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Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies Hardcover – January 17, 2017
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“Paul is an outstanding researcher and communicator of ideas, and his work could really transform your organization from the inside out.” --Roger Dooley, The Brainfluence Podcast
“[Paul Zak’s] book is fascinating and contributes to the body of work on trust and organizational culture.” –Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights
“It’s time to imagine a new path forward built on trust and experimentation, unveiling inherent courage in people and fostering innovation. Dr. Zak’s will show you the way.” –Linkedin Pulse
“Many books focusing on soft skills do not provide the evidence to support the findings. In this book, direct evidence is presented to support the value of the trust factor and its ability to change the culture in an organization.” —PM World Journal
“[for] anyone interested in the powerful side of building trust and creating joyful, high-performance workplaces…The lessons are basic. They are the essence of being joyful and human.” –Vancouver Business Journal
Discover the formula for engagement.
For decades, alarms have sounded about declining engagement. Yet companies continue to struggle with toxic cultures, and the low productivity and unhappiness that go with them.
Why is “culture” so difficult to improve? What makes so many good employees check out? Neuroscientist Paul Zak shows that innate brain functions hold the answers. It all boils down to trust.
When someone shows you trust, a feel-good jolt of oxytocin surges through your brain and triggers you to reciprocate. This simple mechanism creates a perpetual trust-building cycle—the key to changing stubborn workplace patterns. Drawing on his original research, Zak teases out science-backed insights for building high-trust organizations. Trust Factor opens a window on how brain chemicals affect behavior, why trust gets squashed, and ways to consciously stimulate it by celebrating effort, sharing information, promoting ownership, and more. The Ofactor™ survey, data, and examples support the action plans.
Engagement programs and monetary rewards are Band-Aids on broken bones. To get to the root of the problem, you’ve got to go deeper. Packed with examples from The Container Store, Zappos, and Herman Miller, Trust Factor harnesses our neurochemistry to effectively cultivate work places where trust, joy, and commitment compound naturally.
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That acronym may sound gimmicky, but Zak documents each factor with research from his and other labs. Each chapter includes relevant anecdotes and examples from real-world companies. These examples contribute not only to the credibility of the material but also to the readability of the book. Each chapter includes a few action items at its close to encourage readers to act on what they are reading.
The first factor, for example, is Ovation. Zak shows how recognition affects attitude and performance, and explains the right and wrong way to invoke this factor. (Hint: your "Employee of the Month" award may be doing more harm than good.)
One aspect I liked was Zak's emphasis on business experiments. Too many business books say, "Do this, it will work." Of course, no single approach or solution is right for every organization or problem. Zak encourages the reader to implement ideas as experiments with a defined checkpoint where the results are evaluated. Not only does this facilitate acceptance of changes, it also helps convince executives who might otherwise reject new ideas.
I found the recommendations in Trust Factor to be clear and actionable. There's plenty of data to back them up, too, which will be needed when convincing others that change is a good idea. It's almost certain that in a climate that has been distrustful for years there will be pushback from some team members. Change isn't easy, but Zak provides the tools to persuade.
Of necessity, I read dozens of business books each year. (Preparing for a weekly podcast alone accounts for 50+.) It's very early to make this call, but I'm confident Trust Factor will be one of my top ten book recommendations for the year.