Building a company with your Co-Founders asks for a good and thorough fundament. In part I we spoke about the cap table and the impact of the cap table on the underlying dynamics between co-founders.
Today, in part II we discuss the importance of Trust. You can’t have a healthy relationship without it. At the same time we all experienced a situation where our trust has been broken. When that trust breaks down, conflict may arise between the parties involved.
How do we build trust? And how do we keep the level of trust as high as possible?
First, we can differentiate between several levels of trust. We distinguish between: ‘no trust’, through ‘functional trust’, up to ‘invested trust’, and ‘blind trust’.
As you can see the level of commitment arises together with the authentic effort we put into the relationship. With authentic effort we mean predictability and consistency of response over time.
What behaviour helps predictability and consistency? In practice following behaviour is helpful to level up trust:
- Keep your word, even in the most difficult circumstances
- Be consistent in your behaviour, do what you say and say what you do
- Walk your talk, be an example for others, creating the right trustful company culture
- Communicate clearly, be transparent what you have or have not committed to
- Take time, remind yourself that it takes time to build and earn trust and take time before you take a well thought decision
- Value the relationships you have, do not take them for granted
- Be honest, tell the truth, although that might be painful
- Be consistent in your values and vision, or otherwise address new insights
- Help others, in this way you are highlighting the fact ‘we are in this together’
- Show your feelings, and your vulnerability
- Admit your mistakes, and share your learnings.
In our True Conversations, trust is a recurring subject because it is so fundamental to the success of the company and the wellbeing of the founders.
Sometimes the pre mediation session is a beautiful, essential conversation emphasizing the honest connection, sometimes it is tough and painful to address the situation where people lost each other and to explore if this can be repaired.
Carthage Buckley (no date) and Bonoir, 2018