Sue Dyer on How High-Trust Environments Positively Impact Innovation


July 27, 2021

Have you ever had a brilliant idea that you knew would push sales through the roof? Or one on how to fix a problem but didn’t feel comfortable raising your hand to share it? Instead of shining, you let others pop off idea after idea because you’re worried that yours will sound stupid. And with looking ridiculous in front of the people you work with—including your boss—comes consequences.

Compare that to when a company has a culture of trust: Everyone feels more at ease, and even a little bolder, about joining in conversations. Creating a high-trust, high-communication environment shows the true chops of leaders, and whether they’re truly willing to listen to ideas from employees across the company—not just those with an official innovation title.

As President of sudyco™, Sue Dyer has used her experience as a living lab to study trust and its role with both business and innovation. Over the last 35 years, she’s worked with 48,000 executives on how to create and put into play high-trust cultures. These aren’t companies that wanted feel-good outcomes. They’re hard-core performers who wanted to make sure their results kept them at the elite level of business results.

Introducing the “Godmother of Partnering”

Sue’s packaged up what she learned from working on over 4,000 projects totaling $1.8 billion into her Partnering Approach model. Next, she’ll dive into why trust is nonnegotiable for effective execs in her book, Trusted Businesses Must Have Trusted Leaders: Use the Partnering Approach to Become a Trusted Leader for Your Business, which will be available in February 2022.

Sue and I had a great time talking about trust, innovation, developing purpose and why telling people, “I need all your ideas!” is a terrible way to actually get to great ideas.

Top 3 takeaways from my conversation with Sue…

Sue kicks it off with a one-two punch by saying we’re creating relationships that depend on the human side of business as companies look at getting more into AI. “AI and the processes behind them love complexity. But as you deal with people who actually have to make decisions and develop the strategies, they don’t deal with complexity so well. Trust is going to be the essential element that’s required for these new businesses.” Sue made it crystal clear that people and trust are ‘must have’s’ to build AI businesses.

During the pandemic, many businesses had to refocus and trust each other to make it through the shutdown. “When there’s a sense of emergency, you have a focus. You get alignment and everyone’s working together. This creates cohesion and cohesion builds momentum. All of this is built around trust.”  The changes that had to be made during the pandemic forced business leaders to get everyone working toward the same goal. Working together turned into forward motion to get their businesses to finish their digital transformation, or for some, even get them up and running online. 

We round thing out by connecting the dots between people, focus and one of my favorite aspects of innovation, purpose. Sue pointed out, “Purpose is essential for your culture. But there needs to be a single one. I see large, complex organizations get undermined because of so much complexity. A single purpose brings simplicity. And a simple idea is much easier to communicate.

There’s never been a time when trust matters more than now. Listen to our conversation and let Sue help you take a shortcut to building greater and deeper trust in your own organization.

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.