Man Overboard! How to Build Trust when a Situation Occurs

As you know (probably far too well by now) Keith and I have spent the last few weeks having adventures in the Southern Hemisphere. Yesterday, we snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef.

Before the boat left the dock the crew went through the safety procedures—among them what to do when someone falls overboard.

In addition to the obvious (don’t throw the life buoy directly at their head) the following point was declared most important:

Do not take your eyes off the person in the water. Keep pointing at them because the captain is going to be watching your hand.

What struck me as interesting about this is how often—in business scenarios—we identify a problem but then divert attention from it to monitor how everyone around us is responding.

We don’t trust people to do their jobs.

Now if the problem has occurred because people weren’t paying attention to their work that is one thing.

However, if the problem was due to accident/chance/misfortune, it strikes me as making great sense—not to mention building massive amounts of camaraderie—to allow, to trust, that your team members will do their best to solve the problem once it’s been pointed out to them.

With this in mind, then, I encourage you—the next time you and your team face an unexpected situation–to keep your eyes on your portion of the solution and allow those around you to bring their best selves to it, too.

To learn more about non-verbal ways to build trust, check out “Call With No News (It’s an Easy Way to Build Trust)”