META Group Report: Five Fundamental Steps to Build Trust

By Jonathan Poe

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META Trend: By 2004/05, 40% of Global 2000 enterprises (vs. 7% currently) will have transformed into information-driven businesses. During 2001/02, leading CIOs managing the transition to information service provider will concentrate on increasing the business perception of information dependence, while developing repeatable processes for sustaining information delivery capabilities.

Many executives and executives-in-training wonder: How can I get more access to decision makers? How do I avoid being stereotyped? And how do I gain a corporate officer's confidence? To break through the barriers of uncertainty, loud noise, and reduced executive availability, experienced leaders cultivate relationships and relationship networks. We believe five key skills/actions are required to build trust:

A key characteristic of relationship management is trust. To build collaborative teams, more than 25% of world-class firms will incorporate trust-building practices into their leadership programs by 2004. As these leadership programs succeed and gain notoriety, Global 2000 firms will start including team-building, communication, and relationship management in their cultural education curricula. By 2006, more than 50% of program management and leadership academies within G2000 firms will contain advanced trust-building classes.

Trust rarely develops instantaneously. Instead, it must be developed over time, requiring effort and accumulated interactions. Moreover, trust has both rational and emotional components. To create enduring business partnerships, trust must be based on the customer's experience of expertise applied to solve specific customer issues (the rational part of partnerships) and the perceived business value of the solution, its provider, and their relationship (the emotional part). Trust results from a two-way relationship created in tandem. Because trust is bilateral, involves emotion and logic, is complex, and requires time, experienced leaders minimize risk through sequential methodology. Through practice, building trust becomes a process that produces great change, gathers critical mass, and has an exponential impact.

Building trust requires five essential elements:

The current economy is not just about the exchange of data and information; it is about the exchange of relationships and trust. While relationship management is nothing new, it is more important than ever, especially in working with executives. Building trust is risky business. Without trust, however, teams fail and people resign. This skill requires credibility to engage, empathy to listen, insight to frame, creativity to visualize, leadership to commit, and finesse to manage customer expectations. As businesses globalize, organizations decentralize, and ITOs engage partners, trust becomes a business necessity. Courageous CIOs seek collaboration and actively build trust among their executive peers and within their ITOs.

Business Impact: When the basics of trust building are learned and applied, corporations have more effective teams and managers - prerequisites for high-performing organizations.

Bottom Line: To escape micromanagement prison, CIOs must build trust with their executive peers and within their IT organizations. Successful transformation and performance require leadership and collaboration - both of which require trust.

Copyright 2001 META Group Inc. 208 Harbor Drive, P.O. Box 1200061, Stamford, CT 06912-0061. Web: http://www.metagroup.com. Telephone: (203) 973-6700. Fax: (203) 359-8066.