are going wrong and you as a trust facilitator want to engage a team you need “big guns”.  You need something real and physical. You need Lego 😃
It si not a secret that Lego Serious Play provides the specific language for teams to discuss, solve problems and make decisions (see: Lego Serious Play).
Target Audience   — teams and managers
Exercise Objectives – Build answers to questions about Team Trust
Preparation – All you need is lego (brick, peaces, figures and etc), stickers and enough space for organize a short brainstorm. The challenge (Question – what is trust?)
Playing instructions – I would recommend using the next stages (after a short warm-up). (1)  Ask participants to build a model which represents their understanding of personal trust. Let them share and ask each other questions. (2) Build a shared model which shows team trust. (3) Each person explains the art of the meaning. Ask them to write down at least 3 main factors which describes the model of common trust. And debrief together.

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