A prior post conveyed the idea that building trust can have a significant impact on business growth. The presence of trust in a business can be felt and measured in multiple sectors of the business, and affects both revenue and profitability. As presented in that post trust building strategies allow business owners to execute action plans in four significant areas; Customers and Prospects, Staff, Financials, and Culture. Here we’ll look at one of these areas: Culture.

Cul­ture trust build­ing activ­ities relate to the inter­nal and exter­nal char­ac­ter of the busi­ness and its demonstration of competence. Social respon­si­bil­ity, com­mu­nity involve­ment, and a demon­stra­tion of val­ues and beliefs become build­ing blocks of a cul­ture that builds trust.

An investment in creating a positive and supportive work
environment pays high dividends.

Internally, a trust building culture establishes a supportive and positive work environment. This begins with understanding and communicating what the business believes in (its values) and how those beliefs translate into what the business does. Progressing further it expresses the “why” of the business: it’s purpose. A known purpose allows the business and employees to align and is one of the three primary elements of motivation, along with autonomy and mastery, according to Daniel Pink in his recent book, Drive.

An investment in creating a positive and supportive work environment pays high dividends. When the culture of a business is built around appreciation, respect, and mutual trust, employees are more engaged. More engaged employees are willing to speak up about issues and improvements, actively participate in improving the business, provide innovative recommendations, and take pride in their workplace. Several studies of business teams reveal that appreciation and connection are required in order to sustain high levels of performance. To stress this point further, the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer identifies “treats employees well” as one of the most highly noted elements of building future trust.

Externally, the business can build trust in its communities and markets in several ways. Social responsibility has multiple definitions but at its core most people view it as not only having created transparent and ethical business practices, but adhering to them. Setting expectations and standards within the company (internally) for how you want to be perceived outside the company (externally) are important. But what is more important is holding to those expectations and standards, even when it is hard and costly to do so. That action creates a business that is looked upon as authentic and trustworthy – a business that walks the talk and does what it says it will do.

Demonstrating competency also plays a large role in building a trust culture. Having a stated goal of being an industry leader and delivering products and services that are worthy of recognition of a leader helps the business establish trust. Seeking and achieving external validation of the businesses competency garners trust externally but also demonstrates to the staff of the business that competency is important.

Additionally the business can build a trust culture by standing up for what is right, being inclusive and supportive, and respecting their environments.

Trust build­ing activ­ities can dramatically influence the sellability of a business. Culture can affect growth, profitability, sustainability, and business risk, which are the foundation of building a sellable business.

What are the culture trust build activities you are executing in your business? How do you view their success?

image credit: Ambro

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