The Essential Ingredient for Teams to Perform at Their Peak

The Essential Ingredient for Teams to Perform at Their Peak

Sam Obitz – May 2017

What came to your mind first? Great leadership, cohesion, exceptional communication or perhaps respect for one another? Certainly, all of those components are required for a team to perform optimally, but none of those things are possible without TRUST.

Without a foundation of trust to build on, not one of your team’s accomplishments will ever be as great as they could be with it. Exceptional teams begin with this and build outward.

It all starts at the top of the organization, so the members of the team must first trust their leader. Any organization without trust in their leader will under perform (and often outright fail) regardless of the amount of skill and expertise on the team itself.

So, you may ask, how does a leader gain the trust of those on their team? There is more than one way to gain the trust of those around you. However, there are many factors that tend to be present in most situations where the leader has a high level of trust.

At the top of that list would be authenticity. You have to know who you are and what you stand for, or people will see right through you. In addition, you cannot preach one thing, do another, and expect people to fall for it for long. This is called ‘walking your talk’ and there is no quicker way to engender respect than living your life this way. I have seen instances where coaches or leaders have blinked just once, which led to their downfall as well as their team’s. As soon as you blink, you open the door for everyone else on your team to start cutting corners as well.

Also high on the list would be what I call heart or compassion. As the great coach John Wooden was fond of saying, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” People will go to the end of the Earth for you and each other when they feel valued and cared for.

Being consistent and fair is another key component in gaining the trust of others. People mistakenly think this means I believe leaders have to treat everyone on the team the same. What this means to me is that you treat everyone the way they deserve to be treated. Ideally, everything would be earned and all people would be held accountable for their actions. A subset of this would the necessity to be straight with everyone and not dance around things. People may not always like it when you tell them the truth, but they will gain your respect when you do and lose it quickly when you don’t. A side benefit of telling it like it is, is that it prevents further pain down the road.

Once the leader has established that he or she is trustworthy, the next step is getting the team members to trust each other. I’m going to hit on two key components here. The first is a shared vision for the team. It is imperative that everyone on the team strives to reach the same goal through an agreed upon process. Once team members know what their responsibilities are and how their task affects other members on the team, who are relying on them, bonds will begin to be forged.

The second component is the one that I believe separates the good from the truly exceptional, getting to know your teammates on a deeper human level. I cannot stress this enough! When you form bonds with people, you naturally view what is good about them through a magnifying glass and what’s bad about them through reverse binoculars (which has the effect of making things appear tiny). This causes team members to give each other the benefit of the doubt when things go poorly, the net effect of which is reduced or removed animosity among teammates. This results in more energy and focus for the team to put towards its shared goals.

Once you develop a foundation of trust, you will be able to be a better leader, develop cohesion, and have exceptional communication and respect for one another. It will also make all other things you want to do easier to accomplish as well.

Remember, ‘It takes time to build trust, mere seconds to break it, and forever to repair it.”

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

Build Strong Relationships With Active Participation

By Patrick Smyth

After a long flight to Tokyo Japan, the sight of two thousand people in the audience for keynote speech at the technology conference was impressive. The presentation moved along slowly as frequent pauses enabled the interpreter to convert the original English spoken and written on the slides into Japanese. After twenty minutes or so, it appeared that two thousand heads were resting on their shoulders as the entire audience had fallen asleep. The interpreter insisted they were listening and not sleeping, so please to continue. After all the effort and time to prepare and travel halfway around the world only to meet a sleeping audience, the last thirty minutes of the talk were sheer drudgery.

How you participate in meetings has a direct effect on the motivation and level of engagement by other people in the meeting. Technology has become an excuse to continue whatever you were doing outside of the meeting, while the meeting is in progress. A prospective customer does not want to stare at the back of your laptop screen and watch you type away while they are attempting to build a relationship with you. You can try to justify this laptop behavior by suggesting that you rely on the laptop to take notes during the meeting. The problem is your notes do not impress the people on the other side of the table.

Smart phones are equally offensive. Yes, you hold the phone below the table and cast your eyes downward to read it. Somehow, you believe the other people in the room don’t notice that you are busy tapping away at the small screen in front of you and not engaging in a conversation with them. All they see is someone who appears to be focusing on something other than the most important people and conversation in the room. Your behavior suggests to them that whatever is going on in front of you is far more important than they are. Clearly, that’s a serious mistake.

