Don’t forget the trust bit

When it comes to successful innovation, trust is fundamental. Without trust, says consultant and author, Larry Prusak, collaboration can falter or fail. And collaboration – across companies, disciplines, nations – increasingly drives most innovation. “More than incentives, technology, roles, missions or structures, it is trust that makes collaborations really work,” Prusak says. He lists five things leaders must do to generate trust within the organisation: promote trustworthy people, work with your own employees, publicise the costs of distrust, give people a reason beyond their pay to come to work, and reduce pay inequality. Create such an environment and good things can happen. Fail to do so and the consequences can be dire, according to the latest findings of a long-term research project on the impact of co-workers. Based on a sample of 800 Israeli employees over 20 years, the study suggests that “having the right co-workers can help us live longer, while having the wrong ones might kill us,” relates Bob Sutton, a professor of management science and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss. The main finding: those with unsupportive co-workers had a grimmer mortality rate than those with peer support. “When you step back and look at all this evidence about what we…want and need from the people who work with us, much of it boils down to two simple things,” Sutton says. “We want people who are skilled at the work and at using those skills to help us perform our jobs when we have too much work to do or don’t know how to solve the problem at hand. And we want people who treat us with warmth, respect, and who inject a bit of fun in life.”

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