The High Trust/Low Control Culture
The CEO walked slowly to the podium.
It was 8:30 in the morning and over one hundred company employees had assembled for a special meeting. Most assumed some kind of meeting like this one would be taking place. The company was very open with its financial information. Besides anyone who could read a newspaper knew this industry was in trouble.
The CEO began: “ As you know, despite our best efforts, revenues have been down. For the company to survive we have had to make some tough decisions. So that most of us can stay, some of us, unfortunately, must go.” He then went on to explain that approximately ten per cent of the company employees had been laid off. They had already been told and were receiving severance pay and outplacement assistance. He continued, “This is going to mean more work for those of us that remain. In addition we are asking each of you to take a ten percent salary cut. The members of management will be taking a twenty percent cut. We are certain that no more personnel changes will be necessary for the next nine months. Though we don’t anticipate it, should we need to make additional cuts, we will let you know. If you have any questions, my door is always open.”
And with that the meeting was adjourned.
Over the next few days department managers met to reassure their employees and to make the necessary adjustments to distribute the additional responsibilities throughout their groups.
After a period of initial sadness, people began to adjust to their new routines.
And then a funny thing began to happen.
Morale began to rise. People who had had their salaries cut and been given additional work began to rally around one another. They began to believe-no- began to know that they would survive this crisis.
Welcome to the High Trust/ Low Control Culture.
Last month we looked at the destructive nature of a culture where trust is low and the need for control is high. This month we look at the restorative power of the opposite type of organization.
The Nature of Control and Trust
As was mentioned last month, in the low trust/high control culture people trust only themselves. In the high trust culture people understand that they accomplish much more by relying on and working with others. Realizing ‘two heads are better than one” they are willing to risk trusting others and willing to consider other people’s needs. Their desire to reach goals takes precedence over their need for temporary control. There is a high value placed on effective communication.
The Nature of Managing People
In a high trust culture, those in power give people responsibility they can handle. There is an unspoken policy that people are not to be set up to fail. There is a general assumption that people are competent unless they indicate otherwise. There is also an assumption that if people need help, they will ask for it. As a result, managing people in a high trust culture is relatively easy. While progress is checked and managers are available to provide assistance if needed, the person doing the job is the one doing most of the initiating. There is managing – but with a small “m.”
The Nature of Involvement and Commitment
The high trust culture benefits from the strong correlation between involvement and commitment. People in high trust cultures feel a strong sense of involvement and respond with a high degree of commitment. As a result, high trust cultures have very low turnover rates. People do not tend to leave environments where they feel needed and wanted. There is an additional benefit. When people work together over an extended period of time, the result is a very responsive, cohesive team.
So what will it be-last months low trust/ high control culture mess or this month’s
high trust/ low control culture? The choice is yours to make.
If you would like help creating a high trust/ low control culture, I am just a phone call or email away!