Transcript for Organizational Trust and Risk Mitigation
Giovanni Gallo: Hi, everybody, welcome to our webinar today. We’re gonna wait just a few minutes to let some other people get in. But I am Giovanni Gallo, Co-CEO of ComplianceLine. And we’re very excited to host you today for our webinar on Organizational Trust and Risk Mitigation. I’m excited to have Noelle Mykolenko on with us and the man who needs no introduction, we got Nick Gallo here, Co-CEO and Chief Servant at ComplianceLine. So we’ll wait just another minute as some people get in, and then we’ll get started with a little bit of housekeeping stuff.
So you’ll notice as you look at your screen here today that you should have a panel or a docked portion for the GoToWebinar, screen, and platform. Within that, you’ll see some options for your audio and you’ll also see a chat section. We encourage you to use that chat section heavily. Noelle does a great job of making a really engaging presentation. And she’s gonna ask for your questions, and your comments, and your input. And we’re gonna be bringing those up and, you know, helping Noelle and Nick focus on those throughout our discussion today. So we love when these webinars can be really helpful to you. And a great way to do that is to understand what you have questions about, what you’re interested in. Please feel free to share comments about like, “Yeah, I had an experience like this,” or whatever. So as much as possible, we can kind of make this conversational. And we really want this to be relevant to your job and what’s gonna make you a better leader within your organization.
So, I’ll drop off in a minute, but please make sure that you utilize that chat. And please know that after the session, we’re gonna be following up and you know, sending you a link to the presentation. We’ll be sending slides around and a recording. And within that, we’ll be asking for some feedback. Here at ComplianceLine, we think that transparency is key and that feedback is a gift. So, if you engage with us in that feedback, then we’ll definitely be paying attention to that and we’ll be following up with some offers of some things that can add more value to you, and we welcome that interaction. So, with that, Nick and Noelle, take it away. We’re really excited to learn from you guys today.
Nick Gallo: Yeah, and thank you, Gio. Thanks for that great introduction, I just wanna add one thing before we get started. We’re gonna be doing another book giveaway. These have been really great. People have loved it. And it’s really generated a bunch of interaction and turned these webinars into something that’s a lot more impactful and actionable. So like last time, we’ll show you a picture of the book. The book’s called “Trusted Advisor.” If you ask questions during the chat, we’re gonna 3X your entries into the drawing. And if you respond to the email that we’re gonna be sending afterward, we’re gonna 3X that again. So you have an opportunity to really kind of 6X your odds of getting one of these amazing books. And so with that, let’s jump in. Noelle, thank you so much for being here. Yeah, we’re excited to hear about how we can become bigger strategic assets in our organization by using the thing that’s the lifeblood of all of our relationship’s trust.
Noelle Mykolenko: All right, thank you very much, Nick, and Gio. It’s great to be here with you all. And I’d really appreciate the opportunity to share with your audience about being trusted advisor, and how that relates to your roles bringing trust into the compliance functions. So as Gio mentioned earlier, I encourage you all to participate throughout this session using the chat. And you’ll see throughout the presentation where I’ve indicated specific areas where we’ll be soliciting your input. So, please add your questions into the question box, participate via the chat. Let’s make this as much of a conversation as we can in a webinar with over 100 people on it.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started. Just so that you know who I am and why I’m here talking with you, I’m the CEO of an organization called Trusted Advisor Associates. We’ve been working for over 20 years to help people and organizations strengthen their relationships, their professional relationships, through building deeper trust. My background, I come from a consulting background. Here in North America, I worked with Booz Allen many, many years ago. And then my most recent career in the corporate world was with CSC, Computer Sciences Corporation, which actually no longer exists today. My last role there was Global Director of Client Development. And in that role, I think I gained a good appreciation of what your roles are because I sat on both sides of the table. I worked with people who were helping me be in compliance with our policies and at the same time, there was a compliance aspect to my role as well. So, just education, I have an MBA from UVA and my Bachelor’s degrees are from St. Louis, where I hail from.
Now, I do wanna start hearing from you right off the bat. So when you think about the role of trust in your role in compliance, what comes to mind? I’m curious just to hear from a few of you, what’s one thing that you wanna get away from today’s session. So go ahead and start adding some things into that chat so that I can get a good sense of what’s top of mind for you as we go through this conversation. And if anybody’s having trouble finding that chat, it should be a drop-down box on your control board over on the right side of your screen.
Nick: So here’s one, “I’d like to get some actionable ways that I can start becoming a trusted adviser in my company.”
Noelle: Good. So focusing in on the action. Fantastic. Yep.
Nick: Here’s one about maintaining trust. “How do we maintain that trust without bad intent?”
Noelle: Good. Excellent. And that takes…
Nick: Here’s a question. “What do you mean by trusted advisor?” I’m sure we’ll get into that.
Noelle: We are about to get into that. Good. So it sounds like some of the things that are top of mind are that you come away with some practical tips, that this actually is actionable for you, not just theoretical. And also, it’s not just a one-time thing. You don’t go in and create trust, and then it just exists on its own. You have to maintain that trust throughout the lifecycle of your relationship, frankly. So, I’m gonna start off by telling you what I think about you, right? And I recognize that this takes a big risk. It’s not going to apply to everybody, but I think most of you will see yourselves at least somewhat in this. If you think about the role of a compliance function, there are a lot of benefits. There are things that make it easier for you to do that role. For example, you already understand the organization and you know all the pieces and parts. You have existing relationships. You probably know a lot of the people that you’re working with on a day-to-day basis. Maybe you have lunch together or you have coffee together. You might even socialize with some of them.
And you have a deep expertise. That expertise allows you not only to be the expert in the area that you’re responsible for maintaining compliance but specifically that area within the context of your greater organization. Right? So these are things that make your job a little easier to do. On the other hand, there are some things that will make your job even harder. For example, there’s this idea of over-familiarity, because you might be having lunch and coffee, and some kind of social relationship with your clients, it can start to detract from your credibility, right? There’s that old adage that says, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” right? And so sometimes you don’t get the same respect or objectivity, that maybe an outsider or someone who doesn’t know them as well might. There’s this… I’m sure you’ve all been met with this kind of tension in the room as soon as you show up to a meeting.
And it’s the word from headquarters, we’re here to help mentality. And that goes both ways. It’s both a sensitivity on the part of your clients. It can also, unfortunately, be a sensitivity that you fall into because you end up in situations all the time, where they aren’t actually appreciating the value that you can bring to them. And so it’s something to watch out for from both sides. And then finally, the hard thing about your job is that you’re the one who’s responsible for avoiding the errors, right? It’s your job to help your clients understand how they can get their job done without creating risk or while minimizing the risk associated to it. So in effect, you have the challenge of maintaining both objectivity to support that responsibility and the collegiality that’s required to get the job done. How do you go about doing that? I say the answer is in building trust. Right? It is essential for you to be able to do this. And it’s also very challenging because of all of these aspects of your role if you will.
Nick: Yeah, we had a lot of comments that kind of echoed some of those points you were making, where, hey, I’m an internal auditor, and I’m viewed as the compliance cop. How do I transition to this thing where, hey, I’m actually on the same side of the table as you. We actually have the same goal. We’re gonna do that together. How do I maintain open lines of communication with leadership so that they can begin to shift their frame on how they look at our function, not as a, you know, monster from the Island of Dr. Know, as we say, but from, you know, to your point a strategic advisor that can help clear the way out and help us actually run faster?
