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Refactoring Trust on Your Team (CTO Summit 2018)

Refactoring Trust on Your Team (CTO Summit 2018)

Trust is at the core of successful, functional, effective software teams. It defines whether our teams are happy at work and is the basis of retention.

Trust is at the center of whether people perceive us to be good at our jobs and how your team sees you as a leader.

But what is trust? How do you know when it's missing? And how do you fix it when it's gone?

Let's discuss the elements of trust, the patterns of behavior the make or break trust, and what you can do to refactor trust on your team.

Rebecca Miller-Webster

December 18, 2018

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  1. Refactoring Trust on your Team Rebecca Miller-Webster @rmillwebster CTO, Tandem

    (formerly DevMynd) @madeintandem Founder, Write/Speak/Code @writespeakcode
  2. Lack of Trust Stay silent in meetings or after a

    disagreement Passive aggressive behavior Micromanaging Seek individual recognition “Meeting after the meeting” Interpersonal conflict Revisit the same issues over and over “Dirty Yes”: Say yes to your face and no behind your back Cynicism Withholding information and ideas Invisible Army: Using ‘we” to express your own point of view Frustration Avoid tough conversations and giving feedback Defensiveness Resentment
  3. –Stephen M.R. Covey & Doug R. Conant, Harvard Business Review

    “Trust is … not a nice-to-have; it’s a must have. Without it, every part of your organization can fall, literally, into disrepair. With trust, all things are possible — most importantly: continuous improvement and sustainable, measurable, tangible results in the marketplace.”
  4. Five Dysfunctions of Teams Inattention to Results Avoidance of Accountability

    Lack of Commitment Fear of Conflict Absence of Trust
  5. Trust matters • Fundamental to our sense of safety, autonomy,

    and dignity as a human being • Part of every relationship • Allows us to disagree, debate & test each other’s thinking • Trust on teams is correlated with business profitability
  6. Do your people think your trustworthy? • Hotels where employees

    strongly believed their managers followed through on promises and demonstrated the values they preached were substantially more profitable. • Very small improvement in rating significantly increased profit • Trust in managers have more impact on profits than more employee ‘satisfaction’ or ‘commitment.’ Tony Simons, Associate Professor of Management at Cornell University Hotel School
  7. Neuroscience of Trust • Trust in social interactions increases oxytocin

    • Oxytocin increases • risk tolerance • ability to make decisions and take actions • critical analysis, logic, and creativity • verbal communication skills • well-being and safety
  8. Neuroscience of Distrust • Fight / Flight / Freeze response

    • Limited use of “thinking brain” • Respond with unconscious, innate defensive behaviors • Anxiety, fear, anger, aggression, withdrawal • Threat alert
  9. Self-Protection • most successful people learn to be competitive with

    their peers, and protective of their reputations • takes away focus from current work • fear of others using “it” for their gain
  10. – Brené Brown “Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount

    of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.”
  11. Trust • assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or

    truth of someone or something • to place confidence in; rely on • reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. • confident expectation of something; hope. • confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit.
  12. Trust is choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable

    to another person’s actions. The Thin Book of Trust by Charles Feltman:
  13. What do we value? Money Beliefs Your or team’s work

    or effort Career / Job Way of doing things Deadlines Promotion “Good name,” Reputation, or Status Thoughts and Ideas Goal Happiness and wellbeing Hopes, Fears, or Concerns
  14. Five Dysfunctions of Teams Need for Invulnerability Inattention to Results

    Avoidance of Accountability Lack of Commitment Fear of Conflict Absence of Trust
  15. Relational Vulnerability • “Emotion we experience during times of uncertainty,

    risk, and emotional exposure” • “Showing up when you can’t control the outcome” • Cannot “engineer” vulnerability out of relationships • Innovation requires us to accept inevitable failure and keep going. Quotes from Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
  16. B Boundaries R Reliability A Accountability V Vault I Integrity

