A Net Called Trust

This post was originally published on January 23rd, 2016. Click here to view original on LinkedIn.

I love Simon Sinek. Though I have never met him, the way he writes and his belief about starting with why really engages me. If you’ve seen him speak or read his book “Start with Why” you understand when I say I believe what he believes.

Reading that aforementioned book recently, I came across a chapter on trust that really spoke to me. In it, Mr. Sinek uses the metaphor of a professional trapeze artist never performing a new, potentially death-defying trick without a net below them[1]. Without the trust of that net, the artist won’t make any personal risks to make themselves, or the show, better.

He says the same concept can be used in business. The trapeze artist is a metaphor for our team, and the net is a metaphor for the trust that we as leaders instill in our team. In a business environment, if the staff member doesn’t feel safe they will never attempt anything that could be perceived as risky. As such, the organization becomes an environment that never moves forward. People begin to hide mistakes, or, and potentially worse, are afraid to make a mistake in the first place.

It took me a long time to realise that concept. Instead of getting mad when people made a mistake, I could’ve been supportive.

Understanding why the mistake was made and working with the person who made it to find solutions are integral.

In my restaurant management experience, service recovery is fairly straightforward. There has rarely been a situation that we couldn’t win the guest back after making a mistake. As such, it is never worth losing the staff’s trust over something that can, and will, be fixed.

As a leader it is up to us to have confidence in our team. The confidence that no matter the mistake that inevitably will be made, we have the power to fix it. The team, in turn, will trust us. With that trust will come long term loyalty, out-performed expectations and an organization with tremendous forward momentum.

Does this ring true for any of you? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments. Click here to watch Simon Sinek's amazing Ted Talk called "Start with Why" if you haven't already seen it.

[1] (Sinek, 2011)

Sinek, S. (2011). Start with Why. Penguin Group.