Leadership and Trust is the genesis of economic prosperity

I had the fortune of being invited to a lively debate on Friday 25th February 2022, joining the debate was Lieutenant Cornel Oakland McCulloch, Douglas Lines, and our podcast host Scott Hunter, Purpose. Trust and Societal Impact expert and practitioner, discussing the role of leadership in creating trust.

“Today’s leaders have a responsibility to inspire the leaders of tomorrow.”
– Lieutenant Colonel Oak McCulloch

Douglas Lines: Douglas is a senior business leader, executive committee member with substantial global commercial experience, operating principally in financial services.

Geoffrey M.J Hudson-Searle: Geoff is a serial business advisor, CSuite Executive and Non-Executive Director to Private and Publicly listed growth-phase tech companies. An author of 5 books including the best seller ‘Purposeful Discussions’ and rated by Agilience as a Top 250 Harvard Business School authority covering; ‘Strategic Management’ and ‘Management Consulting’

Oakland McCulloch: Oak is a Retired Lieutenant Colonel. He is the author of the 2021 release, Your Leadership Legacy: Becoming the Leader You Were Meant to Be. Based on 40+ years of leadership in the U.S. Army and subsequent civilian positions, Oak highlights principles that will benefit today’s leaders and inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Oak is also a well-known speaker who gives presentations on a variety of topics including leadership, success, military history, college preparation and others.

In previous eras, trust was more often a product of ongoing relationships between individuals who did business together. People knew their bankers, merchants, and employers personally and could assess the content of their character.

These days, business transactions tend to be less personal and more far-reaching than they were even a few decades ago.

Trust remains a vital form of business currency, but customers rely on different signals to convey a company’s trustworthiness — including, in many cases, a wealth of information about its ethical track record and the experiences of its customers and employees.

In fact, globalization is making adherence to commonly accepted ethical standards necessary not just for building trust with employees and customers, but for full-fledged participation in the worldwide economy.

Just as common technological protocols have made the rapid spread of mobile phones and the internet around the world possible, common ethical standards provide a consistent set of rules that allow parties from different cultures and institutional environments to have confidence that they can do business together without being taken advantage of.

The success of global “sharing economy” platforms like Uber and Airbnb has been possible, in large part, because those businesses have developed transparent rating systems that help customers feel they can trust millions of new drivers and hospitality providers.

However, trust has also become a more important consideration within organizations.

Given the rapid pace of change in many industries, driven by digitization, globalization, and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, many employees wonder if their jobs are secure and need to feel that their managers are always open and honest with them.

Perceived trustworthiness has also become an important recruiting consideration.

Expectations for corporate responsibility have changed since the “greed is good” ethos of the 1980s.

Employees want to know their organizations operate in a socially responsible manner. Those who believe their company will always choose to do the right thing over making an immediate profit are more likely to say they would recommend it as a place to work and that they will stay there for another three years.

Gallup’s research has shown that millennial-age employees, in particular, want their careers to coincide with their personal values; they view their jobs as sources of meaning and purpose, rather than just a way to make a living.

Three essential elements of a high-trust culture

Businesses that sustain trusting relationships with employees and customers are distinguished by three central priorities, around which leaders build high-integrity organizational cultures.

Trust directly influences the actions and outcomes of business every day. By embedding trust in a company’s business, leaders generate value for their stakeholders and society more broadly now and in the future.

Make strong customer value the ultimate business goal.

Organizations need an authentic, customer-centric purpose to guide their strategic focus and daily activities. Such a purpose, clearly and commonly articulated by leaders and managers, encodes ethical standards into the DNA of an organization.

If a company exists to improve the lives of its customers, violating their trust or harming their communities through unethical behavior becomes not just a moral issue, but a strategic concern.

As an example, in restructuring their operations after suffering massive losses in the global financial crisis, many retail banks made restoring customer relationships their paramount leadership concern, with many articulating a renewed focus on customer-centricity supported by a set of clearly stated ethical standards and responsibilities.

By contrast, widespread concerns about Facebook’s data-sharing policies and possible privacy violations have led to a slower user and revenue growth and prompted a major ad campaign intended to regain users’ trust.

Establish integrity as a primary organizational value.

High-trust organizations make integrity a core value that influences all HR processes, from performance incentives to hiring criteria.

However, simply hiring principled employees isn’t enough, particularly in an era when ethical implications aren’t always obvious or clear-cut.

Recent research in organizational psychology points to “blind spots” that may lead people to behave unethically without being fully conscious of it.

The concept of bounded ethicality suggests employees often fail to recognize their own moral transgressions, either because the moral dimensions of their decisions aren’t salient enough or because they conflict with other personal or organizational interests.

