Focus on Mission & Maintaining Trust
Updated: Apr 22
Mission, even in our world of practical-tacticals, is still the north star that lets both you and your stakeholders know if you have gotten off course. It was likely your organization’s mission that drew your most dedicated employees, clients, and supporters. If it appears your organization has gone rogue as related to mission, you will experience a lack of trust from those you were meant to serve. When employees don't trust organizations, performance is negatively affected. When customers don't trust organizations, they find someone they can trust with their money and good will. When other stakeholders don't trust your organization, your public persona takes a hit, whether in traditional press, on social media or behind boardroom doors.
Here are three things you can do, at least annually, to help keep your “trust tank” full:
Review your mission. I have said this before and I will repeat it: if market conditions and other circumstances have prompted a shift in your organization's "Why," acknowledge it, and then do the work of re-positioning yourself. Even for those who don't agree with the changes, you have provided information for them to make an informed decision about how they will relate to you. However here is something to ask yourself: Is this shift mission-related, or is it motivated by something else? Is it a fear response based on what the market is doing, or have new opportunities arisen? It's fine to exploit other opportunities, just be clear and confident inwardly on why you are shifting your mission.
Hire Help: A perceived or actual shift away from your mission can lead to negative publicity. To protect your brand and explain a change in your company's focus to your stakeholders, invest in hiring a PR or Crisis Manager. I know you think you can explain what you do better than anyone, and you are probably right. However, hiring those able to objectively look at your organization allows someone experienced to strategically position you to those whose opinions matter most. Before crisis comes, consider purchasing a public relations audit; this way you are in front and aware of your reputation among potential clients and other stakeholders.
Focus on your team. The world is on edge right now and there are constant reports of corporate downsizing. This climate impacts the culture of your organization and could result in low trust if you appear to be shifting in your commitment to mission. If your organization
is a "low-trust" organization, according to Stephen Covey in The Speed of Trust, observed behaviors will include withholding or hoarding information, mistakes covered up or covered over, and lots of violated expectations just to name a few. If you notice the above behaviors are the culture of your organization, get help! A key indicator of low-performing teams is lack of trust among team members. Empower your HR team to evaluate, create or outsource strategies for your team to identify and resolve conflicts, and start the process of building trust again.
Michele Aikens is CEO & Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications & Coaching, Inc. Want to know more about strengthening your team? Contact her at here.