Noelle: Absolutely. And, you know, that is the core challenge. How do you get to a place where you can help guide people to do the right thing, without being perceived as always being a naysayer, always being the person who has to say no? So let’s talk a little bit about that. Just by way of background, and the only reason I have this up here, “The Trusted Advisor” is the book that Nick mentioned, would be available for the giveaway. This is just to let you know that where I’m coming from is based in the body of work in our books. We are not the only Voice in the Wilderness about trust. And so if you have other sources that you go to, other ideas that you have around trust, bring them into the conversation, it’s only gonna make it a richer conversation. These three books form the foundation of what I’m going to be speaking with you about today.
Now, the agenda, three quick topics, and lots of room for questions, comments, and exploring. We’re gonna talk about trusted advisorship to that last question. What exactly does it mean to be a trusted advisor? We’re gonna understand… I’m gonna try to disambiguate this concept of trust because it can be really murky. And as long as we have a murky understanding of what trust is, building trust is going to be more difficult. And then finally, we’ll talk tactically about how you can create trust in conversation. And in this third section, I’m really gonna engage Nick and engage you all through your chats and questions about, so what tools do you have to bring to the table to add value as you’re creating trust? And then throughout the whole thing, we’re going to take trust in action. You’ll have the opportunity to reflect on your own professional relationships and jot down some ideas, get your takeaways, create action for yourself to build trust immediately.
Trusted advisorship, what is this concept that I’ve been talking about? It really comes down to this core question of what is the essence of a trusted advisor? For most people, they’ll say it’s to give good advice. Maybe they’ll even upgrade that a bit and say it’s to give helpful advice, right, good advice that can be implemented. That’s really only half of the equation. The other part is that to truly be a trusted advisor, you have to get your advice heard and taken. And it’s only when these two things exist, that you can claim to be a trusted advisor. Right? Having the right answer does absolutely no good if no one’s listening to you. So we’ll dig into how you can make this happen, at least how you can move towards it.
To really make this real, I’m gonna ask you to call the mind a challenging professional relationship. Think about a client or another stakeholder. And when I say client, I’m referring to your internal clients, your colleagues who you’re working with to help move things forward, but some situation where the level of trust just isn’t what it could be and where you think you could have greater benefit by increasing that level of trust. Take a minute and call that to mind. Now I’m gonna ask you to dig a little bit deeper and consider, what’s one thing that you would gain from having more trust in this relationship? What would the benefit be to you? And if you’re game for it, type some of your responses in the chat. Nick, I’m gonna ask you to weigh in as people are chatting in their answers, what are some of the benefits that you’ve seen with increasing trust and relationships for compliance?
Nick: So, I think broadly, in general, anytime you can increase that trust, you’re essentially kind of, you know, creating a perimeter of some kind of psychological safety where you can be more authentic, be more yourself, kind of get down to the real issues at hand. It kind of clears away a lot of the professionalism, which is really this facade of that kind of counteracts any sort of authentic connection. So I think that’s just kind of broadly, but I think, like, in specific… You know, it’s kind of the soup du jour what we’re talking about right now with respect to compliance. Like, look, there’s a branding problem with compliance. You kind of alluded to it. You know, most of the people I talk to kind of lament the same frustrations that, “Hey, you know, I need these people to look at us different. You know, I need them to listen to us or I need to get into these conversations.” That’s never really coming from a selfish place. It’s coming from a desire to make an impact place. Do you know what I’m saying?
And I think to the extent that that trust is there, along with that trust always comes a new level of clarity of whoever you’re trusting, right? Like, there’s no trust without risk. That means there’s some kind of stakes involved. I think I learned that from you. But in the context of that, as you sort of established that trust, you start to kind of pave over some of those, you know, thornier things, and it just allows for a lot more ease of interaction. So, you have a compliance program that you’re trying to put into practice, you’re either gonna be swimming upstream or you’re gonna have people that are looking across the aisle at you as, “Wow, okay, I need to… It’s in my best interest to do this. And I’m gonna reciprocate here because I see what the benefits for me is.” I mean, we’re just kind of talking about influence at some level, which is, this is such an important conversation to have in the context of where we’re at as a profession in terms of the branding pendulum, and its needs to sort of swing back to the other side of the spectrum.
Noelle: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I pulled out a few really specific things in there that that is worth highlighting, right, some of the things that you mentioned about being able to move faster with your client because you can clear some of that unnecessary stuff out of the way, getting to the real root issue. And because nobody’s posturing, you can be real with each other. And that allows you to get past that posturing, all that fear of, “I don’t wanna be seen like I’m doing the wrong thing. I don’t wanna be perceived this way.” That’s called self-orientation. And it just gets in our way of fixing things of moving forward. And then the positive benefit of just truly being able to be a partner, switching out of that reactive mode, I’m only called in when there’s a problem, I’m called in too late, right, to being at the conversation at the very beginning, so that you’re designing in your need for compliance from the beginning and not being seen as the sheriff who’s gonna come in throw somebody in jail all the time. What about from our audience? Did we get anything from that?
Nick: Yeah, we got a ton of great responses. I can’t read them all. So less stress, more open communication, faster resolution, to your point, to be more comfortable asking for help and giving help, right, to be that ear to problems, and also be that advice for somebody who needs it. Be more effective in my role, a better team environment. More of that collaboration, which is a catalyst for change. You need that collaboration. Better, sort of deeper relationships. Internal stakeholders, who have every opportunity, in our very innovation-focused, see risk as a given not something to be identified and managed. So with that trust, you can start to kind of focus on, you know, changing some of those mentalities and managing risks that are never gonna be eliminated.
Noelle: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, we all know that, that our role is not to eliminate risk. It’s to recognize risk and to manage it. Right?
Noelle: That came up in that whole list that I really wanna call out, again, because they’re really important. The one is that it’s not just about the professional impact that you have, that the benefits of having trust also bring great personal benefits. And it’s easier to do my job. I’ll be happier. I can do more of the kind of thing that I wanna do and less of the stuff, you know, that creates all of the tension to start with. The other thing that I wanna point out is all of these benefits that you get out of improving the trust in this relationship also accrue to your clients. So the benefits of trust go both ways. And increasing trust. The good thing about anytime that you’ve got a win-win situation is that tends to build on itself in a positive way.
Nick: That’s right.
Noelle: And so, the more trust you have, the easier it is to build additional trust, and the more comfortable you will be doing what it takes to build trust and maintain trust. So fantastic. Thank you all for all of your contributions on that.
Nick: Yeah. And trust is one of these interesting things in life that doesn’t suffer from the thing that most things suffer from, which is the law of, you know, diminishing returns. Right? It’s kind of the opposite of that. You build more trust, there’s more and more and more of an impact. It’s a very special thing that if we can harness the power of it, we can really change our circumstances at a very deep level.
