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Trust in organizations is growing increasingly rare. With so many business closures, massive layoffs, financial scandals, ethics violations, and brazen executive failures, trust is pretty hard to come by. So how do businesses regain the trust of their employees and communities? The author, Robert Shaw, has some good advice on what can be done. With a PhD. From Yale University and dozens of years consulting to Fortune 500 companies, he's been through enough to be considered an expert on the subject. The bonus for everyone is that he shares much of his wisdom with us in Trust in the Balance, so that we don't have to make the same mistakes.
Shaw's writing style is clean and easy to follow. The book is laid out well, with great examples and tools for executive teams to use in their companies. He clearly describes what his experience and research has concluded - that organizational trust is anchored on three imperatives: results, integrity, and concern. It is through these that great leaderships and great organizations design are used to achieve great results.
I like the book for several reasons: it addresses change management, teams, leadership issues, ethics, and hiring practices. All areas where trust can be earned or lost. You would consider reading this book if you have a need in any one of these areas for your organization. The book as a detailed trust assessment survey, as well as a Leadership Survey. Both can be used to understand where your organization is now, and begin the process of improvement. In the area of improvement, Shaw provides great examples of how to regain trust if it is low or lost. And given the nature of our highly competitive global business environment, Shaw goes so far as to declare that "trust will replace loyalty as the primary bond within organizations". I think he's right, considering that lifetime employment contracts are dead.
If you are blessed enough to work in a high-trust organization, this book will serve you well in learning how to capitalize on trust to create collaborative capital. If you work in a low-trust company, Trust in the Balance will show you what works (and what does not) to rebuild the trust needed to survive in today's constantly changing business environment.
Robert Bruce Shaw addresses an issue that is often either neglected or handled with bromides. To its credit, Shaw's book does not overpromise by announcing a magical ten day program to restore trust. Instead, it provides an interesting variety of examples and succinctly shows how the organizations that have succeeded in establishing high levels of trust differ from their less adept colleagues. While doing so, Shaw does not engage in preachy denunciations. The overall tone of the book emphasizes creating solutions rather than affixing blame. In that spirit, "Trust in the Balance" contains surveys of the key factors affecting trust in the workplace; surveys that can be easily used by the reader to spot problems in his or her organization. Each chapter has meaty analysis and specific guidance on the steps that should be taken to address particular trust problems. There is also a helpful "Trust-Building Resources" section in the back of the book. One is fortunate to glean one good idea from many business books. Shaw's book contains many excellent points and observations. Anyone seeking a no-nonsense analysis of how to handle the "trust issue" should read this book. It will be well worth your time.