Design a High-trust Culture

Happy new year and greetings from NLEC!


Having been at NLEC just over a year and reflecting back on this period, so much has occurred with so many insights and take-aways particularly from our students and how we, as a Navy, grow our future leaders.  I would like to share some of the vignettes and thought pieces with you (articles, TED talks, You Tube videos) that have sparked much of the discussion - a discussion that is truly a continuous "narrative" rather than a finite "story" marked simply by plot and conclusion.

If there is one word in this narrative that permeates the discussion more than any other, and resonates boldly in the classrooms at NLEC, it is the word "Trust".  Starting with "The Design", trust is the bedrock of all we do in our Service and is called out immediately in the opening pages.  The very essence of the core attributes define the two key elements that comprise trust: Integrity (your word is good with me...) and Accountability (doing your job better than anyone...).  Additionally, this is in full alignment with the two pathways of leader development - Character and Competence - that will help us attain the critical trust and confidence required to build high performing, winning teams.

As such, it is imperative that we not only safeguard this sacred trust at all levels of leadership, but that we foster its growth in our Service at every turn.  Paul Zak, the author of "Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performing Companies" has penned a very insightful article in the most recent edition of HBR entitled  "The Neuroscience of Trust" ,offering a constructive framework to design high-trust cultures.  From hisyears of assessments and measuring eight specific managerial behaviors that sustain trust in organizations, Zak declares the following return on investment if done properly:

  • 106% more energy at work.
  • 76% more engagement.
  • 50% higher productivity.
  • 40% less burnout.
  • 29% more satisfaction with their lives.

Who would not want statistics like this in their organization?  Is this believable?  Maybe he can convince you too...