Noelle: Yeah. I love that comment. Absolutely. All right. So let’s look at how this comes together. Right. When you think about the value that you bring in your role and I wanna look at it on two different dimensions. One is the level of impact that you have or that you want to have in the organization with your individual clients, however, you wanna measure that level of impact. On the other axis, let’s look at the depth of the personal relationship that you have with your client. And the interesting thing, the reason that this is set up on the axes like this is because the causality flips back and forth. There are times that having a deeper personal relationship can allow you to increase the level of your impact And there are times that your ability to have a higher impact, if you’re focused on the relationship, can vastly deepen the personal relationship that you have. And let’s look at three levels along these axes.
The first one is the level of custodian. And most of you are in this role, time and again, whether or not you wanna be. And when I say custodian, I don’t mean custodian like a janitor. I mean, a custodian like a keeper of things, right? Like, think of a librarian or a curator at a museum, someone who keeps the valuable assets of whatever it is that you’re responsible for in your compliance role. In this role, you tend to be responsive. It’s a reactive role, primarily. And the value that you’re providing is information or solutions, right? You’re telling somebody what they can or can’t do. You’re giving them a process that they should follow. It’s a necessary role. It is the crux of what it is that you’re doing. But the challenge of this role is that it boxes you in only to those situations where you have the deep expertise. Okay? If you move up this line, to a broader level of impact and a deeper level of relationship. And again, remember that there’s no direct causality, you can come at this movement wither way, by moving along either access, you’ll hit the role of collaborator.
And the role of a collaborator is to truly be a partner, to bring ideas and insights, to help expand the perspective of your client to see maybe things that they’re unaware of or things that they haven’t taken into account because you have that broader organizational view, relative to your area of expertise. Now, this is a great role to be in because you can be proactive. A lot of you are probably here wondering, how do I get out in front of compliance challenges? How do I educate people about what the compliance needs are so that we’re avoiding being in the custodian role of being brought in when there’s a problem, for example? This collaborator role is where you’re gonna be doing that. And then finally, the third kind of relationship level, if you think of it, is that of a trusted advisor. And the distinguishing characteristic of a trusted advisor, it’s these five words. You’re a safe haven for tough issues. Okay.
And you’ll notice that’s not a safe haven for tough issues in your area of expertise. The thing about being a trusted adviser is that you’ve now achieved a depth of relationship and a level of impact that your client feels comfortable coming to you for all things, professional, and even personal. I mean, think about getting that phone call at 8:00 at night, from your colleague, who’s also your internal client, who says, “Wow, you know, I just got a job offer from our biggest competitor. If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” It certainly has nothing to do with your area of expertise. It might, but that would be ancillary. It has everything to do with the fact that they trust you deeply enough to want to come and engage your advice. So this is really the pinnacle of that advisor, that trusted advisor relationship. I’m gonna ask… Yeah, go ahead, Nick.
Nick: Quick question. Let me… I got some really cool comments and questions here. So, I think they fit. So here’s a great one. So what happens when your boss is not credible and you’re worried that the whole organization view internal audit, for example, as folks that are not really objective? Everyone, in this example, sort of cast, you know, they’re living in the shadow of this person who has a credibility problem, that sort of affecting each individual’s credibility.
Noelle: Yeah. Yeah, that’s tough, right? Man, what a horrible situation to be in. Because, like you said, you’re casting that shadow, you’re painted with that same brush. You know, I would say there are two aspects to looking at that question or the response that I wanna give. The first one is, if your boss truly is not credible, it’s worth giving your colleagues and your clients the benefit of the doubt that they probably also recognize that your boss is not credible, and then give them the opportunity to distinguish their interactions with you personally, from their interactions with “the organization.”
Nick: Great point.
Noelle: Right. And so, we’ll talk about personal trustworthiness and the personal nature of trust in just a couple of slides. The other thing I wanna point out is that you have great agency to create trust within your organization. You don’t have to depend on the organizational constructs, the org chart or who your boss is. You don’t have to ride their coattails. They can make it a little more difficult for you by the way they act, but don’t underestimate the amount of power you have to create relationships, even in difficult situations.
Nick: And I think what I would dovetail on to what you just said is that in that circumstance, even more so than what we’re generally talking about, the onus is on you, who’s living in that shadow to change those circumstances through the stuff we’re about to talk about, relationship, interaction, and so forth.
Noelle: Absolutely. Nick, were there some other comments or questions that are appropriate here now?
Nick: Yeah, this is a kind of a good one. I think it’s a little bit related. So here we go. I’m just gonna read it. “At the end of the day, we have to recognize, and manage risk, and prevent, and detect misconduct. Well, I firmly believe in being a business partner, we cannot cross the line and be part of the “police role.” Lots of mixed misconduct occurs because of the blind trust business leaders have with each other. How do we get leaders to question and challenge without destroying the trust we have in each other? It’s a very interesting, nuanced question.
Noelle: Yeah, it is. And, you know, I would go back to the definition of trust. And this is gonna be a little more clear in about 5 or 10 minutes. But I think that when you’re talking about the blind trust that leaders have in each other when I’ve seen that in organizations, it’s not truly trust. It has more to do with a false sense of camaraderie or some part of the corporate culture that, in fact, inhibits open, healthy, conflict.
Nick: Debate. Yes.
Noelle: Yeah, candor and debate. And so when we’re not willing to challenge each other, when we’re not willing to really look closely at what everybody brings to the table, the content of what everyone brings to the table, the actions that we’re taking, and have that constructive conflict, that’s actually not a deep trust organization. That tends to be a fairly shallow cultural phenomenon.
Nick: It’s one of those movie sets from the westerns where, you know, it’s just the facades of… Like, there’s no building behind it. And I think you totally nailed it. And, you know, I would kind of argue that enhancing that trust really enhances or sort of strengthens the perimeter of the relationship and moves away a lot of the BS, so to speak, to have those actual conversations. Like, me and my brother, you know, I get the opportunity to work with somebody that I trust implicitly. And that allows for us to have, you know, knockdown drag-out debate, so to speak, in really live out this idea of meritocracy that we’re trying to live out, you know.
Noelle: Exactly. And Nick, you said something earlier that I wanna drawback to now, which is the relationship between trust and risk, right? And what you just described is one aspect of that relationship, that because you have this very strong trust, you’re willing to take additional risk.
Nick: Good point.
Noelle: You know, God forbid, Gio, but you know your brother is not gonna turn on you.
Noelle: But the flip side of that, because the relationship between trust and risk is it goes both ways. The more risk you’re willing to take, the deeper trust you can create. And so, again, going back to the question, where there’s an organization where peers and leadership are not willing to take the risk of challenging each other, it’s another sure sign that there’s actually… I shouldn’t say sure sign. It’s another sign that suggests there may be a lack of true trust at that level.
Nick: Awesome. Thanks for that. That was great.
Noelle: I wanna give everybody a chance to think about for yourselves, right? If you think about this challenging relationship that I asked you to think about, where you could see benefit from increasing the trust, at what level do you find you’re spending most of your time? Are you primarily a custodian, a collaborator or have you achieved truly that trusted advisor level? And if you’re willing to, go ahead and just chat your response. And, Nick, I’m just gonna ask you real quick, like, let’s give folks maybe 30 seconds and then tell me what themes you’re seeing. Are we getting a lot in one or the other areas?
