Your Missing Metric

Highlights:

  • Companies have been measuring every conceivable performance factor for hundreds of years.
  • Yet, almost none measure one of the most critical predictors of leader, team, and organizational success – trust.
  • When leaders value trust and invest in helping their people create and sustain it, they make a small investment that delivers significant returns.
  • Measuring trust within and between teams, identifying gaps, and taking action to close those gaps improves productivity, profitability, and employee satisfaction.

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” From the stopwatches of the industrial revolution to today’s AI-enabled analysis, companies have been measuring every conceivable performance factor for hundreds of years. They often have dozens of KPIs, OKRs, and goals focused on productivity. Yet, almost none measure one of the most critical predictors of leader, team, and organizational success: trust.

Trust is the foundation upon which all successful organizations are built. Without it, relationships with customers, employees, and other stakeholders will falter, and the business will struggle to achieve its goals. In today’s fast-paced business environment, trust is a critical metric that every organization must measure and strive to improve.

The Return on Trust

Trust is an essential component of any successful team or organization. When there is a high level of trust employees are more productive, innovative, and engaged. This leads to increased profitability, reduced employee turnover, and improved customer satisfaction.

When people trust each other, they collaborate effectively, communicate openly, and support one another. This leads to better problem-solving, increased productivity, and improved overall team performance.

Imagine a company where trust is ingrained in the culture, where employees feel valued and respected, and where customers are confident in the products and services they receive. This type of organization is a beacon of success, standing tall in the face of adversity. It is a company that can weather any storm and emerges stronger than before.

When leaders value trust and invest in helping their people create and sustain it, they’re making a small investment that delivers significant returns. One way to quantify the return on trust is to consider the costs associated with low levels of trust. For example, if there is a lack of trust within a team, it can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings, which can be time-consuming and costly to resolve. Additionally, low levels of trust can lead to decreased productivity, as employees may be less likely to collaborate or share ideas.

On the other hand, high levels of trust lead to increased efficiency which translates into cost savings and increased profitability. Additionally, employees who trust their colleagues and leaders are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, reducing the costs associated with employee turnover.

The One KPI

The nature of work has evolved rapidly over the last 25 years. Today’s leaders must be effective in flatter, team-based organizations that require the ability to lead across generations and cultures. While performance and productivity measures are essential, they aren’t enough to ensure organizational success.

Your company likely has dozens of KPIs, OKRs, or goals focused on productivity and performance. Taking to heart Drucker’s wisdom that, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” add just one new KPI. Start measuring trust within and between teams, identifying any gaps, and capturing the actions to close those gaps. Then hold managers accountable for the results.

As managers identify areas where trust may be lacking and take steps to address those issues productivity, profitability, and employee satisfaction will all improve. Moreover, you’ll reinforce the foundation of a thriving workplace, high-performance culture, and long-term success of the organization.

The question for all leaders is: how can we build and maintain trust within our own organization? How can we create a culture that fosters trust and encourages growth? The answer is not always clear, but it starts with strong leadership, open communication, and a commitment to living the organization’s values. Leaders who can successfully answer these questions will create companies that stand the test of time.

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About the Author

Dr. Jeb Hurley is a behavioral scientist and leading expert in team dynamics. Jeb’s work connects neurobiology, psychology, and technology with team effectiveness and performance. His leadership experience includes multiple founder, CEO, and global F100 VP/GM roles and over thirty years of developing teams and coaching leaders. Jeb holds a doctorate in organizational leadership and is the author of two books on team dynamics and leadership.
Learn more about Jeb’s work making good teams great at www.brainware-partners.com.