It's one of those things that are hard to pin down. You know it exists, its effects are real, although there are believers and detractors - to trust or not to trust, that is the question... Yet if I had to pick out one factor that more than anything has defined success in my work as Senior Project Manager, it would be that elusive element, trust.
For me, trust is the fundamental value around which everything else gets built - or doesn't. By its nature, it commits us to believing first and foremost in the best in other people. Cultures may differ, but human nature everywhere hungers for this most basic and human approach to interaction.
For trust to exist, consistency must be high on the agenda. Put simply, people need to know that they can expect the same action and response from a person every time. Once this kind of trust is in place, words carry their own weight. I literally can't count the number of times I have told a translator to feel free to get back to me if a job proved to warrant a higher fee than initially agreed on. And translators know from experience that I will make good on my promise. This way they spend their time doing a good job rather than worrying about payment. In that sense, trust is a simple matter: say what you do and do what you say. Every time.
Viewed from a different angle, trust compels me as project manager to expand my viewpoint to incorporate the person I am dealing with, taking their part and making their cause my own. Without regard for their success, I can have none myself. This is what is at the heart of trust: an assured interconnectedness that fuels a shared desire to succeed. In this sense trust is a way of life, the philosophy that drives us all in all our endeavours - and those of the organisation to which we belong if it, too is aligned with this principle. You can easily spot the ones that are. Are you handed a list of minutiae to work from or are you given free rein to reach a common goal that has been agreed on in good faith?
Nevertheless, trust does not mean being gullible, reckless or foolish. That would imply that you are relinquishing your responsibility for striving towards your goals. Interacting with others out of a basic sense of trust is in fact a daring enterprise. It demands that you first look within yourself to determine whether you yourself can be trusted - and if you find yourself lacking, there is first work to be done. If you meet you own criteria, by the same token you know what to look for in others: a steadfastness of character, unwavering support and a sure eye for the shared win.
Over more than nine years as a project manager with LanguageWire, trust has been my primary guiding principle. I can say in all honesty and with a broad smile on my face that a few hands will suffice to count the number of times I have been truly let down after trusting one of the more than 2,000 translators we work with regularly (for the record, I'm not counting simple deadline issues, missed files and other trivia). And in all but a few cases the hapless translator had a good reason for not delivering as agreed, and here I'm talking about more than 20,000 assignments. That is a statistic that works for me. In comparison, I would need more than the combined hands of our 150 full time employees to count the cases where one of our translators went out of their way to deliver above expectations or assist in an hour of need. I like to believe it's because they trusted me. Trusted me to be fair, understanding and genuinely appreciative of their efforts. If at least some of this comes across in my daily work, I will have accomplished something. While trust cannot be measured, surely no good business gets done without it.
Trust me on that.