Trust is the new currency

/ 05:01 AM October 11, 2019

Trust was discussed over the past two years in Sydney by speakers of the World Business Forum, organized by World of Business Ideas.

I am sharing here some of the key points of three authors from their respective sessions.


Stephen M.R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything,” shared that trust was about character and competence.

He quoted Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff when asked: “What’s the most important thing to your company? Is it trust or is it growth?” and his answer was “trust.”


In the talk, Covey expounded on trust with three key ideas:

  1. Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social virtue, because trust increases speed and reduces cost.
  1. Trust is the number one leadership competency needed to initiate change (more than “command and control”) because it makes the leader better in other competencies like building teams, collaboration, innovation engagement and being agile as it increases the two trust dividends—energy and joy.
  1. Trust is a learnable skill with two building blocks—

credibility and behavior. Credibility entails integrity, intent, capabilities and results, while behavior is a declaration of your intent or your “why.”

Similarly, Martha Rogers, coauthor of “Extreme Trust: Turning Proactive Honesty and Flawless Execution into Long-Term Profits,” shared that 84 percent of marketers agreed that building customer trust would become marketing’s primary objective as many of today’s common marketing practices were becoming “untrustable,” so increasing trust was important to a firm’s bottom line.

She shared two “trustability metrics” or requirements for earning trust: doing things right and doing the right thing proactively.

Customer satisfaction surveys are not always reliable because some are hard graders. Rogers recommended a set of customer-friendly key performance indicators focused on trust that can be adopted:

  1. Net promoter score. This determines the customer’s willingness to recommend to others, but do note the need to identify whether the intent is to recommend significantly or a little.
  1. Vulnerability score. A feedback metric similar to the negative resolution rate of Amazon
  1. Customer lifetime value between actual and potential
  1. Customer equity
  1. Return on investment on customer
  1. What is on management dashboard about customers

In addition, Oxford Professor Rachel Botsman, author of “Who Can You Trust?” talked about trust in the digital age. She pointed out that trust was fundamental to every action, relationship and transaction and was the currency of interaction. When there is risk, trust is required.

Botsman also said that trust was highly contextual and that there were two enemies of trust—bad character and poor information. She, therefore, specified the four connected measures of trustworthiness—competence and reliability make up capabilities, or how you do things, and integrity and benevolence make up character, or why you do things. Finally, when broken, trust can be rebuilt in four steps:


  1. By being responsive
  1. By having empathy
  1. By being accountable
  1. By giving assurance
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TAGS: currency, World Business Forum, World of Business Ideas
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