• Andy Goram

Accelerating Trust

If you're familiar with Lencioni's work on the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, you'll know that the secret to getting a high-performing team, capable of delivering consistently great results, sustainably, is Trust. It's at the foundation of his pyramid for a reason. But sitting at the top is Results. The attractive, hypnotic blue light to many an Operator moth. It's so desirable, that it's where focus goes immediately for some, as they leapfrog over the other elements of this famous structure in the quest to achieve outcomes now. But this is where it can go wrong. Without first achieving a solid level of trust between leader and team members, results, if achieved, are short-term and incredibly hard to sustain. So why is it that this focus on results first is still prevalent?


In episode 21 of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, host Andy Goram talks to seasoned Operator, Bill Walker, about why that happens, what can be done to improve the situation and even find ways to accelerate the levels of trust the team has. This is a transcript of the full conversation from the episode. It contains all of Bill's thoughts, ideas and concepts on how to accelerate trust in the work environment.



Two guys discussing how to accelerate trust in work teams
Bill Walker (left) and Andy Goram (right) discuss how to accelerate trust in work teams

00:00:10 Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky From The Inside, the Employee Engagement Podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing, consistently successful organisations, from the inside out.

I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them and create tonnes more success for everyone.

This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call “stickier businesses”. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you, and recommend you to others, because they love what you do and why you do it. So, if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on.

00:01:10 Andy Goram

OK, then, if you've ever seen or read about Patrick Lencioni's five dysfunctions of a team, you'll know it's based on a pyramid. At the base of that pyramid, the thing that's your first port of call to unlocking the full potential of your team, is trust.


You'll also know that at the top of that structure comes results. And the theory is you need to work your way up from building trust to facing into conflict to gaining commitment around a shared vision, through to ensuring that team members take full accountability for behaviour and actions. And then, and only then can you successfully and sustainably concentrate on driving the outcomes, those results.


So, why is it that so many managers and leaders, especially those with a focus on operations, tend to ignore the first few levels and pile straight into a focus on results and then wonder why things collapse, or the team never quite reaches its full potential?

Is it too hard to work through the other levels? Does it take too long in the face of other pressures? Are sustainable results just a nice to have? And when I say that out loud, it sounds pretty daft.


Well with me today is a seasoned operator, Bill Walker, who can help objectively talk about these challenges and offer up some practical solutions on how to engage and sustainably get the best out of your teams. He’s spent the last 25 years' operating at board level in various PLC and private equity backed businesses across gaming, leisure and retail sectors. He's got hands on experience leading senior teams initiate and deliver transformational change in complex and challenging situations. He's delivered business, turnaround and cultural change programmes and is passionate about making a difference in a deeply, and this is important for this podcast, practical way, and he's even developed his own signature process to do this, which he calls the “dynamic timeline”.


Hey Bill, welcome to the show!


00:03:15 Bill Walker

Thanks, Andy. It's absolutely fantastic to be with you. Thank you.


00:03:18 Andy Goram

It's great to have you here, mate. We've known each other for a good while now. But my listeners don't know you particularly well, so why don't you just tell us a little bit about you and what you're up to at the moment.

00:03:31 Bill Walker

Yeah, well, I'm kinda... I was trying to be semi-retired but I’ve made a really bad job of that. I’m probably busier than ever. I've just got too much energy to stop, but as you said in the intro, Operations is what I do and what I've always done in many businesses, right through retail, leisure, pubs, out of town retail. You name it, I've done it over the years. And mostly in my latter career with private equity companies. And that was where we were in a turnaround situation, very often. And it was change management, basically, you know, it was about you know, influencing and possibly redirecting and changing the direction of businesses, and that's kind of what I do. That's why I enjoy and for me, it's always a people thing. It's people-centered, and that's what excites me. I've always worked in businesses with scale, with lots of people. You mentioned trust and that really is fundamental, foundational as Lencioni said.


00:04:37 Andy Goram

Absolutely, and I think this is going to be a fascinating conversation, but I would say that, but we've got an operator. An out and out Operater in yourself, and a self-confessed marketer, for me. In the past that's a bit like Ghostbusters, “Just don't cross the streams!” You know, danger happens. I think we've kind of busted that myth between us in our working relationship.

