'People do not have to love each other, or even like each other, to work together effectively. But they do have to trust each other in order to do so. Trust between people is the basic social glue: suspicion and mistrust are the prime enemies of reasonable human relationships.'
- Dr Elliott Jacques, 'Requisite Organization'.
A witness in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was asked why he didn't act on a report by one of his staff.
'Because I didn't think that I had enough information to act upon,' was the essence of his explanation.
'If you had witnessed the behaviour yourself, would you have acted upon it?'
'Yes,' he replied.
Here was a rare glimpse into the dirty little secret of almost every organisation and the root cause of their dysfunction.
Bosses won't delegate decision making power because no-one else has the skill to see and interpret information and act upon it as effectively as they can. They're the Boss, after all.
Workers who have delegated decision making power but don't use it because they assume their boss must have a superior understanding of the same information. They're the Boss, after all.
If we fail to act on information given to us by another in the same way that we would if we had first hand knowledge of that information, we declare:
'I don't trust you.'
In which case cancel the off-site team building exercises, Myers-Briggs Tests, Christmas party, external consultant reviews, coaching, values statements, and staff surveys.
And spend the savings on the glue in Payroll to retain the untrusted people who remain to service their mortgages, and to hire the extra managers needed to supervise them.