Home » Why are trust and vulnerability important to establishing and maintaining a culture?

Why are trust and vulnerability important to establishing and maintaining a culture?

by sunnysingh

In the first blog, Jen, Jess and Hoots identified what was missing from Construction Culture. The subsequent blogs will assist the reader in discovering the key ingredients needed to chef up a culture of positive intention focused on love, care, compassion and people!  roof installation monmouth county nj

As Patrick Lenconi taught us, and our team referenced in the first blog, all teams are built on trust. Over the next few pages, we are going to help the reader understand how important trust is when being intentional about your culture. We will examine how trust is the foundation to create and maintain a culture focused on love, care, compassion and people! In addition, we will also learn how vulnerability can encourage more trust in other folks to the point where they not just show up, but open up! But first, we must have a quick safety moment.

OSHA 1910.29 states that guardrails must reach a height of 42 inches, plus or minus 3 inches, above the walking-working surface and must withstand a force of 200 pounds at any point in a downward or outward direction. If the railing dips below 39 inches due to the force, the railing is not OSHA compliant.

Often, these are the same qualifications that Hoots, and the Construction Industry, needs to make before showing up with a trusting and vulnerable mindset that is focused on love, care, compassion, and people. Sometimes Hoots needs to test the handrail to make sure it can withstand the 200 lbs of resistance before trusting the environment for him to be vulnerable. For most people, talking about love, care and compassion is easier than experiencing these feelings. For folks like Hoots, the actions behind these are easier to do than the concepts are to talk about. The uncomfortable gap comes from the translation of words to actions or actions to words. The words and actions that are being displayed are the behaviors of the culture you are creating! It is extremely important that you are able to become familiar with both the words and actions. roofing company somerset county nj

This blog is presenting a different set of words and actions that need to be taken in order to fulfill the industry’s commitment to being intentional about the design of our culture. Culture is no longer reduced to respect for people, hanging posters on the wall or having the best snacks in the kitchen. We’ll talk about culture as having trust among people that allows for vulnerability.

What was it that helped Hoots trust this conversation on culture?

Hoots has discovered a theme that seems to repeat itself over and over in our early morning culture conversations. There seems to be a system that is developing more and more as people continue to open up and share vulnerabilities. The current definition of that system looks like this:

  1. Show up! Jen, Jess and Hoots show up two times a week at 4 a.m. Put yourself in that uncomfortable setting so there is no other way! Once you are there, you have no other choice.
  2. Trust!Jen and Jess are always willing to put themselves out there first in an effort to establish trust and establish a safe place. There is always a 10-30 minute window of this team building trust before we ever dive into capability development.
  3. Vulnerable Engagement! Jen and Jess are able to help Hoots embrace vulnerability through leading by example. Opening up little pieces at a time is how this team has built such a solid foundation of trust.
  4. Humbly Listening! Jen and Jess listen to the specific words and are able to steer the conversation.
  5. Asking ‘the next question!’ Jen and Jess have the next questions lined up based on their ability to be fully present and listening in the moment.
  6. Affirming a deeper response. When Jen and Jess listen, this encourages Hoots to engage in a deeper reflection.
  7. Identifying impact. Jen and Jess are able to identify and explain to Hoots what his greatest impact is.
  8. Refining the impact. Jen and Jess continue to ask Hoots to reiterate and refine the impact that he is making. They affirm him through their love, care, and compassion for him.
  9. Continue to show up! This deepens the impact and allows for more people to discover their impact. Thus enacting, as Jen Lacy says, the ripples of impact!


Have you ever heard the phrase, the last animal to discover water is the fish? It’s true because fish are so immersed in the water, they do not know any other way. Similarly, when people are too close to their impact, they’re unable to understand the difference they are making. This is why keeping trusted guardians around you is so important.

During these early morning culture conversations, a space has been created where anyone can bring anything and know that people are going to show up with love and care with empathy. Care and empathy are the feedback measures that reinforce this system. Culture is a bit like continuous improvement in that it will never be a static state. There will be people who learn faster and others who need time to process new feelings and environments.

How do we continue to push the envelope, yet bring others along with us?

Some people are asking folks to slow down with learning because they want to get on the same page. While others are asking in order to extract personal gain for themselves without regard for you. However, we cannot slow down because we will then prohibit our personal learning or capability development.

You can understand a person’s intentions based on their words, actions and presence. Therefore, we must pay attention to the intention of someone’s words and/or actions in order to understand if that is someone we should surround ourselves with. We must give all people a chance to learn and grow with us. We must find and align with those who share common interest and are able to trust and be vulnerable at the same rate as us. That is when we are able to push the envelope and bring others along the journey!

Trust vs. Vulnerability – Internal vs. External

Thankfully Jen and Jess have not left Hoots behind in this conversation. He is clearly the person who struggles the most with vulnerabilities yet they continue to show up for him and bring him along. Why do they show up? Because they see something genuine in Hoots and they’re willing to trust the good intentions of truly trying to learn and develop. There is almost a blind trust between the three of us and certain individuals are leading in some categories but what is important is that we all challenge each other in every category in effort to bring one another along.

The construction industry is made of many types of people with different backgrounds, experience levels and definitions of what culture means. How are we able to bring different people together on a daily basis to work toward a common goal? Why do they continue to show up? We can say it is because of money, recognition and more work, but are those the only reasons? While Hoots, Jen and Jess were talking about this blog it became clear – people show up because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In a recent project alignment meeting, Jen witnessed this firsthand with a new team talking about experiences, constraints and roadblocks in their day-to-day work. Each team member had a chance to observe, listen and contribute. The conversations grew to possible solutions that could improve outcomes. Jen watched the engagement grow as the walls began to come down. The levels of vulnerability grew as the trust grew.

Why does this matter? It matters because on a daily basis, people spend more time with who they work with than with their own families. How do we build a culture of trust? It starts with how we show up. We have to leave our egos at the door and accept that we are not always right. We must allow for opportunities to improve tried-and-true processes. Trust is a choice we make regarding those around us. Vulnerability is a choice we make within ourselves. It takes both, along with a desire to contribute to not just your success but the success of those around you.

A personal story on trust and vulnerability from Adam Hoots:

Being in Construction, Hoots has spent a lot of time away from his family. Unfortunately, he has not always honored his family, particularly his wife the way she deserves. There have been a couple of times where he has let his emotions and/or alcohol get in the way of his relationship with her. This is an embarrassing admission that many construction professionals could claim if they were willing to be vulnerable enough.

The distrust that developed from those experiences has been real. Although Hoots has spent countless days, weeks, months and even years, trying to mend the relationship, his relationship still has not made a full recovery. Hoots is fully committed to repairing the damage that he has caused regardless of self-embarrassment. This blog is also becoming a key part as he begins to understand more about how trust and vulnerability play into love, care, compassion, and people.

Trust is something that takes a long time to build, but you are able to lose it in the blink of an eye. One stupid mistake or lack of judgement can lead to years of trust vanishing before you know it. One thing that Hoots has realized is that the more vulnerable he allows himself to be, the faster the trust is re-built in his marriage. With this blog and it’s readers as my witness – I will do everything I can to build trust and vulnerability back into my relationship the way it was intended from the start. I trust that the readers of this blog, Jen and Jess will all hold me accountable to this commitment.

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