Jericho Notices – January 2020

by .

The Trust Delusion
(and how to avoid it)

Welcome to the January edition of Jericho Notices including a major article for Management Today; the first podcast in our Trust Delusion series; and the results from recent research. 

Message to Davos: Don’t blame lack of trust on ‘society’

With the Labour leadership election in full swing and the World Economic Forum getting underway in Davos, “trust” is once again splashed in headlines, along with the future of “stakeholder capitalism”. In this article in Management Today, Robert Phillips argues that business leaders would be better off thinking about their own de-carbonisation plans and protecting the human future of their workforces, rather than obsessing about trust in business. Practical, workable proposals on climate and technology will mean a whole lot more to customers and employees than spewing hot air on issues of trust, purpose or the need for a better capitalism.

Jericho’s newly-launched Trust Delusion project explores why business leaders and politicians bang-on about trust in a way that is significantly detached from the lived experience of employees, customers and voters. What matters to “us” is not what apparently pre-occupies “them”. This is another manifestation of elites vs. the masses; boardroom isolation from the real world; the vacuum of meaningful participation and active voice.

The Trust Delusion Podcast: Episode One

In the first of six Trust Delusion podcasts, hosted by Matthew Gwyther, listen to Ben Page, Prof. Bobby Duffy, Baroness Onora O’Neil and Sir Ian Cheshire agree that the so-called “crisis of trust” is mostly over-blown – often deliberately – and not supported by long-term data. Too often it is used, somewhat cynically, only to support marketing efforts. Trustworthiness is more important – with honesty, competence and reliability as benchmarks – as is serving the customer and employee first. Addressing the climate emergency and tech disruption takes precedence over abstract notions of “trust”. Business leaders need to be accountable and look long and hard at the culture of their organisations – a point reinforced by 22-year old Chantale Phinda… who totally trusts Greta Thunberg and her mission.

Trust Delusion Research – Early Findings

(with thanks to those from the 3,500-strong Jericho community who gave up their time to participate in the research)

90%+ of business leaders use trust as part of their narrative around what is wrong/ needs to be fixed in business today. 37% argue that trust remains their single biggest issue, although only 20% have an operational plan to sort it out. In the absence of concrete action, these arguments amount to little more than hollow spin.

Make no mistake where the buck really stops: 92% of respondents see the CEO and/ or Chair of an organisation as responsible for managing both trust and reputation. If there is an epic failure of trust, or competence, there really is only one person to blame. Accountability is therefore fundamental to the practical trust equation.

On “purpose”, the clear majority of organisations have one – but 58% would prioritise financial considerations, when the chips are down.

Get in Touch

At Jericho, we know that getting trust/worthiness right has demonstrable commercial value. This is why we have also developed an audit tool to help leaders and organisations figure out whether they are in the right place – and an accountability framework to track and measure success.

If you would like to find out more about our many projects and/ or have a wider conversation, please drop us a line or give us a call.

With best wishes,

Andrew Gunn

Research Director

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