Welcome to the February 2009 Edition of the Carnival of Trust.
This month sees the publication of the 10th Edelman Global Trust Barometer – and it makes for frightening reading. Across their sample of “informed publics” in 20 countries across the globe, 62% of 25-64 year olds reported that they trust corporations less now than they did a year ago. In absolute terms, in the US, trust in banks for example, has fallen to 36% among 35-64 year olds; with trust in automotive companies even lower at 33%. In the UK, even trust in “people like me” dropped 13 points to 38%.
Set against this backdrop of falling trust levels, it would be easy to fill this months Carnival with lurid tales of corporate misdeeds and breaches of trust. And in the aftermath of the recent Madoff, Merill Lynch, Blagojevich, Satyam and other scandals we have no shortage of candidates.
But if we truly believe – as I firmly do – that increased trust is an absolute necessity underpinning not only successful businesses but successful societies – then what we need are examples we can look up to and learn from, not just ones which allow us a self-satisfied “tut tut” at other's misbehaviour.
Of course, it would be impossible to do a round-up of this month's trust-related blog posts without some mention of recent scandals. But I've tried to balance that with some rather more inspiring and uplifting material too.
Before launching into this month's selection a few words of thanks to Charlie Green for the opportunity to host the Carnival, and to Ian Welsh for his support in preparing the selection. Please share with us and the authors your reactions and comments.
Posted before the outcome of the Superbowl was known, in Pittsburgh Steelers and the Titans of Wall Street Rob Jewell provides an inspiring “compare and contrast” story highlighting the leadership of Steelers' owner Dan Rooney. Rooney's ability to bring his organisation's values to life through his personal conduct is the perfect example of how individuals can inspire trust amongst whole communities through their actions.
In Leadership Scruples: What Would You Do? Dan McCarthy lists 20 great ethical questions to test your leadership calibre. It's the sort of test where you “know” what the right answer is instinctively – but whether you'd be able to carry out that behaviour in the real world is the true test of a leader.
JD Hull reminds us in In Praise of Structure: Getting a Standard that the setting – and maintaining of standards is one of the key foundations of an effective culture for professional service firms. If our client's and our own people cannot trust us to meet basic deadlines, how can they trust us with their most important work and their careers.
In the final post on Leadership and Management this month, Brad Kolar talks about the difference between equality and fairness. In an article echoing W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne's work on Fair Process, Brad's When Equal Isn't Fair talks about how leaders must treat their staff differently – adapting to their individual needs – in order to treat them fairly.
On the Connecting with NLP Blog, Lisa J lays down a post chock-full of common sense, and of equal value to professional advisors and parents alike. is the kind of post I wish I'd written myself. For me, item #2 in Lisa's list – Tell the Truth – is the cornerstone of establishing trust in almost all situations.
In a short and sweet post on Influence: Understanding & Fulfilling The Needs of Others Steve Roesler brings his experience from counselling and coaching to the world of influential presentations, and notes that in order to influence, one must listen as much as one talks. Standard advice for 1-1 interactions – but almost unheard of when it comes to presentations. And yet from my own experience, this advice rings very true – I'd urge readers to give what he says careful consideration.
First up in Sales & Marketing is an interesting article from Sims Wyeth: Dress for Success which shows how what we wear and how we look affects how others trust us (and, of course, how we trust others). To be honest, this is one of those articles that both impresses me with its accuracy while at the same time depressing me that we can all be so shallow. While I'd like to think I base my opinions of others on how they act, not on what they wear – Sims highlights that the evidence points to the contrary. And we need to bear this in mind while attempting to build trust when selling or marketing to others.
Next up is perhaps my favourite post of the month, from my friend Tim Rohrer. Tim is a great storyteller, and in Belligerence Kills he recounts the tale of his encounter with a sales trainer who really should have known better…
Inevitably, recent financial scandals loom large in the economics roundup. Perhaps the most interesting perspective is provided on Barbara O'Brien's Buddhism Blog. In Greed and Delusion on Wall Street she avoids the obvious knee jerk reactions to draw wider lessons for us all from a buddhist perspective.
Finally, in “The Gullible and Bernie Madoff” (post no longer available online) Neil Senturia brings us right back to the core issue of trust – highlighting that Trust is Only Earned in a Deeply Personal Way – it cannot be garnered and granted by someone else.
Amen to that!