Some say that trust lies at the heart of society. In a bygone age, there was implicit trust in banks, teachers, the media, the medical profession. But just as Amazon, Spotify, Uber, Airbnb, JustEat and a plethora of start-ups have disrupted business norms, so the sands of time and events have disrupted the concept of trust.
This is a direct consequence both of shifting times and of the scandals that have beset these professions in recent years.
Michael Skapinker's article in the FT therefore provides an interesting take on the importance of trust in business postulating that 'trust' should be replaced with 'trustworthiness'. The argument he presents is that business and other professions cannot hope to regain 'trust', instead they should focus on building a trustworthy culture brought about by developing a new breed of managers who behave responsibly and decently.
I just think it's a sad indictment of where we have arrived at that trust is considered too big a mountain to climb for business and other professions. It's says a lot about society today and about the culture of greed and individualism that pervades first world attitudes. The scandals of the past (& sadly some of the those in the present) should not stand in the way of a fundamental belief in the importance of trust.
Trust should not be something we give up on. Organisations should have confidence that trust can be rebuilt through actions and deeds. Trustworthiness is a component of rebuilding trust but should not be considered an acceptable end-point
Business should forget about winning back trust. It is unlikely to happen and it is a misdirected effort. They should concentrate on producing managers who set an example of decent behaviour for their staff. They should ensure that whistleblowers have a way to bring malpractice to attention and that they are not harassed and persecuted, as frequently happens.