Programme Updates

Trust Delusion Research: Findings and summary report

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The Trust Delusion project, launched at the start of 2020, explores why business leaders and politicians consistently speak about “trust” in a way that appears significantly detached from the lived experience of employees, customers and citizens/ voters. What matters to “us” is not what apparently pre-occupies “them”. More in this article in Management Today.

With thanks to those from the nearly 4,000-strong Jericho community who gave up their time to participate in the first piece of research: how does evidence from our community inform this view?  This is a short summary of the findings; you can download the full deck here.

The scale of the trust challenge for business, though not new, is still significant.

  • Overall, 24% believe the lack of trust in business is one of the greatest challenges business in general faces today (significantly, though, below that of climate change and the disruption of AI/ tech). The lack of trust in business is, by two to one, a fault of business, as opposed to a wider/ more abstract societal trend or “crisis”.

Addressing the lack of trust in business is not a comms. issue; it is a leadership, culture and behavioural one

  • 94% believe trust is better addressed by changing the way a company behaves and engages, rather than by adjusting the way it communicates.

Only half of the businesses that have a strategic goal to improve their trustworthiness, have an operational plan to do so

  • 37% of businesses have “improving trustworthiness” as a strategic goal; just 20% have an operational plan to improve how trustworthy and trusted they are.

Most hold a CEO specifically responsible in a trust crisis

  • The lack of operational plans to improve trust is even more alarming when, in a trust crisis, an overwhelming majority (78%) would hold the CEO responsible in the first instance; one in seven (14%) would hold the Chair responsible. Few believe it is a collective responsibility and it is certainly not the responsibility of the PR or comms. team.

“Purpose” is more likely to be communicated internally and externally than operationalised through business activities.

  • Of those organisations with a stated corporate purpose, only 61% have an operational plan to deliver it (incredibly, more have a comms. plan for its employees, customers and wider stakeholders).

“Purpose” trumps financial considerations in only a minority of businesses

  • Just 38% say they would put their purpose before commercial considerations, though two-thirds make decisions with direct reference to that purpose.

Click here to download a full copy of the findings.

Thank you once again to members of the community who made this poll possible.  We look forward to your continued engagement in the “Trust Delusion” project; please get in touch to find out more, or to suggest ideas for the next study.

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