00:05:00 Bill Walker

Definitely. Definitely. We're interdependent, Andy. Interdependent.

00:05:03 Andy Goram

I think that is the case, my friend. Gone are the days where marketing and operations just snarl at each other and smile at each other around the Board Table and walk away. I think, today, working in harmony and bring our friends in HR in. I mean that is a powerful triangle. Marketing, Operations and HR in getting stuff done, particularly when talking about culture change and transformation, all those kind of good things.

So, go back to that intro that I spouted on about at the start of the podcast, Bill. This Lencioni triangle if we use that as our backdrop and my take on, you know, baseline - Trust. You’ve got to start there and work your way through. And my thesis that operators tend to go straight to the top of that triangle and focus on results. I mean, am I just looking at that one eyed or is that reality?

00:05:53 Bill Walker

Yes, I think that pretty much is reality. And when you think about it logically, Andy, why do you hire Operators? You hire Operators to implement and execute stuff. And that's about making stuff happen. And it's about getting on with things. And the sort of people that tend to move into and thrive in Operations, are very task orientated. And in many ways, that's a good thing. But as I discovered early in my career, you know, if you look at my own personal profile, Andy, nobody talks about Belbin anymore. But when I was a boy, it was all about Belbin - team dynamics, team working and so on. And my profile was “shaper”. And if you remember that, I don’t know if you remember this, Andy, but the image was a little whip.


00:06:36 Andy Goram

I do remember that yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:06:38 Bill Walker

And that was very much my style, you know, results, you know, top of the pyramid, I was there all the time. Accountability, yeah, absolutely. And that's what I lived and breathed. What I hadn't realised in my early career was, I was sort of, though I may be embellishing here, but probably leaving a trail of destruction behind, you know. That wasn't so good. And I realised fast, you know, through painful experience, that this was a people thing. This really is about relationships, you know. And that's within Operations, teams and cross-functionally, and so on. And over the years, I think I've developed some tools and techniques to accelerate that process of building trust. But I'm not surprised at all that the Operators go for results, because every trading meeting on a Monday morning, that's what they're challenged on. So, you know, why wouldn't they?

00:07:31 Andy Goram

And the conjecture that I put at the front about yes, there's the results focus. There's a focus on it from that particular department’s perspective. I get that. But getting sustainable results is going to take engagement, trust, all those good things, right? You go back to that even older chart of forming, storming, norming, performing all that kind of stuff from before, but why is there almost this aversion to kind of do your time and earn your stripes going through the pyramid? Is it that things just take too long? Do they get in the way? I mean, what's your view?


00:08:07 Bill Walker

I don't think there's an appreciation of, yeah, I think Covey summed it up nicely, “With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.” And, you know, it's fine saying that we're gonna focus on impact and intensity and all these sorts of things. But the reality is, people do not respond well or quickly to, you know, that type of approach. It's about hearts and minds. You've got to get people onside. Andy, I know you are very passionate about purpose. There’s got to be a reason for being. My job has got to be relevant and it's got to fit into the bigger picture and that's got to be clear. And in many organisations there's a perception that that takes too long. All that stuff takes too much time. I know from experience that it's worth the effort. It does take time. It's not going to change overnight, and some people are never going to come on the journey, but most will if you create the conditions where they can do that.

00:09:11 Andy Goram

I’m a big fan of putting your time and effort and energy into those guys who really want to come with you first. I know there are other schools of thought, but when you're thinking about pursuing these things is to focus, or it's maybe a natural tendency, to focus on the guys who are just not on the bus. And you put a lot of time and energy into those guys, but you're wasting the momentum you can build, I think, of getting the guys who already are there, or want to be there in kind of creating a bow-wave to bring everybody else with them? I mean, do you think the same thing or...?