For example, in the accounting scandals of the early 2000s, major accounting firms were hired and paid by the companies they audited, motivating them to overlook inappropriate – even fraudulent – bookkeeping practices.

Employees need to see their colleagues acting under the assumption that integrity is an essential component of – rather than an obstacle to – their organization’s success.

Such cultural norms ensure employees never feel that their own ethical behavior leaves them at a disadvantage. Conversations about ethics and trust and the consequences of business decisions should become part of a daily routine, especially as organizations embrace experimentation and constant innovation.

Ensure ethical issues are a major leadership focus.

For large organizations, trust is largely a product of leadership.

Business leaders help ensure employees are attuned to ethical issues by calling attention to them on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, many businesses pay lip service to compliance programs without conveying to employees the organization’s commitment to building and maintaining customer trust through ethical practices.

Trust between employer and employee and among employees enhances human capital investment. Trust influences the behaviours of both employers and employees. Deloitte research suggests that employees who highly trust their employer are about half as likely to seek new job opportunities as those who don’t.

At the same time, workers are more likely to invest in their own skill-building if they trust that their employer will reward them for their efforts. This is especially true regarding non-transferable or firm-specific skills, which suggests that trust can raise the level of institutional knowledge that can lead to more productive work.

The world is in crisis. Economies are unwinding; jobs are disappearing and our spirit is being tested. In light of this, it’s imperative for leaders to demonstrate compassion. But the research from Harvard University has shown that compassion on its own is not enough.

For effective leadership, compassion must be combined with wisdom, i.e. leadership competence and effectiveness. This often requires giving tough feedback, making hard decisions that disappoint people, and, in some cases, laying people off.

Showing compassion in leadership can’t come at the expense of wisdom and effectiveness. You need both. The research report gathered data from 15,000 leaders in more than 5,000 companies that span nearly 100 countries, showing that leaders exhibit four different leadership styles that reflect different mixes of wisdom and compassion, and the lack thereof. The optimal style is wise compassionate leadership.

EY Consulting survey confirms 90% of US workers believe empathetic leadership leads to higher job satisfaction and 79% agree it decreases employee turnover.

The majority (88%) of respondents feel that empathetic leadership creates loyalty among employees toward their leaders – revealing that empathy could be the secret sauce to retaining and finding employees in the face of “The Great Resignation.”

A staggering 89% of employees agree that empathy leads to better leadership. In fact, 88% feel that empathetic leadership inspires positive change within the workplace, and 87% say that it enables trust among employees and leaders. Additionally, 85% report that empathetic leadership in the workplace increases productivity among employees.

Beyond improving employee satisfaction and decreasing turnover rates, there are tangible business benefits to prioritizing empathy in the workplace. According to the survey, benefits are plenty, since employees agree that mutual empathy between leaders and employees increases:
– Efficiency (87%)
– Creativity (87%)
– Innovation (86%)
– Company revenue (81%)

Leaders have to be resolute about their desire to foster an empowered organization and their commitment to invest the necessary time and energy to make it work. They have to continuously find ways to signal that desire and following key steps constitutes a very effective way to do so. Yes, there might be some hiccups, but once those are in the rear-view mirror, true empowerment will deliver a powerful upside for employees, their leaders, and the entire organization.

Clarity of thinking, communications, and decision-making will be at a premium. Those CEOs who can best exhibit this clarity, and lead from the heart and the head, will inspire their organisations to persevere through this crisis, positioning their brand to emerge in a better place, prepared for whatever may come. Crises like these, with deep challenges to be navigated, will also lead to opportunities for learning and deepening trust with all stakeholders, while equipping organisations for a step change that creates more value not just for shareholders, but for society as a whole.

Getting a regular cadence with a clear voice is critical. Incomplete or conflicting communications can slow the organisation’s response rather than providing better guidance.

In a time of crisis, trust is paramount. This simple formula emphasises the key elements of trust for individuals and for organisations:

Trust = Transparency + Integrity + Relationship + Experience

Trust starts with transparency: telling what you know and admitting what you don’t. Trust is also a function of relationships: some level of ‘knowing’ each other among you and your employees, your customers, and your ecosystem. And it also depends on experience: Do you reliably do what you say?

In times of growing uncertainty, trust is increasingly built by demonstrating an ability to address unanticipated situations and a steady commitment to address the needs of all stakeholders in the best way possible.

In any time, thriving organisations are true to their purpose, rely on their values, and model agility. Today’s pandemic, which will reduce profits all over the world, is a searing test of every organisation’s culture and values. Leaders who have laid a solid culture foundation, authentically committed to a set of values, and defined and depended on an inspiring purpose are leading through this crisis by making a difference in the lives of employees and the communities they serve. This crisis also serves as a furnace for change for those companies that haven’t yet laid the foundation for a thriving culture.

