This week we are delving into another of our stated values, ‘displaying loyalty and trustworthiness’. We’ll deal with loyalty at the end of this piece but wanted to start off talking about trust. In the 90’s, most companies had trust or integrity as one of their ‘single word’ values. As we’ve discussed before here, it’s not good enough to just have values committed to paper – you have to live them. Below is one of Enron’s stated values:
We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely.
Hmmmm. The collapse of Enron was a watershed moment, exposing dishonest leadership behaviour, hiding the true picture of losses and about as far from ‘Integrity’ as you could get. There have been other examples of a mismatch between words and actions, whether the emissions scandal at Volkswagen or the collapse of Lehman Brothers’ bank. Following Enron, trust became a very different sort of capital, and in the internet age, post the financial meltdown of 2008, there is a demand for transparency and a need for companies to demonstrate their trustworthiness.
We enjoy trusting and being trusted
Trust is key to good business relationships and good business practises. When we first started working on trust with leaders we used an exercise that began life as a theatre game, ‘the guided-hand’. One person closes their eyes, the other person guides them around the room. Simple. The prime objective is to guide them safely, without colliding with others, and quickly establish for participants what it feels like to trust and be trusted.
During one workshop, global leadership delegates were undertaking the exercise in silence and carrying out the instructions with great care for the safety of others. The exercise was progressing perfectly until we heard a large clang and laughter as two senior leaders walked into the tea trolley. We stopped the exercise and asked what had gone wrong. It turned out they had both closed their eyes and each thought the other had theirs open. Happy to report we’ve never had it happen since! From these early beginnings, we have gone on to explore trust in so many ways and as these pictures show, helped design and deliver an international summit on trust with our wonderful partners at One Philosophy and Changers in Kyiv.
We believe in each other and relish other’s successes
Alana became a ‘monster’ 10 years ago this August. She joined us as office manager, at a time when we needed administrative help, having found herself in between jobs and looking for a new direction. It was obvious that she was capable of the role we needed, but Alana also had a real passion, and talent, for art. At that time, we didn’t offer graphic or illustrative work and saw ourselves fundamentally as facilitators.
10 years later, Alana is our chief artist and illustrator and the drawings, paintings and illustrated animated films that she has created over the years are a testament to her talent and success. She also collaborates with freelance designers, film makers, printers and all things creative and has her own illustrative work outside the company.
In the autumn she will also be able to enjoy her 10 years’ service sabbatical, which will give her the opportunity to explore a variety of artistic avenues.
We operate a blame free environment that promotes lifelong learning
Hilary joined us at the beginning of February, taking on the aforementioned administration and financial role that is such a challenge for our creatively focused company. We had a catch up three months into her tenure and one of the most pleasing things to hear was how supported she felt working in the company. Hilary knew that there would be plenty of ‘mistakes’ as we transitioned to a new accounting and reporting system and that it would be ‘unlikely’ that the current directors would be able to offer much practical advice to her. (She is being kind – she means none. Ed.)
She had previously experienced working cultures where blame was part of everyday and was delighted and surprised to find it absent here. H, as she prefers to be called, is also an avid reader and has an extensive knowledge of literature and film and is happy to learn new skills.
We have always liked learning, but over time, we have transformed from being what was once a training company into a team of people who consider that learning is the best journey to undertake at work. H is a great fit and we will learn a great deal from her too.
So that leaves us with loyalty.
Many years ago, Robin undertook some psychometric tests, facilitated by the wonderful coach, Lesley Cox. It considered his strengths and weaknesses and anyone who knows him, would recognise the behavioural trait she identified – a fierce sense of loyalty. It can be seen as both strength and weakness, but for us, mostly strength. There is no doubt that this characteristic has permeated the company because of Robin and is in evidence especially with our clients and partners.
We love to build long-lasting and trusted relationships. We meet up and enjoy the company of many who no longer work in the organisations where we met them. Indeed, quite a few are retired, but you can’t get away from us that easily. We love our clients and enjoy remaining loyal to them and appreciate the loyalty that has been shown to us over the last few trying months of the Covid-19 crisis. You’ve been there for us, and we’d like you to know, we are here for you if and when you need us. Thank you to you all.
To read more about the rest of our values, click here.