00:09:44 Bill Walker

I totally agree with you. Interestingly, I was talking to a client the other day, and they were talking about concentrating on the bottom 20% of the stores that were underperforming. And you know, that's absolutely the wrong thing to do. What you want to do is focus on the top 20% initially. And you know that notion that ,all boats rise with the tide. And it's getting those managers and teams fired up and focused that makes a difference. As you say, the bow-wave’s a good sort of analogy to actually get the momentum going, then we can deal with this stuff at the other end. But, you know, you want to create followers. You want to create momentum and you're not going to be doing that with these, you know, the bottom 10%, 20% that in reality might contribute 5% to profitability or something like that in an organisation.


00:10:41 Andy Goram

100% and when I talk to businesses, we often talk about trying to create a movement, you know, some kind of willingness in people to do things. And it's a lot easier to concentrate on those guys who are there, or part way there, to get them over the hill. And I think you're right, once you get a mass and a momentum, then actually it is not about ignoring the bottom performers, 'cause that is equally dangerous, but it is about, I guess, I have this thing that “winning needs witnesses”, right? If you can show that winning is possible, that the feat is achievable, it makes it more believable for people who are perhaps finding it tougher.


00:11:23 Bill Walker

That's spot on. Spot on.

00:11:25 Andy Goram

And we can follow those footsteps going forward.


00:11:26 Bill Walker

Yeah yeah, and it emphasises aswell, Andy, I'm not saying the underperformers aren't important. You need to deal with the underperformers.


00:11:32 Andy Goram

Of course! 00:11:32 Bill Walker

But you've got to get your priorities right. You've got to put the emphasis in the right place, and you want to make heroes out of those high performers, and you know, we want to use those as role models and advocates towards that purpose.


00:11:46 Andy Goram

No, I agree with that, and I think this sort of... if you take a second climb up the next rung on that pyramid, to mix metaphors completely, the thing about facing into conflict. When you talk about purpose, and you talk about engagement, people can naturally jump into the “Oh! It's all fluffy and nice. And it's all about being lovely to each other”, and I don't think it could be further from the truth. And I think that second rung on that pyramid about, you know, dysfunctional teams don't face into conflict. Functional teams deal with it, and in your experience, how does that manifest itself, for you?


00:12:25 Bill Walker

You know, I think I think the notion of conflict’s important. I think it was Blanchard that said,

"Conflicting ideas is good, what you've got to worry about is conflicting people.

And I’ve worked in environments, particularly operational environments, where, you know, there's lots of egos in the room and things become a bit of a contest.


00:12:45 Andy Goram

Right.


00:12:46 Bill Walker

And that's bonkers! It's completely nuts, you know, let's focus on our purpose. Let's focus on our customers. Let's focus on our people. And let's pull this in the same direction. And if you can diffuse that and remove that, those negative undercurrents and get some sort of common purpose and alignment, and an expression I love is shared meaning. You know, they're really clear here about what we do and how we do it and how we go about it. And we've got psychological safety where we can challenge, and it's encouraged. But all of that at the bottom of the pyramid, again is trust. And if that trust isn't there, Andy, it's just not gonna work, because “The boss has got a hidden agenda.” You know “What’s he really up to here?” and all that. So, you get suspicion, and you get all those undercurrents that are toxic. Really, really unhelpful.

00:13:36 Andy Goram

So, let's face into this trust thing, right? And the perspective of it's too hard. It takes too long, and I know you have a theory about it's possible as an operator, as a red meat-eating, results-getting operator, that you can actually accelerate how you build trust, right? So, let's concentrate on that for a bit. So, in your experience, how do you go about accelerating trust, not glossing over it, not short-changing it, but how can you accelerate that building of trust?


00:14:10 Bill Walker

I developed something called a personal contract, and it sounds very grand, but it's not and it's beautifully simple and that's why it's so powerful. You know, if I say to someone, you know I, I used to move into businesses, I was there maybe there for four or five years, doing turnaround type stuff and so on. And people don't trust you because you've been brought in by the private equity backers and all that sort of thing. And the last thing they're going to do is trust you. So, if I say to people, “Trust me”, it's going to have the opposite effect. So, I needed a mechanism to... or a process to actually accelerate building trust. And how I would frame it, Andy, was I would ask people, you know, and it might be direct reports, it could be peers and people you work closely with. It was very much a conversation around, "How do I get the best out of you? And how do you get the best out of me?”


