[Q&A] How do you create trust & credibility among stakeholders?


Q: How do you create trust and credibility among stakeholders?

A:To create trust and credibility in your planning process, be honest and transparent, create experiences that reinforce the adoption and implementation of your plan, follow through on your commitments, and use quick wins to get your team bought in.

But, above all else, ensure your CEO is bought in on the plan and process!


Great question! Here are a few of the best answers from our Strategy Collaborative Q&A Session!

Most executive leaders have experienced this scenario:

…You spend months working on a thoughtful strategic plan.

…You roll out the plan to your team.

…And then you’re met with resistance from your team.

…Then you walk away feeling defeated, and your plan doesn’t see the light of day again.

Tip 1: Be transparent and call out past failures.

It is okay to be transparent and honest. Sometimes, going to your team and stating, “We recognize in all of our efforts as an organization, and as it relates to strategy, we’ve had successes, and we’ve had failures.”

Creating a trusting environment as a leader requires honesty and transparency. Be clear about what’s worked, and what hasn’t.

Bringing a solution to the table regarding what you will do differently and better as a company or as an organization and addressing it head-on is the most effective way to earn back your team’s trust and excitement for the new plan.

Tip 2: Understand your culture.

Everybody has a set of experiences, which forms their beliefs about what’s going to happen or what has happened in the past, and this influences their future actions.

As Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” And that is undoubtedly true.

Take the time to understand where your team’s resistance is coming from. Consider these three questions:

  1. Why might your team be resistant?
  2. What past experiences have created this resistance?
  3. What beliefs do we need to create to mitigate this resistance?

Check out this helpful post if you need a deeper dive into culture and strategy.

Tip 3: If you say it, do it!

Follow up on the promises and the commitments that we make when we communicate our strategy.

Reinforce it, come back to it, show how we’re making progress, and in time, that will have impact on trust and credibility in the rollout of communication.

Pro-Tip: Consider the say:do ratio. This is a concept to measure the consistency between what a leader says they will do and what they will actually do. Any ratio less than 1:1 would lead to mistrust.

Tip 4: Quick wins are helpful!

It can be helpful to manufacture quick wins in your planning and implementation process to get your team bought-in! You want to keep moving forward, and sometimes that means you need to get the momentum started.

Ultimately, longevity is not about leading them through the process, but about finding ways to motivate them to go through it themselves.

DON’T MISS THIS: leverage CEO buy-in

Your CEO must be your plan’s most ardent supporter. Unfortunately, your plan will not get far without your CEO’s full support or buy-in.

Additional Resources to Consider

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