Blue Beyond Consulting

Build Effective Deep Trust and High Expectations™ Cultures

Most business leaders recognize that “deep trust” is essential for building high-performing company cultures. Perhaps less known — but no less important — is the differentiating positive impact of “high expectations” on individual and team performance, including data on the power of compelling purpose and the groundbreaking theory of growth mindset. 

At Blue Beyond Consulting, we’ve learned that deep trust and high expectations, working together in an “elevating, virtuous cycle,” sustainably unleashes organizational potential, agility, and business results — and in a way that is deeply fulfilling for the people in the organization. 

The Impact of Deep Trust

Before delving into why deep trust and high expectations must work together, it’s helpful to unpack their individual impact. Neuroscience has demonstrated that humans are wired to learn more and perform better when they deeply trust the people they work with, where relationships are genuinely valued and leaders are credible, competent, consistent, and honest. 

In deep-trust environments, people feel comfortable taking risks, and learning and growing from their mistakes. They feel psychologically safe to bring their whole selves to work – and to ask for help, seek feedback, admit errors or lack of knowledge, or voice a different opinion. Finally, they treat each other with respect, both as people and as professionals, and they believe the workplace is fundamentally fair. 

2x

Employees who feel trusted are 2x more productive than employees who don’t feel trusted. (Slack)

91%

91% of business executives agree — including 50% who strongly agree — that their ability to earn and maintain trust improves the bottom line. (PwC)

77%

77% of people have left or would leave a job if they didn’t feel trusted. (mmhmm)

1.6x

Desk workers who say that their leadership is transparent about company developments are 1.6x more likely to feel trusted. (Slack)

4.3x

Trusted employees report 4.3x greater overall satisfaction with work. (Slack)

The Impact of High Expectations

In a similar manner, high expectations environments provide “stretch” challenges, spur collaboration, stimulate meaningful contributions, illustrate a consistent standard of excellence, and focus not only on outcomes but also on learning, progress and mastery.

Learning, progress and mastery are hallmarks of what Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset.” People who exhibit a growth mindset are those who believe abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work while those with a fixed mindset believe our character, intelligence and creative ability are static and can’t be changed in any meaningful way. People who exhibit a growth mindset outperform others in goal achievement, learning and job satisfaction. 

3

Neuroscientists have identified 3 key habits for developing a growth mindset: Experimenting, valuing progress, and learning from others. (NeuroLeadership Institute)

2.4x

Companies that have successfully adopted a growth mindset are 2.4x more likely to outperform. (McKinsey)

34%

Employees in a “growth mindset” company are 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company. (Harvard Business Review)

3x

Purpose-oriented companies grow three times faster on average than their competitors. (Deloitte)

47%

Employees in a “growth mindset” company are 47% more likely to say their colleagues are trustworthy. (Harvard Business Review)

Why Deep Trust and High Expectations Must Work Together

In our decades of experience providing integrated management consulting services, we’ve learned that you need both deep trust and high expectations working together to build thriving cultures — and that one without the other can create dysfunction.

If you have deep trust without high expectations, you run the risk of creating a Complacent Culture, characterized as self-serving and insular, where motivation, productivity and accomplishment are low. High expectations without deep trust create an Anxious Culture where fear and suspicion are rife. A workplace where both deep trust and high expectations are absent is likely to produce a Stagnant Culture, marked by apathy, aimlessness, and resignation.

But when both deep trust and high expectations are present, they form an “elevating, virtuous cycle” that creates the optimal conditions for the people and the business to thrive. We call this the High-Performing Culture — or the Deep Trust and High Expectations™ Culture – characterized as striving, learning, challenging, and high achieving. Other components include psychological safety, a mutual commitment to excellence, reciprocal support, a sense of personal meaning and purpose, and real and sustainable productivity and impact.

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