The Power Of Growing Team Trust By Agreements

There is now ample evidence that trust on teams is a vital requirement for all dimesnions of communication, creativity, courage, courtesy and collaboration. Each of these skills are at risk of being unengaged until trust grows. Trust is the social capital required for team success and growth. Trust keeps people focused and aligned.

On stuck and thriving teams, people have the skills for these. Skills are potentials. People are most likely to engage these to the degree they grow and sustain a culture of trust. One of the profound differences between stuck and thriving teams is not necesarily differences in accountabilities, resources, skills or incentives. The difference is trust. Teams move at the speed of trust. People interact at their best in cultures of trust. Leaders can best lead teams vibrant in trust.

Mutually crafted and tested agreements grow, sustain and repair trust. These are agreements in how we communicate, make decisions and organize work together.  

Peer accountability is less costly, more powerful and sustainable than command and control accountability. Nothing builds peer accountability more than people working by agreements rather than assumptions. Agreements work because people tend to most honestly support what they create. 

The process of creating agreements is simple. We talk about what matters most to us as we work together. We translate these into proposed agreements and test them out, adopting those that best support everyone's success. They are posted in a shared space for reference. We review and refresh agreements regularly. New team hiring assesses for how able and willing candidates are in aligning with team agreements. We occasionally take time in team meetings for people to share how they observed others working by team agreements in place, for sustainability and expressions of appreciative acknowledgment, which further deepens trust.