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Just got out of a team meeting where we reviewed Andy Stanley’s leadership talk on Trust.

Aside from the call out he makes in the video where he challenges ministry organizations to become (start by defining it as a goal!) the best place to work in your own city, he makes a great case for ensuring one aspect of team culture that is vital to success of any ministry organization:

Choose to Trust over Suspicion

Stanley’s premise is simple: “To maintain the relational integrity necessary to operate as a team, we must choose to trust and be trustworthy.” Stanley emphasizes that trusting and being trustworthy both are choices. “Often there are unexplainable gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do. We choose what we place in those gaps. Our choices determine the integrity of the relationships. We can choose to fill them with trust or suspicion.”


While the talk itself could have benefited from some message compression, the core principles he teaches are so important for healthy teams.

Andy Stanley leadership talk on Trust vs Suspicion

This is a great example of a basic operating principle that might not normally warrant a full-blown staff meeting.  But if you do circle wagons around core issues that can drive (or kill) organizational culture, it not only makes sure everyone is on the same page, introduces common language, but it also signals explicitly the expectations for culture norms.

Here’s the talk from Andy Stanley that we reviewed together as a team:


Sure, he probably didn’t need to spend a full 40 minutes on this stuff, but I appreciated the “protocols” for:

(a) defaulting to trust when there are unexplainable gaps between expectations and performance

. . . and in particular, his spelling out of

(b) how to choose to be trustworthy with your peers:

  1. Do what you say you will do.  And more importantly, when we don’t deliver on what we said we were going to do, tell them immediately.
  2. Don’t over promise, and under deliver. Promises > Delivery is a BAD thing.  Here’s the kicker — when you are mid-stream on a committment and know you’re headed in this direction, flag it out loud.
  3. And lastly, you have to build a trusting environment, where you invite others to flag it for you.  When someone points out gaps in your commitments or promises and what you’re delivering, choose to tell the truth.  What is the cause of the gaps?  Sometimes they are great reasons.  Sometimes, you just messed up.  It’s time to put out all on the table.  When you do this in an environment of ongoing trust and trustworthiness, the margins are there to absorb the occasional gaps.

One of the best one-liners I caught in this talk was:

Being trustworthy is not the equivalent of being flawless in character or performance.

~ Andy Stanley


If we are successful in these areas, it can become a great example of living out the tension between grace and truth — which at the end of the day is the distinctiveness of our Christian faith — applied in the workplace.  Faith & work integration at its best.