Business After the Virus: The State of Trust

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Trust Me – Things Can Only Get Better?

Trust is never far from the public discourse. More now than ever. Do we trust government ministers? Their advisors? The expert scientists or the other expert scientists who challenge the expert scientists?

Do we trust our employers to keep us safe at work? Do we trust our co-workers to tell us the truth about where they’ve been and who they’ve touched? Do we trust the technology that can track & trace us – maybe even save us? Will we ever trust Big Tech with the personal data we probably now need to give them?

If ever there was a time to cut the “crisis” and “collapse” clichés of trust, it’s now. Fragility is the only certainty in a world that will remain uncertain. Do we have the ethical and moral leadership we need? Or deserve? What state are we in?

Welcome to the sixth in the series of Jericho Conversations: The State of Trust. Friday 22 May 12.30 – 1.45pm (London).

Perhaps the biggest societal challenge of all will be explored by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; Times columnist and Conservative peer, Danny Finkelstein; Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey; and Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Business in the Community. We are privileged to be in their company.

What Hope for Trust?

I have been studying “trust” for the best part of fifteen years. My frustration with the many myths peddled by politicians and business leaders was the genesis for the Trust Delusion project. You can listen to the second podcast in the Trust Delusion series, hosted by my Jericho colleague, Matthew Gwyther. Hear one of the true gurus of trust, Veronica Hope-Hailey, alongside Uncharted author Margaret Heffernan; and, from the business frontline, KPMG’s Jane McCormick and Darcy Wilson-Rymer, CEO of Costcutter Supermarkets Group. Darcy’s corner-shop retailers have been the cornerstones of community trust in recent weeks: friends to us all.

As I write in Management Today, I can see shifts in the trust landscape, as we emerge from the crisis. These include a better understanding that trustworthiness trumps trust every time; and the likely rise of “communitarian” trust, as we re-learn to trust one another and our communities, framed by a commitment to the common good.


I have long-argued that the real “crisis” of trust is really a crisis of leadership. Long-term security for all of us will be quickly undermined by poor decision making in the near-term. What we do is now perhaps the only true currency of trust and purpose – our actions guided by not just what we can do, but “what is right”. It’s a hell of a challenge for leaders everywhere.

I hope you can join us on May 22. If you would like to find more about Jericho’s work on trust, purpose and engagement, please get in touch.

Robert Phillips
Founder, Jericho Chambers
May 10 2020

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