I've got your back

Moira Sinclair // CEO Paul Hamlyn Foundation

I've got your back. What does it actually mean? Surely it's a phrase intended to reassure a friend or colleague of our support, to say that we're trustworthy and can be relied on - we'll be there when it matters.

What happens when this becomes a part of the culture in which we work? Or even, as happens at some workplaces, if we not only say it but write it down into a workplace charter (watch the clip), Then there is no doubt as to our responsibility to one another. I've got your back – you've got my back.

A simple and energising way to say “I trust you”.

Might saying it out loud – creating the time and space at work to talk about trust – begin to change things? “I've got your back” says we have team mates that care about us and our work.

How different might it be to work in a place where trust is written into the culture and DNA of our teams and organisations?


We have a charter as a senior leadership team and it talks about the way in which we're going to behave with each other it. It actually says we have each other's backs and I think stating those things

can be quite helpful for teams and individuals as well because you know you're putting a stake in the ground you're saying this is what this is the kind of organization and culture that we want to create here.

I think it's really difficult to talk about some of those things in a work context as well. I think it's partly this sort of British reserve apart from anything else but the people these people are not your family - they are your colleagues they're your professional peers and yet you spend so much time with them and we I think we struggle to find a language that encompasses that.

So a lot gets on set as it does in any dynamic you know personal dynamic the more you can out that the better and the more you can talk about culture actually that I think the better as well and we're quite explicit about those things. We have a set of values that we share across the organisation.

They're written into our grant-making so the way that we do business externally is reflected in the way I hope we do business internally. It doesn't mean we're perfect but it does mean that people have something in front of them that they can hold us to account to as well which i think is important.

They can measure they can measure us against – in a in a positive way - not as a negative. But actually are we achieving as much as we might do are we really hitting those values in the way that we think we could.

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