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Innovation Impacted By Distrust

By David Penglase

A recent research finding reports that 52% of Gen Z’s and Gen Y’s state that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader, and with Millennials fast becoming the largest percentage of employees (and soon to be leaders) within corporate Australia, honesty and trustworthiness can no longer be just taken for granted… and yet, that’s exactly what’s still happening in Australia.

Honesty, Trust and Character are all a bit ‘soft’ when it comes to topics that Australian leaders want to see on their corporate conference agendas and professional development programs.

Whereas, most corporate leaders would readily agree that innovation, creative thinking, flexibility and adaptability are of the utmost importance in times of disruption, distraction and change. For this reason, there is a lot of focus on building the skills and mindsets of leaders and their teams to increase their capacity to be more innovative, creative, flexible and adaptable.

However, all that attention at conferences and professional development programs to boost the skills and mindsets of leaders and their teams in these areas, could result in a waste of time and resources.

The issue is a bit of a horse before the cart, and getting leaders to (a) understand it and (b) take action on it, is not going to be all that easy.

This year, the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer looked at trust and its link to innovation and found that trust issues are negatively impacting innovation and the acceptance of technological advancements.

What we know from the research is that there is an issue of trust in corporate Australia. Again, the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer research found that Trust in government, business, media and NGOs in the general population is below 50 percent in two-thirds of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan and Australia.

This level of distrust has a very tangible and measurable negative impact on Australian business. The report highlights that more than half (57 percent) of respondents refuse to buy products and services from a company they do not trust, while 49 percent will criticize them to a friend or colleague. Conversely, 76 percent chose to buy products from companies they trusted.

The message is very clear for what ought to be on corporate conference agendas and professional development programs – TRUST!

But what are we really talking about here?

Putting trust on the corporate conference agenda and professional development programs is not just a talk-fest about the importance of trust. Most leaders and their teams already know that trust is important. Telling them so will make no real difference.

Rather, what’s required is a discussion of how to earn, build and maintain trust with every stakeholder across the business. This is a discussion about leaders and their teams being able to clearly articulate their intention, and their intentional promises for each and every stakeholder they impact.

The research is clearly validating that Aspirational Leadership Starts With Trust! This is also the title of one of my conference keynote presentations and masterclasses which you can learn more about by clicking here.

If you’re a leader, even if you don’t believe you have a trust issue with your team or your stakeholders, give me a call at our Sydney office on 02 9546 2492 and let’s at least explore areas that aren’t functioning at their best, and how intention, trust, character, positivity or mindset may be part of the problem.

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