Nick: Okay. Where do you feel that the compliance profession, in general, is on this thing?
Noelle: Are you asking that? Are you asking that?
Nick: I’m kind of asking the audience because I think that’s what we’re gonna… I’m getting a lot of custodian, I’m getting a lot of custodian. I’m getting a couple of collaborators. And it’s kind of, you know, not to jump to the end here… Oh, this isn’t an interesting answer. “All three, depending on the situation.” So maybe that speaks to, man, I have deeper ties or deeper sort of relationships with some individuals, and I can be that trusted advisor for them. And, you know, one interesting angle here is that when you gave your example of the trusted advisor, it was something outside of the scope of, like, whatever is happening in the four walls of the business. Like, that’s the proof that you’re actually in that role if they’re coming to you with those sort of “nonbusiness type of things.” You know what I mean?
Noelle: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And I’m gonna jump on that last comment that you read about operating at all three levels. And that’s absolutely critical. You cannot be at that trust. You cannot be operating at that trusted advisor level, all the time. It would be exhausting, professionally, emotionally, rationally, completely exhausting. And you wouldn’t get a lot of work done. Right? So there are times when it’s appropriate to be in the custodial role. There are times when it’s appropriate to be in the collaborative role. The trick is recognizing which role is required and having access to that role. The way to get access to being in that role is to always carry the way of being a trusted advisor.
Nick: That’s right.
Noelle: If you’re willing to be that safe haven for tough issues, if you have demonstrated yourself trustworthy and built the depth of personal relationship to have that kind of an impact, then you have the freedom to operate at whichever level is appropriate.
Nick: Yeah, you can gauge up or gauge down depending on what’s needed, given the context of your workload and the context of the importance of the issue at hand, whatever. But you at least have that optionality because you’ve done the work to build that foundation of trust.
Noelle: Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. All right. So let’s dig into what is this thing we’re talking about, trust. Because at the end of the day, the word trust itself is highly ambiguous. If you go to the dictionary, which you might think is a rational way to find the definition of trust, you’ll actually see a number of different definitions of trust. And if you ask 10 people what trust means, you’re likely to get 10 different responses. And the challenge is that trust is incredibly personal. It means something different to every person. And we use the word for a broad number of reasons. We may say, “I trust that person to follow through on what they committed to.” That’s a trust that’s founded in reliability. We may say, “I trust that person because I just feel like I can tell them anything and they will take care of the information that I share. They won’t share it around inappropriately. They won’t make fun of me.” That’s a trust that’s rooted in intimacy. We’ll go through each of the factors of trustworthiness.
In addition to having this ambiguity, trust is also very contextual. For anybody who doesn’t understand what that means, I’m gonna throw this out for you to consider. I trust my dog with my life, but not with my ham sandwich. So is my dog trustworthy or not? Right? And the answer is just like it is with humans. It depends. It depends on the context. It depends on my expectations. So all of these factors of trust, that create this ambiguity, make it difficult for us to understand what we’re trying to improve. To start clarifying this, it’s important to understand that trust is personal and it’s bilateral. And by that I mean that trust occurs through relationships between two people. One person takes a risk of trusting, the other person in response proves themselves trustworthy. And only when those two conditions have been met, is trust created. Now, the hard challenge here is that in any relationship, you can only control one of those sides at a time. Right? And so since it’s virtually impossible for you to force your clients to trust you, T1, we’re gonna focus for a few minutes on the second T, trustworthiness. The trust…
Nick: The point being that’s all you can control. That’s the only thing that’s on your… Okay. Yeah. All right
Noelle: Right. And sorry, I have another screen up here, so when it looks like I’m looking up to the ceiling, I’m looking at there to see Nick when he talks too. So the trust equation, we may as well call it the trustworthiness equation. It simply says that your trustworthiness is a factor of your credibility plus reliability, plus your intimacy, all taken away from by your level of self-orientation. I’m gonna walk through each one of these factors quickly. But I wanna point out a couple of things about this. The first is that you’ll notice that credibility and reliability are in blue, and intimacy, and self-orientation are in red. That’s to signify that credibility and reliability are rational factors of trust. And by this, I mean that they’re relatively objective. They’re easy to see. They’re easy to measure. Okay. Intimacy and self-orientation, on the other hand are non-rational or emotional factors of trust. It tend to be harder to measure in a concrete way. And sometimes they’re even hard to describe. Often when somebody is building trust through intimacy or low self-orientation, they’ll hear things like, you know, “I’m not sure why, but I feel like I can trust that person.”
Noelle: Right? And so that’s the emotional versus the rational factors of this.
Nick: Yeah, you can point to the evidence behind the C and the R a lot easier.
Noelle: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. The other thing that’s important…
Nick: I’m sorry to interrupt, I’ve gotten like three questions about self-orientation. We’re gonna get into self-orientation in a second. But it’s essentially, where you orient yourself relative to other people. Are you sort of the top of the heap or are you putting other people first? I think that’s kind of the point, but we’ll get to that more. Sorry.
Noelle: Absolutely. That’s okay. You can steal my thunder anytime you want, Nick. All right. Let’s dive into these because I think you’ll get a better feeling if we just go through them all. So credibility relates to your words. It has to do with both your credentials, what your area of expertise is, what certifications you have, what your education is. And it has to do with truthfulness and candor, right, that willingness to say something that needs to be said or honesty. And when I talk about honesty and truthfulness here, it’s not just, excuse me, telling the truth, you know, when I have to. It also relates to transparency, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Most professionals, especially in a compliance-oriented role, tend to rely very heavily on their credibility because it is the reason for being in that role. It’s deep expertise in an area.
And I just wanna point out that there’s a paradox around credibility when it comes to trust-building. And that is that people have a tendency to recognize warmth and competence as being inversely related. In other words, the more credible I appear or the more competent I appear, the more someone is going to assume that I lack warmth and connectivity. And as a result, we unintentionally put ourselves into a combative situation if we over-rely on that credibility. We’ll talk a little more about the importance of not over-relying on credibility, but I wanna go through the other three factors first.
Nick: So do you think that that drive is a function of a misunderstanding or do you think that the recipients or, you know, the people on the other end, the recipients of the message, they tend to attach sort of, you know… Do you know what I’m saying?
Noelle: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Nick: Like, what’s coming first here?
Noelle: Yeah, it’s chicken or the egg. So, normally, if I were doing a full interactive workshop here, I would toss that back out to our audience and say, “What do you think it is?” Rather than do that because I wanna be conscious of everyone’s time, I’m gonna suggest that what it comes from is a lack of understanding of what other people want.
Nick: I agree with that. Okay.
Noelle: We tend to believe that credibility and being smart is the most important thing. What we tend to expect from others is that credibility and reliability, by the way, the one I’m about to talk to, these rational pieces of trustworthiness are really table stakes. They actually do very little. They have to exist, they’re necessary but insufficient. And so, we tend to wrap up our own selves because what we’ve always been rewarded for, since school, every time we get a promotion at work, every time we get a new job or a raise, we are told that the reason that we’re being promoted up is because of our credibility and our expertise.
Nick: For this tangible subjective thing.
Noelle: Creating trust is the other. Say it again, Nick.
