“Trust, not technology, is the issue of the decade”
– Tom Peters, American writer on Business Management Practices
Relationships at work have evolved from a command and obey style of leadership to today’s much more inclusive style of leadership. Inclusive in this sense is the involvement of employees as an essential part of managing the mandate of the organization. This doesn’t mean to say that employees were not key to all the other attempts to create an edge. However generally, leaders didn’t pay much attention to its employees and how they could produce in more and better ways.
Organizations have always tried to improve productivity in order to compete or gain the edge on competitors. Henry Ford used the assembly line approach (work processes) to mass-produce automobiles at an affordable price directed at a much larger segment of the country that can actually afford that price.
In the last two or three decades we have seen the use of technology to improve productivity. We have found however, that customers not only want affordable and new, but also top quality and outstanding service; these could not just be mass-produced. The work process needed people to create the exceptional experience and to ensure the highest quality. At this point leaders began to pay much more attention to the part employees played in this equation.
We have seen that the power of employees to unleash creativity, increase effort and create an unforgettable experience for customers that will grow business and/or give the employer an edge over its competitors. Leaders began talking about commitment and engagement as ways to tap into this new wealth of possibilities.
However, what is not totally understood yet is that no commitment or engagement to the organizations mandate is possible without trust between the leaders and the employees.
Without trust employees will see things from a negative perspective; will be cynical about the employer’s plan; will have no faith in the employer’s ability to manage the enterprise for success; will be reluctant to take risks which could lead to major breakthroughs; will not give all of their discretionary effort and will not care enough about the organization’s success.
In the today’s workplace employees want to work for a well run organization; want their leaders to walk the talk; want their leaders to invest in their employees’ growth; provide employees with challenging and meaningful work and they need their leaders to have integrity. With integrity comes trust.
In today’s workplace all the technology in the world will not achieve the desired results without getting its employees to buy into what the organization wants to achieve.
Ultimately, trust is the key to today’s organizational success. In my view Tom Peters is right on.