I'd ask you to think about the very best working relationships you've been involved in. What were the characteristics of that? What were the things that made it that way? And I think we've all had those empathetic relationships, Andy, where you know, I've worked for bosses, you know, I knew what he was thinking and knew what she was thinking. But, you know, we hardly had to discuss it, because we were so aligned. It was in the groove sort of thing. And you know, I loved that. And that's what I was aiming for. That's what I was trying to replicate. So, self-awareness was important as well and you had to be humble.

Now, if you've got a huge ego, this just ain't gonna work for you. You know it is about servant leadership, fundamentally. And the way the contract would work would be, I would make a statement and I would write it down on a sheet of A4 sort of thing, and then then the other person would make a statement and I would make a statement. And an example would be, my first opening one would always be, “My intentions are always positive” would be my statement. And then you develop a qualifying conversation around, you know, that means I don't have any hidden agendas. What you see is what you get. And if you ever doubt that, or if you're not sure about that, I expect you to challenge me. I want you to say something to me. And mostly you know, the interesting thing was from the other person in the contract, it was very much about, “Be honest with me. Be open with me.” So, already you’re starting to have some sort of dialogue where we've given each other permission to give feedback.

00:16:46 Andy Goram

And it takes time though, right? It does take time.

00:16:50 Bill Walker

It does take time, and how we’d do this, was it probably took about an hour to go through and have really good conversations about it. So, “Explain what you mean by that”, and maybe you summarise and paraphrase, “Have I got that? Do I really understand that?” And then we'd say it right, you know we’re to have routine regular one-to-one sessions. And that's part of the process is well about building trust. You need routines. At those sessions in the early days you'd say, “How am I doing against my personal contract? Am I doing everything I said I’d do? Am I not doing the things you said you don’t want me to do?” and vice versa. And it gives you that open and honest dialogue, that circular dialogue that's very powerful.

00:17:27 Andy Goram

Yeah, I think that if you think about it, I think that question of “What do you need from me, to be able to be at your best when we're at work?”, it's a pretty simple, but powerful question.


00:17:41 Bill Walker

Yeah, Andy, I think that as a leader, your job is to enable, to facilitate. You’re a catalyst, and you are there to create the conditions to create an environment where people can excel. You're looking for... you want curious minds. Back to conflict again, people with curious minds will ask lots of questions, and that's great, and it should be encouraged. Lots of leaders don't like that. They don't like lots of questions, because, you know, when you crash test their idea, it may be flawed and they’re back to being humble again, so the whole thing’s linked. And I think a lot of it is stylistic and using a little bit of process to get you there. But certainly, over the years... that I've probably been using personal contracting for over 20 years, and I can honestly say it's the most powerful tool in my toolbox for building really powerful relationships. And you know many, many times, you know, and my direct reports have said to me, “Bill,” they put their hand up and seeing the spirit of a personal contract, e.g. “I think you're being defensive,” or, “I think you've got hidden agenda,” or, you know, “I don't think you’re being straight with me.” What a great conversation to have. I would rather have that out in the open discuss it, deal with it and move on, than not.


The other thing I’d say, Andy, you clearly need to walk the talk. You need to do what you say you're gonna do, or you’ll get found out very, very quickly. You know, it can't be a facade. It's gotta be real and in your heart.


00:19:14 Andy Goram

Authenticity is so important and people can see through disingenuousness, if that's even a word, in a heartbeat, right? Yeah, and I suspect when you're having that first conversation, when you're introducing the notion of a personal contract you’ve got, I don’t know, a different set of reactions in different people, right? You must have people that go, “Ooo! Well this is interesting!” and others who maybe sit back in the chair, cross the arms and go, “OK! Come on, then.” Generally, what's the experience? What sort of things do you encounter?


00:19:48 Bill Walker

It’s a bit awkward. It seems a bit whacky, and you’re saying to people, “Look, just go with the flow. Trust me. Go with the flow and see how it is.” And what we do, is we’d stop the halfway through, “How is this working for you?” But what you do find is it teases out some excellent conversations. And some of them on the negative side, "Look, I had a boss who did this and that really racked me off, and I never want to experience anything like that again”. And so, you're starting to already connect deeply with the person. The objective is you want the whole person at work. You don't want something superficial or somebody that’s sort of playing to the gallery, and so on. You just want them to be themselves and be the best they can be.


