As leaders we are called upon to inspire others to follow our lead and walk alongside us on a journey that is bigger than us – this journey can be accomplished through the collaboration of groups of people with similar values, vision and purpose. This happens easily when we first focus on our people.
When the foundation of trust is built, results come quicker and easily because there is no wasted time. In his book The Speed of Trust, Steven Covey mentions that the higher the trust in an organization, the faster the speeds with which things get done. Let’s face it. When people trust their leaders, they don’t waste time second-guessing them. They follow their leaders’ vision and feel like they are part of the team. In a trust-based organization, everyone works together for the good of the whole. This in turn results in sustainable high-performing teams.
Communication and transparency are key. In his book Through the Fires, Bob Carr, CEO of Hartland Payment Systems, talks about a very tough time in his career when he chose transparency with Wall Street, his employees and shareholders after of one of the biggest security breaches in the history of the payment processing industry. It is in times of fiscal stress that we show what we’re made of. Bob Carr chose transparency when he could have chosen the safe route; even against his own advisor’s counsel, Bob chose to do the right thing. He was recently appointed to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council for the next four years by President Barack Obama.
How many times have we found ourselves in a tough situation where we had to make a tough decision? Whenever we lead with integrity, the right decisions show up. The best way to build trust is one person at a time. Our actions will always speak louder than our words. They are like a tree, which, when planted firmly on fertile ground, yields great fruit.
I often tell our bankers: “As leaders in the community, it is our duty to lead with transparency, honesty, communication and collaboration.” It is only then that we are able to build values-centered teams who carry the same values, vision and purpose through our organization, and in turn, create sustainable high results, where everyone wins: the employees, their families, the company, the community and the shareholders.
Dr. Betty Uribe, Executive Vice President, California Bank & Trust