Leadership and trust sure aren’t everything, but without them, everything is nothing. In the new digital economy, they matter more than ever.
Everybody values it, nobody really knows what it is: Trust. It’s the universal currency of leadership. Leaders need trust to lead. Great leadership isn’t just about what you say. It’s about what people do in response to you. You need trust on your side.
Many corporations are structural monocultures. In such environments, focus is placed on eliminating weeds, instead of enabling diversity to thrive organically. While monocultures may seem smart and efficient at first, they sorely lack resilience: When life turns for the worse, they have a hard time adapting. And even in good times, they all too often yield mediocre qualities. Leadership and trust then, are a question of culture. Goodwill, strategy and talent wilts in contaminated soils. In the rapidly changing climate of global economic and digital transformation, wise organisations will bid farewell to monocultures. Responsibility and trust replace command and control.
Trust is the foundation of every great businesses, and it’s so much more than that. It’s about our view of the world, and our view of the future. Leading calmly through every storm. Thriving in good and difficult times. Trusting others, so they will trust you. And when you trust in a worthwhile purpose, so will the people around you. When an entire organisation does this, magic happens. People reach their potential. Collaborate willingly and effectively. A virtuous cycle of peak performance, trust and leadership begins.
Outstanding leaders create flexible, diverse and trust-driven environments in which people thrive. Environments that evolve with the times, recover naturally and grow fast because they trust people to get the job done. Organisations in which this is modus operandi have always outperformed their peers. They naturally attract the best and brightest and allow people to develop their true potential. Leaders trust their teams, and teams trust their leadership. This leads to effective collaboration that maximises human capital and creates a resilient organisation. It removes friction between people and boosts productivity like nothing else. As technology and digital reimagine workplaces, these foundations matter more than ever.
In an age where tenure on the S&P 500 is constantly decreasing, an engrained focus, purpose and trust in people’s abilities is the new recipe for organisational success. This is the future of work, the story of trust and leadership and how they help us make the most of the digital age.