Nick: Yeah, you’re getting promoted for these tangible things that I can point to and I can quantify, and they’re objective versus, you know, there’s this whole other part of things, which are the red letters in your equation, that are a huge impact on it. We can’t quantify those things, so they end up getting no attention.
Noelle: Yep, exactly. Exactly. So, in the same vein, we have reliability, right? And reliability is exactly what it sounds like. It is dependability and predictability. Do you follow through on the expectations you set and are you going to act the way I expect you to act? Now, one interesting thing about reliability, everybody’s heard, trust takes forever to build and it can be destroyed in a second. In fact, that’s not true. Reliability is the only aspect of trustworthiness that requires time because it’s a two-step process, a setting of expectations, and then a meeting of expectations. And that has to be done a number of times to create a pattern so that somebody knows that they can depend on you, that they can predict what you’re going to do. Flipping over to the non-rational side of the emotional side, intimacy. Intimacy is about creating psychological safety in the relationship. It has to do with discretion, empathy, really demonstrating that you understand where the other person’s coming from, and what they’re experiencing. And risk-taking is a critical piece of this.
One of the most beneficial parts of risk-taking is the ability to be vulnerable and to demonstrate vulnerability. But that’s particularly difficult with people who have deep expertise because that vulnerability is most often going to come out as recognizing, for example, that you don’t have all the answers, being able to say I don’t know. It opens you up and it demonstrates that you’re vulnerable to being recognized for not being perfect. For a lot of people in professional services, they way over depend on the credibility and reliability, and drastically underestimate the power of intimacy and self-orientation, right? The fastest way to increase intimacy is through listening. And listening the right way.
Listening not just for facts and data, but listening for emotions and understanding, being able to empathize with what the client sitting across the table is going through. Now, I’m gonna point out one quick thing about intimacy. And this is the power that it has. We have something called The Trust Quotient. It’s a 20 questions self-assessment on your own trustworthiness. We’ve had well over 120,000 people take it to date. We paused at 70,000 people, captured all the data, and did some analysis. One of the most interesting insights that we got out of that is the strongest driver in building trust is in fact intimacy. That’s from our correlated data. Intimacy requires personal risk, which takes a great amount of courage. There’s also a reciprocity piece to it. If you’re willing to take risk, if you’re willing to be vulnerable, by going first, your clients will also be more open to being vulnerable and to taking personal risk. So never forget the reciprocal nature of trust.
Nick: You know, if we pulled this conversation out of the sort of professional sphere, and we’re talking about, “Hey, let’s talk about your closest relationships, which of these letters or variables do you think are the biggest drivers?” I don’t think people would be pointing to those blue letters. I think they’d be talking about that I. I mean, it’s such a basic foundational element in any sort of deep authentic relationship we have in our lives, irrespective of work. It’s just weird that it’s like we kind of change our mentality with our work relationships as if they’re a different species of, you know, being or something. They’re just other humans. You know what I mean?
Noelle: Yeah. Yeah, Nick, the Godfather had it all wrong when he said, “It’s not personal. It’s just business.”
Noelle: Right? It’s absolutely incorrect. All business is personal because we’re dealing with people, right?
Noelle: So let’s cover off this last one because I do wanna get to the trust creation process, which is gonna give you a lot of tangible, tactical things to do. So, self-orientation, this was a question that came up before. Self-orientation is about your focus, and there are two pieces of it. One is your motives. Are you in it for you or are you in it for the other person, right? And the easiest way to think of that is like think of a used car salesman. No offense to any car salesman on the webinar, but he’s gonna say anything that he can to make that deal or at least that concept of a used car salesman. That’s actually pretty rare in professional services. What we see much more often is focus in the sense of where is your attention, right? Either just simply being distracted, not really focused on the other person or worse, having your attention be entirely on you.
And it gets to a point where you’re so focused on, “Do they think that I’m smart? Are they hearing what I’m saying? Am I doing the right thing?” that it almost becomes a self-obsession? And all of that clouds into your head and keeps you from being able to focus on the other person? For sure, a few examples of how high self-orientation specifically lowers your ability to create intimacy with someone. And I’m sure that we’ve all done these at one time or another. Thinking about what I’m gonna say next, rather than really being present to what someone else is saying or only focusing on the facts. Maybe I’m eager to do the problem solving and I’m ignoring the whole emotional impact, listening with a filter. Do they know what they’re talking about, right? We’re testing them instead of truly understanding what they’re trying to say.
And then finally, this idea of confirmation bias, where I’m really only listening for what I wanna hear to confirm or to support my point of view, right? Now, these are things that most of us, through our professional development and our expertise, have actually been trained to do. If you think about all of the processes that you have, everything that says ask the right question, those right questions are almost always aimed at, get them to tell you what the problem is. You need to demonstrate that you know what the problem is. And in fact, most of the time, that’s just not the right way to go. So, I’m gonna introduce in the next segment the trust creation process, or how to create trust in conversation, which will help you avoid these pitfalls of self-orientation that lowers that ability to create intimacy.
Nick: You know, what I love about this framework, Noelle, is that it can be applied on the individual level and really, the amalgamation or the sort of the sum total of all those equations are really what we’ll see at a departmental level or even at a company level, right? All these things are in play as these different groups interact with each other. It’s a really phenomenal model.
Noelle: Absolutely. Yeah. And, you know, it’s interesting when we do workshops with companies, Nick. We actually will have the participants take the trust quotient, so we see where they see, where their strengths and their opportunities for improvement and trustworthiness. We then look at the aggregate data from that. And so we look at as a whole, this group has strengths in credibility, reliability. They have the most opportunity to improve in intimacy and self-orientation. Usually, that’s the way it goes in professional services. And here’s the kicker for it. If you think about the fact, and I’ll just tell you, credibility and reliability are by far the most common traits for developing trust, it’s what people generally in professional services lean on to create trust relationships. Intimacy, and self-orientation, on the other hand, are the biggest drivers of trust. So, emphasizing the intimacy and maintaining a low self-orientation are really gonna elevate you in the trust department. Do you have a combination of professional services as a gross generalization? The rarest components of intimacy and self-orientation also happen to be the most powerful components of trust-building. And if you think about differentiating yourself from the pack…
Nick: Yes, good point.
Noelle: …pretty much everybody else looks the same as you.
Nick: Great point. That’s super powerful. Yeah, that’s a powerful point.
Noelle: As we see in self-orientation also happen to be those factors that are most in your control to make a significant improvement.
Nick: Right. I got a quick question while everybody’s answering this question… Actually, I don’t even think you’ve told them the question yet. So maybe do that, and I’ll give us a question to talk about as we’re gathering the chat.
Noelle: You know, this is really just, again, it’s a self-reflection. Which of these four factors of trustworthiness is most important for you to improve in a challenging relationship? Right? And I mean, dig down into that, really think about it. If you’re willing to toss it out in the chat, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.
Nick: So, as we’re gathering both those questions, this may be a good segue into the next section, so let me know what you think. But how do you suggest we weigh the appropriate amount of risk and vulnerability, i.e., how do you gauge the amount of incremental risk and vulnerability to extend, so to speak, in a given interaction?
Noelle: Yeah. Good question. I would say that almost without fail, you’re not being too vulnerable and…
Nick: Yeah, I was gonna say all of it.
