Mark Zuckerberg’s Workplace Secret: Trust

How a Model of Trustworthiness Leads to Success at Any Level

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In a competitive world, keeping information close to the vest is viewed as a business imperative. Products, strategies and tactics fall under the tent of “Intellectual Property” and are closeted until just the right time.

For example, Apple is famous for secrecy. Prototypes, plans and ideas are carefully stove-piped so no one working on them has the whole picture until the product is ready for launch.

The recipes for Coca-Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies are carefully vaulted, ensuring a marketplace advantage.

There are good reasons – some of them are legal – to keep certain things under wraps. But too many workplaces are cloaked in secrecy over every detail, with all the knowledge and power held by a few.

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has more than a few projects in the pipeline. With more than 1.8 billion monthly active users and a market capitalization of $357 billion, the company must continually innovate to satisfy stockholders and ensure long-term viability.

Rather than keep information behind closed doors, Zuckerberg’s 15,700 employees are given a secret weapon: Trust.

INC. Magazine writes about this uncanny way this young CEO has built loyalty through trust. It’s a strategy that works. Glassdoor, which measures employee satisfaction, gives Zuckerberg a 93 percent approval rating with his employees, making him America’s fourth highest-ranking CEO.

Employees say things like, “The openness is a real thing,” and “We’re trusted to do the right thing.” One employee writing for Business Insider says this. “He doesn’t make all the decisions, in fact far from it. We feel entrusted and empowered to drive our features the way we feel is best for the people that use Facebook. This is drastically different from many top-down corporations.”

Trust works both ways

There are a few people reading this right now who are yearning for just such a workplace. Rather than wait for a culture shift from the top, might I suggest that it begins with you. If you want to be trusted, then you should a model of trustworthiness.

At the core of the worker motivated by faith is honesty. Following workplace rules, exceeding established standards, and pursuing authentic dealings with customers and coworkers will set you apart. It will also work as “light” in your workplace, flushing out the darkness and drawing in the curious seeker.

When the door is left open for you to do right or wrong, make sure you always make the right choice. One single action can undo a lifetime of trustworthiness.

Bluegrace Logistics CEO Bobby Harris calls trust his “secret sauce.”

“I trust them to be responsible,” he said.“The biggest thing you can do is trust people,”

The fear of letting go

It doesn’t matter if you are the founder of a company or an administrative assistant; the temptation to control things is ever present. The manipulation of knowledge and information keeps the power switch close at hand.

But in God’s upside economy of truth, true power is in letting go.

This principle is at the very core of the Christian faith and Jesus’ teaching. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?(Matthew 16:26).

It separates us from the world that is hell-bent on gain, no matter what the cost. It separates us from those who adhere to religion over relationship. It separates us from ourselves.

“Let it Go” isn’t just a theme for Disney princesses – it’s for the modern-day workplace warrior.

And once you begin to trust your employees, your coworkers, and God, you’ll be released from the tyranny of control and find freedom in the workplace.

  • Great article, David. Such a good reminder to trust those around us….