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THE RISKS
AND BENEFITS
OF BUILDING TRUST
ZAHIDA HUBER
When I look back on all the projects I have done as a UX
Architect, ...
The secret
ingredient is trust
In many other projects though, I felt deeply frustrated. But why?
These clients would not l...
On a journey
About three years ago - after an especially frustrating meeting - I
decided that I want to learn how to earn ...
WHEN DO WE
TRUST SOMEBODY?
Please ask yourselves, when do you trust somebody?

Imagine you give somebody access to your ba...
When we 

share values
Values are things or behaviours that we believe are important in
life. E.g. honesty, success, gener...
You need a 

deep understanding 

of yourself
It will help you to answer questions like 

What are my goals in life? What ...
HOW DO WE EARN
SOMEBODY'S TRUST?
How do we earn somebody’s trust? I often thought I have to
convince my clients with my co...
By

treating people well
How you treat them well is very personal, and depends on what
is important to you. I will rise to...
Value

other people’s work
When my team grew from four to eight people I read a lot about
leadership. To my embarassement,...
Give credit
When we work on a project, we have sprint reviews every
second week. The whole team presents, what they have d...
Share the benefits
But when did I show my clients that they are still valuable to me,
after I won the pitch? When did I giv...
Proud 

of their jobs
They gave their best. And I guess they also enjoyed it more,
working with me.
Encourage

ideas and learning
Imagine you have a boss who says “When you talk about that
topic, your eyes light up. Let’s ...
Seek 

ideas and criticism
everywhere
I am so guilty of reading a clients concept and thinking “This is
all rubbish. I can...
Loose status 

and importance
But I am convinced, that the more perspectives you see and the
more ideas you hear, the bett...
Develop others
To learn a new skill, to take responsibility for something, to move
in another direction, to take on a chal...
They will 

always be loyal
And they will recommend you. I am sure that if you invest into
people, they will also invest b...
Be authentic 

and honest
Honesty is the number one quality required from a leader, people
say. And it is very strong pers...
Be transparent
I was more transparent about my sources when I proposed
something. Have I read study and have numbers to pr...
Show emotions 

and weaknesses
I said that I don’t know the solution to a problem, or that I was
nervous about a task, bec...
You can be rejected
“Too honest” was the verdict. That was good and bad. I am glad
we were honest, because we found out ve...
Less discussions
I gained higher budgets and I had less discussion about them,
even when I was over budget. Just because t...
More freedom
And I gained a lot of encouragement to learn.
Share 

responsibility
There is a US company called Gore. They are the inventors of
GoreTex. When they hire you, you don’t...
Let others choose
what is right 

for them
That’s why you should be so honest with a client in the
beginning. You should n...
Share information
But it is not enough to share information. You have to explain
why you share it and make it understandab...
They can

contribute back
He can share his information and his knowledge. And he can
help you to make the project a succes...
Stick to you

in times of crisis
What you win is shared responsibility.
Treat everybody 

like a good friend
Marike, a project manager I interviewed, told me she treats every
client as if he was...
WHAT WILL BE
MY CHALLENGES?
What will be my hardest challenges, did I ask in my interviews. I
learned that everybody has b...
Trust builds 

over time

not over night
It takes time to build trust and it takes time keep it. 

But my hardest challeng...
Find the right
people
Trust does not work with everybody. You have to find people
who share the same values and goals as yo...
Face hard decisions
What do you do, if you realise that you just don’t trust a person?
Or that a person just doesn’t trust...
WHEN IS TRUST
THE WRONG WAY?
When is trust the wrong way, did I ask in my interviews. Hardly
ever, was I told. I should no...
If your trust 

is abused
She was not talking about making a mistake or not delivering
what was expected. She was talking ...
WHAT WILL YOU WIN
WITH TRUST?
Let’s say you found the right people and you established a
culture of trust, what will you w...
Cover my ass
Everybody just looks for himself. People don’t help each other or
invest into each other, because they don’t ...
Cooperation

When trust is lived, people talk about their mistakes openly. And
they listen to each other. And people being...
Cooperation

Commitment

If you give trust to people and you give them responsibility to
take their own decisions, they wi...
Cooperation

Commitment

Creativity
If you encourage ideas and if people are allowed to take risks
and make mistakes to le...
Growth
Innovation very often leads to economic growth too. You will
gain more clients and more employees because you are
r...
Now let me end with my very personal view on my journey in
earning my clients trust. I invested a lot of time, and even mo...
THANK YOU
INTERVIEWS WITH
MARIKE CARSTENS, HAVVA KARADENIZ, ULRIKE BIERL,
MARIA RAO, ANTONIO TOMO, KRISTIAN KANTHAK,
CHRIS...
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The Risks and Benefits Of Building Trust (Full spoken text included)

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When do we trust somebody? How do we earn somebody's trust? What are the hardest challenges? When is trust the wrong way? What will you win with trust?

