Never put #growth before #trust.
This applies to every ecosystem on the planet where humans must co-exist. If you do, you will create a toxic culture over time. People don’t want to live and work in that environment or use that product once growth becomes more important than trust.
What happens over time when growth is placed before trust is that you get these campaigns, #deleteuber, #deletefacebook …
It’s really a referendum on the culture, not the product. People are no longer happy about the status quo. They group together through these #hashtags to create a collective voice in an attempt to influence society and change culture. It’s a referendum. A 21st century digital referendum.
And it happens all the time within organisations too. Google with supporting the government on AI. Microsoft with supporting the government in cloud. Amazon with supporting the government on facial recognition. Starbucks on discrimination. Uber on sexual harassment. Apple on Chinese factory working conditions. And the list goes on. People, both within and without the organization rise and challenge because growth was placed before trust.
In biology it’s the same thing. Our immune system will rise and launch an attack on foreign invaders or damaging mutations in an attempt to neutralize and eradicate them to restore the bodies culture to a healthy balanced state. These invaders almost exclusively grow exponentially and disregard the well-being, contributions and environmental conditions of their host organism. We call them viruses, bacteria and cancers. They all put growth over trust and cause a referendum powered by the bodies immune system.
Think about your organisation. What is the culture you have now? Is it a culture that has been brewed into believing growth is the most important? Or is it a culture that has been brewed into believing that trust is the most important?
Growth or Trust? What is it?
Perpetual growth will kill you and your organization with enough time. The key questions for you right now are: Will this affect you and your career? Is the organisation only about you? Will this happen on your watch? Probably not, no, no and no, so why care? Your being rewarded for growth right? Reaching those growth targets right? And as long as you do that your organization won’t die right? Of course you are. See the problem?
Trust will make your organisation thrive and mature sustainably with enough time. It will even empower your next transformation and the need for you to re-invent yourself. Because people trust you and they want and even need to see you succeed. Because they will be better off with you then without you.
Why Trust? Because trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. Whether it be your stakeholders, employees, partners, customers, trust is what we all seek in the end. Can we trust each other? And once we trust each other, can we grow together? Help each other thrive.
The Blockchain addresses the simple problem that we can trust each other. So we are outsourcing this trust problem to technology. It will be wonderful at first. But over time, will we retain the skills to build trust person to person? Over time, will smart machines and AI take over control of trust and use it to manipulate us into war? … who knows.
Trust is built by action in the other persons best interest. In the other parties best interest. Because when you do they come back for more because they become better with you. You are now acting in their best interest. They like that. And they want more.
Over time, it develops into a symbiotic relationship. A relationship where both sides are contributing equally and exclusively to each other’s ability to co-exist and thrive. We see this everywhere in nature. It’s going on all the time in our bodies. Most viruses, bacteria and even cancers are symbiotic organisms (or transpositional replicating entities) given enough time. Why? Because your body is full of them and you would die instantly without them. They have evolved thanks to you and you have evolved thanks to them. Over millions of years. You co-exit and thrive with them and they with you.
So too, organisations that want to stand the test of time. Most of these technology companies are the new viruses, bacteria and cancers of our modern 21th century. A digital era where digital companies have grown disproportionately to other legacy organisations that make up the vast majority of organisations. We call these the exponential organizations. These organisations will have to learn to place trust before growth in order to co-exist and become symbiotic with the host that they need to thrive: us. The ones that do are the ones that will thrive for decades and centuries to come. These are the ones that put trust over growth.
The others will die given enough time.
Now as a closing note, the ability to grow is extremely important and necessary for the impact you must obtain in order to remain in existence. Or you will be selected out by companies that grow faster and gain access to limited resources. We see this in nature too. For instance in forests with plants competing for nutrients and light. It just needs to come second to trust (at some point). You can get by just fine, for a while, until people time and attention becomes the asset and the resource these tech companies are competing for.
Most organizations only start to realize the importance of this very simple fact only once they have reach maturity and impact and are struggling to compete for resources. Only then, do they realize the importance of this simple fact. But it’s often too late. They are sick. And they are dying. And now they must adapt. And the only way forward is to make their host healthier and help their host thrive.
You see, the damage has already been done. Collateral damage that has tarnished trust. Because all this time they placed growth before trust. And now they must work to rebuild it. But what are the organisations employees being rewarded for? Yep, you got it. Growth.