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Rebuilding Trust is Job #1

#Trust, or lack of it, is probably the biggest issue we face today.


It has always been a critical component of how businesses build and protect their #reputation but in the crazy year which #2020 will be remembered as, it is clearly factor #1.

Our collective trust in many institutions has been slowly eroding over generations; the military, the church, government, media and - in sharp focus this year - the police - have all seen the trust and respect historically afforded them all but shredded.

Our trust in corporations and businesses to comply with laws, #tax codes, regulations and #social and #environmental protections has been undermined by endless scandals, disasters and investigative reports, and those we have trusted to monitor and set the #guidelines to govern and #regulate have too many times been caught compromised, ineffective or toothless.

We dearly want to see this trust rebuilt. We want to feel the organisations we #invest in, purchase products and services from and work for or with are worthy of our ongoing support.

Businesses in #healthcare, #tobacco, #energy, #automotive, #informationtechnology and #retail were already looking at fundamental changes to their sectors and business models, changes which would require absolute trust from so many stakeholders in the best of times.

Big Pharma - as well as leading the search for a COVID vaccine - is facing changes to pricing, data control and demographic demands, Philip Morris International is looking to get out of the cigarette business with FDA approved new heated products, BP wants to kick its addiction to fossil fuels, while Tesla have revolutionised what we expect from our cars. Facebook are having to resolve data privacy and freedom of speech challenges to remain at the fore-front of our social engagement, while Amazon and Walmart are reshaping the high street, mall and town centre and the local economic impact that is having. And while they were already having to work hard to establish trust and bring their employees, customers, supply chain and regulators forward on their journeys with them, the bar to achieve this has now been raised even higher.

The responsibility for rebuilding trust - whether that is in government, town halls, police HQs or the boardroom - sits squarely with leadership. The characteristics of trust are ones leaders must demonstrate - transparency, authenticity, accountability, good faith, compassion and integrity.

The stakeholder support they seek today is even more crucial, not just for them to achieve their goals and aims, but for us as citizens to begin to trust, rebuild faith in others and their motivations, and start to believe again, we are all in this together.

Martin Liptrot is a reputation management consultant helping firms and organisations build trust, tell their stories and engage stakeholders.

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