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The Risks and Benefits Of Building Trust (Full spoken text included)

  1. 1. THE RISKS AND BENEFITS OF BUILDING TRUST ZAHIDA HUBER When I look back on all the projects I have done as a UX Architect, there are very few that I am truly proud of. They have in common that the team and the client trusted me. These projects were not award-winning, but I am proud of them, because I feel we built the best result possible as a team. With the time and the skills we had.
  2. 2. The secret ingredient is trust In many other projects though, I felt deeply frustrated. But why? These clients would not listen to me. I would spend more time discussing and arguing than actually doing good work. And I never gained enough impact to truly change something. And that’s what I always want: change something and make it better. So why did some clients trust me, and others didn’t?
  3. 3. On a journey About three years ago - after an especially frustrating meeting - I decided that I want to learn how to earn my clients trust. I started with experiments. I questioned and changed my own behaviour and observed what happened. And I asked for advice. I made a series of interviews on the topic of trust. I talked to a psychologist and a recruiter. I talked to people living trust and to people who work in highly controlled environment - a call center - where every minute you work is tracked. And I asked them for advice on what do I have to do to become trustworthy. And I am here today to talk about my experiences and learning on that journey.
  4. 4. WHEN DO WE TRUST SOMEBODY? Please ask yourselves, when do you trust somebody? Imagine you give somebody access to your bank account and leave on holydays for a week. Or if you have kids, you let somebody watch over them for an afternoon and maybe go on a boat trip with them. What kind of person would it take, that you feel safe? That you know your money is still there and that your kids will return home safe and alive? Most people find it very difficult to answer that question and so did I. That’s why this was my first question in my interviews. When do we trust somebody? I learned that we can build trust with people who share the same values as we do.
  5. 5. When we share values Values are things or behaviours that we believe are important in life. E.g. honesty, success, generosity, humility or excellence. We trust people who act in a similar way as we do. People who won’t do something we find entirely wrong. But what is right and wrong for you? What kind of behaviour do you expect from yourself? Knowing your core values is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a deep understanding of yourself.
  6. 6. You need a deep understanding of yourself It will help you to answer questions like What are my goals in life? What do I expect from a job or a relationship? In what situations do I feel truly happy, proud and fulfilled? How do I learn and grow? Knowing your core values will help you take decisions on how to behave towards other people. It will help you understand conflicts, why you just don’t like working with certain people. And it will help you see who appreciates your behaviour and acts in a similar way. And these are the people you can trust.
  7. 7. HOW DO WE EARN SOMEBODY'S TRUST? How do we earn somebody’s trust? I often thought I have to convince my clients with my competence, my skills and my knowledge. And it is important, it does build trust if you know what you are talking about. But it is only half the rent. At the end of the day, you earn people’s trust when you treat them well.
  8. 8. By treating people well How you treat them well is very personal, and depends on what is important to you. I will rise topics, where I had to learn some lessons myself, and topics where I still have challenges ahead of me. I have not mastered everything myself, that I am preaching here.
  9. 9. Value other people’s work When my team grew from four to eight people I read a lot about leadership. To my embarassement, I realized that many things are normal to do towards a team member, but not so normal to do towards a client. Giving credit for instance.
  10. 10. Give credit When we work on a project, we have sprint reviews every second week. The whole team presents, what they have done. Developers, designers, ux architects. But when is the moment when the client can present his work? A lot of clients do a great deal of work for a project, but when do they get feedback and credit for it? And when did I ever thank my clients for their work? Not so often. When you are a boss, and your employees do good work, you probably want to give them something back and share the benefits with them.
  11. 11. Share the benefits But when did I show my clients that they are still valuable to me, after I won the pitch? When did I give them something back? Offered them a financial reward, a service or an opportunity for development? Not so often. So I had to learn to treat my clients with more value and respect. But when I did, I felt they took more pride in their jobs.
  12. 12. Proud of their jobs They gave their best. And I guess they also enjoyed it more, working with me.
  13. 13. Encourage ideas and learning Imagine you have a boss who says “When you talk about that topic, your eyes light up. Let’s make more room, so that you can learn more on the topic and work more on it”. Does that sound good to you? Sounds really good to me. But have you ever done this for your clients? Do you know what your clients are interested in, what drives them? Do you see opportunities for them? I think the first step to do this, is that you have to learn from your clients first.
  14. 14. Seek ideas and criticism everywhere I am so guilty of reading a clients concept and thinking “This is all rubbish. I can’t use any of this. I have to start all over again”. I did not take my clients for competent. So I had to learn to listen better. An to ask more questions. No matter how tight my budget was, I took time in the beginning to get to know my clients, their wishes, ideas and knowledge. And I asked them for criticism in every step of the project. But learning isn’t always pleasant. If you ask about criticism, you will get criticism and you will hear a lot of things that you don’t do so well. If you aks for ideas, maybe the best idea comes from somebody else and you have to let go of your original concept of the project. You are not the solo act anymore, you are just a member of the orchestra.