00:20:36 Andy Goram

100% agree with that. But it must feel..., it must feel strange for some people. So, in those conversations, what's the balance between work and personal? Because bringing in personal connection is a key contributor to trust, and in your experience, what's the sort of balance that you've tried to strike up?


00:20:55 Bill Walker

Well, you know I tended to concentrate on, you know, how can we get the best out of each other at work. That was my priority. Clearly, you know, sort of home, family and those sort of things come out in conversation. But I must say that I never designed the personal contract to do that. That was more in a social environment or whatever, we’d catch up on those things. But I just wanted to ensure that when we were together, it was highly productive and we were getting the best out of each other. So, I didn't major on the personal side of it, you know, and some people are very private, and that’s cool. And others are very open and that's cool, too.

00:21:36 Andy Goram

I think it's really interesting, and maybe this is just we're all different shapes and colours, and we all get different stuff, but I think, trying to find those personal connections can go a long way to building genuine, authentic levels of trust. Showing to somebody that they matter and are significant, not just at work, but as a person, again, I'm not diving into the world of fluffiness here, I think that helps back up all the things that you're saying at work. If you're taking an interest in the person as an individual, you know not just as a commodity, to get the most out of work.

00:22:10 Bill Walker

100%.


00:22:12 Andy Goram

And I think this is where some people fall out with engagement and what have you, because the focus tends to be around, “Oh! Productivity. What are we going to get out of somebody?” And people are like, “Whoa! Hang on we work hard enough. You're trying to get more out of us.” and this is where the danger of misinterpreting what engagement is about, right? It's a two-way street. This is about people feeling better and happier and more confident at work and at home; in an environment where they can naturally do their best stuff. And actually, by doing your best stuff and achieving more and feeling it, it makes you feel good. You go home. You have a better home life, too. It's about a balance. It's not, in my view, just about squeezing the last drop out of somebody at work, because that's not beneficial for anyone.


00:23:04 Bill Walker

Andy, I come at it from a completely different angle, you won't be surprised to learn.


00:23:08 Andy Goram

No no no!


00:23:08 Bill Walker

I have never viewed... maybe earlier in my career, I even subconsciously was trying to do that, to maximize everything, but certainly what I've learned in later years is that it's, and again, this is back to the leader again, it's about that vulnerability, psychological safety, “I don't have all the answers, I don't. I don't know!” You know, and what we’d do is, we are clear about the purpose and very results orientated, and I'm certainly not pink and fluffy, it was about, you know, you've got hit the numbers, but how do we do that together, participatively through people? And you know we’d be chucking stuff at the wall? The exam question, right? “How could we get 10% like for like growth? What would we have to do?” And OK maybe we actually land on a target of 3% or 4% but start big and then move it back, and have people involved, everyone involved in that. You know, in bigger organisations that we've worked in, Andy, that's important, cross functionally as well. It's not just, you know, the sort of Operations team you know, beavering away in one direction. You know, this has got to spread through the organisation. And if it's challenging, it's rewarding, people are creative and you know, I think probably the most frequent thing I said as a leader is "I don’t know! How do we do that? Let's be creative.


00:24:31 Andy Goram

I think that's really interesting. Come back to that point you made before about sometimes leaders don't like lots of questions because, old-fashioned leaders think they have to have all the answers, and therefore the more questions you ask me, the more daft I'm gonna look, 'cause I don't have the answers. Or I'm going to make up stuff that you can see through, that makes me look stupid. So, let's not bother with that. Whereas the complete opposite is beneficial for everybody. Because I think, I mean people who listen to this podcast will get bored of me saying the same thing, but, that vulnerability piece... you know, humans have an innate need to help people. They want to help people, but if we smell that someone doesn't need help, we walk on to the next soul to try and help somebody that does need help. So, if you're a manager who is giving off the vibes, I've got this covered, I don't need your help. You're never gonna engage those people because we smell that the pheromones are telling us you don't need anything from me, so therefore I don't need to give you anything.


