Employees and customers have new expectations of organizations, not just to speak and understand their language, but ultimately to be human – in the decisions that they make, the values they represent, and the way they contribute to human progress. Trust is the driving force of change and value creation; trust gives us the power to reimagine, rethink and reshape our world, environment and professional as well as personal context.
20 July 2022 • 4 min read
Many of us intuitively recognize trust as an emotion – a necessity, and something good and valuable. But when we appreciate trust beyond that – specifically, its role shaping how we operate as a society and what this means for the organizations that we’re a part of – we begin to understand just how pivotal it really is. Trust is central to global human progress; to how we’re interacting, collaborating, and growing as people. It’s time to amplify and hone that.
In much of my previous literature, including my books The Trust Economy and RESET, I explore how trust makes the world that we’re creating. Much of this delves into how we integrate trust into the digital and physical interfaces that we create for our customers and people. How trust begins as our imagination of the future, and materializes in the opinions we hold, decisions we make, and actions we take. And while these are significant indicators of an organization’s ability to make it or break it in today’s world, a much bigger picture has come to light over the past two years. Trust is but one part – albeit a critical part – of that picture.
We must shift our focus from the outputs that we innovate to the outcomes that make an impact. It becomes not just about what we do, but how we do it.
Now, we must explore how we humanize our organizations from the inside-out and outside-in. In this way, we shift our focus from the outputs that we innovate to the outcomes that make an impact. It becomes not just about what we do, but how we do it.
So, how exactly do we do it?
Let’s begin with the basics. There are different levels to trust. Grasping trust in this way helps us analyze at which level we’re playing, and how we can improve going forward.
Many companies naturally operate on the first level of trust: transactional trust. It’s the hygiene factor − the preconceived notion that it’s secure and safe. It earns you a right to join the party, but it means you are one of many.
The second level of trust – one that I think many companies are aspiring towards – is expert trust, i.e. being driven by innovation, ahead of the curve and cemented as an industry leader.
What organizations should really be oriented towards is reaching that third ultimate level of trust: universal trust, i.e. no matter what, as a customer, I trust you unconditionally because I believe in what you’re doing. Apple is a perfect example of this. Generally, consumers take the universal trust at face value, believing that what the company makes is going to be good.
If universal trust is the aspiration, let’s consider this equation as a modus operandi:
Behavior = motivation × ability x trust
How we’re engaging with the world is determined by our willingness to do it (motivation), whether we are actually able to do it (ability), and the degree to which we put trust in our motivation and ability to proceed. When we have zero trust, very little happens. It means trust isn’t everything and yet, in its absence, everything becomes nothing.
Trust enables the large complex collaboration systems that humans have evolved over time. That’s our true human superpower.
More often than not, our motivation and ability are directly correlated to our trust in others and trust within ourselves. Distilling this concept into three key points:
1. Trust is the driving force of change and value creation; it’s about directing behavior in a new way.
2. Trust is the enabler for collaboration. Try collaborating with someone that doesn’t trust you. It’s a deal-breaker. Trust enables the large complex collaboration systems that humans have evolved over time. That’s our true human superpower.
3. Trust is a neutral power. It’s never just about trust. It’s about what we do with that trust. Trusting ourselves is enabling our very own leaps of faith, as leaders of ourselves, of organizations and of others. It’s trusting something new and trusting ourselves to do something different that is driving innovation and change for the better.
Building on that final point, trust itself is simply a catalyst and force for new things. That makes it neither good nor bad. It’s simply an emotion influencing our behavior for better or worse. Trust gives us the power to reimagine, rethink and reshape our world, environment and professional as well as personal context.
It’s empowering us to act with agility in times of change, to flex with the requirements and to embrace every uncertainty we encounter as an opportunity for inspiring something extraordinary. It’s a force we can use to heal the issues we most need to change and emerge as a better humanity.
The first and most rudimentary basis for trust is simplicity. It really comes down to how you create an experience that diffuses complexity.
