Trust Craig Johns It Is All About Trust

It Is All About Trust

An article in the New Zealand Herald (Donaldson, 2018) brought up a great discussion between ‘Command and Control’ versus ‘Self-Determination Theory’ in sport. It raised some great questions that relate to both the business world as well as the coach-athlete relationship. Has the traditional ‘hierarchical’ systems, which lead to command and control, become outdated or is there still a place for this type of leadership behaviour?

Let’s take a look at what the central currency to any community or relationship is. Trust is essential to any relationship and is, according to Mayer et al., made up of three key elements: ability; benevolence; integrity.

Ability is built on the skills, competencies and characteristics that enable a person to perform tasks in a specific domain. As a relationship is building those involved will be ascertaining whether the other party can do what they say, have a track record of performance in that particular area and is their any evidence supporting their claim to competency. It is usually situation specific as we cannot be highly skilled in everything we do.

Benevolence is based on the foundation of how much do they actually care about the relationship versus aspects such as money, power or self-fulfilment. Early in the relationship you are trying to understand each others situation, how much do you want to help each other and are the actions being taken beneficial for each other.

Integrity refers to our acceptance of a set of principles and whether they are being adhered to. Are the actions taken from and adhered to against a set of principles? We want to know whether they will guide or motivate our performance, are we accepting of each others performance principles, and do both sets of principles align or can they coexist.

I would also add a fourth dimension to trust, and that is enjoyment. Enjoyment is the number one retention factor for any type of community or relationship. It helps to love what you are doing and have fun why you are doing it. If the environment is enjoyable, then you are more likely to stay connected.

Command and control is based on an aggressive, micro-managing and dictatorial approach, which sometimes maybe referred to as ‘it is my way or the highway’ approach. It is a common approach that leaders fall into when the pressure for success in business or sport is enormous and a win-at-all-costs mentality is allowed to fester. In certain circumstances this mentality may result in bullying behaviours and a ‘culture of fear’, which are not appropriate our society.

We are seeing the command and control hierarchial approach being replaced in the work place and on the sports fields over time, but there are still many instances of this type of behaviour occurring in society. As people’s awareness, rights, confidence in ability to speak up and community acceptance that you should bring issues to the forefront, acts of bullying are being raised and stamped out. However it is still prevalent in politics, sport and the workplace.

Over the past two decades or so, we have started to see leaders evolve their approach as they understand that their are more effective ways to reach higher levels of performance and productivity. The Self-Determination Theory provides a great platform to understand how we can perform at our best and bring out the best in the people we work with.

Self-Determination Theory is built on 3 core elements; autonomy; relatedness; and competence.

Autonomy is feeling you have a choice, that what you’re doing is of your own volition. Relatedness is to care for and be cared about by others, to feel you are contributing to something greater than yourself, to have your values align with the goals of the team or programme. Competence is about skill levels but athletes also need to feel they are learning and growing, not just reaching a set level.” (Donaldson, 2018)

If we are building a high performance environment, we need to allow our people to feel valued, be able to speak, have a sense of purpose and be true to themselves. We need to provide an environment where people feel highly motivated, feel like they belong and are happy, which the components of the Self-Determination Theory provides.

To build a feeling of autonomy in our people and ensure they are highly motivated and engaged, it is important that we reduce and refrain from approaches that involve dictating, incentivizing and applying heigh levels of pressure. We need to trust the abilities of our people and work on alleviating the fear inside our heads that we won’t achieve the desired results.

One of the most powerful skills a leader can possess is listening. To bring out the best in people, they need to have a voice and be involved in a collaborative way. That doesn’t mean as leaders that we can’t make the tough decisions, it eludes to ensuring that the feelings, values and thoughts of our people are taken into consideration to ensure they are closely aligned to the goals.



Donaldson. M. (2018). New Zealand Sport Model ‘Outdated’. New Zealand Herald, 24 June 2018. link

Roger C. Mayer, James H Davis, and F. David Schoorman (1995). An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust. The Academy of Management Review, 20 (3), July 1995, 709-734.

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

It has been reported that “81% of people lie or bend the truth in their resumes and when being interviewed”. (Schwantes, Unknown) Candidates can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

Are you tired of sifting through resumes and conducting tireless interviews only to find out 2 weeks after hiring someone that they are the wrong fit?

When we are recruiting someone to fill a role in our company or team we are looking for the best available talent. So are our processes actually identifying talents or are we just testing how good people can write a resume, interview and tell stories?


What do sports coaches, dance company’s, symphony orchestra’s, music labels and art galleries have in common when they are recruiting new people?

They conduct auditions and trials.

How do builders, plumbers and other craftsman recruit people?

They conduct apprenticeships.

So, why don’t companies and teams place potential employees through real-life situations, such as auditions or apprenticeships, when recruiting?

Let’s take a look at how you can reduce the opportunity to hire a talker rather than a walker.

When recruiting, we need to be able to assess the following:

  • Behavioural characteristics
  • Skill level
  • Values compatibility
  • Team cohesion
  • Complimentary skills to improve team performance

Audition’s, trials and apprenticeships allow you to test the candidate’s ability to perform the kinds of tasks that they are likely to tackle in a typical day. They allow you to view multiple skills, see how they work, how they prioritise, what they do when faced with challenges and you can interact with them in a work situation. It is a great way to safeguard your company or team against those who are good at bluffing their way through a situation or interview. (Smyth, Unknown)

Auditions need to be appropriate to the role recruiting for. If you are recruiting for a role that requires a lot of collaboration and management, then it might be more useful to bring all key candidates into the same room and set a group puzzle solving task. Whereas if you are recruiting for a role like a journalist, you could set them a highly technical brief and observe how they tackle challenge in a role-playing type situation.

