Friday, May 15, 2020

Lean Quote: The First Job of Any Leader is to Inspire Trust

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.  — Seth Godin

The very first job of a leader is to inspire trust. Trust is the single most essential element to our ability to deliver extraordinary results in an enduring way. Trust leads to high-performance because it enables an organization to work as it should; it’s the first defense against dysfunction and the first step towards delivering better outcomes.

When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden "tax" on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done.

Trust is confidence born of two dimensions: character and competence. Character includes your integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes your capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Both dimensions are vital.

The job of a leader is to go first, to extend trust first. Not a blind trust without expectations and accountability, but rather a "smart trust" with clear expectations and strong accountability built into the process. The best leaders always lead out with a decided propensity to trust, as opposed to a propensity not to trust.

The best leaders recognize that trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives—both personally and professionally. I am convinced that in every situation, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.


As we work to continuously improve our leadership, we are inspired by the thought leadership of others who also revere building trust as a critical mission.

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