That’s why trust matters, to me, to you, and to everyone around us. Trust is key to a culture of transformation, and to transformation of culture. It’s in everyone’s best interest to put this on top of the agenda globally. The first and most rudimentary basis for trust is simplicity. Inherently, it’s easier to trust simple things. There’s a problem around complexity, which distorts and distances customers from trusting brands. At the rudimentary level, it really comes down to how you create an experience that diffuses complexity and sets a clear outcome for all involved. Now that’s just the base.
Once you have a simple system, you must then consider how you infuse organizational purpose. Why should I go with you? What’s the differentiation and how do you explain it to me in a credible story? How can you be a bit more original and authentic? When you champion a vision worth buying into, your people and customers intrinsically begin to trust you. When they do, they will champion you and, in turn, you will inherently do right by them. We’ve seen a lot of companies reevaluate and reinforce their purpose over the past decade – and we’ve also seen the difference it’s made in their ability to survive the changing tides.
This brings us back to my earlier and most central takeaway: our future – and the future of our organizations – depends on humanism. Our people and customers not only expect organizations to speak and understand their language, but to ultimately be as human as we are – in the decisions that we make, the values that we represent, and the way that we contribute to human progress.
Indeed, trust is the imperative that rests across all three of these planes. As we are embracing the challenge, opportunity and expectation of transforming humanity for the better, we must begin by transforming our own humanity. This means growing into our own greatness as leaders and organizations for good. In this case, how it’s all going to unfold – well, that’s resting in our hands.
Discover more inTrust
Remember when people thought the internet wouldn’t catch on? Forward-looking people and organisations quickly adopted networked technologies, understanding the possibilities they offered. The same is true of blockchain – and just like the internet, blockchain is all about finding the patterns and acting early.
01 February 2022 • 5min read
Trust is an imperative value in human interaction and behavior. In the business world, this is no different. AI has also become a key tool in unifying the business world with human elements to help automate processes and manage complex data. The pressure is on for organizations to keep up with the times and adopt using AI, but why are some companies hesitant to do so? Can AI be trusted?
20 June 2022 • 1min read
Ignore digital trust at your peril. Customers are talking with their feet, cutting ties with brands that display poor data security. The essential ingredient, in this age of digitization and mass data collection, is unwaveringly strong cybersecurity.
20 July 2022 • 4min read
On the back of the biggest ever global economic shutdown, organizations embraced empathy and trust as the newest workplace traits. As we begin to experience some semblance of normalcy, there is a window of opportunity to leverage this rediscovered state of ‘humanized connection’ for customer-led empathy to improve people and business performance.
20 June 2022 • 4min read
Businesses strive to create new technologies, products and services that reshape or even disrupt their markets. Yet businesses also need to understand they must innovate sustainably and ethically. With pressure to innovate quickly - bias, ethics and discrimination can easily be forgotten.
01 February 2021 • 5min read
Enterprise Resource Planning is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to turning operational excellence into competitive advantage. But as the cloud opens up opportunities, relationships between clients, services and suppliers are changing. As suppliers are being asked to accept more client risk, and own processes in the future, success in the new world will come from carefully building trust.
19 July 2022 • 4min read
Trust can take years for organizations to build with customers and employees, but only moments to break. How can businesses secure and build trust that can stand the test of time in a turbulent period of economic shakiness, political unrest and a global pandemic?
20 June 2022 • 4min read
Obtaining data can open up a whole wealth of business opportunities, as long as the data is valid and trustworthy. However, having incorrect, outdated or inaccurately sampled data can be damaging and costly. In such turbulent times, how can we secure data integrity for the best outcomes for businesses?
13 June 2022 • 6min read
As businesses continue to evolve their use of automation, what does this mean for leadership? AI and machine learning promise massive efficiency gains, but at what cost? Effective leadership in today's agile businesses means connecting on an emotional level with each employee. An algorithm will never replace an empathetic leader.
