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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Harvard Business Review - Trust and Virtual Organization

A paper from the Harvard Business Review titled “Trust and Virtual Organization” is a light and good read. The context is on virtual working environment.

I shall make quick and brief review in my own words on the seven cardinal principles of trust:
  1. Trust is not blind – Trust needs time to be built and it is hard to know many people well. Hence, for trust to work, large organizations need fairly constant, less changing, smaller groups.

  2. Trust needs boundaries – Unlimited trust does not exist. Common set of goals must be defined and all are granted freedom to work on their unit of work.

  3. Trust demands learning – Virtual workers must be adapted to change and capable of self-renewal. Exploration of new options and new technologies are required. Hence, such traits must be identified during recruitment interviews.

  4. Trust is tough – Trust is ruthless and once misplaced, these people can no longer be relied on to do what is needed. Therefore, for the sake of the whole, the individual must leave.

  5. Trust needs bonding – Goals of smaller units have to be aligned with corporate goals, vision and mission statements. They need to be backed up by exhortation and personal example for trust is not and never can be an impersonal example.

  6. Trust needs touch – A shared commitment is not enough; it requires personal contact to make it real. Get-together sessions can bring workers from all levels closer together and build trust.

  7. Trust requires leaders – A multiplicity of leaders is needed to lead in different units of a virtual work team setup.

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