Working with CEOs over the years, I have found that thriving cultures are those that are purpose-driven and characterised by vitality and a growth mindset. Organisations where leaders are purposeful and intentional and open to personal change, and where every employee has a voice and is actively engaged in living the organisation’s values, are those with thriving cultures. Many organisations entered into this crisis with such a culture. Others were struggling. But, like the process of glass blowing, in which beautiful structures are created by manipulating molten glass in a hot furnace, we have observed healthy and resilient cultures emerge from the fires of crisis.

Culture, we know, is the core of resilience, but it alone is not enough. Other work by our firm has shown that organisations that accelerate performance during good times and bad are able to mobilise, execute, and transform with agility. During today’s pandemic, agility matters more than ever. Amidst rapid-fire health updates, market volatility, and the extreme spread of the coronavirus, a company’s foresight, ability to learn, and adaptability will set it apart. Companies strong in these areas have leaders who are future-focused, demonstrate a growth mindset, are able to pivot quickly in times of rapid disruption, and maintain resilience to navigate their organisations.

Uncovering authentic organisational purpose can come quite simply from finding ways to be of service. What’s needed today is for all leaders to look beyond profit and ask, ‘What do I have that could help someone right now? Where can I practice abundance where there is short supply?’

Organisations will be changed by their actions to make a difference in these times of crisis. Connecting with employees at a human level as we enter into one another’s home offices and living rooms, meeting children and pets on the screen, is organically changing and strengthening cultures. It’s happening today by default; tomorrow leaders can shape their cultures with lessons learned by design. Leaders and organisations that count on their core culture and values and make a difference while pivoting to solve for the future will emerge from the fires of this crisis and thrive.

Finally, leadership has got to step up, if you want to save your job in the next 10 years, you need to adopt a balance between IQ, EQ, SI, DI, WI and trust intelligence. Emotional intelligence isn’t just an idea for leadership anymore, it’s a prerequisite for the trust toolbox.

The way to build trust and drive home purpose is to master honest communication and include employees and stakeholders in key decisions. “We’ve seen fax machines, long emails, instant messaging, all kinds of collaboration tools come, go and sometimes stay. Business is about communicating with purpose, active listening, empathy. More trust has got to be to put into the executive leadership. Trust is the glue.”

The more emotional intelligence leadership teams employ across teams, the more you’ll see an increase in trust because people will see it’s not just words but actions. At IBEM, we commissioned a trust report back in January 2020. Even before I commissioned the research, I knew what to expect.

“69% of everyone surveyed said they don’t trust CEO or line manager.”

I would take that as applicable across all business and commerce. We’ve got to communicate more, build trust within organisations more. We can’t deliver anything without fixing this problem.

Inclusion of people into the decision-making process helps cement purpose and values.”

Vincent Thomas Lombardi was an American football coach and executive in the National Football League, who once said:

“A team is not a group of people who play together, a team is a group of people who trust each other.”

Is our heart reserved for True Love, a sacred flame that burns eternally for one love?

I have been having much debate with my circle of close friends recently over the subject of ‘Love’ and whether we ever forget our first ‘True Love’. For some people, they will never truly experience ‘True or Unconditional Love’ and for others, there is a long distant memory of ‘True Love’.

I love the quote by Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We all have experiences to share.

Some of you will remember a blog that I wrote in July 2016 called ‘Do we forget our first love or how people have made us feel, or are we still in love?’. And prior, ‘Can Love Last Forever’ – this was written just before another interesting blog: ‘Can Love Conquer All or is Love a Myth?’.

A few years ago, I interviewed a love expert and special friend in the subject matter, Jo March, author of ‘Love is Simple’. After several cups of tea at the Terrace Room at The Meridian Hotel in Piccadilly – London, and much discussion sharing past and present experiences, Jo explained:
‘Why people should live in love and why we are not communicating and forging meaningful and unconditional relationships, love is simple right…?’

Love is simple when we understand the true meaning of unconditional love. The kind of love that transforms and transcends us as human beings to a higher level of consciousness, in those moments when we truly love, we become alive, we feel passion, we feel life in every breath. Love is life, at the core of everything we do on this life path it is love that is the driving force.

I could not agree more. That being said, I have learnings from a few things about doing what you love for life and business — and this was the précis for my first book, ‘Freedom After The Sharks’.

Jo mentioned a quote by Maya Angelou, I am sure will resonate with us all:

“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold — that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.”

I have often written on the subject of love and relationships and with Valentines upon us I recently reminisced on the subject: ‘Is our heart reserved for True Love, a sacred flame that burns eternally for one love?’

Or as William Shakesphere once said in his play is ‘The World Just a Stage?

