Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trust is critical to any successful team

As Peirre Beaudoin tells McKinsey Quarterly, "if you want to make a change . . . You need the people who are willing to make themselves vulnerable, the people who are willing to learn, to work in teams, to promote the leadership skills that we agree are important."

Trust is the willingness to make oneself vulnerable to another based on one's belief in that other's good intentions and/or competency. Bombardier's successful change effort was moved forward because leaders were willing to accept that vulnerability. He goes on to say that those who couldn't do so were let go, even if they had been top performers. They simply no longer fit the culture.

The company had been one where no one was willing to tell hard truths; things were always "great". Silos were powerful, information sharing was poor. To become a culture where privately held information could bubble up from all levels, leaders had to learn to trust one another. How successful has that turnaround been?

  1. "The level of engagement in employee surveys has climbed more than 15 percent since 2004" -- this in a recession!
  2. "recently named the third most admired and trusted brand in Canada in a survey of consumers; the survey also ranked our workplace second most admired.4"
and for those of you who find #'s 1 and 2 too "soft" how about some hard financial data: Bombardier went :from an EBIT3 margin of 2 or 3 percent to 8 percent, a $500 million improvement."

Ultimately, change takes hard work and a lot of internal trust. Two "soft" things Bombardier has achieved.

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