Develop Trust While Developing a Solution — Purposeful Architect

Emily, a Software Development Manager, has worked with a customer team to build a prototype that integrates with her company’s technology. She struggled with technical problems in the prototype, having to inform the customer of the problems and missing the project deadline to resolve them. Emily earned the team’s respect by exposing the problems and offering solid solutions to them. The team delivered a robust working prototype at the extended deadline.

Now Emily is meeting the team to hold a retrospective for the prototype project, where they will review what went well and what they could improve for the next project. The Project Manager leads the meeting, expressing appreciation for delivering the prototype and showing specific cases where the team overcame difficult challenges. The Project Manager regrets missing the original deadline, pointing out that the prototype was not viable by then. He emphasizes they realized that only because Emily delivered the news of technical problems before the original deadline. He expresses appreciation for Emily’s honest assertiveness on behalf of the team.

Emily felt overwhelmed. She made a habit of paying attention to people and their needs, but had not received such positive attention until now. She said, “Thank you so much. I loved working with everyone here and learned a lot. I realize that it took longer than expected to deliver the prototype, and appreciate you taking the extra time to make sure that we had a successful outcome.” The team stands up and applauds. Emily earned the respect of the team, starting with her curiosity and attentiveness.

The senior executive in the meeting congratulates the team on delivering the prototype. She expresses her appreciation for their extra efforts to make it happen, sharing stories of those who went above and beyond what was expected. She turns to Emily and says, “Emily you have gone beyond making the prototype successful. You earned our respect and more importantly, our trust. You always came through for us, even alerting us to problems we didn’t want to recognize. In the rare case where you didn’t have an answer to our questions, you found the answer and made sure we got it. You were always honest with us. We feel like you’re truly part of our team, as committed to our success as those who work here. Thank you so much, Emily!” Emily thanked the executive. She had never felt so appreciated.

Develop trust with stakeholders to sustain a successful relationship with them.

The previous four articles and this one reveal relationship essential assets you can use with stakeholders.

Curiosity of customer needs and encouraging the same curiosity in stakeholders.

Attention expresses your curiosity and focus on customer needs.

Respect stakeholders and expect respect from them.

Appreciate stakeholder efforts to discover customer needs.

Trust, built by earning respect and appreciation

You can remember these with the acronym C.A.R.A.T.

Originally published at on April 28, 2020.