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CX EX Shaping culture Trust Working practices

Trusting the Human in Our Future

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

 

Source: Ruan Richard Rodrigues/Unsplash

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?

Levels of trust

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. 

The basis for a culture of transformation

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.

The human in our future

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.

CX EX Shaping culture Trust Working practices

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