The first good step to active participation is assuring that you remove distractions, such as those from laptops and smart phones, from the conversation. Of course, active participation reaches far beyond simply removing distractions. Focus your attention on the other party or parties in the meeting. Ask insightful questions to demonstrate your interest in them and their business needs. Acknowledge the key points they are making to encourage them to continue sharing. Ask for clarification if they say anything that might seem slightly ambiguous or unclear. If you are delivering a presentation in a meeting, make sure the audience is following along and getting the key points you are communicating.

Avoid talking incessantly to show how much you know. All that does is confirm that you are not listening and that your focus is on yourself. Launching into an endless scripted speech without engaging the audience with questions and clarifications will certainly turn them off. Watch their body language for signs that they are reacting to what you are saying and use those as cues to expound further or ask questions. The more you demonstrate your care about their success, the more they will learn to respect and trust you. Active participation builds trust, which in turn builds solid relationships.


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TRUST – A Power Word for Every Day

February 18, 2016 – Jayne Albiston

BoB_Club_Power_Word_Trust (Custom)

This year we have 24 key words that we are applying directly to our business. They have particular meaning because we have taken them from our personal collection of words that we use to inspire and drive our lives forward.

In no particular order, I will be commenting on one of these words every couple of weeks and they will appear in our company newsletter each month. These comments are my own and I would welcome any additional insight, inspiration or feedback that you may have on them, including any experiences that you may have had along your business journey so far.

The first word is TRUST.


For some, trust is a loaded word and often one that can be used way too lightly or even flippantly. Jo-Anne Randall from Staples Rodway provided a timely reminder last week in her business tip at our Britomart BoB Club in Auckland that telling a client or even worse a prospect to just ‘Trust me’ before time has been taken to truly build a relationship is a big no no.

To trust, or to have a ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’ takes time and may involve shared experiences, dinner, wine, coffee, doing a great job or producing a great result over a number of months. The dictionary itself tells us that ‘relations have to be built on trust’. This is true because when you really think about it, none of us can ever know everything about a person or a professional or even a company, regardless of how much ‘research’ we might do, and let’s face it, we can do quite a lot more now than we ever could before, especially with all the online resources and platforms available. In the end there is always that gap, that gulf, that ditch that can only be crossed through trust or blind faith as some of us may call it. The risk can be small or large and the consequences also.

For those of us who approach life with a glass half full attitude and who always strive to look through slightly rose tinted glasses, we have most likely experienced both. The positives we will have grabbed with both hands while the negatives we will have put down to learning experiences and we will have moved on.  But what if those risks could be minimized in some way? What if that gap, that gulf, that ditch could be narrowed and blind faith did not have to come into play so much?

I recently read and re-read an article which talked about ‘real social networks’ and the Village Effect. According to Susan Pinker, a Canadian Clinical Psychologist, the benefits of ‘social integration with a regular diverse group of people and social intimacy – being with people you can depend on, the ones who have your back when the going gets tough’ are phenomenal and some claim are pointing towards being the secret of living a long and healthy life.

When thinking on TRUST and the premise that ‘relations have to be built on trust’, it naturally makes sense to see that including organized social integration and intimacy in one’s personal and business life would have positive outcomes and repercussions.

Susan Pinker says; ‘Whether you live in a village, a city or the country, you have to have a diverse group of people you meet on a regular basis’.

I am privileged and honoured to be the Australia/NZ Director of an amazing organization called ‘Business over Breakfast’. I literally get to meet every day for breakfast with an incredibly diverse range of people and over time we form quality relationships through a process of getting to know, like and trust eachother. The know and the like ALWAYS come before the trust and reminding myself of this fact has paid off for me personally and business wise in many ways over recent years.

Whether it is a Business over Breakfast (BoB) Club or another group of people or business professionals you meet with on a regular basis, building relationships over time has an astounding impact on the size of that gap, that gulf, that last leap of faith in trusting someone and then also in trusting those who they introduce you to. I think if we are honest, all of us recognize TRUST as being an important, often crucial element in our personal and business success. Many of us steer away or try to avoid it, having experienced ‘broken’ trust in the past.

Recognising that quality relationships and social connectivity are literally the fibre of our future, it makes sense to take a fresh look at trust; how we use the word, how we build trust or break it, how we make it part of the glue in our personal and business brands and in our approach, communication and interpersonal relations.

So how about taking the challenge this year to embrace trust, find ways to meet up regularly with a diverse range of people and professionals and start to build those quality relationships, the kind that will see you living a long healthy life and benefiting from the business success that can only come through trust that stands the test of time. Let me know how you go.


Jayne Albiston
Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs Australia & New Zealand




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