Monday, May 17, 2021

Trust, but not trusting


"They say" that trust is essential to any project team working effectively. To not trust is to layer on ineffective and non-value add efforts at surveillance, double checking, micro-management, etc and so on.

Yet, nearly all projects of any significant scope are organized hierarchically:
  • Some one is in charge
  • Others "report to ..."
  • Rules are a tool; they can substitute for face-to-face encounters
  • Trust is not really required because 'rules' enforce acceptable behaviors
  • Break the rules, and there are consequences. But, the consequences are usually time-limited. You get out of the dog house after you've served your time

Not so fast!

Hierarchies may be the on-paper way of organizing, but 'getting things done' requires networks; and networks are definitely not hierarchical. 

But networks run on trust, not rules. No trust ... no network, or least no network membership.

  • Oh, yes, there are consequences, but, no, there are no time limits. 
  • You may be in the dog house a very long time.

 And so here we are:

  • On paper: hierarchies and no trust required. Rules are all that is needed; and consequences if the rules are broken
  • In fact: networks are how people work; rules aren't need. But, if trust is broken, there are consequences. And those consequences are very long term.  



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