• January 2010

Trust: How Important Is It In Your Organization?

By Steven B. Wiley
president and founder
The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg

Do your followers trust you? How about your customers or clients? I’ve been thinking about this idea of trust, and how vital trust is to organizations ever since I saw the findings of Richard Edelman’s “2009 Trust Barometer“http://www.edelman.com/trust/2009/, which showed that trust in business is currently at a 10-year low in the US. Interestingly, 4,475 opinion leaders in 20 countries in two age groups (25-34 and 35-64) were sampled.

The survey found:

  • Nearly two-thirds of informed publics (62%) trust corporations less than they did a year ago.
  • Only 38% said they trust business to do what is right — a 20% plunge since last year — and only 17% said they trust information from a company’s CEO.
  • Seventy-seven percent (77%) said they refused to buy products or services from a company they distrusted — the first time the survey explored people’s direct actions toward trusted and distrusted companies.
  • Seventy-two percent (72%) criticized a distrusted company to a friend or colleague.

“Our survey confirms that it’s going to be harder to rebuild our economies because no institution has captured the trust that business has lost — trust is not a zero-sum game,” said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman in a statement.

What’s more — only 17% (that’s one in five respondents) say they trust what they hear from business leaders. What kind of business results are you going to get with a 17% “trust rate”?

So, you ask, how can we increase trust in today’s business environment? I would suggest that we heed LLI’s faculty member General Jim Anderson’s advice about being a “vivid, living personal example” to both our followers and those who lead us.

By “being the change we want to see” I’m confident that we can boost the “trust factor” in all of our organizations and that the results will show both at the bottom line and with improved engagement.

What do you think? Have you seen a boost, or reduction, in trust in your organization? If so, what as a leader have you done to help? Send an email about your experience to our newsletter editor Hope Gibbs, and we’ll feature your story in our next newsletter!

Until then, here’s to promoting a trusting workplace. Remember this quote by author George MacDonald (1824-1905), who is said to have inspired admiration in such notables as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle: “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”


ABOUT STEVEN B. WILEY

Steven B. Wiley is an entrepreneur, author, and highly acclaimed speaker who has influenced and entertained tens of thousands of top executives from around the world. Without exception, he receives the highest ratings possible from his audiences.

His business experience includes the founding of three companies: two international franchise organizations and a national chain of fleet management centers. He has successfully negotiated multi-million dollar funding agreements for his own companies with some of the top venture capital organizations in the world. His strong leadership ability has earned him recognition in top publications including Venture Magazine, USA Today, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Steve’s speaking experience includes three years as National Spokesperson for the Quaker Oats/Pritikin Longevity Centers for whom he has been featured in television commercials and advertisements in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and New York Times.

In the last decade, he has conducted thousands of seminars on negotiation, sales leadership and wellness for numerous public and private sector organizations. He is also the founder and president of The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg.

For more information, visit www.lincolnleadershipinstitute.com.

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