Noelle: Yeah. You know, this is another one of those things. And it has to do with human nature that… And this is supported… I’m not gonna go into all of our thinking on trust. But if you think about behavioral economists have actually studied this for decades, if not centuries. And there’s a human tendency to drastically overestimate the potential for near term loss, right? If I take this step, if I do this, it’s going to damage the relationship. And we drastically underestimate the opportunity for long-term gain. One of the paradoxes of trust is that that very thing that you’re very afraid to do in the moment, maybe you think, “I don’t have enough trust to share that with someone, or I don’t have enough trust to make that statement,” is the very thing that’s going to build trust. And it has to do with that aspect of intimacy, which is risk-taking, right? Being willing to go out on a limb, being willing to be vulnerable. It begets back… It doesn’t get the bad things that you’re afraid of. People aren’t gonna laugh at you. People aren’t gonna think you’re stupid. People aren’t gonna think you’re being inappropriate. They will recognize that it takes a significant amount of courage to be vulnerable and create intimacy. Does that answer?
Nick: Yeah, that was a phenomenal answer. I would even… I’m gonna say this statement, I’d like you to react to it. I feel like the blue ones are… You know, it’s kind of I guess what you said, but the blue ones are sort of more stable and I would go as far as to say that by sort of showing vulnerability, I’m not gonna damage those pillars that are already established. That’s really what the fear is. Man, if I show that I’m vulnerable and I don’t have all the answers, then this credibility, which is really what I’ve been leaning on is gonna sort of start to disintegrate. And then now, where am I? I would say, kind of to your point, that that will only ever enhance those blue sort of more objective components of the trust equation.
Noelle: Yeah. And I’d say, I agree with that about 90%, Nick. And here’s the just slight adjustment or upgrade I might make to that observation. It is that credibility and reliability are table stakes. So you absolutely have to create that foundation. And there are situations, there are personalities that overemphasize the non-rational aspects of trust-building. And it doesn’t mean that they aren’t credible, it just means that they haven’t taken the time to demonstrate their credibility.
Nick: Okay. Great point.
Noelle: So, you have to be able to demonstrate all four of these factors to truly build trust effectively.
Nick: That’s a good kind of shaving off of some of the edges of that broad-brush statement. So the responses came across really kind of across the board. But I think there were, you know, kind of a little bit more on those red ones, right, the self-orientation and the intimacy.
Noelle: Yeah, and for those of you who did say that it would be most useful to increase credibility and reliability in your relationships, I just encourage you to really take a hard look at those relationships and think about it. If you’re really looking to build trust, think about how you’re demonstrating credibility and reliability, and the intimacy and self-orientation. Great. Let’s get into tactical. How do you create trust in conversation? Just call the mind for yourselves. You don’t have to share anything in this. Think of a time that you were giving good advice and the client didn’t listen to you. Anyone ever had that happen to you, right? If we were in a room, you’d all probably have your hands up. And in fact, it happens to us all the time. It happens to us even when we’re asked to give our advice, they still don’t take it. It happens when they pay us to give our advice, they still may not take it.
Most people tend to think that it has to do with, “Well, there’s some situation I didn’t know about. There was information I was missing or maybe I didn’t explain it clearly,” right? We tend to go with these credible types of excuses for that. In fact, what we find is, most of the time, the number one cause of failed trust is that we’re moving too rapidly to the solution. I guarantee you, no animals were harmed in the making of this, right? And what I mean by this is that we fail to truly understand and let the other person know that we understand their situation before we lay out what the answer is. It comes from all kinds of reasons. Most often in an advisory capacity, it’s because we think that we’ve already seen this before, right? I know this situation. Been there, done that, boom, let me get you to the answer. We won’t waste anybody’s time, right?
In fact, if you think about creating trust in a relationship, and there’s a big differentiation between having the right answer and getting that advice taken. Remember back from the beginning of this mark, right? The reason we do it is because we are so overemphasizing the rational components of trust, right? When we create trust in conversation, there’s a formula or a process that we go through, that gets us to that endpoint of committing. This last step down here at the bottom commit, that’s where you lay out the answer and figure out where to go from there. There are four steps ahead of it. Engaging, which is what gets you into the conversation in a way that the other person is willing to listen to you, right? Listening to understand the situation, listening to recognize the impact that it has, and listening to demonstrate to the other person that you’re thinking of them.
Framing, being very, very clear about what the problem is that you wanna solve. And then envisioning, which is creating a really detailed view of what the future can look like. When you get that envisioning right, that’s where you get the emotional aspects of it. I’m gonna quick bounce through of the first three of these because, Nick, I’m aware that we’re coming up to the top of the hour and I do wanna leave a bit more time for questions.
Nick: Yeah. So, you know, if people need to hop off, that’s fine. They can check the replay. I think we’ve had a lot of great conversation. So, you know, if you’re fine, going a few minute minutes over, I say, let’s just do that.
Noelle: Okay. Well, like I said, I’m gonna be quick about these. So engaging with value, really just hitting the key points. When you engage with value, the value has to be valuable to them, right? And for those of us who are having trouble getting in to see someone that we wanna have a conversation with, check what you’re leading with. If you’re leading in with, “Hey, can I get a meeting with you to tell you about our X, Y, Z process?” Rethink the value to them of that X, Y, Z process? You may recognize it, but they probably haven’t recognized it yet. So maybe…
Nick: And that in itself is a high as ask?
Noelle: Yes, it is. That’s a great way to say that. Lead with intimacy, not credibility. Consider bringing a risky gift. Demonstrate vulnerability. Engage by saying something along the lines of, “You know, I’m not really sure if this is a problem that you even have. I thought maybe this could be something you’re experiencing, and I’ve got a point of view. What do you think about that?” It only works if you truly are in doubt, if you’re truly being vulnerable. And then, finally, engaging effectively, really, it shows that you’re worthy of being spoken to in an open and truthful manner about the issue at hand.
So, once you’ve engaged, the next step is to go to listening. And listening to build trust is different from listening for problem-solving. And it’s simply this, that that act of listening itself is a gift. It’s what you say by listening, not what you hear by listening, that builds the trust in the relationship, right? And I’ve mentioned reciprocity a few times. This is where it comes in, in professional services. If you listen to me, I will listen to you. So, if you look at this five-step process, this is kind of the level, the amount of time… People always wanna know, how much time should I spend on each of these steps? This is pretty much what it looks like. Envision will be a lot bigger too. But if you’ve listened correctly, and if you’ve listened well and listened deeply, the rest of the steps just fall into line very simply.
Your mindset, drawing back to this value diagram, also changes what you listen for. If you’re operating down here at the custodian level and even to a degree at the collaborator level, when you’re listening, you’re really just gonna be listening for the facts and the data to solve a problem. When you’re thinking about being or when you’re open to being at that trusted advisor level, you’re gonna be listening to all of it, holistically, the facts, and the data, and the emotions that go behind it.
