During times of change, it’s essential to repeat a message over and over. Most people do not fully understand, accept and adopt something the first time they hear about it. Change management best practice is to repeat something 5-7 times for it to “stick.”
There is a caveat to the need for repetition. If people don’t trust you, it doesn’t matter how much you repeat something – they won’t believe you. (We got this research-based insight from an Accenture presentation at an ACMP Change Conference.) This insight makes sense intuitively AND it caused us to rethink how we advise leaders who are interested in leading successfully through change.
Before you craft a perfect message that you repeat over and over, evaluate the level of trust that exists. Then work on building trust, before you work on making a change.
Here are ten ways to intentionally build trust:
- Keep your word. Close the say – do gap.
- Make decisions thoughtfully, explain your thought process and have the courage to say “no.”
- Be honest and kind. Say “please” and “thank you.”
- Make time for consistent and frequent communication even if it means saying, “I don’t have the answer yet.”
- Recognize and affirm constructive behavior. Recognize and correct destructive behavior.
- ASK questions that enable others to gain insight rather than TELLing them what you think they need to know.
- Consider the long-term impact of your words and actions. Short-term gain can create long-term pain.
- Listen and ask clarifying questions for understanding. Be careful of non-verbal reactions that invalidate your listening intent.
- Model the behavior that you want to see others exhibit. In other words, BE the change.
- Admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Would you rather be right or be in relationship?
Trust is the foundation of all relationships. Trust is the grease that makes things go faster, work smoother and cost less. Trust may be hard to define, but we do know when it’s lost. Be intentional about using your words and actions to build rather than destroy trust.
In life and business, relationships are important—but they are empty unless they are established and based upon trust. – Horst Schulze