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I never considered the relationship between trust and performance until I watched this portion of Simon Sinek’s powerful video. Watch it and then let’s continue the conversation.

He defines performance as “trust them with your life” while trust is defined as “trust them with your money and wife”.

It was intuitive that we would want to avoid someone on our team who is a low performer and has low trust. It’s also intuitive that we would want to have someone on our team who is a high performer and has high trust.

Where it got really interesting for me was thinking about the other categories. He defined high performance and low trust as a “toxic leader and toxic team member” and the low performance and high trust as “the best gifted natural leader who’s creating an environment for everybody else to succeed and they may not be your most individual highest performer.”

 

Implications in Education
Based on my experiences in education, it seems all too common for us to have worked with someone toxic and not nearly common enough to have worked with someone who’s “creating an environment for everybody to succeed.”
It makes me wonder how that happens so often.

I keep coming back to this quote:

“And the problem in business is we have lopsided metrics. We have a million and one metrics to measure someone’s performance and negligible to no metrics to measure someone’s trustworthiness. And so what we end up doing is promoting or bonusing toxicity in our businesses which is bad for our long game because it eventually destroys the whole organization.”

 
How this quote resonates with me! Even in education, it seems that we often measure what’s easy to measure, not always what’s important. When school districts are making decisions on who to promote as specialists, coordinators, vice-principals, principals, directors, assistant superintendents, and superintendents, are we too often looking at performance we can measure like standardized test scores while ignoring things like trustworthiness?

What if we also tried to integrate variations of questions like “Who do you trust more than anybody else? Who’s always got your back and when the chips are down, they will be there with you?” into these processes? Could we get information that would help promote the right people?

I’m tired of lamenting the frequent lack of leadership. If we would also prefer trustworthiness over performance, what are we going to do about it? What do you think? Please let me know what resonates with you in the comments.


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