    N Non-Judgement G Generosity Elements of Trust from Rising Strong, Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
  17. Boundaries • You respect my boundaries. • When you’re not

    clear about what’s ok and not ok, you ask. • You are willing to say no.
  18. Boundary Examples • Starting and ending meetings on time •

    Not looking at phones or computers during meetings • Not checking email after a certain time • Not taking work home on the weekends BRAVING: Boundaries
  19. Lack of Boundaries • Resentment • Anger • Frustration •

    Talking behind people’s backs • Blame BRAVING: Boundaries
  20. Boundaries are healthy • Don’t need to apologize • Not

    team’s job to make you feel better about it • Explain the reasoning • Be open to questions • Team often thankful for the clarity and context BRAVING: Boundaries
  21. What can you do? • Clear expectations, including … •

    Success Criteria • Timeframe • Resources • Explain your reasoning and be open to questions • Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. BRAVING: Boundaries
  22. Reliability • You do what you say you’ll do •

    At work this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities
  23. What can you do? • Agile: Stand up, Planning Poker

    • Respond positively when someone asks for help • Clarify requests & offers: who, what, when • Be committed to what you ask for • Report on commitments BRAVING: Reliability
  24. Take responsibility • Acknowledge: recognize what you did wrong or

    the damage in the other person’s eyes. • Even if that wasn’t your intention • Apologize: take responsibility for what you’ve done, ask forgiveness, and declare your intention to redeem yourself. • Don’t repeat the behavior that led to the betrayal • Help fix problems your actions created BRAVING: Accountability
  25. What can you do? • Take the time to listen

    to why people are doing what they are doing • Avoid hero-ing • Take responsibility for your behavior and the impact it had on others • Apologize: commit to behaving differently in the future and describe those specific behaviors BRAVING: Accountability
  26. Vault • You don’t share information or experiences that aren’t

    yours to share • I need to know my confidences are kept and you are not sharing with me information about other people that should be kept confidential
  27. Back-Channel Communication • not being direct or upfront with people.

    • “Meeting after the meeting” — sharing reactions, emotions, or opinions with people before or after a meeting, rather than sharing them in the meeting. • Gossip • “Dirty yes” — say “yes” to your face and then “no” behind your back BRAVING: Vault
  28. What can you do? • Model public conversations when appropriate

    • Ask if subject knows its being shared • Don’t give or receive gossip • Difficult circumstances • Be vague if saying nothing is creating gossip • Ask a person what you can share BRAVING: Vault
  29. Integrity • You choose courage over comfort • You choose

    what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy • You choose to practice your values rather than just professing them
  30. What are your values? • Same values for work and

    home. • What behaviors support? • What behaviors take away? • When were you fully living into your values? BRAVING: Integrity
  31. What can you do? • Be explicit about the things

    that matter - Examples of good and bad • Check yourself when someone does something differently - Is this a thing that matters? • Create new expectations when things happen - take responsibility for not being explicit • Be thoughtful and intentional about handling disagreements • Find an person to role play, run ideas by, and review BRAVING: Integrity
  32. Non-judgement • I can ask you for what I need

    and you can ask for what you need • We can talk about how we feel without judgement • We can ask each other for help without judgement
  33. What do team members do that earn trust? • Ask

    for Help • Confidence you’ll know if they are struggling or in over their head • Not asking for help leads to not receiving challenging work • Leads to delegation BRAVING: Non-judgement
  34. Are you technically irrelevant? • Afraid of being judged for

    lack of knowledge or understanding • We judge • person doing worse than us • area where we are insecure • Feels good to feel superior … for a little while BRAVING: Non-judgement
  35. What can you do? • Ask for help • Help

    others when they ask • Stay curious about why you are judging • Be aware of your own insecurities BRAVING: Non-judgement
  36. What can you do? • What boundaries need to be

    in place for you to be generous with your assumptions about other’s behavior? • Provide clear expectations and set boundaries • We are each responsible for our own behavior and the things we can control • Don’t hold grudges • Get to personally know people - listen, ask questions BRAVING: Generosity
  37. Start where people are • Develop observable behaviors for elements

