Moving from feature teams to empowered product teams who are given problems to solve and held accountable for the outcomes requires, more than anything, trust. Trust within the team and trust beyond the team.
Starting with "Trust within the team", the power of a high trust environment is undeniable. Fostering trust unlocks the full potential of the team, driving innovation, faster product delivery and stronger team engagement.
Taking the time to build and nurture trust is an investment in the long term success of the team and the products they create.
What are the 5 signs you are working in a high trust environment?
- Diverse opinions are shared
- Collaboration is authentic; information is shared openly
- Ideas are challenged and there is constructive conflict
- The team holds each other accountable
- Change is embraced
Diverse Opinions and Ideas
Team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, sharing concerns and taking risks without fear of judgement or reprisal. They know their opinions are valued and that their voices will be heard. Open and honest communication leads to increased collaboration, innovation and collective problem-solving.
What you'll see: The whole team sharing diverse opinions openly.
Team members share knowledge, insights and resources freely, recognising that building each other's capability leads to better outcomes. There is a sense of unity and a collective drive to achieve shared goals. Ideas are exchanged, refined and built upon, harnessing the diverse expertise and perspectives within the team.
What you'll see: There won't be a sense of mystery around anyone's knowledge.
Team members feel safe to question assumptions, propose alternatives and engage in healthy debates. Different viewpoints are welcomed, as they contribute to a more comprehensive exploration of possibilities. By challenging ideas the team can refine and strengthen their solutions, leading to better decision-making and innovative outcomes.
What you'll see: There will be more options and better answers to the problems you are solving and there will be strong commitment to decisions.
Culture of Acccountability
Each team member holds themselves and others accountable for their commitments and contributions. There is a shared understanding that everyone's efforts impact the team's success. Team members take ownership of their responsibilities, follow through on commitments and support one another in achieving collective goals. This accountability fosters a sense of reliability, dependability, and a commitment to excellence.
What you'll see: Team members go outside what they are responsible for, to achieve team, not individual outcomes.
Change is Embraced
In a high trust environment, teams are more adaptable, resilient and open to new ideas and approaches. Instead of resisting change, they proactively seek it, understanding that it is essential for innovation and staying ahead in a dynamic market. Trust allows team members to navigate uncertainties and experiment with new methodologies, enabling the team to evolve and thrive in a rapidly changing landscape.
What you'll see: Continous improvement comes often and easily.
A high-trust empowered product team cultivates psychological safety which is foundational in all high performing teams.
"I hope you are working in an environment where this is true for your product teams. If not, I would argue that your company’s future depends on the productivity and continuous innovation that comes from this model of work." Marty Cagan