The challenge of building trust as a leader and a business has never been more difficult. So what exactly do you need to do, to achieve it? Below are some thoughts on the building blocks for trust.
“…everyone else is already taken,” said Oscar Wilde. Despite our dreams of being Wilde, Maitlis, Guscott, Thompson or Mirren, you can only be you. Previously, it mattered more as to whether you wore a suit, were from a certain background, etc but these issues are less contentious now. So why not be you and worry about what people think later? Surprise yourself, they may like your authentic self even more.
Keep the focus on the North Star
Too often companies stray away from their purpose and mission. Companies need to clearly articulate their purpose, strategy and operating model to ensure employees can believe that they are in a company that knows what it is doing and where it is going.
Keep your promise
Your regular clients and customers have expectations about your service that are borderline contractual in their eyes. Things may be VUCA at the moment but that is why you need to be reliable. If they expect fast delivery, send them an email explaining exactly what they can expect and, where possible, manage those expectations.
Start with yourself. If your culture is described as a flat, open environment with creative and passionate people then as a leader you shouldn’t be enforcing hierarchy in the team while wearing a black suit and tie every day. Conversely, you should be enjoying casual conversations with people at all levels. The key is that you convey a consistent message about your company culture and if employees are letting your brand down, train them or fire them but do not compromise your brand.
Encourage your employees to innovate, fail and try again. All too often, when companies make mistakes, they pretend that everything is ok. In today’s world, we believe it is more important to acknowledge and learn quickly from your mistakes thereby encouraging confidence in your employees that they too are trusted to make mistakes and learn from them.
Share the message
As leaders of businesses in a digital age, it’s important to share all of this with your employees and customers. Take them on the journey with you so they know what you’re doing and where you’re going. More communication will always lead to more trust. As it says in the old proverb ‘speak to me and we will be friends’.
These ruminations are not exhaustive but a few things we think every business should be attentive to if they want to build trust.