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When it comes to people, is there a correlation between Trust and Money?

Do people become less trust worthy when we start paying them? Do we trust people more when they do something for free?

[Although I also wonder if we trust people more when we pay them a lot of money, I will keep this thought for another post]

This question about correlation between Trust and Money came to me this morning after a good night of sleep. I’m currently reading a couple of interesting books as I often do. One of them focuses on a better way of managing projects (Agile Project Management with Scrum) while the other is about Internet communities (Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message). Both books are interesting in their own way – I’ll publish a short review once I’m done reading them.

The Agile software development approach suggests that development team self-organize in order to deliver quality software that adds value, on time. For most managers, this approach is counter-intuitive. If people self-organize, how will they actually deliver what we expect them to, let alone delivering value?

It dawned on me that there are many examples of self-organized groups of people that exceeded the expectations in the value they deliver. What would have happened if Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger didn’t trust people when they launched their project for Nupedia? With over 11 million* articles in 236* languages, Wikipedia is a great example of self-organized people. And what about Trip Advisor with over 15 millions* travellers voluntarily contributing content in order to help fellow travellers. Not to mention the amazing collaboration between amateur photographeurs on istockphoto.

These are 3 simple examples of amazing results when people are trusted. So why do managers and their organizations still feel they must control their teams and the processes they use in order to obtain results? Why do they feel they need to implement strict processes and close monitoring instead of letting their team self-manage with an Agile approach?

It could be argued that the Internet communities presented above succeeded because they shared a common goal. Which leads me to ask, don’t we believe employees could share a common goal?

* At the time I wrote this post.

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