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How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams by Charles J. Pellerin

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CHAPTER 15
Building Trustworthy Contexts
 
 
 
How important is your trustworthiness? John Whitney, director of the Deming Center for Quality Management (hardly a soft-skills enterprise), said mistrust wastes or compromises up to half of all daily business activities. Here is my favorite statement about trustworthiness: “We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions.” It is cited in many books on leadership.

Your Agreements Management Habits

How about this quote broadly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say?” How would you score your habits managing explicit agreements like these? (See Figure 15.1 for the fourth behavior.)
FIGURE 15.1 Keeping Agreements, the Fourth of the Eight Behaviors
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• Delivering work as promised;
• Meeting budget commitments;
• Meeting family commitments, like going home for dinner at the time you said; and
• Being responsible about what you ask others to agree to.
The last inquiry listed is especially important when there is a power differential, as in the case of a “government to contractor,” or “contractor to subcontractor” interface. People frequently fail to think about their responsibility for what they ask others under their control to agree to. It is unfair to force agreements under duress and then beat people up when they cannot meet them.
How do you manage implicit agreements ...

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