Building a Culture of Trust & Connection

A Recap of Our Nonprofit Network Training on Organizational Culture

On November 14, 2023, I led a workshop for SIF’s Nonprofit Network, where we embarked on an introspective exploration into building a culture of trust and connection in the workplace. We delved into the pivotal role that leaders play in shaping this cultural landscape, leaving participants with invaluable insights to transform their professional environments. Here are some takeaways from the workshop:

The Ripple Effect of Leadership: Setting the Tone for Success

Research unveils a powerful truth — the mindset and actions of leaders create a ripple effect that cascades through the collective mindset and behaviors of the entire organization. In essence, leaders hold the key to shaping the organizational culture. By understanding the impact of our positions on this spectrum, leaders can set the tone for a culture that thrives on trust and connection.

The Two-Factor Connection Model: Measuring Success Beyond Metrics

Enter the two-factor connection model by Carron et al (1985), shedding light on how groups connect at work: through shared tasks that can be measured by performance metrics and social bonds that are often reflected in employee retention. Reflecting on our inclinations toward either factor when we envision success uncovers our underlying expectations about connection at work.

Unveiling the Twelve Factors: Your Blueprint for Connection

I prompted participants to introspect, considering the twelve major factors that shape our mindsets about connection at work. From age and race/ethnicity to personal career journey, intro/extroversion and tech friendliness, these factors are the building blocks of our expectations, assumptions, and desires. By reflecting on how these factors have impacted our own expectations of trust and connection at work, the messages received when we entered the field, and how those have remained the same or shifted over time, we gain profound insights into our own narrative of connection in the workplace.

The Vulnerability Pyramid: A Blueprint for Authentic Connection

Picture vulnerability as a three-tiered pyramid. At its foundation, it involves sharing successes, failures, and lessons learned from our career journey. While the amount varies for each individual, this authenticity cultivates trust and psychological safety at the second tier. Ultimately, it propels us to the pinnacle — meaningful connections that manifest in various forms, be it individual, team, organizational, or community-based.

Redefining Success and Failure: A Mindset for Growth

The workshop challenged conventional notions surrounding the acknowledgment of wins and losses. Our mindset towards success and failure is deeply ingrained, shaped by messages received at the inception of our careers. By reevaluating and reshaping these narratives, we pave the way for a culture that thrives on continuous growth and resilience.

In conclusion, the conversation served as a catalyst for a transformation in the workplace. Armed with newfound knowledge and a deeper understanding of the intricacies of trust and connection, participants were empowered to lead a cultural shift in their professional domains. As we embrace vulnerability, redefine success, and acknowledge the impact of leadership, we embark on a journey towards fostering a workplace culture of trust and connection. 


About the Author:

Dr. Stephanie Palacios is a keynote speaker, expert workshop facilitator, mindset coach, certified mindfulness instructor, and organizational consultant. She works with leaders, executives, and teams to cultivate a deeper sense of fulfillment, enhance leadership capabilities and effectiveness, champion wellness initiatives, and cultivate resilience and stress management. She has a PsyD in clinical psychology with a dual specialized postdoc in mindfulness, and trained at Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, and Harvard Medical School. 

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