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Leading at the Speed of Trust on November 8th, 2012

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

How trust in the global workplace needs a Third Cultural Space.

Stephen Covey was in Dubai on the 8th of November, 2012 to talk about his book Leading at the Speed of Trust. Trust is a really important element in any culture, and we have been using Covey’s work in our intercultural organizational development and team development.

Building trust, overcoming communication barriers, establishing and conferring common purpose and building social capital relational chemistry are four elements that any team or organization in an intercultural space that wants to be successful should have.

Trust in the Global Workplace needs a Third Cultural Space

Of course, trust has to be built through promising something and actually doing it. If you focus on “trust” alone you focus on the wrong thing. Covey talks about this in the Speed of Trust. He has 13 behaviors in the area of relational trust: talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right the wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront realities, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust to others.

The dilemma is that each of these thirteen behaviors is exhibited in different ways in different cultures. How do you create transparency, demonstrate respect, right wrongs, and build loyalty, in intercultural environments?

You have to start with behavioral expectations that you have for your prospective employees, current staff, and yourself? What are the “rules of engagement” that you are expected to play by in your organization? When you have clarity on what is expected of you from a behavioral perspective, you can look at Covey’s behaviors and understand what they mean in your context.

The only way to do this is to establish a third cultural space. You might start with a small team or you might do this for an entire corporation, but this space is the entry-point into triggering trust through merit. If you start behaving consistently in a way that is collectively decided by the team; if you start delivering on those expectations, then trust will start flowing. Trust flows through the channel of committing to acceptable behavior, walking away from unacceptable behaviors, and by continuously endorsing this process.

Peter Drucker said, “You cannot prevent a major catastrophe, but you can build an organization that is battle-ready, that has high morale, that knows how to behave, that trusts itself, and where people trust one another.” Without trust, people won’t fight. This sums up in a nutshell a lot of what KnowledgeWorkx is trying to do. Jim Burke, former CEO and Chairman of Johnson & Johnson said it this way: “You can't have success without trust. The word trust embodies almost everything you can strive for that will help you to succeed. You tell me any human relationship that works without trust, whether it is a marriage or a friendship or a social interaction; in the long run, the same thing is about business, especially businesses that deal with the public."

Creating trust in intercultural situations needs solutions like Inter-Cultural Intelligence, tools like the Three Colors of Worldview and the 12 Dimensions of Culture, and concepts like the Third Cultural Space.

To find out more about how KnowledgeWorkx can help you develop intercultural intelligence in your trust development, contact us.


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