Trust and motivation at work: seven key factors

What matters for trust?

Susanne Jacobs’ model of trust, from her book “DRIVERS – Creating Trust and Motivation at Work” identifies seven key factors:

1️⃣ Direction – purpose and meaning
2️⃣ Relative position – a sense you contribution is valued
3️⃣ Inclusion – belonging and connection
4️⃣ Voice and choice – some say over decisions that affect you
5️⃣ Equity – respect and fairness
6️⃣ Reliability – certainty and security
7️⃣ Stretch – learning and growth.

📈 Get these right and you can head down a performance path that is based on trust and safety. => You will set people up to Thrive.

📉 Get them wrong, and people will be fearful and threatened. => A workforce may enter Survive mode.

💡 Susanne highlights the importance of perceptions. “Our perception about what is happening to the DRIVERS can shift, determining whether our brain interprets them to be safe or under threat. This interpretation is designed to drive our behaviour towards safety and away from danger. It is the basis of whether we engage or disengage.”

👉 Find the book here:

This infographic comes from a report by Unum. The eagle-eyed will notice that it has 8 factors since it lists voice and choice separately (it’s an earlier version of the model).

hashtag#Trust hashtag#Leadership hashtag#Voice hashtag#Purpose hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#EmployeeEngagement hashtag#EX hashtag#HR hashtag#Inclusion hashtag#PsychologicalSafety hashtag#BehavioralScienceActivate to view larger image,

Image preview

How do you make learning stick?

How do you make learning stick?

The AGES Model from the NeuroLeadership Institute argues it takes: “Attention, Generation, Emotion, and Spacing.”

🔑 Attention:
✔ Has limits (about 20 minutes before needing a refresher)
✔ “Multitasking is the enemy of learning”
✔ “Attention is susceptible to interference with materials of the same modality (e.g., reading language and hearing language).”

🗝 Generation:
✔ Creating (and sharing) your own connections to ideas has great power
✔ The act of generation matters more than the connections themselves
✔ Social generation is especially powerful
✔ As is “insight”; “That eureka moment when the unconscious mind solves a problem, is perhaps the most valuable form of generation.”

🔓 Emotions:
✔ “Emotional arousal matters for making learning last”
✔ “Positivity is better than negativity”.

📢 Spacing:
✔ Having a gap between learning and review sessions
✔ “Perhaps the most profound benefit of spacing is that it allows for sleep”

💡 What also matters is making learning social: “The very social nature of the human brain means that making learning social brings potential for magnifying the effects of each of the other aspects of AGES.”

👉 Is this a framework you find useful…? What other approaches do you follow?

Here’s the reference: Davis, Josh, M I Balda, David Rock, Paul McGinniss and Lila Davachi. “The Science of Making Learning Stick: An Update to the AGES Model.” (2014)

Learn more here:

hashtag#Learning hashtag#Leadership hashtag#EmployeeEngagement hashtag#BehavioralScience hashtag#PsychologicalSafety hashtag#EX hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#OrganizationalCulture hashtag#NeuroScienceActivate to view larger image,

Image preview

“Can and Can’t, Will and Won’t.”

“Can and Can’t, Will and Won’t.”

In this article Daniel Stillman summarises a 2×2 of employee motivation and technical ability that comes from Danny Meyer (founder chairman of Union Square Hospitality Group and author of “Setting the Table”).

It’s based on an interview, which you can watch here:

The conversation is really around how you can scale culture by rewarding the right behaviours and not tolerating the wrong ones.

When it comes to this framework, each quadrant has its own actions.

For people who:
✔ Can & Will – you need to recognise and celebrate them
✔ Can’t but Will – you need to coach, and have some patience
✔ Can’t & Won’t – you need an early intervention
✔ Can but Won’t – you need a broader discussion.

🔑 Danny Meyer talks about using the framework as a mirror (literally, in fact) for employees to reflect on their position. There’s a hospitality-focus to the approach, as in engaging people with great “hospitality attitude”.

I’m always interested in how tools like this can “fit” with different sectors and strategies. Does this approach resonate with you at all….?