And then the final step I wanna focus on here is framing the issue. This is another place that we sometimes fall down on. Truly a well-framed issue is a rigorous statement of fact, there’s no blame in it, right? And blame is an issue that it’s a challenge that we deal with in compliance because anytime there’s been a lack of compliance, almost the first question we hear is whose fault was it, right? It’s gotta reflect a we approach. It has to show, this is the being on the same side of the table aspect. And it has to show that you’re willing to be on the same side of the table. Demonstrating a long-term relationship based perspective. It’s gotta resonate on the emotional as well as the rational. And finally, it needs to impute good motives, right? So, again, it has to do with that compliance role, the perception that we’re only there to say no, or that we’re there to blame someone, or to find the fault in a situation. So these three steps, engage, listen, and frame are absolutely critical.
Nick, before we stop, I’ve got some quick key takeaways. And then before we do questions, what do you have to add in on this? I know that ComplianceLine has a lot of tools or compliance rules have some tools that they can bring to bear here.
Nick: Yeah, you know, a lot of what we’ve been talking about today, this kind of elevation of our role and of our impact is really kind of the name of the game, as we’re talking about Compliance 3.0, right? Compliance 1.0 was about kind of don’t get sued. Compliance 2.0 was, hey, let’s put some technology in place. Here’s some cool pie graphs and dashboards. Technology or Compliance 3.0 is really about effectiveness. It’s really about elevating our impact and becoming a bigger strategic asset in our organizations. So, I’m glad you brought this up. Something that we kind of kicked off last week, that kind of will feed into this in terms of, you know, how we can build some of these bridges across to start building some of this trust, we have a little thing going. We’ve decided to give away a handful of free hotlines for folks, whether they’re a client or not. But the only stipulation is that you have to use that to go to one of these different departments, one of these other sort of internal organizations with a gift to kind of kick off some of that reciprocity to build the bridge.
So, this is kind of like somebody new comes into your neighborhood and you show up with a casserole, that kind of kicks off that reciprocity. So we’re gonna have a handful of these lines that are available to folks if they’re interested. So they can go to HR and say, “Hey, I have a free diversity line, would that help with all the social stuff that’s going on?” Or go to safety and say, “Hey, I have a free ideation line, would that help us kind of improve some of some of our safety initiatives” or whatever? So we’re just going to give something tangible to kind of be a catalyst to get the stuff that we’re talking about moving. I think the concepts are phenomenal. I think some of these takeaways are absolutely phenomenal. These are things that we could start doing today. And we just wanna kind of help be some tailwinds for folks to, you know, kind of accelerate this elevation where there’s a ton of value ready to be unlocked.
Giovanni: Yeah, I think there’s so much of this that we as compliance professionals… I think so much of what you’ve been talking about today, Noelle, is some of the stuff that we’ve been kind of running into the wall about because I think so many people in our profession, we wanna get everything done right, we have the responsibilities to the policies and the regulations, and all of that’s key, but we also care about people we wanna make sure everyone’s taken care of. And if we get too stuck in that kind of Compliance 2.0, I gotta get my stuff done, then, you know, we’re not building those relationships. We’re not building that trust. And I think there’s a lot that you’ve shared with us, Noelle, about just this framing thing, right? Like, when we as compliance leaders and ethics experts are bringing up an issue, it’s not just because I need to make sure that this doesn’t happen. It’s because our whole organization is gonna be better off if someone’s not getting abused or discriminated against, or this fraud isn’t happening, and things like that.
And I think even just kind of framing it, building that relationship and letting people know our heart by, you know, listening and showing them that we’re trying to solve everyone’s problems, not just our own, imputing those good motives can go a long way to building some trust. And you’ve helped us a lot with that Noelle. So we are over time, and I just wanna reiterate, like, we’re not gonna get kicked out of this webinar, so we can keep going. You don’t have to rush through this stuff. Anybody who’s on, you know, we’re all pretty scheduled, so if you wanna jump off, then we’re gonna send the recording around. You can catch it later. But, you know, Nick and Noelle, you know, if you guys are available, let’s keep this going and address as much as we can for the audience.
Noelle: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Nick, what are some of the questions and comments that have come in?
Nick: So I got a great question here. So how do you display yourself in trust relationships when staff dictate to you what they are going to do and not going to do? And if you say anything as to why they need to do something because it falls under their job duties, it causes escalation of the situation because they’re not getting their way. So, you can feel the frustration in that question. So it’s… Go ahead.
Noelle: Yeah. You go ahead, Nick. Let’s…
Nick: I just think, you know, to see if I’ve been listening here, just tell me what you think of this answer. I think you have an influence problem and you have a self-orientation problem. Like, you’re too oriented to yourself because, well, they should do this and they should listen to what they need to do. Well, you know, they’re not your kids, right? So you have to kind of convince people to do it. And I think the shortcut way to do that is to, you know, listen, provide context, see how you can do to help, see how you can kind of incorporate a little bit of fair process, and whatever you’re gonna be pushing out to get their input so that they at least feel heard, so that, “Hey, I’ve at least listened to this. I gotta kind of dance this line between the regulations and the operations.” I don’t know what the details are here, obviously. But I have to dance this line. And I’m at least showing the courtesy, the dignity, the respect to the people that have to deal with whatever I’m pushing out to get their input on how this is going to affect their lives. Again, a couple of conversations like that, help to really reframe… You wanna talk about reframing, that reframes our role in this whole thing, you know.
Noelle: Yeah. Yeah. I like that answer. I like so many elements of that answer. And you came around to the key point in it, which is listening. I’ll tell you I was… You know, I paused at the very beginning because I think that you may have imputed some motives to the questioner about self-orientation. What I often find, and it is, it’s a hard situation to be in where you know that you have the responsibility for keeping something on the rails, and the person who you’re supposed to be advising or guiding, over whom, by the way, you have no control, you have no authority over this person, just goes and says, “Well, I’m just gonna do what I want anyway.” Right? I mean, what’s the word for unempowering is that?
Nick: Yes, disempowering, decline. I don’t know what the word is. It’s something like that.
Noelle: Decline is a great one. So, I mean, just thinking about that, that usually, when we see a situation like that, the other person, if I were to impute the best motives to the other person, I would say that they’re probably frustrated as well. They’re trying to get something done and they probably feel that this is just one more roadblock or obstacle being put in their way. So this is where that value of listening truly comes in, right? So instead of… If all you’re doing is talking about, they wanna do this, and the regulations say to do this, or the processes to do this, all you’re gonna do is continue escalating by butting heads. To get to the bottom of it, you need to get in and listen.
And so, what I would recommend in a situation like that is to say, “Listen, clearly, you have an idea and, you know, I’m an expert in my world. I don’t understand everything about your world, can you take some time…? Are you willing to take some time and help me understand the situation? I really wanna get where you’re trying to go. I really wanna understand what it is you’re trying to achieve.”
And be open to the fact… This is another… This piece is about being courageous. You may end up on the wrong end of somebody’s frustration or anger about things that you actually had nothing to do with. But that comes with the territory for being a trusted advisor. If they’re angry because their boss has done something or another business unit has done something or one of your colleagues did something, some of it is just… You know, to quote Bernie Brown, “You gotta embrace the sock and get through it.” that you’re willing to be that trusted advisor for them. So always go back to listening.
Nick: I love it.