    of trust and organizational values • Behaviors in the context of current reality of culture and organization • Create a North Star
  38. Trusting Teams During meetings, most important and difficult issues are

    put on the table to be resolved Acknowledge and apologize for mistakes - openly admit weakness and mistakes. Willingly makes sacrifices for the good of the team Productive debate and discussions - ends with clear and specific resolutions and call to action Do what you say you’ll do Passionate & unguarded in their discussion of issues Concerned about letting down peers Willing to say no Call out each other’s unproductive behaviors Ask for help Concerned about letting down peers Don’t over promise Retain employees Leave meetings confident that peers are committed to the decisions made Meetings are engaging and productive
  39. Self-trust • Foundations of trusting others is trusting ourselves •

    Often out of our element — innovation, changing market conditions etc
  40. Leading is Lonely • Employees complaining of exhaustion, were actually

    lonely. (Harvard Business Review) • Emotions of leading — loneliness, isolation, carrying weight of people/company’s future
  41. Self-compassion • Three elements of self-compassion: • Self-Kindness: speaking to

    ourselves as we would speak to our loved ones, even in face of failure; meet mistakes with kindness • Common Humanity: we are not alone and humans shares these feelings of shame and inadequacy • Mindfulness: appropriate responsibility and rumination on feelings and emotions; be present Research from Dr. Kristin Neff
  42. Be vulnerable • Most important thing you can do is

    be vulnerable first • Must risk losing face to show the team it’s ok for them to risk • Must be genuine • “Fake vulnerability” or “cordial hypocrisy” does more harm • E.g. ask questions but don’t pause for others to talk • E.g. shirk responsibility by asking them to feel sorry for you
  43. Team: Personal Histories • Provide low-risk way to show vulnerability

    • Ask team to share answers to a few personal questions with each other • Innocuous attributes or experiences; Not too revealing • number of siblings, hometown, unique challenges of childhood, favorite hobbies, first job, and worst job • Creates Empathy • Discourages inaccurate behavior attribution Five Dysfunctions of Teams
  44. Psychological Safety • Google’s #1 element of successful teams •

    Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed? • Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson coined • Taken-for-granted belief about how others will respond when you ask a question, seek feedback, admit a mistake, or propose a possibly wacky idea • Most people feel a need to “manage” interpersonal risk to retain a good image, especially with their boss
  45. Build a container • Establishing ground rules of a group

    • Rules should make people feel safe — ask what other’s need. • Create a shared language. Introduce your team to BRAVING or other concepts.
  46. Prepare for discomfort • Practice • Discuss with friend •

    Accept it: “I’m going to feel uncomfortable. I’m going to do it anyway.” • Thin Book of Trust has preparation steps and scripts
  47. Talk about trust • Schedule a time • Start with

    context: I’d like to talk about trust • Specific behaviors • Clear Examples • Describe the impact of the behavior on team or business • Follow up with consistent actions
  48. Trust is a practice • “Repair trust when it is

    broken, by being intentional and consistent in your language and actions.” - Charles Feltman, Thin Book of Trust • Walk the Walk
  49. Team: Share assessments • Strengths & Weakness: • Share 1

    of each that contribute most to team effectiveness • Do personality and behavioral assessments • Share results and discuss
  50. What does support look like? • Open-ended question. • Not

    “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” • Clarifies roles and expectations • Holds them accountable for asking for what they need
  51. Define roles in a decision • Who is accountable? Do

    they have the authority to do the work? • Who will carry out decision? • Who needs to provide input? • Who is effected and needs to be notified? • What does success look like? • Create a checklist of what needs to be done
  52. – Brené Brown “Leaders must either invest a reasonable amount

    of time attending to fears and feelings, or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behavior.”
  53. Refactoring Trust on your Team Rebecca Miller-Webster @rmillwebster CTO, Tandem

    (formerly DevMynd) @madeintandem Founder, Write/Speak/Code @writespeakcode Dare to Lead by Brené Brown Thin Book of Trust by Charles Felman Five Dysfunctions of Teams by Patrick Lencioni Understanding Computers and Cognition by Terry Winograd