Trust and Washington State Legislature

“How was your weekend?” – Idle chit chat or bedrock of legislative budget negotiations?

I’m an NPR listener. Now I’m an even bigger fan. On April 17, as I was preparing to facilitate a session on the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, my local NPR station ( aired a piece in their “Unpacking Government” series.

The focus was on how legislative deals are negotiated and in particular how the two sides of the aisle come together. That’s no small task as the Washington State Legislature is trying to craft a budget to carve out billions more to fund K-12 education.

vulnerability-based trust

But there was a nugget in that story — a nugget I recognized as the vulnerability-based trust that is the foundation of the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. In the story, two venerable lawmakers from the Democratic and Republican parties share insights on the negotiation process including how chit-chat around their kids is the bedrock of creating the trust that allows the discussions to continue despite opposing ideas.

A summary of the story and the audio clip is below.

So if you thought that being genuine and sharing a little bit – even just about your kids or grandkids or your weekend activities – was wasted time, time to think again! Even the tough budget negotiators in our legislative bodies understand the value of building trust to create a safer place to engage in productive conflict.


Gwen Voelpel

Gwen Voelpel has 20 years of experience in coaching and mentoring leaders at all levels of organizations. She has an undergraduate degree in communications, a graduate degree in public administration, and has served as an executive leader in several organizations. Gwen is an accredited Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team and Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitator and a Certified Master in Training for The Leadership Challenge.
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