In a group audition, try placing the candidates into groups of 4-6 people, provide them with a puzzle, and then sit back and enjoy. You will see their personalities shine through as they will naturally showcase their leadership, teamwork, working style and coping ability. At the end get them to present to the other group/s and then provide an opportunity for the group/s to provide feedback on the project and the process they went through to solve the puzzle.


Conducting a group audition allows you to reduce the total time of the recruitment process. It also provides observations on how people react in unique, awkward and pressure situations.

If you are completing individual auditions, then you need to establish an efficient process, to ensure that you get the best value for your time. Role-playing is a great way to achieve this. It gives you the opportunity to test both technical and soft skills. You get to explore the candidate’s ability to analyse, solve puzzles, think critically and present.

The audition process allows you to reduce the element of risk. You can really hone in on the skills you are looking for rather than trying to decipher through the candidates reflection of previous stories or even making up an answer. (Smyth, Unknown)

Interviews can deceive your analysis of a candidate’s performance potential. For many people, the interview process takes them into an unnaturally uncomfortable position. This may affect their non-verbal cues such as eye contact, handshake strength and ability to control nerves. You need to make sure your judgement is based on the actual skills required in the role they are applying for rather than the “first impression” soft skills. (Smyth, Unknown)


It is valuable to develop a meaningful measuring system to ensure all aspects of the audition are analysed effectively. You need to accurately measure and score against the skills required in the role. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the audition is based on simulations or every day work rather than a once in a lifetime crisis-type event. (Smyth, Unknown)

Some other ways to effectively assess your candidates (Lipsey, 2017; Musser, 2017):

  • Two-step role playing – Challenge their reflection & response to feedback
  • Creativity tests – Observe how candidates navigate the unexpected
  • Feedback/self Improvement – Assessing the vulnerability of a candidate
  • Paid trial period – Short-term commitment
  • Trial day – Place them into the work environment for a day
  • …athon – Set a task that requires work related skills, open it up to the market and create a competition out of it.

It’s time to find amazing talent, rather than good actors. How are you hiring?


Lipsey, R. F., (2017). Hiring A+ Candidates for Your Start-up How to Sport a Learner. The Huffington Post. Link

Musser, J., (2017). Transforming Interviews into Auditions. Sales Potential. Link

Schwantes, M., (Unknown). The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead.  Manuseto Ventures, Inc..Link

Smyth, G., (Unknown). Do Audition-Style Interviews Really Work? Seek Insights & Resources Australia. Link


Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link


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As a leader you are at the steering wheel of your organisation or team’s cultural journey. You set the temperature in the room as you bring people together to change the personality of the organisation or team.

Being a role model of beliefs, through practising what you preach, is an important part of reinforcing the new values of the organisation or team. You need to give cultural building the effort it deserves as you set the tone for everyone involved.

Subtle leading is important as you don’t want to force the changes down their throats. It is crucial that your structure resembles the culture that is desired. You need to stimulate healthy discussion and prioritise the key aspects of cultural change.

Leading cultural change requires you to teach it, define it, live it, measure it and most importantly reward it. You must be consistent in your approach and ensure the delivery hits the sweet spot every time.

Positive Workplace

Creating a positive workplace, through successful cultural change, provides many great benefits to your organisation or team. Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable benefits, which employees can experience:

  • Improved productivity throughout the organisation
  • More focus on their work and the work of the whole organisation
  • Proud to be associated with the organisation
  • Knowledge & experiences are shared to enhance the organisation
  • People enjoy coming to work
  • More committed to the company
  • Go home happy & feel satisfied
  • Positive impact on society, especially the relationships with their friends, family and the community

High Performance Culture

Why do certain companies or teams excel beyond the norm in productivity, cohesion, ratings and performance? They know how to deliver a high performance culture. They live and breathe it every minute of every day. Let’s take a look at what a high performance culture is all about.

How do you know where you are going, if you don’t know where the destination is?

High Performance cultures start with clearly defining and understanding what winning looks like. The culture is connected to the big picture. The team spells out their preferred culture and sets about ensuring everything and everyone is aligned.

Performance is increased through transparency, employee engagement and an ownership mentality. Team members are adaptable and highly accountable. They work as one and feed off each other.

There is an internal focus for continuous improvement and information sharing. Coaching and mentoring programs are ingrained to ensure leadership is developed and nurtured.

Storytelling is deeply embedded in the company or team. It’s the lifeblood that continuously fuels performance. It draws the DNA of the company or team and allows it’s personality to shine.

Exceptional customer service and open internal communication is a natural way of being. It drives customer satisfaction and fuels employee cohesiveness.

Employee recognition is prioritised and they take the time to celebrate all wins, both large and small. Celebrating small victories lift the spirits of the team, help in motivation and team encouragement.

As Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. If you think of building a house to sell, the culture is the foundation that enables the strategies to shine through that draw hundreds of people to the Open Home.

A high performance team sets high standards, stretch targets and won’t settle until they figure out how to achieve it. They are dedicated, determined and meticulous in their planning. The team knows their culture is only as good as its strategy and therefore are reviewing both on a regular and planned basis.

Do you lead a team of winners and the company DNA to deliver a high performance culture?


Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Art Of Communication – Change Series Part 4 Link
Achieving Successful Change – Changes Series Part 3 Link
Change Tantrums – Change Series Part 2 Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link


Craig Johns SPEAKER
Craig Johns BLOG
Return to HOME