Riding the Waves of the Storm of Distrust
The growing global storm of distrust is powerful and unpredictable. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey that investigates the state of trust and credibility that exists between individuals and four key institutions — business, government, media, and NGOs — two-thirds of the 28 countries surveyed are now “distrusters”.
In modern society, we delegate important aspects of our well-being into business (economic well-being), government (national security and public policy), media (information and knowledge) and NGOs (social causes and issues). If the trust of these institutions erodes, the overriding global storm of distrust then becomes a serious factor in whether a society can function.
How Can We Create Calmness in This Season of Storms?
At Aperian Global, we’ve spent nearly three decades working with businesses worldwide to achieve maximum trust and understanding among their teams and customers. We know businesses are more likely to succeed if they listen to individuals, rather than just sell to them. Companies wanting to increase trust need to prove they are not only, but learning and responding to feedback from employees as well as customers. Those most trusted will be those who learn without bias, listen with intent, report back on what they have done, what happened, and what they will do next.
In terms of trust within the global business context, an alarming 60 percent of the general population surveyed worry about losing their jobs due to the impacts of globalization and foreign competition. It is important while riding the wave of distrust, that we do not lose sight of the importance of team diversity, as leveraging diversity and diversity of thought leads to stronger productivity and innovation. Companies with an above-average ethnically- and racially-diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to experience above-average financial returns. Take, for example, a global organization like Ford Motor Company, which recognizes the need for leveraging different skills and perspectives and for “respecting each other which results in achieving profitable growth for all.” While globalization may be a contentious term, at the heart, it’s a unity of world culture where people are able to share their beliefs, values, rituals, and goals.
With unity and understanding comes success. For example, our client, a Finland-based nuclear project commissioned by the Finnish government, was tasked with the challenge of creating an inclusive culture for its new global workforce hailing from 60 different countries. Information sessions on daily life and logistics of living in Finland were conducted and followed up with business-focused Working Globally learning sessions, to foster cultural awareness and an inclusive team spirit. Platforms of exchanges for the expatriates and their families evolved into collaborative team- building events across all divisions. This created enthusiasm among participants to discover more about each other’s cultures. The local villagers, who at the onset were skeptical about welcoming “foreigners,” soon felt the positive economic effects of the project. They became curious and welcoming to the expatriates of various nationalities. The power of the culturally-diverse team learning and working together, along with the positive impacts from economic and global-mindset perspectives, quickly became apparent.
We are now living in a world where falsehoods can be misconstrued as fact. Miscommunication and misalignment are key factors in creating upheaval and this unprecedented trust gap spanning the globe. As mentioned in our recent post on keeping teams aligned during times of change, communicating clearly and being open and responsive are important factors to consider in order to help restore trust.
We understand the importance of relationship and trust building within businesses during this steady shift in the global trust landscape. With customized consulting, facilitated programs such as Senior Team Effectiveness and online learning tools like GlobeSmart, we’ve advised over one million global executives with adjustments that they should be making to help ensure trust within their diverse teams and customers.
The world is changing. We are approaching uncharted waters and we’re ready to work together to help create a sense of calm while riding the waves of this treacherous storm.