The link to Daniel’s article is here:

hashtag#Leadership hashtag#OrganizationalCulture hashtag#EmployeeEngagement hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#EX hashtag#HR hashtag#HighPerformance hashtag#PerformanceManagement hashtag#Motivation hashtag#LearningActivate to view larger image,

Image preview

How do you move from “mouthset” to “mindset”?

From simply adopting the language of change to transforming the way you do things?

It’s a terrific question and I like the idea of “mouthset” – especially as you think about some of the big challenges ahead. Lots of organisations feel stuck there.

This article by Emma Blomkamp, Thea Snow and Ingrid Burkett argues:

=> First, there is an unsettling
=> Second, there is a breakdown
=> Third, there is a reconciling & realignment.

The specific focus in the article is co-design, but the question applies more broadly for sure.

From the Griffith Centre for Systems Innovation, the article is here:

I think it aligns nicely with William Bridges’ Transition Model, which I’ve always liked: Endings, Neutral Zone, New Beginnings.

hashtag#Leadership hashtag#ChangeLeadership hashtag#CoDesign hashtag#SystemsThinking hashtag#BehavioralScience hashtag#ClimateActionActivate to view larger image,

Image preview

What really matters for Transformation?

The iceberg model.

I associate this iceberg model with Peter Senge. It shows the different levels of a system, with most hidden far below the surface.

=> Events are visible; they might be a crisis or a success (both can be fleeting)
=> Patterns are trends and behaviours that emerge over time and are more consistent
=> Structures are rules and policies that shape patterns and events
=> Mental models are beliefs and values; they’re the deepest level and the most powerful.

The point is a simple one, that if we operate based mainly on what is visible (the event level), then we are only in a position to react.

You can anticipate patterns. You can design structures. But in order to transform systems, you need to understand the mental models that underlie structures. You need to change mindsets.

With transformation being such a focus for leaders in so many industries, we’re doing lots of work exploring mindsets and identifying the moments that matter for shaping them. If you’re interested in seeing an example, you can listen to a great discussion with my colleague Marisa Hall (Co-Head of our Thinking Ahead Institute) here:

hashtag#Leadership hashtag#SystemsThinking hashtag#Mindsets hashtag#PeopleAnalytics hashtag#BehavioralScience hashtag#ChangeLeadership hashtag#HR hashtag#EmployeeExperience hashtag#FutureOfWork hashtag#ClimateAction hashtag#WTW hashtag#OrganizationalCulture

There are many iceberg pictures, this one comes from the excellent Donella Meadows website:

* I’m not sure Peter Senge uses an iceberg though. The Fifth Discipline uses lots pyramids.

How can leaders design for purposeful change?

This is a question that really interests me and it’s a topic where there’s a lot of energy, considering the impact of technology, health, and climate on people now and in the future.

The “Systemic Design Framework” was launched by the Design Council in April 2021.

It’s based on an evolution in thinking about design over time:

1.0 Was about visual communication and assets

2.0 Was about human-centred design to create value-add

3.0 Was about organisational and social innovation

4.0 Now design needs to tackle “wicked problems” and complex systems.

What does it take for leaders to do this?:

=> SYSTEM THINKER: The ability to see how things are interconnected and to zoom between the micro and the macro and across silos.

=> STORYTELLER: To use the power of storytelling to create energy at all levels and to maximise involvement.

=> DESIGNER AND MAKER: To use technical and creative skills to make things happen through prototyping, testing and iteration.

=> CONNECTOR AND CONVENER: To create spaces where people from different backgrounds come together to drive action.

At the heart of all this is sense making, empathy, involvement and co-creation.

My clients are thinking about this, along the lines of “How are we building systemic change into our leadership frameworks as we plan for the future of work?”

If you want to learn more about this framework and approach, this is a great summary article: “Ways of designing: A reflection on strategic and systemic design”.

#Leadership #DesignThinking #EmployeeExperience #Inclusion #CimateAction

#FutureOfWork #BehaviorChange #SystemsThinking #SystemicDesign #HR

What really matters for trust?

Joseph Folkman in his book “The Trifecta of Trust” came up with these three pillars after looking at masses of leadership feedback data. The point of a trifecta is that these pillars have an order to them.

