Strengthening your company’s trust capital

N°326a – Synopsis (8 p.) – Trust
Strengthening your company’s trust capital
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While the trust of stakeholders is essential to success, many companies only take an active interest in it when it is eroded by a crisis. How can we build our trust capital over the long term and turn it into a real competitive advantage?

According to a study by the YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), which surveyed nearly 3,000 CEOs in 2020, 96% of them consider building and maintaining trust toward their company to be a top priority. And rightly so, as trust is the cornerstone of our economic system. It has a decisive impact not only on customer loyalty and investor support, but also on employee commitment. Within a company, a high level of trust between employees fosters cooperation, speeds up decision-making and boosts productivity.

Globally, however, trust remains a largely abstract notion, which covers differing expectations and needs depending on the individuals. As Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, put it: “You know it when you feel it.” At the scale of a company, it can be defined as the credible promise to stakeholders of a mutually beneficial relationship: it encompasses both the intention to act in the name of common interests rather than in one’s own, and the effective ability to deliver on that intention.

Although many companies have identified trust as a priority, most only really concern themselves with it when it has been chipped away, for example when a reputational crisis occurs. By then, it is almost too late, since once trust has been compromised, it is very difficult to rebuild: when a feeling of mistrust arises, observers unconsciously seek to detect anything that might confirm this perception, making it difficult to climb back up the slope.

And yet, trust can be built deliberately, over time, and thus constitute a genuine competitive advantage. Various ways of achieving this can be observed. Some companies work on building themselves an image as a competent, unfailingly reliable partner. Others emphasize a warm, accessible and humane corporate image. Still others bet on a high degree of transparency in their internal and external discourse.

How can you draw inspiration from their practices to reinforce your image as a trustworthy player, and thus benefit from the support of your stakeholders?

In this synopsis:
– Trust, a major lever of performance
– Winning the trust of your stakeholders
– Strengthening the level of trust within your teams

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