00:25:32 Bill Walker

Yeah, it's not fulfilling, and it's not rewarding. Would I like to work in an environment like that? Absolutely not. You know, you want to be around like-minded people and I know it's a truism, you know, no-one comes to work to do a bad job. People don't come to work to do a bad job, and as a leader you owe it to your people to create an environment where they can shine, where they can excel and be the best they can be. And often there's so much talent there and the individual themselves can't see it. You can, perhaps. So how do you put them in a position? How do you put them in situations where they’re stretched. Not to breaking point but stretched and they're well out their comfort zone. And that's where the magic happens. That's where you get truly high-performing teams. People doing things that they really didn't think they could do.


00:26:22 Andy Goram

Well, absolutely look. We're in the last throes of the Olympics, at the moment. And I apologise. I will get the pronunciation of their surname incorrect. But the two young twins, the Gadirova twins, who represented Great Britain in Gymnastics. I mean fantastic first competition for them, but I remember them saying something like,

There were loads of times when it got tough that we wanted to quit. And, our coaches were pushing us really hard and it was really, really tough. But we made a decision to keep going with it, because if we quit now, we would never know what we're really capable of.”

00:26:59 Bill Walker

Yeah, yeah.


00:26:59 Andy Goram

And I thought for kids that young, to have that kind of mindset is incredible, and a great job for their coaches to work with and to inspire those kids to keep going, but that is a truism itself of pushing people to achieve more, but the method by which you push them to achieve more, and the benefit they will get when they do achieve more. The feeling that they will get, whether it's confidence, self-awareness I don't know sense of achievement, it's such an important role for a leader. And then you come back to the thing you're talking about no-one wants to come to work to do a bad job, or no-one has all the answers. I mean, there are answers in lots of employees, to problems that businesses have. The thing is, half the time, they've never been asked to contribute. They've never been involved in the conversation. They've never been asked for their opinion or an idea. And listen, not everybody’s ideas and opinions are going to be the thing that solves a problem. But just opening the gates and letting these things come through is so important? Why do you think it's not more common place, Bill?


00:28:14 Bill Walker

Because everyone's in a hurry. You know, there's a demand for results. It's about short-term, rather than long-term. But at the end of the day, Andy, businesses are about people. And you know again, it’s probably self-evident what I'm saying here, but yeah, product's critically important. You know digitisation, yeah, and all that stuff is really important. Innovation, it's all incredibly important. But it's all done by people. That all starts in someone’s head and then moves through to, you know an idea comes to reality and then implementation, and so on. And I keep going back to that same thing about... I suppose many people can't see it about realise it, but that whole piece about the environment you create as a leader will determine your level of success. The more time and effort you put into it the more benefit you're likely to get at the end. And, you know, as Lencioni says, you know, results come at the end of the... at the top of the pyramid. And it's that old input-output thing, you get nothing without effort.


00:29:16 Andy Goram

Right exactly, but those results are more sustainable, which is where this kind of balance between short-termism and long-term results and focus is always a really interesting balance, for me. I mean, it's too easy to say it's because of the private equity cycle. You know it's a three-year turnaround. You got to get results now, now, now, now, now, we're not interested in seven years ahead. That's somebody else's problem. I think that's a bit too simplistic, but I don’t know, what’s your view?

00:29:42 Bill Walker

But don't you think, Andy, you and I have both worked in that environment, and you know, I enjoy that. You know, I think one of the reasons that the private equity guys liked working with me, was I could simplify the complex and engage the front line. I was very clear that at the end of the month, I had to hit these number. But I maybe didn't go about it in a traditional way, if you like. You know, it was more about, constantly focused on enabling others, creating an environment for high performance, and you know, it works. It does work. I’ve proved it works.

00:30:20 Andy Goram

So, in all of your experience, and we've talked a bit about the personal contract. Are there any other things that stand out for you as ways that you helped you accelerate that level of trust in your teams to try and release their full potential?

