Building on Trust - The Foundation of Project Success

Jaime Smith, 06 August 2019

Trust is the foundation of all relationships, but it is not implied, it is a choice and one that needs to be developed. Here at Magnetism, we have been putting a lot of thought and energy into the values that underpin our work and how they can make or break trust.

Our goal is to work as one with our clients, with everyone working towards the same goal. This requires a cohesive team that can work productively to achieve project goals. Pat Lencioni has a simple model of what is required for a high functioning team. It is as applicable to hybrid teams of client and vendor as it is to internal teams. Without a foundation of trust the rest of the building blocks are difficult to apply. 


So how is trust formed? Trust is created through vulnerability and honesty on both sides of the relationship. These attributes thrive in an environment where people feel safe no matter what – where warts-and-all, pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses conversations can occur and therefore can have healthy conflict to achieve better outcomes. This in turns fosters greater commitment and accountability towards the end goal. This all adds up to a productive team focused on the right results for the project.

How are we instilling our values in creating and nurturing trusting teams? 


One of our core values is “Do what we say.” There is a confidence that comes when you can take someone at their word and know that they will follow through. This is such an important part of who we are as a company. It helps cement the trust foundation, but it also enables accountability and exhibits commitment. Of course, surprises can happen and something can turn out to be more complicated than anticipated. That is why a team that can be vulnerable with each other is extremely important. Being able to admit mistakes and find a way through with open and honest communication is vital to maintaining trust.


Our “work as one” commitment is about becoming one team. We use the analogy of paddling in the same direction with our clients. It throws individualism, egos and superiority out the window. It reminds us that we are here to help our clients realise their potential and in order to achieve that, we need to have mutual trust. This enables the team to have robust conversations, discuss issues, mistakes and roadblocks in order to get ideas on the table and make good decisions. This does not always come easy, but as a wise person once said, “no relationship is plain sailing. At Magnetism, we are committed to demonstrating that building a “work as one” ethos starts with trust.