At the recent DoLectures Australia, many of the attendees remarked on the high levels of trust that had been built between the attendees over the four days. The high trust environment was such that speakers rewrote their talks to share more and some big dreams and surprising admissions were shared on both the stage and around the campfire.
A few key factors helped foster that environment of high trust:
Share a goal: Everyone attended the event to learn and to share in stories of actions that are changing the world. People wanted to become more effective at driving change and often to find a new path in the world. Those common goals fostered connections and trust.
Select for behaviour – especially giving: The event selected for people who were action oriented, passionate and interested in others. These are not abstract values. They come out in action, especially giving. There were a lot of givers in the community. Adam Grant’s Give and Take was a fitting gift for all the speakers (a unexpected gesture by Andy Hedges of Westfield, an event sponsor). From the first night people were sharing ideas and sharing networks in an effort to enable others to move forward. Nothing builds trust like the gift of help.
Strip away the status: when you are camping, sharing communal activities and it gets cold, it is hard to hold on to the trappings of status. Nobody looked their best and everyone’s warm clothes looked alike levelling status that might hold back conversation and connection.
Build connections: Like any group there were some networks present among the group, but no exclusive cliques. Open networks became a way to accelerate connections as people introduced others and referred people to those who shared an interest or an ability to help. The sense that everyone could talk and understand each other fostered trust. The group left the event deeply connected as a result.
Be present: When nobody has internet or a phone connection, everyone is more present. When almost everyone is staying the whole event, including the speakers, there is time for deeper conversations. People gave themselves over to the event and the company. That presence and the mindfulness it brings gave everyone the chance to truly listen and engage in the event and the activities.
Share stories: Storytelling is a way to learn of others’ experiences, capabilities, goals and actions. Telling stories whether on stage or around a fire enables people to get a richer understanding of the other person.
An environment of trust and concern: Payne’s Hut where the event was held is a place of beauty but more than that it has been constructed and run with a concern to create a wonderful experience. The hosts of Do Lectures added to that experience by taking care to design for the little moments of the event. Trust is reciprocal and reciprocated. When you feel others trust you and show concern for you, you are inclined to follow the role model.
Trust is a critical capability for the future of increasing agile networked organisations. Fostering trust with techniques like these above is critical for the future of work in our organisations.
This post was inspired by a conversation at the event with Col Duthie, the insightful MC of Do Lectures Australia