Leading Process is About Building Trust in Business and at Work

Last Friday was the eighth year that I have presented the opening session for the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute at the Albany International Airport:  Leadership and Strategic Thinking . As in prior years, after 4 hours of exploring strategic leadership on the personal and organizational level, the Leadership Class of 2015 was treated to an afternoon panel discussion of local CEOs and senior leaders sharing their experience, strength and hope with the class.

As always, the panel was an extremely interesting complement to the morning session, consisting of (left to right, in the picture below):

Leadership Panel Oct. 2014

The questions posed to the panelists dovetailed with many of the morning session’s themes. However, we all took notes when Jim Reed was asked about how he managed the change organizationally when leading the merger that resulted in St. Peter’s Health Partners.  “No matter what the situation, including change management – leading process is about building trust. Without trust, you can’t move forward,” he replied.

In my own change management / change transformation experience, building trust can take several forms, including but not limited to:

  • When acquiring another company:  providing side-by-side benefits comparisons of the former company’s benefits and their new company’s benefits for employees joining the merged company, so they can see for themselves where the benefits are improving, decreasing or remaining the same;
  • For company leaders:  holding regular roundtable meetings with employees across and at all levels of an organization, allowing employees to ask company leaders burning questions directly while getting to know their leaders in the process (related to Jim Reed’s personal practice of speaking at every New Hire Orientation);
  • Literally walking the talk:  when enforcing a housekeeping policy that requires everyone to pick up every piece of trash in their path in the warehouses and in the stores, I recall carefully bending over to pick up pieces of trash in my path during my 9th month of pregnancy, right before my son Noah was born;
  • Bring in the best experts:  to allay concerns of visually impaired end-users in learning to use a new cloud-based system, we brought in the system’s subject-matter expert on training visually impaired end-users, who had been blind from birth himself.

How will you effectively lead process by building trust this week, in business and at work?

RCCC Leadership & Strategic Planning Presentation rev. Oct. 2014 final


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