Giovanni: It’s awesome, Noelle. Like, I think that it’s so important for us to realize that a lot of the stuff that you’re talking about, it’s not just changing some tactics, and hey, let me send the email with the subject line. It’s a lot of it is a change in a mindset from you know, if we wanna stop kind of being on the sidelines, and hey, just, you know, try to avoid compliance and ethics if possible, and be part of that leadership team. Well, to be that strategic contributor, we need to kind of understand the whole picture. And we have to, you know, embrace the suck and say, “Okay, well, I get what you’re saying. I know that maybe the person before me or my boss treats these issues this way, but what I’m gonna do is really help find a solution here. And I know about some restrictions or some best practices or something that you don’t.”
But I think if we wanna change the way that we’re viewed with a specific colleague or kind of department to department, we have to understand that. We have to lead into that, and we have to say, “Okay, well, I’m not just gonna react to, you know, that emotion or that attribution, but I’m gonna listen. I’m gonna kind of look at this thing holistically.” And part of that intimacy is saying, “Hey, I get that this is hard for you. I know about some other things that are gonna make this hard for you later or that these are hard for me, let’s find a solution together.” And you can do that when you have that relationship, and that intimacy, and you have that listening. And I love how you’re helping us kind of not just, “Hey, you know, step this way or kind of do this different technique,” but it’s a mindset that if we wanna be a trusted advisor, we have to start acting like one.
Noelle: Yeah. And Gio, you know, people can double down on that. There’s listening to get the context and to understand the full situation. Double down on that with the intimacy and truly try to empathize. Like, literally try to understand what that person, the situation that person is in, is this impacting their ability to get their next promotion? Is their reputation on the line if this project goes well or doesn’t go well, right? I mean, really, you have to know what that person…
Giovanni: What if they just have a bad day?
Noelle: Well, but I’m saying you really need to understand what it means to that person. When I say connecting, personally, I’m not talking about playing golf with the person or, you know, knowing where their kids go to school, or what they did over the weekend. I’m really talking about understanding what the impact of the situation is to them personally. And once you’ve acknowledged to them, once they understand that you understand them, then they’ll start to open up, only then will they be willing to listen. I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who had this great quote, “They don’t care what you know until they know how much you care.”
Giovanni: Right. And that’s so much of this dichotomy that you’ve brought up of, you know, are you capable and are you reliable versus so you have an intimacy, and I maybe wasn’t listening enough, and I forgot the third one.
Giovanni: Yes, self-orientation. But so much… You know, I think, partly because where our profession came from, right, in the 90s, we were in Compliance 1.0, and it was just, if it’s enforced by the courts or the regulators, then you have to do it, that becomes very objective stuff. But if we’re gonna kind of move through Compliance 2.0 to 3.0, we need that right side of that slide where we’re testing our self-orientation and we’re building that intimacy. And to your point, even if it’s illogical or unreasonable for them to attribute this approach to your, “Hey, I don’t know why you’re frustrated with me, I’m just doing my job” type of thing, whatever is causing that friction, it’s there, right? Reality is our friend. And if we wanna get the job done, including building the relationships so we can get to a good outcome, we need to address that and listen to it. And I think that if we can lead with that empathy, not just sympathy, but actually lead with empathy and hear them, you know, then I think it can really transform, again, those personal relationships and kind of organizational kind of departmental relationships.
Noelle: Yeah, absolutely. And Gio, I see, we still have a number of attendees on. Are there other questions or comments?
Giovanni: Yeah, let me grab some here. Just to note, I did not kick Nick off. He might be having some technical difficulties. But we were talking about whether I was gonna turn my back on him before and I did not squeeze him out of the room here. Yeah, yeah. There’s a bunch of stuff here. Let me kind of look through some of these questions in here. So, I don’t think we went over this. What does it say about the person you’re listening to if they don’t listen to you? I think that they’re… You know, I’m seeing some concerns in here around vulnerability and reciprocity here. And I think sometimes when we’re stepping into this and kind of being the first one to be less selfish or to be more self-orientation aware, I think sometimes we’re gonna run into conflicts with that. So, how can you help us, you know, anticipate and deal with that?
Noelle: Can you say that question one more time? And I’m just gonna put a contact info while we’re wrapping up these questions, in case anybody wants to follow up with us.
Giovanni: Yeah, sure. What does it say about the person you’re listening to if they don’t listen to you? And maybe I would add to that, how do we react if something like that happens?
Noelle: Yeah. You know, that’s tough. And I think, let’s wrap up with this question, and then we’ll send the rest of the questions in an email. I’ll go ahead and go through these questions with you and get some answers out to folks. This is an interesting one, right, because it goes back to the two things. One is the reciprocity. If they aren’t listening to you, really take a step back and consider whether or not you are listening to them, truly listening to them, right? And we all know people who just never take a breath. They’re just not willing to let someone else get in. Typically, it’s driven by their own self-orientation or their own insecurities, in a sense, which self-orientation is often driven by fear.
Giovanni: Great point.
Noelle: And so, the other piece of it is recognize what it is that you’re trying to do. Because if what you’re trying to do is build a relationship, then it doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter if they’re listening to you, right? There’s a bit of a self-orientation aspect of that potentially coming in. So I advise self-awareness and determine whether or not you’re willing to put up with it. For people who want the ninja trust tips, like, no kidding, this is tough to do take some risk ninja tips. One of the ways to increase intimacy, creating safety is to set boundaries. And so you can, in fact, engage with that person. And this is what I was talking about trust and constructive conflict, to say, “Listen, you know, I feel like I’m often not heard.” And just if you can make a note, I’ll try to include a link to one of our blog posts for a technique called name it and claim it that helps make… It helps you have tough conversations or get tough conversations on the table in a socially acceptable way that takes some of the risky feeling out of it. So, we’ll have that out is a technique.
Giovanni: Cool. Awesome. Yeah. And I love the idea of going through some of these questions because we really have had great engagement. We still have over 60 people in the session right now. So, you know, Noelle, I think that speaks to, you know, the amount of questions we’ve had, the amount of input and sharing that people have, and how many people are still on. It speaks to how much I think we’re all hungry to do a better job at this. And I think we all have a sense whether we could name it before the session or not, that this issue of trust, and how people see us, and what relationships we do and don’t have, it’s a major linchpin in our ability to unlock what we know is our true potential. We know that as ethics experts, we can transform culture. We can help pretty much every other department get their individual missions and the whole company mission done.
And I think building this trust and becoming a trusted advisor is a path to, you know, succeeding as a company. And also, you know, a little self-oriented maybe but also, it’s a path to us building our own careers, and us becoming more valuable to our teams, and becoming better leaders. So, it’s been a huge blessing for you to share your thoughts and your guidance with us today. Noelle. Thank you, everyone, who’s joined us. As a reminder, we’ll follow up and send you some slides and the recording, and we welcome you to share your feedback with us to increase your chances to, you know, win the drawing for one of the best books around Trusted Advisor by Noelle. So, this has been our webinar on trust and risk management. And Noelle, anything else you wanna wrap up with?
Noelle: No, I just wanna thank everybody for being here. Trust is not an easy topic to discuss. And it takes courage and it takes introspection. So, thank you for being with us. Thank you for all of your comments, and for your courage, and joining the conversation today. Have a great day.
Giovanni: All right, have a great day, everybody. Thanks for joining.