1. The first pillar is Expertise:

=> “This is the extent to which you are well informed and knowledgeable. It includes your understanding of the technical aspects of the work, as well as your depth of experience.”

=> Expertise is demonstrated by good judgement in making decisions.

2. Once you have achieved a level of expertise, you must demonstrate Consistency:

=> This means walking the talk and doing what you say you will do

=> You are a good role model for others

=> You keep your promises.

3. The final pillar is Fostering Positive Relationships:

=> You stay in touch with the issues and concerns of others (empathy)

=> You balance results with concern for others

=> Your relationships generate cooperation

=> You give “honest feedback in a helpful way”

=> You build an inclusive climate.

I also like his discussion of the “humble expert”, the link between trust and engagement, and trust and confidence:

=> “Confidence can magnify trust, but only when a person’s confidence matches up with their competence. Assuming you are much more effective than you really are causes others to lose trust in you.”

That rings very true!

Reference: Folkman, Joseph R.. The Trifecta of Trust: The Proven Formula for Building and Restoring Trust. United States: River Grove Books, 2022.

#Leadership #Trust #PsychologicalSafety #EmployeeEngagement #FutureOfWork #EmployeeExperience #HR #Inclusion #BehavioralScience #BestThingsAlwaysComeInThrees

What’s the secret to great teams?

This is interesting new research from the CIPD, which reviews lots of studies into high performing teams and identifies the group-level factors influencing team effectiveness.

Two aspects stand out as being especially important:

=> Psychological safety

=> “Cognitive Consensus” (how team members define and think about issues)

Some of the report’s conclusions:

=> Diverse teams can be high-performing teams

=> Different personalities can be team players

=> Team dynamics are vital for performance, such as:

– Trust between team members

– Psychological safety

– Team cohesion

=> Team dynamics are especially important for virtual work

=> Organising team knowledge improves performance

=> Well-planned interventions can increase team effectiveness.

Here’s the link:

#PsychologicalSafety #Teamwork #Leadership #HR #EmployeeExperience #PeopleAnalytics #BehavioralScience #Trust #EmployeeEngagement #Inclusion

High performance requires a combination of discipline AND entrepreneurship

I’ve always liked this picture, which comes from Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”. It’s something that we also see in our research into EX leadership. This combination is difficult to get right, but it is key for great performance, not just at an organisational level, but at a team level too. Of course, navigating the “tension” here depends on trust and psychological safety.

Jim Collins talks about the importance of:

=> Hiring and developing self-disciplined people (so leaders can “manage the system” rather than individuals).

=> Disciplined thought, as in: “Confronting the brutal facts of reality, while retaining faith that you can create a path to success.”

=> Disciplined action (the ability to focus on the most critical things). In my experience, many organsiations fall down here with too many priorities and too much complicatedness.

And he highlights the need to build a culture around “the idea of freedom and responsibility within a framework”.

Where would you put your own team or organisation in a matrix like this?

#Leadership #OrganizationalCulture #EmployeeExperience #Creativity

#BehavioralScience #Trust #PsychologicalSafety #Innovation


Types of Conversation

How can you understand different kinds of conversation in the workplace? => This is still a useful framework for thinking about types of employee voice. It’s based on Bill Gorden’s two-spectrum model.

** To what extent is voice is active? (e.g., given openly)

** And is it constructive? (e.g., an exchange)

You can identify 4 quadrants:

=> Active constructive, e.g., “principled dissent” and “dialogue”

=> Passive constructive, e.g., “attentive listening” and “quiet non-verbal support”

=> Passive destructive, e.g., “I just work here”-type responses and “calculative silence”

=> Active destructive, e.g., “duplicity” and “badmouthing”

The model is from 1988 and you can see the links to early work on psychological safety.

You can read more here:

What can you do with this framework? Well, there is also a lot written about “Active Constructive Responding” in coaching, for example, which I associate with the work of Shelly Gable (and others).

#EmployeeExperience #EmployeeEngagement #EmployeeVoice

#Leadership #Conversation #BehavioralScience #PsychologicalSafety