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If we have learned anything in the last year, it is that the only certain thing is uncertainty. Businesses have felt this too, with lockdowns, virus variants and financial instability sending consumer confidence plummeting. This is in line with trends that were already at play as a series of scandals, ethical missteps and moral failures in public organisations drove home the undeniable message that businesses and institutions cannot be trusted.
For this reason, building trust should be one of the central priorities for all companies in today’s world. Especially post-pandemic, much of this trust needs to be built through consistency. For all the pivoting we have done during COVID, there is much to be said for the value of consistency in the face of uncertainty.
More than any other time of history, we have trust issues. As our era has seen so many of the institutions that once stood as societal backbones crumble beneath scandals, lies and alternative facts, the value of trustworthiness has skyrocketed in its scarcity.
Whether in our personal relationships or our interactions with big brands and institutions, trust is the foundation of loyalty, engagement and affinity. This foundation has taken a pounding in recent years – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a season of intense global uncertainty, unpredictable business conditions and politics of more tension and division than ever before, a stable, predictable and trustworthy presence is of priceless value.
The fundamental goal of businesses is to make a profit. Statements like this have permeated business textbooks, dominated the strategic plans of companies and summarised the ethos of the corporate world essentially since it began.
Economics professor from Columbia University Joseph Stiglitz once said, “It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go around.”
Today, this is more true than ever.
Orienteering will always be one of my most vivid and fond memories of my days as a Scout - dropped in the middle of nowhere with a few buddies, the essentials, a map and a compass. One of orienteering’s most important lessons was learning to differentiate between magnetic and true north, adjusting our map and compass accordingly.
“The years ahead will see consumers value trust, whether it be in a brand, person or entity above price, promise or experience. Those who can gain and keep trust, through transparency and values-based offerings, will thrive.”
In 2017, I had the chance to meet a speaker and author I have admired since I was a teenager. Having read many of Dr John Maxwell’s 67 bestselling books, I was excited to see what the legendary man was like in person. Speaking to him backstage at a conference, I was struck by something he said and has said many times in his various books.
“Credibility is a leader’s currency,” he suggested, “With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”
“Our trust in technology has rested in a confidence that the technology will do what it’s supposed to do, nothing more, nothing less.”