Building Trust in Global Technical Teams – The Not-So-Secret Sauce for Success

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International Association for Human Resource Information Management


In our work with global managers, we frequently see genuine displays of trust being misinterpreted or going unacknowledged, resulting in the erosion of this critical value. Team members can tell that trust is lacking, but may not want to address it directly, or make matters worse through misinterpretation across language and culture differences. To help teams, especially groups of technical people (engineering, R&D, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, etc.), survey data can “speak” to provide an acceptable entree to identify trust needs, gaps, and pathways to stronger trust. We have researched instruments that will assess trust in organizations and teams; one that specifically addresses trust within teams of many cultures, and examines 10 dimensions of trust. We have built a four-step process that includes Alignment around the purpose and goals of the team, measuring a Baseline of trust with online survey data, followed by a face-to-face Construct Trust workshop, that produces commitments and Deliverables to reach team goals with higher trust. This article will share how two teams have used this process and how organizations can benefit.