Communications Amplified: The Power of Trust

April 1, 2019

I recently spent 5 days aboard the S.A.L.T.S (Sail and Life Training Society) Pacific Grace Schooner with my family. I was one of the adult chaperones. This 115′ boat has sailed around the world and for its coastal voyages in and around Vancouver and the Gulf Islands where we traveled, relies on a crew of 5 with at least 13 others to assist in the operation of the sailing vessel. Those 13 others are kids, and in our case, we had 23 kids ages 12 – 18. Thinking about our driving laws, there’s no way we allow kids under the age of 16 to drive cars without training and passing tests, yet this program, under the close supervision of a Master Sailor and others, allows even the youngest kid to steer the ship with zero experience or training. Talk about trust.

This got me thinking about amplifying your communications as an organization using the power of trust.

Trust needs to be earned, certainly, but there are times we hold others in our organizations back because we want them to prove themselves and earn our trust. In the case of the young sailors, many of them were put into situations where they had the opportunity to steer the ship right out of Victoria’s inner harbour under the close watch and guidance of the Captain. The growth of these kids was tremendous as they tackled something they’d never done before, holding great responsibility on their shoulders, and rising to the challenge.

Then there was the full immersion of the experience, trusting kids to do “anchor watch” in the middle of the night in shifts. Kids had to wear personal flotation devices and go in pairs, but the crew laid out the expectations and guidelines, provided the list of who was on when, and then it was up to the kids (and adults who were on watch) to get up, take responsibility, and ensure safety for all.

I think about organizations where we so firmly place our team into boxes of job descriptions. Yes, jobs need to be done, and having a role to play provides clarity for all, but the on-board organization of the S.A.L.T.S leaders working with the kids had me thinking. “There might be something more to allowing people to focus on their roles where they excel, but also to provide an opportunity for them to brainstorm, provide input, and take up the challenge of doing something out of their comfort zone, or role, every now and then.”

I believe this will provide your team with greater empathy for their colleagues for the work they do, and will provide a different perspective to a situation, building trust within the team and probably most important, within themselves.

Here’s to a trust building week within your team.