01 October 2020 • 4min read
By treating staff as customers, letting go of perfectionism and ensuring teams are both empowered and encouraged to make decisions, leaders are giving their organisations the best chance of success amidst this time of great uncertainty. When people feel part of the change, as opposed to subject to it, the true benefits of agility can be realised.
01 June 2021 • 3min read
Inclusive leadership is more critical than ever as we continue to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. Leaders are working to maintain productivity, collaboration, and innovation during these challenging times. Those who can also address amplified issues around inclusion and belonging in a distributed workforce will be primed for superior organisational performance in the future.
01 February 2022 • 4min read
The zero trust journey is all about taking measures to assure your business security at every level. While it sounds complex, it is more simple than it seems, and is worth every effort to ensure that access to data is only granted to those who have sufficiently proved their identity at every stage necessary.
13 June 2022 • 4min read
Businesses must continue to navigate the evolving relationship between employers and employees to ensure a happier and productive workforce. Setting clear expectations and empathizing with individual motivations and priorities encourages transparency, and helps to build a trusting culture in the organization.
16 June 2022 • 5min read
As our digital abilities become increasingly sophisticated, our cybersecurity measures develop at the same pace that a cybercriminal’s savviness also can. Businesses must continue to take the right measures to protect their futures with the developments of remote access and other digitization efforts.
22 June 2022 • 5min read
Whatever the trigger, significant technological and other business changes should never damage your customers’ trust in you. This means keeping their personal data safe. In fact, done well, data protection ought to increase confidence in your business. How to get there? It starts, as with many things, with a detailed understanding of the challenges and strong governance around the solutions.
20 June 2022 • 4min read
Companies that want to differentiate themselves will have to take a long, hard look at their practices around safeguarding customer data. Practices need to comply with the relevant laws, of course, but they also need to be rooted in ethics. Risk governance technologies make it easier than ever before for companies to be both compliant and ethical – and prove to customers they can be trusted.
20 July 2022 • 4min read
In such turbulent times, with a global pandemic and the drive towards the digital world, dependence on cyber safety and consumer trust only becomes increasingly important. Technology continues to develop in complexity, as do our methods to mediate it, but it’s imperative that we don’t forget the human side of risk, too.
16 June 2022 • 5min read
In a post-pandemic world of rising prices, broken supply chains and disruptive technologies, where do trust and transparency fit? Are they nice-to-have luxuries or essential components of success? If they are essential to success, how can businesses deliver them to increasingly cynical consumers?
20 July 2022 • 5min read
In a world where skepticism and misinformation have now become the default, trust has become the new currency for business. And those companies that know how to spend it well can create a competitive advantage by making sure that their actions speak louder than words.
20 June 2022 • 7min read
The past ten years have seen the evolution of expectations, from what customers expect from brands and what employees expect from employers, to what the organisation expects from itself, its own culture and reputation. Combined, these expectations define the concept of the Total Experience (TX) – a concept that’s reshaping corporate strategy, interaction and engagement.
01 February 2022 • 4min read
It’s the next big thing in understanding and engaging customers: building a virtual replica of the business ecosystem, and leveraging ontologies as enabling technology. This exciting branch of AI can help businesses to generate very targeted insights into their customers’ expectations and needs.
16 June 2022 • 4min read
We are facing a continuing erosion of trust in the institutions of capitalism, globalization and democracy. But with a focus on regeneration, instead of just responsibility and resilience, businesses can plot a course through this period of disruption and systemic change.
20 June 2022 • 4min read
Zero trust is a necessary evolution for businesses to be cyber secure in our digital modern landscape. To eliminate cyber risk and threats, businesses can implement a zero trust approach to protect data and systems every step of the way.
20 June 2022 • 3min read
New and evolving technology landscapes need evenly-matched cybersecurity: as new opportunities arise through digital tools, so too do new risks. Using a framework such as Zero Trust – which assumes every entity attempting to access the system or network may have malicious intent and therefore, as a default, should not be trusted – provides the visibility and controls needed for modern businesses to protect themselves and their customers.
19 July 2022 • 1min read