Challenges and Task
- Analysed what and why trust had been broken in the first place. Reasons were overly optimistic communication about the delivery timelines and hence continuous violations of commitments given to the client. Fear of client escalations to senior leadership if less optimistic timelines were communicated. Dis-trust that the client would understand why more time was needed to deliver tailored and complex solutions.
- Took steps to restore the trust by immediate engagement in restoring activities such as providing an apology as soon as violations occurred and give thorough account of what happened. Taking the full responsibility, being sincere by taking unilateral actions and strive to repair the harm. Make every effort through congruence between words and actions to show that we genuinely desire to earn the client’s trust again. Internally honour trust on a daily basis. Invite the client to assist.
- Restated and renegotiated expectations for the future, and ensured that we were trustworthy in future interactions.
- Reaffirmed commitment to the relationship through top management involvement, visits and sharing thoughts about strategic direction of the client.
Changing client relationship from troubled by continuous trust violations to trust-based and cooperative
Principles of Leadership
The client is our partner. We value openness and honesty. The goal is to develop trust with the purpose of enhancing cooperation, information sharing and problem solving.
Internal culture characterised by distrust, promoted by functional management through a “protect yourself” attitude.
- Client relationship changed from distrust to trust-based.
- Internal organisation learned the dimensions of trustworthy behaviour and adopted these in their communication and actions.
- Significantly enhanced performance to the client’s satisfaction – through collaboration, information sharing and problem solving.
How to handle challenged relationships.