  15. 15. Loose status and importance But I am convinced, that the more perspectives you see and the more ideas you hear, the better your product will be. And if you know your client’s ideas, his strengths and weaknesses, then you can encourage him to learn something.
  16. 16. Develop others To learn a new skill, to take responsibility for something, to move in another direction, to take on a challenge, make mistakes and learn from them. If people learn and grow, they often find new goals. And it is possible they can’t reach these goals with you, and that they leave you. But if you are serious about developing others, you should never stand in their way of reaching their goals. Even if it means they are leaving you. But if people learn something with you, if you help them to master a challenge, the will always be loyal to you.
  17. 17. They will always be loyal And they will recommend you. I am sure that if you invest into people, they will also invest back into you.
  18. 18. Be authentic and honest Honesty is the number one quality required from a leader, people say. And it is very strong personal value of mine. That’s why I started beind more transparent towards my clients.
  19. 19. Be transparent I was more transparent about my sources when I proposed something. Have I read study and have numbers to prove, have I conducted user test, is it my experience or just my opinion, my personal taste. I was more transparent about my experience. Have I done it 100 times and I know exactly what’s going to happen, have I done it once or twice, or have I never done it before and in fact, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I was more transparent about my mistakes, even if the client didn’t notice. And finally I also showed my emotions and weaknesses.
  20. 20. Show emotions and weaknesses I said that I don’t know the solution to a problem, or that I was nervous about a task, because I am not really good at it. The first test of this concept was a pitch I did together with a team member. The client wanted to know all kind of things. What was our decision making process, what was our project management methodology and so on. We did not work with such strict protocols, and we knew the client would not like that. It was very tempting to tweak the truth a little bit to please the client. But we resisted the temptation and explained the client very honestly how we work. We were also honest about the client’s expectation of budget. We had done similar projects and knew it would cost more than the client expected. And we told him so honestly. We didn’t make it to the second round.
  21. 21. You can be rejected “Too honest” was the verdict. That was good and bad. I am glad we were honest, because we found out very early that neither of us would be happy in this collaboration. But it hurts to be rejected. And the more honest you are, the more it hurts. Luckily most clients appreciated my honesty. When I opened up my budgets and explained the client in every detail how I was going to spend his money, I feared a lot of discussions. Why do you need two days to analyse this, would one day not be enough? But the exact opposite happened.
  22. 22. Less discussions I gained higher budgets and I had less discussion about them, even when I was over budget. Just because the client knew what was going on and where the money went. I feared most admitting my inexperience. Saying that I have never done something, but would like to try it. To my surprise so many clients were so open to it. They said let’s just try. So by admitting my inexperience I gained a lot of freedom to explore new things.
  23. 23. More freedom And I gained a lot of encouragement to learn.
  24. 24. Share responsibility There is a US company called Gore. They are the inventors of GoreTex. When they hire you, you don’t work for half a year. You just learn. You go around the whole company, meet everybody and build a network. You learn how things are done at Gore. After this time you not only choose what kind of work you will do for the company, you also choose who will be your boss. I imagine that if you can choose who your boss is, you will have a very strong connection to that person. So choice is a very important element in building trust.
  25. 25. Let others choose what is right for them That’s why you should be so honest with a client in the beginning. You should not tell him what he wants to hear, but explain very honestly how it is to work with you. So that he can choose if this is the right thing for him or not. More and more I also let clients decide what is done in a project and how it is done. I gave them options, explained what the benefit are and what the risks would be, if we don’t do it. And let them decide what they want to do. But if you let your clients take decisions, you better make sure they are well informed.
  26. 26. Share information But it is not enough to share information. You have to explain why you share it and make it understandable to the client. Avoid jargon or buzzwords and take the time to make information clear and simple to the clients so that they can understand it and take action. The more you share, the more you can be challenged. You have to be ready to explain everything and to admit bad ideas or mistakes. But if a client can influence the outcome of a decision, he will be way more motivated to understand. And he can contribute back to the project.
  27. 27. They can contribute back He can share his information and his knowledge. And he can help you to make the project a success. Of course there are always bad decisions and mistakes. In my experience, you can never blame the clients for it. At the end of the day, you are still responsible for the project. But if you invite clients to decision making, they will defend these decisions and stick to you in times of crisis.
