The 10 Laws of Trust by Joel Peterson
Most people want to know theyre working toward a goal that is concrete, important, and lasting, says Joel Peterson, the chairman of JetBlue Airways and a Stanford business school professor. I caught up with Peterson recently to talk about the new, expanded edition of his bestselling book,The 10 Laws of Trust.
Specifically, we talked about one of the key attributes of high-trust leaders: the ability to craft and communicate a vivid image of what everyone is working towarda common dream. Peterson suggests that leaders keep these six principles in mind as they create an overarching vision, mission, or dream.
Articulate a purpose that brings multiple constituencies together: employees, customers, investors and communities.Find a goal that all stakeholders can rally behind.
Were all familiar with corporate mission statements that are full of so many buzzwords and jargon, they are hardly distinguishable from one company to another. Every forward-thinking company is out to change the world.
What companies frequently miss is that attempts at being aspirational and inspirational can come off as interchangeable and irrelevantand in the worst case, can create cynicism, writes Peterson.
According to Peterson, one way to create purpose that truly motivates teams is to make sure your key stakeholders have a stake in the process of creating the companys mission. This reminds me a story I wrote about the successful revitalization of a Northern California town. City planners wanted everyone to feel as though they had a stake in the long-term vision. They held public workshops to get feedback from retirees, families, business owners, and developers.
When people feel as though they have a stake in the outcome, a mission becomes a shared dream and not just an empty statement.
People tend to think inductivelyfrom the specific to the general, Peterson told me. That means leaders should use a specific story, example or anecdote to bring the mission alive.
For example, JetBlue collects stories of crewmembers who go the extra mile and offer extraordinary service to their customersservice the company would like to see others emulate. JetBlue shares stories like the the flight attendant who found Super Bowl tickets a passenger had left behindand drove the tickets to the customers houseor the story of a captain who helped a passenger re-assemble a baby stroller after a cross country red-eye trip that left her and her baby exhausted.
Members of high-trust teams love these tangible reminders of why theyre different, Peterson writes.
Keep your vision fresh. If it needs to be updated or re-written, do it. For example, Microsoft has expanded beyond its original vision of a computer on every desk and in every home. Amazon has expanded way beyond its original mission to use the Internet to transform how we buy books.Keep your mission fresh, relevant and vivid.
Peterson suggests that leaders pick bold goals that people will be proud to achieve. But keep it simple. For example, JetBlue was founded with a mission to bring humanity back to air travel. Peterson says that compelling visions give people an objective to movetoward, not a vague problem to avoid.
Im especially fond of an example Peterson reminded me of during our conversation. During World War II, Winston Churchill made the V sign for victory when he was in public. In his speeches he would remind his audience of the one goal they had to achievein word, Victory. Bold and simple.
Leaders build trust when their teams see that theyre sacrificing as much if not more than everyone else in the organization. Bonds between families and organizations grow when much is requiredand much is givenby every member of the team.
Petersons theme is that high-trust relationships are happier than low-trust ones, and that applies to relationships among families and corporations. Creating and communicating a common dream is a critical step to achieving that trust.
According to Peterson, When people can rally around a common goal, reaching for a summit thats consistent with their values, theyll sacrifice together, lift each others burdens, and do their utmost not to let each other down.
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