Startups are exciting places to be! Working with a small team, learning as we go, delighting our users, and growing the company can be exhilarating … but it’s not always plain sailing! There was a period at Quin when we were not working effectively together, and the stress and anxiety of deteriorating relationships was damaging the company and leaving people feeling very frustrated.
Cyndi (our CEO and founder) has noticed I’m a sucker for a “model”, so it’s unsurprising that when faced with this kind of situation I sought something that could help me navigate the issues. For me, the thing that really helped crystallize what had gone wrong was a short chapter from “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work” about the idea of “Trust Batteries”
The idea is that when you first join a new team or company, your “Trust Battery” is likely 50% charged with all your colleagues. Every interaction, however big or small, charges or discharges that trust battery; the less trust between people, the harder it is to work together effectively.
This made me think of all the little pains and frustrations that had happened over the past year or so, and it started to become more clear how we had got to where we are. I’d missed how all the small arguments had eroded trust to the point where productive disagreements were few and far between.
Using this model, I tried to evaluate how charged my Trust Battery was with different members of the team. With an idea of where I stood with people I could start to work out what actions, however small, could start to recharge that battery and rebuild some of that trust.
It’s very easy to do this exercise by yourself: write down all your colleagues’ names, think about all the interactions you have with them, and think about how full your trust battery is with each person. Now think about how you can improve those relationships: What can you change about the way you interact with them? What actions can you take? What feedback do you give to that person?
Have you tried exercises like this before? What other approaches have you used to mend broken relationships? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Click here to watch the video.