Tag Archives: trust

Trying to trust

I was brainstorming with BDT’s coach (yes, we call her Coach), and she mentioned the importance of feeling like you can trust everyone in your group. And that totally reminded me of a bunch of stuff I’ve learned about trust over the past years! So this week’s post is about Trust.

Ross Smith, a Director of Test at Microsoft, took a bunch of theories about trust and now regularly puts them to the test. I had the good fortune of working in his organization for a short time, and it was pretty amazing to see the transformation he achieved in a short period of time. Ross is tricky. He uses crowd sourcing and game techniques to improve results. In other words, he turns things into games that encourage people inside and outside his organization to play and compete. The genius of it is that people end up spending extra time on projects that they aren’t even responsible for–because it’s so fun and personally rewarding for them.

Here’s an article about when Ross first created a game framework that encouraged trust behaviors inside his group. Click the link, and then first scroll down to Benefits and Metrics and read that dense paragraph. Here’s an example of some of the results:

“Our retention numbers were 20% to 50% higher than our historical numbers”

“We saw between a 10% to 60% improvement in productivity, as measured by a number of different metrics”

Okay, now go back and read that dense article to learn the specifics. Since we’re talking about software here, it was all done in a systematic way that he could measure. Out of the process, his group came up with a list of 150 trust building behaviors that they would track and turn into a game.

In another interview, Ross lists the sources of his inspiration on Trust. Scroll down to the very bottom of the interview for the list of sources.

So as musicians in a band with a couple members, we probably don’t have to be all systematic and scientific about it. My only reason for linking to those interviews is to build the case that organizational trustworthiness has been measured and it’s a huge pile of awesomeness. You can even take the next logical step: an increase in productivity should help make an increase in income. Of course income doesn’t matter so much if you’re stressed out and burned out–but again the numbers show that happiness increases just as much on average.

So it’s pretty clear that Trust is going to make a significant impact on the success of your band.

And by the way, back when I was working for Ross, he created the environment that produced a tool called the Conversation Analyzer. It analyzes your IM conversations (using a communications program called Lync) for trust building language, and gives you a score. You can track how you progress toward being someone who is trustworthy and encourages trust building.

Now, go back to that list of 150 trust building behaviors and actually take a look at it. It’s something we could spend the rest of our lives working on. So, in addition to everything else we’re working on, let’s just spend the next year focusing on maybe one or two off that list. And then move to the next, and so on. As the data shows, we’ll be happier and more productive.

Trying to be consistent

Previously, I’ve mentioned the importance of regulary producing art, over and over, so that you keep up with yourself. Otherwise your art gets stale before you’re done, and you end up scrapping it or never completing it.

The other benefit of regularly producing art is that you learn to be consistent. Consistency is an important aspect of trust. Trustworthy musicians are fun to play with. Of course, good musicians are even more fun! But, it’s good to be trustworthy. I’m not going to get into the band dynamics that come from being trustworthy, that’s what sites like How to Run a Band are for (disclosure: I’m in a band with Seth). And I won’t get into the importance of your fans trusting you, and so on.

But if the quality of your art is all over the map, then you will suffer. If you’re awake one day, and hung over the next, then you’ll suffer. If you only make art when you’re inspired, then you’ll suffer through long periods of time without productivity. You probably already suffer. That’s why you’re an artist. Might as well avoid letting your art suffer, too.

But make sure you’re being realistic. I set a goal to make a blog post once/week, which I thought was realistic at the time, and yet I’m quickly closing the gap of only being a few weeks ahead. I started a few months ahead. By the time you are reading this, I will be on vacation. Good thing I am still ahead! I can focus on my family over vacation. It’s a challenge, but it pays off. And I hope this is a realistic challenge. If I stop delivering a blog post every week, then I expect people will stop checking up on me to see what’s up, and I will get even farther behind when I have tours or vacations.

On a related note, if I don’t write good content, then you’ll stop too! Another example of setting realistic goals: you need to have consistent quality.

This post is probably on the low end of the quality spectrum, but just a thought that I felt was worth sharing.