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A good leader knows that trust in the workplace is one of a company’s most valuable assets. Ken Blanchard, Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, is quick to point out, however, that trust in the workplace doesn’t just happen by itself. It must be cultivated from the top down, by the company’s leaders.

In Blanchard’s article titled “How to Build a High Trust Workplace,” that appeared in the March 2017 edition of CLOmedia’s Chief Learning Officer, Blanchard cites Horst Shultze, one of the retired founders of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, as a stellar example of a trust-building leader. During the years when Schultz was still one of the company’s executives, he established a special program for the employees. After they had completed their training, Shultze set up a $2,000 discretionary fund for each of the employees. The money was to be used to solve a customer’s problem and employees were not required to report the details of how they spent the money.

Eventually, Shultze collected many heart-warming anecdotes that demonstrated employee trust and loyalty. One of his favorite stories was about a business executive who was a guest at the Atlanta Ritz-Carlton hotel. After leaving Atlanta, he had to fly to Los Angeles and then to Hawaii for the delivery of a major speech to his international company.

At the Atlanta airport, the guest discovered he’d left his laptop in his hotel room. When the man called the Atlanta Ritz-Carlton and asked them to Fed Ex his laptop to Hawaii, the housekeeper used her $2,000 discretionary fund to purchase a round-trip ticket to Hawaii (no overnight stay!) to personally deliver the laptop.

Companies thrive in a trustworthy work environment. When leaders establish rapport with their employees and empower them to actively participate in the company culture, they strive to do their best. Employees are made to feel that the company’s success is based on their personal commitment.

Lean Learning builds trust into the workplace by emphasizing the importance of strong communication and teamwork among management and employees. Lean coaches encourage business managers to become fully engaged in every aspect of their business. This hands-on approach to problem-solving through L3-Lean Learning Labs and Kaizen events is one of the best ways to establish loyalty and trust.

When employees become personally committed to standards of excellence, spirits, and profits soar. Likewise, when trust in the workplace is linked to the Lean toolkit of carefully developed strategies and practical problem-solving techniques, successful leaders such as Horst Schultz reap an added personal reward that is priceless.

About Lean Learning Center

The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.

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