00:30:34 Bill Walker

Yeah, I think there's a couple of things. One would be, bear in mind the personal contract is personal, it’s one-to-one. You know that doesn't create the environment necessarily for the team, you know it does between the leader and the individuals in that team. I think there's something about routines and if your listeners haven’t watched the Simon Sinek “Intensity V Consistency” YouTube clip, they should do, because that sums it up brilliantly. And this notion that rhythm, Operational Rhythm I call it, is crucial. That you will have a one-to-one, once a month, and you won't cancel it, because it's really, really important, because you really matter to me. And I'm going to allocate that quality time, whether it's 30 minutes or an hour, but I'm going to do it. And similarly with routine team meetings at maybe four weeks, six weeks. But you would regroup on a regular basis. And at those meetings there will be some ground rules or protocols you would expect. And some of the ones I loved were, “Turn up thoughtful.” I would expect everyone at that meeting to have turned up thoughtful. I would expect everyone at that meeting to clear expectations of what's going to make it time well spent for them.

Meetings drive me mad, and people just rocking up to sit there for an hour, or a day is just ludicrous, isn't it? So, some of those things would be important and you know another, you know things around “one at a time”, “no war stories”, all this sort of stuff. So, we’d have about half a dozen ground rules to say if anyone not doing these things or doing things that shouldn't be here, let's make sure the challenge and keep it moving, keep the momentum going, and you know focus on solutions, obviously, you know. Don't bring along a lot of problems, give us a few options for how we may overcome them.

00:32:33 Andy Goram

Really important, really important. There's too many meetings we've all rocked up to going, “Well, what is this meeting and why are we here? What we're going to talk about today?” And then everyone is spitballing instead of actually making any progress?


00:32:47 Bill Walker

And Andy, I suspect it's getting even worse with the advent of Zoom and so on, because it's easier to switch off. And yeah, how do we keep people in the room and engaged and fired-up? I think that's the Holy Grail.


00:33:04 Andy Goram

And it all comes back to that involvement piece. I think if you've got some skin in the game or involvement in in the game, it's easier to stay awake and contribute than just being a passenger, and we don't really want a tonne of passengers.

I think it's time to delve into what I call sticky notes, Bill, because there's lots of things that we've covered, but I think for the benefit of our listeners, well, what would be great, would be to summarise your experience, 25 years' experience in three sticky notes, mate, but sort of say right if you want to accelerate trust these are the top three things that I would do. What would you put on your three sticky notes, Bill?

00:33:44 Bill Walker

I would definitely recommend the personal contract. With the caveat, it will feel a bit awkward, but yeah, I promise you just do it. It works and it's just a catalyst for some excellent conversations, and that would form a foundation for a productive, trusting, constructive relationship. So, I would definitely say that’s sticky note #1.

#2. I think there is something about vulnerability. And that is just saying you don't know. I defy any leaders to say, “I know. I have all the answers” Well that's just ridiculous and people know that. And you know, no involvement, no commitment. You know, how do you get involvement and commitment? You ask questions. You engage, and you say, “I don't know guys, here's the exam question. Let's get our heads around that.

And my final will be, don't be a smart arse. Act with humility and respect. I’ve got no time for the big egos and all that nonsense, it's just, you know, go and compete somewhere else. You know, this is about pulling in the same direction within an organisation?

00:34:57 Andy Goram

Well, what a surprise! Three very practical sticky notes from the Operator. I like that nice, clear, simple, concise. They give everybody a chance to try and build that trust. Accelerate the building of trusts not leaping over it. That's great. Really, really, good. I will dig out that Simon Sinek video and stick it in the show notes with a bunch of other things that we've covered today. Bill, thanks so much for your time, mate. I've loved catching up with you and listening to the seasoned operator, that you are, tell us why that conflict between trust and results is there, but how we can kind of bridge the gap and get some sustainable results rather than just sort short term? Thanks ever so much mate really appreciate that.

00:35:40 Bill Walker

An absolute pleasure, Andy, thank you for having me.

00:35:43 Andy Goram

All right, take care, my friend. OK, that was Bill Walker and if you'd like to find out a bit more about some of the things we've talked about today, please check out the show notes.


00:35:58 Andy Goram

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting and heard something, maybe, that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forward.

If you have, please like comment and subscribe, it really helps.

I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the Sticky From The Inside Podcast.

Until next time, thanks for listening.



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