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The Role of Trust in Building a Team

A conversation with Andrew Dimitruk, Shield AI’s Head of Talent.

How important is trust in recruiting and building a team?

One word: Essential.

What has influenced your opinions of trust?

My experience in the military helped to inform my perspective on the value of trust. When an officer is commissioned in the United States military, a special certificate is read which talks of the Nation’s “special trust and confidence” in the officer’s fidelities and abilities. This phrase stems from the concept that service members are expected and trusted to make sound decisions absent of direct supervision.

Building trust is a slow and difficult process, but losing it is easy. One poor decision can, in the blink of an eye, destroy that foundation. An effective organization will never lose sight of this. For that reason trust is the basis of Shield AI’s first core value: Be a trustworthy person, live with uncompromising honesty and integrity.

Why does Shield AI value trust so much?

There are a number of reasons why trust is Shield AI’s first core value.

  1. Everything we do, we do as a team. Trust between team members is essential. Breaking trust risks losing team cohesion.

  2. Trust is a necessary ingredient to open and honest discussion.  Working to effectively drive progress and fulfill our mission on the cutting edge requires the fluid exchange of ideas among the team. We are constantly discussing and exploring new approaches and innovations. Trust among team members is a necessary prerequisite for those conversations.

  3. Delivering state-of-the-art technology requires trusting everyone to do their part. We work incredibly hard to achieve extraordinary results and aspire to be great at everything we do. We must all trust that our teammates to the right and left of us are doing the same.

  4. Most importantly: Our customers must have unwavering trust in our team and our technology.  Customers must trust that we place them first. Always. Creating the kind of environment that communicates and demonstrates trust is essential to our long term success.

How do you, as Head of Talent, ensure that trust plays a central role in life at Shield AI?

It starts with recruiting the right people. At every stage of the recruiting cycle we look for candidates who demonstrate trustworthiness. And once someone joins the team, he or she is expected to consistently demonstrate unwavering trust and integrity.

For that reason, we’ve incorporated the concept of trust into all facets of our Talent processes and systems — everything from our flexible vacation policy to performance reviews has some degree of trust built into it. We make a concerted effort to talk about our values, especially trust, constantly. From small team discussions to formal training events, we regularly reinforce the centrality of trust. We’ve tried to establish a culture in which everyone is expected to be a role model – starting with our leaders and cascading throughout the organization. Our focus on trust stems from our strongly held belief that to successfully accomplish our mission requires that we build an extraordinary organization. And great organizations are built on a foundation of trust.

Want To Learn More?

Get in touch with the Shield AI team today.