You cannot have unity without trust. You cannot have trust without truth.
Not that long ago, I was speaking with a person in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) and we were discussing why a local team was struggling with unity. I asked this tenured PIAPOL if they understood the foundation of unity within a team. My friend looked at me quizzically and stated that they did not.
I shared that there is no unity without trust. My friend agreed, “That’s true, you need trust if people are going to work together.”
We expanded our conversation by asking, where does trust come from? I got a similar response to my prior question, so we discussed that the basis of trust is being able to rely on you to do what you say.
For example, if you tell me that you are going to sweep the floor, I should be able to trust that you are going to be able to sweep the floor.
If you sweep the floor, as you said you would, I will continue to trust you and will build trust with you. If you do not sweep the floor, as you said you would, I will question whether I can trust you.
There may be a good reason why you didn’t sweep the floor. But if you did not communicate with me, or follow through with what you said you would do at the next time you are able to do so, I will question whether I can trust you.
Sweeping the floor is a simple task. But it isn’t as much about the action itself. It’s about connection to what you said you would do. It’s about truth.
Many organizations want their people to get along and like each other. But it isn’t always achievable.
There are many factors that lead to those conditions, some of which leaders, organizations and employees have control over, and many of which they do not.
Respect is something that is achievable, as it is a basic expectation that an organization can train and discipline for and can be a catalyst for successful collaboration. I don’t have to like you to respect you. But I do have to respect you in order to work with you in a sustainable fashion.
If you work in a manner that is respectful, there is a likelihood that we can grow to like each other around that foundation. Respect comes from truth fleshing out in trust. And as previously outlined, trust comes from truth in action, i.e. doing what you said you would do.
If I do what I said I would do and you do what you said you would do, we have a functional operation, thus the foundation for respect.
If everyone is invested in being people who do what they say they will do, then we can build trust and be unified around those values.
Simple things like telling the truth and following up on action, and being an organization that upholds as well as disciplines around those basic values, are the foundations of developing unity.
Jesus said it this way, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16.10 NLT).
Seek and hire people who follow up, people who are trust worthy, and who tell the truth.
When you have a team full of individuals who are committed to doing what they say they will, they will have the basic ingredients for an organization of people who respect each other, are trustworthy, and can be unified in their collaborative efforts.
Conversely, if people don’t follow through, there will be a lack of trust. If you are struggling with unity, this is a symptom of a broader problem.
Take a read of this conversation:
“Have you looked into whether your team members trust each other?”
“Do your team members have good reasons not to trust each other?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
“Do your team members do what they say they are going to do?”
“If that is true, what could be the reason?”
“Like you said, they need to trust each other.”
“Did you hear what I said in my long winded lecture on the origins of unity being rooted in trust and trust being based on truth?”
“Do you understand where trust comes from?”
“Where does trust come from? I don’t know. I just want our team to be more unified.”
“Okay, good luck.”
Perhaps all of this sounds like nonsense. Maybe the concepts of being truthful and building trust by simply doing what you say you are going to do are too lofty. But a few years back, we coined the phrase ‘DYOJO’ among some friends, which means Do Your Own Job.
We added the additional O so that it sounded similar to ‘dojo’, or a training ground for martial arts. This way, it’s the dojo of Doing Your Own Job. We are learning and sparring and at times fighting to be the best that we can be. Our training ground is the DYOJO.
The PIAPOL that I was speaking with went on to share in his next meeting that everyone needed to trust each other by saying, “We need to have better unity, be less negative and trust each other.”
While all three of these statements are true in isolation, unfortunately my friend the PIAPOL did not see how they had to be true collectively in order to have any power.
Truth and Resolution
Whether we don’t want to admit that we have issues, or we don’t want to roll our sleeves up to do the dirty work of fixing these issues rather than chasing our tails on symptoms, often times the answers to our questions are simpler than we want to admit.
Here are key tips on building unity:
- Build truth and trust as core values in your organization, these are the values of our DYOJO
- Hire people who value truth and trust – people who will do what they say they will do (those trained in DYOJO)
- Train continually on truth and trust as core values in your organization, make your company a DYOJO
- Discipline around truth and trust – when people do not do what they say they are going to do, they cannot be trusted and there needs to be discipline or team members will see that your organization does not value unity, trust or truth. The values of the DYOJO will be tested.
Repeat these daily, as there are no days off in the DYOJO!
How Do You Build Trust and Unity?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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