This past Friday, over 250 of my compensation colleagues and I had the great pleasure of connecting with Charles H. Green (CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, author of the Trust Matters blog and co-author of the best-selling classic The Trusted Advisor) who, as keynote speaker for the Twin Cities Compensation Network annual meeting, talked with us about trust-based relationships.
For compensation professionals (and let's face it, this is true for everyone in HR), growing in our careers and in our value to the organizations we serve means moving beyond the role of technical expert to that of trusted business advisor. It isn't an easy bridge to cross; getting there requires much more than simply putting the words on our business cards. It requires building trust-based relationships with those we serve.
Charlie had a lot to share with us in this regard, based not only on his long experience in the field (and some great war stories) but also the extensive research that he and his colleagues have done. This research has been done via the Trust Equation (a deconstructive, analytical model of trustworthiness) and the Trust Quotient (TQ - a metricized form of the Trust Equation). The TQ has been taken by over 15,000 people, and careful analysis of the results has positioned Charlie and his colleagues with some interesting insights about the nature of trust. The TQ has also allowed them to create a unique profiling approach, the Trust TemperamentTM, which reflects an individual's innate preference for building trust.
A few of my many takeaways from Friday's presentation:
Trustworthiness is inversely related to your degree of self-orientation. This is immediately evident simply by looking at the Trust Equation. The more self-oriented you are, the less likely you are to be perceived as trustworthy by others. The HR profession tends to be enormously self-oriented; I covered this in a post last year (Trust Me, I'm From HR) which featured some of Charlie's writing on the topic. Sorry, but I believe it's true - and the sooner we face up to this and address it, the better off we'll all be.
Expertise doesn't buy you trust. In discussing Trust Temperaments, Charlie noted the probability that many (perhaps most) of us in the compensation profession fall into the profile of the "Expert". This is the most common of the six Temperaments - particularly in consulting firms where it accounts for nearly half of the people tested. It also falls near the bottom of the scale in terms of its effectiveness. What does this tell us? That getting your "technical expertise" ticket stamped is necessary, but not sufficient for earning the right to provide trusted advice. Being trusted demands switching our orientation away from ourselves to our clients or, as Charlie puts it, "getting out of our own heads."
To help us on the path to improving trust in our relationships, and as a special gift from the Twin Cities Comp Network to our members, Charlie left us with copies of his newly published companion (written with his partner Andrea P. Howe) to the original Trusted Advisor - the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook. I had the chance to crack mine open over the weekend and start diving into it. Not only is it a great primer on trust and trustworthiness - much like what Charlie shared with all of us on Friday - but it is chock full of stories and examples, exercises and worksheets, and actionable to-do lists and coaching ideas. A great resource for those of us looking to grow beyond mere technical expertise to the role of trusted business advisor for those we serve.
A hearty thanks to Charlie for the time he spent with our group (and a hot tip to any of my HR peers who may be looking for an entertaining and informative keynote speaker on a very timely topic for our profession)!