View All Articles

Communication: A Key Element of Building Trust

By M Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant

Strategic Planning Expert

Trust is a key element in business relationships.  Without trust, it can be much more difficult to get your people to engage effectively in your business.  It can be harder to get your message across to everyone in the business.  And it will most likely impede progress toward building the culture you want and obtaining the results you are aiming for in your strategic planning implementation.

Effective communications inside the organization are one of the keys to building trust. At the highest level, people need to see that you are willing to give them what they need in terms of information about the goals and objectives of the organization. Unless your people know what you want from them, and how those expectations impact what they do, it can be difficult to get everyone pulling their oars in the right direction. If you communicate to your people what is expected of them, and, importantly, why it is expected and how their efforts impact the results of the organization, those results should be better and more attainable. Included in this area should be two-way communications.  Do you value the input and ideas your staff can offer?  Do you listen attentively and respond fairly and objectively?  Do your people feel comfortable enough to trust you with their ideas, and to expect you will evaluate and value their input?

Do you keep your word?  Can people trust you to do what you say and to live to the standards you have expressed to them in your communications with them?  When you make a mistake, and everyone does on occasion, do you openly acknowledge your error and do everything possible to make it right?  Do you hold yourself to the same standards you expect them to attain?  Are you leading by example?

Do you share your strategies and plans with your people? People need to understand where the organization is going in order to make their own contributions to the overall results.  Have you effectively communicated with them so they know what is the overall course and direction of the company?

Focus on good results and contributions, and do so in public, so others see you supporting your people.  If you need to criticize someone, do so in private.  This helps the individual being criticized to understand that you respect them, and that you are trying to help them.  Criticizing someone in public is humiliating to not only the person being berated, but also anyone else who views the scene.

Concentrate on building long term relationships, built on values, basic principles and high level ethics. Think long term and how your actions affect everyone you are in contact with in the organization.  Building trust through effective communications at multiple levels will help build your team’s confidence and effectiveness.  This will help you attain the long term results you are aiming for from your strategic planning.  Your team will support you and give you the effort needed to move the organization in the direction you are striving to go.

We can help with your team building, strategy formulation and effective implementation.  Contact me at baldwin@cssp.com or at 616-575-3193 to discuss how we may help you.

To learn ways to take your strategic planning to the next level please listen to our webinar:  Why my strategic planning isn’t working.

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: baldwin@cssp.com

© Copyright 2017 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.