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The Trust Imperative – By Tim Ryan

Two young friends - Unsplash

Go all-in on trust

This article originally appeared on PwC.

I recently spoke with a CEO who wears a special lapel pin close to her heart every day as a reminder of why it’s so important to keep her customers safe and earn their trust. She describes it as “…a physical act, something that I can do so I never forget what we're up to, so I never forget why we're doing it.”

Keeping trust top of mind is a daily habit that any good business leader can practice, as building trust has never been more important, especially given today’s complex environment. Leaders are facing near-term headwinds, increased pressure to deliver financial outcomes and rising stakeholder expectations while, at the same time, looking to reinvent their businesses for the future. To compete, keeping trust at the top of leadership agendas is critical while navigating these market forces.

Recently, and for the third time, PwC surveyed business leaders, consumers and employees on trust. In our 2023 Trust Survey, the results reveal leaders, consumers and employees overwhelmingly agree that organizations have a responsibility to build trust. Underscoring the idea that trust is critical to business in our world of rising stakeholder expectations, 91% of executives agree their ability to build and maintain trust improves the bottom line.

The survey echoed themes we’ve seen in prior years and also revealed how technology –– specifically data privacy and AI –– are playing an increased role in driving trust for employees and consumers. Here are a few key findings for all of us to consider as we’re working to build trust with our stakeholders:

While these insights show just a snapshot of the survey’s findings, the data consistently confirms the critical role trust plays in shaping the actions and outcomes of our business community. As I reflect on these findings and think about how we can build trust in our organizations, I see three major themes:

Trust remains a constant that can help guide us through uncertain times. I go back to my recent conversation with that CEO as she’s building trust and reinventing her company through a challenging environment. Making trust a priority in good times and in tough times can help organizations not only do right by their stakeholders, but also positively impact the bottom line and position them for future growth. While building trust takes time and a lot of hard work, I encourage us all to have trust lead the way.

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan is the US Chair and Senior Partner at PwC. Connect with Tim on LinkedIn.

Posted by on April 6, 2023.

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