  28. 28. Stick to you in times of crisis What you win is shared responsibility.
  29. 29. Treat everybody like a good friend Marike, a project manager I interviewed, told me she treats every client as if he was a good friend. On everything she does, she checks back, if she would do the same, if this was a good friend of hers. This seems a very good check to me, to see if you are actually living your values towards everybody.
  30. 30. WHAT WILL BE MY CHALLENGES? What will be my hardest challenges, did I ask in my interviews. I learned that everybody has been disappointed in life. People don’t trust easily. Trust is something precious that people don’t give to everybody.
  31. 31. Trust builds over time not over night It takes time to build trust and it takes time keep it. But my hardest challenge will be, to find the right people.
  32. 32. Find the right people Trust does not work with everybody. You have to find people who share the same values and goals as you do. That’s very difficult. it sometimes reminded me of finding out who your true friends are. And you have to find out what drives them and create an environment where they are happy so that they stay with you. What comes with it, are the hard decisions what to do, if there is no trust.
  33. 33. Face hard decisions What do you do, if you realise that you just don’t trust a person? Or that a person just doesn’t trust you. I learned in my interviews that you have to be honest in such a situation. But you have to know why you don’t trust a person, you can’t just say “I don’t trust you”. You have to know the reason and then address it openly. This can be a first step to earn somebody’s respect or trust. But I also learned in my interviews, that if it doesn’t work out, it is better to go separat ways. So you will have to face the hard decisions to reject some clients and to say “We don’t want to work with you”.
  34. 34. WHEN IS TRUST THE WRONG WAY? When is trust the wrong way, did I ask in my interviews. Hardly ever, was I told. I should not trust opportunists, gamblers or people who just have other values than I have. Lise, the recruiter I interviewed, was very strict in one point though. She said if an employee abuses your trust once, fire him immediately.
  35. 35. If your trust is abused She was not talking about making a mistake or not delivering what was expected. She was talking about lying or stealing. In her experience, if a person does that once, he will do it again. So if your trust is abused, don’t try a second time.
  36. 36. WHAT WILL YOU WIN WITH TRUST? Let’s say you found the right people and you established a culture of trust, what will you win? To understand, I asked for the opposite. When I asked what a culture looks like, with no trust at all, people described to me some kind of cover my ass culture.
  37. 37. Cover my ass Everybody just looks for himself. People don’t help each other or invest into each other, because they don’t gain anything out of it. Nobody takes any risks, because it is not allowed to make mistakes. People just do what their boss tells them to do. People are not honest. They just tell you what you want to hear and change their opinion as it suits them best. So what is different when you do have a culture of trust?
  38. 38. Cooperation When trust is lived, people talk about their mistakes openly. And they listen to each other. And people being honest and people who listen to each other, that is an unbeatable combination. And if people help each other and invest into each other, you have a true cooperation. And what you win is more pride and joy in your work.
  39. 39. Cooperation Commitment If you give trust to people and you give them responsibility to take their own decisions, they will act as if the company or the product was their own. They will help you make it a success and they will stick to you in times of crisis. What you win is shared responsibilities and less sorrows.
  40. 40. Cooperation Commitment Creativity If you encourage ideas and if people are allowed to take risks and make mistakes to learn something, you will have a very high level of innovation and problem solving. Let’s say you have a product that you want to be built and developed. What will happen if we give it to team cover my ass? What will come out of it? I think … not much. Certainly not a very innovative solution. What will happen if we give it to team trust? Most likely, your product will develop and grow.
  41. 41. Growth Innovation very often leads to economic growth too. You will gain more clients and more employees because you are recommended. And if your clients trust you, they will give you more important and strategic work. But most importantly, your product will not stand still. It will improve continually, develop and grow. So the main benefit you gain out if building trust, is growth.
  42. 42. Now let me end with my very personal view on my journey in earning my clients trust. I invested a lot of time, and even more courage. It was not always easy to be so honest and show myself. And I suffered failure, I failed so many times. I was disappointed and sometimes truly hurt by people. But I gained so much serenity, pride and joy. Because when you work with people who you trust, it is a pure pleasure. But what was most important to me was, that I gained freedom. If you earn somebody’s trust, you gain the freedom to explore new things. And you gain the freedom to change something. And that’s what I always want: change something and make it better.
  43. 43. THANK YOU INTERVIEWS WITH MARIKE CARSTENS, HAVVA KARADENIZ, ULRIKE BIERL, MARIA RAO, ANTONIO TOMO, KRISTIAN KANTHAK, CHRISTIAN STOCKER, ELISA CHOI AND LISE FRISCHKNECHT INSPIRATION FROM THE TRUSTWORTHY LEADER BY AMY LYMAN, 50 WAYS TO GET A JOB, KIM GOODWIN ON UX LEADERSHIP ENCOURAGEMENT, HELP AND SUPPORT FROM PHILIPP EGLI, SILVIA MARIA JUNG, RITA BARRACHA AND THE WHOLE UX LAUSANNE TEAM

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