As we become more interconnected and interdependent, concern about a business trust gap has grown: 58% of CEOs worry that lack of trust in business could harm their company’s growth, up significantly from 37% in 2013. I believe this breakdown in public confidence creates risks for individual companies, but also political, economic, and social systems around the globe.
As with just about everything, technology plays a role here too. A significant number of CEOs are convinced that gaining and retaining trust is harder in the digital era. Notably, they also emphasize the growing importance of establishing a strong corporate purpose and reflecting that purpose in their organizational values, culture, and behavior--recognizing that the definition of trust has changed—specifically, expanded.
Today, for example, to counter the risks stemming from the inevitable data breaches and cybersecurity issues, a company based on integrity and transparency will be strongly positioned to speak directly to its customers and stakeholders--both present and future--outlining all that was done and will be done to preserve data privacy.
Look what has happened to Equifax and Sony when their databases were breached, or to Facebook when it simply turned over data from 50 million Facebook accounts to Cambridge Analytica , then didn't watch where it went.
This prompted Mark Zuckerberg to make a statement: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.”
The days where the CEO of a company was rarely accessible to the end customer or was able to get sanitized feedback are gone, as are the days where the consumer had little insight into how a product was produced and a supply chain crafted.
Today, I believe executive teams need to fully grasp the ethical and moral implications of their decisions, and communicate their actions with integrity. Trust has become an equalizing force, moving power from top-down to peer-to-peer.
This means that while trust is an increasingly challenging issue, organizations that succeed in earning and retaining trust have much to gain. I have seen that when businesses effectively articulate their purpose, act transparently, and stand by their values, trust and success can go hand in hand. Sustained execution is key.
I believe that without a strong core, the organization risks instability from cultural challenges, loss of focus, disengagement, and lack of heart as the company scales up. Core Values are the rules and boundaries that define the company's culture and personality, and provide a final "Should/Shouldn't" test or all the behaviors and decisions by everyone in the company.
If the Core Values are the soul of the company, the Core Purpose (some call it "mission") gives it heart. The Purpose answers the ultimate question "Why?" Why does what we do matter, and what difference are we making in the world? Why would our customers or the world miss us if we weren't around?
I believe that without a purpose more meaningful than making money, employees will pour their enthusiasm and energy into something else. A powerful Purpose tends to revolve around a single word or idea.
Out of this single idea should emerge a "stump" speech that the CEO shares repeatedly, reminding everyone of the big picture and "why we do what we do."
A leader must go beyond merely posting a company's Values and Purpose on the wall and handing out plastic laminated cards. The key is for you to align ALL of your HR systems and process around one list of your Values and Purpose.
One fact is indisputable: the role of business in society has never been more important. Hand-wringing over uncertainty will not lead to success. But leaders who step up to collaborate across sectors, borders, and markets and the public at large will forge ahead.
For help with effectively defining your Core Values and Core Purpose, the foundational piece to setting strategy, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to also visit our website to learn more about the services we offer to help you Position Your Potential: https://www.therevenuegroup.net/
I also invite you to download the white paper and learn the 5 step process on How to Quickly Increase Your Valuation: a Proven 5 Step Process.