High performance teams aren’t just a group of experts. They’re talented people who work collaboratively and enable each other to be better.
And for a team to reach this level of excellence, a strong degree of trust between/among individuals and across the entire team is critical. But as we all know, trust takes time and effort to establish and nurture.
Building trust within your team doesn’t require grand gestures. And Gainsight is proof of that.
Gainsight is a customer success software platform led by Nick Mehta. Mehta not only leads a company enabling customer success, he is a strong believer in employee success as well. And not surprisingly, his company boasts a 96 percent Glassdoor approval rating.
In a recent Inc. article, Mehta revealed three ways he cultivates a company culture centered around trust — enabling his team members to perform their best.
1. Frequent communication
Mehta highlights that only giving employees information from management on a “need to know” basis can be damaging. He combats this by writing a letter to the entire company each week. He talks about current company happenings as well as some tidbits about his personal life. This provides his employees with context, so they know what’s going on and feel like trusted members of the team. (As well, sharing something about his personal life is a way of increasing trust.)
2. Have fun together
Having fun together can build trust and deepen relationships. Mehta recounts starting a Slack thread that facilitated meaningful, yet casual conversation among employees:
“I started a Slack question thread that blew up, about what’s your favorite forgotten 1990’s song … Those things sound so innocuous, but they really build those bonds between people that I think get us through the hard times and the customer escalations. Think about how you can create an environment that allows your team to form the bonds that will help them work better together.” (Don’t simply repeat Mehta’s question or method — what works for one group may not work for another, so solicit ideas from the staff on what they would consider a fun activity.)
3. Encourage innovation and experimentation
Trying new things can create lasting bonds and tackling new problems can help team members learn to rely on one another for strength and insight. One way Mehta works to encourage experimentation is by having a positive response to failure. “It starts at the top, and not seeing every mistake as an opportunity for condemnation but instead seeing it as an opportunity for celebration of risk taking.” When your team feels trusted to take calculated risks, they are more likely to bring new ideas to the table and work hard to see them actualized.
The three methods that Mehta uses – frequent communication, having fun together, and encouraging innovation and experimentation – all take place in an environment where he clearly values his team members.
Before beginning any similar activities or exercises, you want to make sure that your basic values are clear to the staff and that the values of the company are being lived in a meaningful way, every day.
If you are looking for ways to assess and enhance the level of trust in your organization, please give us a call at (610) 642-3040.
Question: What do you do at your company to nurture trust? And how do you know it’s working?