Building Trust and Standing Out in the Digital Age
In many ways the events of 2016 are less a surprise and more the logical outcome of what we already knew.
As I wrote early last year – we are in an era of ‘trust deficit’ – where more people distrust institutions than believe in them.
When belief in government, business, media and nonprofits dips below 50%, you are bound to see mavericks emerge to challenge the incumbents.
At opposing ends of the spectrum Farage, Trump and Corbyn have used digital and physical networks to leverage the untapped potential in these communities.
Question is – will this mood of anti-establishment dissent sweep across the social sector?
Let’s be challenging:
- Housing talks to housing.
- Care talks to care.
- Health talks to health
I could go on. It’s not so much an echo chamber as an entire galaxy of echo chambers – each their own solar system of professional bodies, conferences and award ceremonies.
If a malcontented public has taken a swipe at the political establishment for being out of touch and bureaucratic – we surely have to consider ourselves fair game too.
The only difference being we can’t be voted out.
But what if Uber really did do health, housing and social care? It seems impossible to imagine our failure to adapt and change is not being carefully watched by leaner, smarter start-ups.
As consumers we are well-informed and volatile as never before. Through pervasive social media and connectivity we are inundated with information which magnifies any grievance – real or imagined.
The point Grant made was clear – in an age of storytelling you need to take a position. If you have no position you won’t keep attention. And most communications fail as we don’t have the balls to take a position.
Conversely there’s huge opportunity here for organisations:
- Mediocrity doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a choice you get to make everyday. You can take a position tomorrow.
- Trust is built through engagement and integrity -we can consider whether every action we take is a trust builder or trust killer.
- We can enshrine transparency as part of our values – with less talk of innovation and more demonstration of our impact.
In the US election only one voter in 50 viewed both candidates as trustworthy; nearly one in three voters said neither was.
Without trust, institutions just stop working. The incumbents get disrupted.
Many organisations have chosen to ignore the warnings about public expectations of more openness, transparency & accountability.
Any leadership team or board who are not actively building trust right now are in peril.