Building trust

N°284b – Synopsis (8p.) – Trust
Building trust
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The level of trust is generally low in business organizations, despite it constituting a real performance challenge. How can you identify the behaviors that enable trust to be build—or, conversely, that risk destroying it?

Why is the level of trust so low in business organizations, while we all know that it makes business life more pleasant and is also essential to success? Many leaders underline its decisive impact on performance. For example, for Jim Burke, former Johnson & Johnson CEO, “Trust is the absolute key to long-term success.” And, according to Niall Fitzgerald, former Chairman and CEO of Unilever, “You can have all the facts and figures, all the supporting evidence, all the endorsement that you want, but if you don’t command trust, you won’t get anywhere.” Yet, studies generally note a low level of trust in companies. A survey conducted by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson among more than 31,000 employees around the world showed that only 45% of them trust their management. Similarly, a poll by consulting firm Mercer notes that only 44% of US employees consider that their managers communicate honestly. How can there be such a gap between the importance granted to trust and its actual reality?

The main difficulty lies in the fact that a sincere will to be trustworthy is not sufficient to prove it. Many elements, whether a major decision or small daily events, may lower the level of confidence we inspire. The opposing constraints that we need to deal with, as well as the changes imposed by the environment, prompt us to make decisions that might be ill understood and can erode the trust capital. Daily pressures often lead us to behave differently from what we should to assure others that they can fully rely on our intentions and commitments. And, to make things worse, occasional mistakes are inevitable, which then affect our reputation of reliability.

How, in such a demanding context, can we put all the chances on our side to inspire trust? What details should we particularly watch, beyond acting in such a manner as to inspire confidence? How can we restore trust when it has been eroded?

In this synopsis:
– How to be perceived as trustworthy?
– Inspiring confidence: four areas to watch
– Restoring confidence when it has been eroded

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