On the day that Trump repealed the climate change policies in the US, May triggered Article 50 leading to the start of the Brexit negotiations and a new one pound coin was introduced, a group of ‘Trusted Executives’ met to discuss the importance of trust in business and what we need to do to step up to the challenges. These ‘Trusted Executives’ were all senior leaders from a variety of sectors with a will to change the business landscape.
Research by the Edelman PR company and John Blakey, author of the ‘Trusted Executive’, has revealed the world is ready for a different breed of Executive; a leader with transformational trust-building skills; a leader who actively develops new leadership habits fit for a transparent world in which nothing can be hidden.
The report by Edelman cites declining trust in politicians, business leaders, NGOs and the media i.e. the very people we trust to lead and those who we expect to have trustworthy habits and behaviours that allow them to expertly fulfil their roles.
In a press release Edelman said:
British CEOs, their collective reputation battered by discontent over excessive pay, corporate malfeasance over tax and accounting, and the sense that they are managers not leaders, saw their trust level drop 12 points to 28%. Trust in corporate leaders dropped in all 28 countries Edelman surveyed.
Many companies fail for a variety of reasons including poor or misguided leadership, wrong strategic direction, changes in the market or damage to reputation and loss of trust. Sometimes it can be a combination.
What do leaders, and indeed the whole business world, need to learn and role-model to build a deep level of trust in their organisations going forward? Based on extensive academic research, John Blakey has identified nine leadership habits that inspire trust.
Being honest and open sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Then why do we find that business language uses styles which tempt and lead us to a sale, rather than using plain language and an honest approach. If we have a good idea in business, what stops us being open and honest about sharing it for a fee. A commercial relationship is one which is understood and trusted brands such as John Lewis put trust at the heart of their brand identity and everything they do.
Some may wonder at the inclusion of ‘Evangelize’ as one of the habits. If we do good things or have good ideas that can positively impact on others we can help other people to learn and become better. By sharing the good news you become an educator in the professional world providing value and tools to allow others to grow. Spreading the good news helps trust to grow deeper.
Most companies wish to grow, and there is nothing wrong with creating profit, but this can be a soulless endeavour. If companies begin to concentrate on delivering outstanding results, Inspiring relationships and building a cast – iron reputation for trustworthiness perhaps sustainability will no longer be an issue.
Reflecting on the conversations over dinner, as CEO of the AoEC, I committed to taking action and to evangelize about the issue of trust in business and to deliver on that promise. Writing this blog post is the first step!
The dinner at The Gherkin in London was the first in a series of debates with business leaders on the issue of Trust in Business, hosted by The Academy of Executive Coaching and facilitated by John Blakey. If you are a business leader and would like to register for future Trusted Executive events, please visit here.
John’s Book, the Trusted Executive is available from Amazon.co.uk