How To Build Trust, Broadly Across Teams

What’s On My Mind

Here’s the third in our four-part series on trust…a great series to work through with your entire team.

The last two weeks we covered the three questions your clients are asking about you.

  1. Do I trust you?​
  2. Do I trust your team?​
  3. Do I trust your organization?

Click HERE and HERE to revisit the first and second articles.

​I gave lots of questions and practical examples to help you and your teams succeed.

​Today, we’ll go deeper into the second question focusing on building trust across teams.

​This is where the client or strategic partner asks Do I trust your team?

There are several things the client is asking themselves, maybe even subconsciously:

  1. Who is actually doing the work?​
  2. Do I trust their technical abilities?​
  3. Who will manage the process, and what happens if things go off the rails?​
  4. How will my team be impacted, positively or negatively?

This is the toughest and sometimes most important level of trust to get right.

Largely because these questions are below the line of consciousness.

​And sometimes they are not covered directly.


You can hit them head on.

And when you do, you’ll win trust.

And win business.

​More below…

What We Just Created

I had Read Davis on the show this week.

Read is CEO of McGriff and a gem of a guy.​

HERE is my favorite episode with him.

Not only was this my favorite of five episodes with Read, but…

it’s inspirational, and…

it’s about leveraging teamwork.

Great unexpected timing!

What’s Worth Lingering On

Team, let’s get back to team-based trust.

​First up, the client is asking themselves…

Who is actually doing the work?

The client is trying to figure out who is doing the work.

​Is it the person they know? A new expert? A junior person they haven’t met yet? Who is doing what part?

Too many teams are unclear on this.

​The problem?

​It actually isn’t you.

​I guarantee this:

The client has been burned by a “bait and switch” before.

The expert talks. They like them. Then they’re not involved going forward.


​The client still remembers it.

It probably wasn’t you that did this.

But someone did.

​Practical tip: Be clear on who is doing what. Tell the client how much the senior and junior people will be involved–and how that model will work perfectly.

Do I trust their technical abilities?

Check! You’ve passed the first hurdle.

Now that the client is comfortable with who’s doing what, you can showcase the technical abilities needed based on each person’s role.

Specificity is the key.

​The junior folks don’t need to know everything–they just need to be expert enough for their role.

​The senior folks don’t need to do everything–that would be inefficient.

The right mix matters.

Practical tip: Highlight your design of doing the work and how each person will be a perfect fit for their role.

Who will manage the process, and what happens if things go off the rails?

​Managing the process is a role unto itself.

​Showcase who that person is. Showcase how they’ll manage things.

Again, specificity wins client confidence.

​Share the cadence or dates you’ll provide status updates. Show an example of the scorecard or email template you’ll provide each time. Be concrete on the method of communication you’ll use: Slack, email, microsite, Zoom, text, WhatsApp, a phone call, etc.

​Most professionals don’t talk about what happens if things go off the rails like it shows weakness.

​Don’t do that.

Hit it head-on.

​We’ve all experienced random events that throw things off.

An unexpected family health issue for a key team member. The data isn’t as clean as we expected. An executive has to postpone a meeting. A pandemic.

There are a million things that can happen.

​The best way we’ve seen this handled is to tell the client–upfront–the top X things you’ve seen that can throw things off, then show how you’ll handle each.

​A table works great for this.

​First column: what can happen, based on your deep expertise of doing this many times.

​Second column: the solution, again based on your experience.

Hitting this head-on inspires confidence.

Ignoring it, not so much.

​Practical tip: Share specifics of project management and risk mitigation to show you’re ready for anything.

How will my team be impacted, positively or negatively?

Leaders worry about their teams.

Workload. Skill development. Having fun.

Show how their team will benefit from working with you.

This one’s much more personalized.

Ask the client:​

  • How’s your team doing with their workload, and how can we minimize the extra things they’ll do for this project?
  • How’s your team doing from a skill development perspective, and how can we use our expertise in this project to build them up? Anyone specific we should focus on?
  • What things can we do to make this work together fun?
    Beginnings are important because they set the tone. Endings are important because they’re the last thing people remember. (Science Alert! HERE).
    Find a way to kick things off with team building and end things with a celebration. Tailor these to what the client shares with you. And build them in from the beginning.

Practical tip: Only the client leader knows what they want their team to feel like during this project.​

Why guess what they want?

Ask them for the answers to the test.

​Ask them about their team and how you can minimize negatives and maximize positives. Then, build those in from the beginning.

​Let me close with this.

Building trust across your teams is a differentiator.

​Big things are bought by teams.

​Big things are delivered by teams.

​You know what can make a big difference in winning more work and making the impact you want to have?

Building trust across your teams.

A lot of our community have shared their sending this series around and incorporating these concepts into their team meetings and client pitch preparation.

I hope they’re helpful to you too.

​One thing is for sure.

​We all want to use our hard -won expertise.

We all make an impact.

​The fastest way to do it?

Build trust across our teams.


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