Core belief: People are trustworthy

Core belief in effective product development culture.

Effective product development cultures are more Theory Y than Theory X.

Back in the 1950s/1960s, Douglas McGregor created the idea of Theory X vs Theory Y for workforce motivation.

Trusting people is about trusting their intent and their competence.

Trusting people has two parts:

  1. Do you trust their ability to do what they intend?
  • People are competent (or at least have the capability of acquiring competence given the right support) (AKA growth mindset).

Transparency and autonomy are natural consequences of trusting people.

People do the right thing when they want to do the right thing and they know what the right thing is; when people do the right thing, we trust they want to do the right thing; when we trust people want to do the right thing, we’re more transparent about context; when context is transparent, people know what the right thing is
People do the right thing when they want to do the right thing and they know what the right thing is; when people do the right thing, we trust they want to do the right thing; when we trust people want to do the right thing, we’re more transparent about context; when context is transparent, people know what the right thing is
Transparency reinforces trust reinforces transparency

Lack of transparency and micromanagement are natural consequences of not trusting people.

Believe people have bad intentions and/or can’t handle the information therefore hide context and micro-manage; people don’t know the right thing to do so do the wrong thing; because people did the wrong thing, believe people have bad intentions and/or can’t handle the information
Believe people have bad intentions and/or can’t handle the information therefore hide context and micro-manage; people don’t know the right thing to do so do the wrong thing; because people did the wrong thing, believe people have bad intentions and/or can’t handle the information
Lack of transparency reinforces lack of trust reinforces lack of transparency

Trust is a natural consequence of transparency and regular, repeated delivery.

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduced the idea of an emotional back account. You can deposit trust into this account by doing trustworthy things (e.g., kindness, honesty, keeping commitments, etc.). This would allow you to be forgiven when you act in a way that withdraws trust (e.g., not being kind, not entirely being honest, missing commitments, etc.).

Trusting people means the default explanation for undesired behaviour is not individual motivation or ability.

Crucial Learning (originally Vital Smarts) has a model called Six Sources of Influence:

X-axis: Motivation, Ability; Y-axis: Personal, Social, Structural
X-axis: Motivation, Ability; Y-axis: Personal, Social, Structural
Six Sources of Influence

References

Senior Agile Coach at Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl