Building Trust through Consistent Execution

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Photo by Ryan Brandenburg/Temple University http://owlsports.com/index.aspx?path=mcrew

Execution is about getting things done and holding ourselves and others accountable and trust is developed as we do this consistently. This week, I had an important reminder on how knowing your team members and getting things done together builds a powerful foundation of trust.

One of my goals has been to try to meet with every group in computer services and get to know the individuals across the organization. This week, I was able to complete that goal when I met several teams that work in a building, which is several miles from the main campus.

It has been so satisfying to go and meet with all of the computer services teams and hear about the great work they are doing. My meeting experience with each team has been remarkably consistent. Each team member is deeply grateful to be seen as an individual and the business partners rave about the great work that the Computer Services teams are doing and how much they rely on them. This is especially true when the technical teams sit next to their business partners.

The stories that were shared were about the quality of the outcomes, willingness to partner, and ability to meet commitments. Examples include moving a high performance computing (HPC) cluster over a weekend from a local university with login access available on Monday morning and hearing that the performance of the cluster was better once it was moved to our network. The ability of our team to exceed the expectations of the researchers cemented the relationship and created a basis of trust to have a full partnership. So far, I have heard that story every time I have met with the head researcher of that group.

Another story is about the business school, library, and computer services working together to put in a faculty management system pilot. When the group attended the vendor’s national conference, Temple was spotlighted as the institution that was able to bring up the system in the shortest amount of time. The team worked together to deliver a complex system that was both technically and politically challenging. Like most successful projects, this was possible because of the ability of the teams to align to common goals, work hard, compromise, and hold each other accountable.

These are just two examples of many positive stories that I heard. My observation is that Temple teams accomplish a tremendous amount with small teams that actively look to deeply leverage the full capabilities of the systems that we adopt. The creativity, hard work, and dedication of the team members has been awe inspiring. This consistent ability to execute on our commitments has built a powerful foundation of trust with computer services across the university.

Of course, I have also heard some stories of when we have not met commitments or delivered to the expectations of our partners across campus. The common themes in these stories are misaligned expectations, personality conflicts, institutional barriers, and poor communication.  So we have room for improvement as well as powerful successes to learn from and build on.

My challenge for you this week is to evaluate how you personally are doing in consistently meeting your commitments and building trust and identify one way you can improve.

 

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