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Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of the people working together every day – Frances Hesselbein


Bob Whipple of LeaderGrow and a member of our Trust Alliance, was kind enough to contribute today’s guest blog post. He tackles the question of how trust is impacted when organizations make major changes.

When organizations make major changes, such as reorganizations, mergers, or acquisitions, the trust that was in the  groups prior to the action is often lost quickly. This happens for a variety of reasons, as I have documented in my book Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (ASTD Press, 2014)

The success of the entire change process depends on trust—the trust level before integration and the trust maintained during the process. It matters a lot on the conditions going into the action. There are three possible situations as follows:

  1. There is high trust within both groups to begin with. This is the best condition because it allows for people to weather the shock of the change, having some faith that things can work out in the end.
  2. One group has high trust, but in the other one the culture has been damaged by prior leadership behaviors. The entity with higher trust will usually do better in the negotiation because there is more free flow of information and fewer problems to hide.
  3. When both groups have low trust, it becomes extremely difficult to make progress because there is work to be done around all the interpersonal issues at every juncture. If a group has low trust in their own organization before a merger, then there is little hope that they will have more trust in the other group. It becomes a real mess to unscramble.

As the integration unfolds, the level of trust going in to a major change has a lot to do with how successful it will be.  Make sure that you test the level of trust and keep it strong throughout the process for the best result.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPLP, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change, The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

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Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.




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One Response to “Trust: When Organizations Make Major Changes”

  1. October 23rd, 2014 at 09:35 | #1

    “Trust in Transition” is a terrific book for learning how to successfully integrate cultures after a merger.

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