The meaning of this phrase is that this world is like a stage and all human beings are merely actors – Oscar Wilde has put his spin on this phrase, declaring “The world is a stage, and the play is badly cast.”
Allan Moore in his novel, ‘V for Vendetta’, has taken it to a completely new level by saying “All the world’s a stage, and everything else is vaudeville.” Now notice how people love to quote this phrase, because it sounds very clever, and they believe that this line has something that still resonates today.

With the world stage aside the facts are instead of strong, meaningful conversations and relationships, we struggle through long series of bad dates and so-called hook-ups. Instead of meeting people in real life, we are constantly swiping and messaging somebody new. Instead of telling people how we feel, we do not text back. We no longer have people cancel, we get flaked on, and then we flake on other people. We no longer date or commit, we “see” and “hang out” with each other. We are complicit in a dating culture that systematically prevents intimacy. I believe and the evidence certainly supports this, that we have become a generation afraid of being in love.

One could say “We are complicit in a dating culture that systematically prevents intimacy”.

I read a recent article from UCLA called ‘What does being committed to your marriage really mean?’ UCLA psychologists answered this question in a new study based on their analysis of 172 married couples over the first 11 years of marriage.

“When people say, ‘I’m committed to my relationship,’ they can mean two things,” said study co-author Benjamin Karney, a professor of psychology and co-director of the Relationship Institute at UCLA. “One thing they can mean is, ‘I really like this relationship and want it to continue.’ However, commitment is more than just that.”

The psychologists’ report demonstrated that a deeper level of commitment is a much better predictor of lower divorce rates and fewer problems in marriage.

Of the 172 married couples in the study, 78.5 percent were still married after 11 years, and 21.5 percent were divorced. The couples in which both people were willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the marriage were significantly more likely to have lasting and happy marriages, according to Bradbury, Karney and lead study author Dominik Schoebi, a former UCLA postdoctoral scholar who is currently at Switzerland’s University of Fribourg.

So, do we marry a ‘soul mate’ or a ‘life partner’?

Soul Mate:
Someone who is aligned with your soul and is sent to challenge, awaken and stir different parts of you in order for your soul to transcend to a higher level of consciousness and awareness. Once the lesson has been learned, physical separation usually occurs.

Life Partner:
A companion, a friend, a stable and secure individual who you can lean on, trust and depend on to help you through life. There is a mutual feeling of love and respect and you are both in sync with each other’s needs and wants.

At different times of our lives, we will need and want different types of relationships. Neither is better or worse than the other, it is all a personal decision and one that you will feel guided to as long as you are following your heart.

In summary, our childhoods taught us to value love; but our institutions, cities, and technology have taught us to fear commitment and put choice first. We are trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of emotional distance from each other.

Most of us really want love at some point, but our actions are at war with this desire. We maintain an emotional distance because we fear commitment and rejection, not because that is our true self. We replace the feeling of true intimacy with short-term flings, long-term noncommittal hookups, and sex. We comfort ourselves knowing at least we’re not feeling the stinging pain of a broken heart, at least we don’t have to deal with real emotions. My belief is that we have trapped ourselves in a cycle that we are all complicit within.

This cycle is detrimental to us all. Happiness means different things to different people. For some, it is marriage and kids, for others, it is traveling the world, and for others it is a rainy day with a good book. One thing that we all share, however, is that having strong, positive relationships in our life is one of the keys to happiness and fulfillment. Even anecdotally, we know this to be true.

When we keep emotional distance because of the fear of rejection, we lose out on one of the most important aspects of being human. Deep inside, we know we are unfulfilled but we do not know how to fix ourselves. So, we play the game where there are no winners. We must break free from this culture that damages us all and learn to love again.

For most of us, improving our relationships is one of the best things we can do in our lives. For me, with this realisation and my committed effort to be more open, honest, and straightforward, I have been able to not only improve how I treat other people but also the quality of my relationships with my circle of wonderful friends.

Final thought, there’s no reason that “love forever ” cannot exist, and in fact, relationships with so much love and sustainability should exist with the partner that you call your love or spouse.

True love is a decision of the will. It’s a choice based on many factors, including that “in love” feeling you have for your love or spouse. Such a feeling can be built upon with tenderness, romantic gestures, and caring choices all along the way. We all celebrate Valentines Day today, whilst the day represents love with the partner of your choice, love should not be celebrated once a year, as Jo stated ‘love that transforms and transcends us as human beings to a higher level of consciousness, in those moments when we truly love, we become alive, we feel passion, we feel life in every breath’ the gestures of love, the small touchpoints of affection should be constant.

Music is also a great channel for communicating your true feelings to the person of your dreams, Kenny Thomas once wrote a record called Tender Love

Maybe, this is the answer to a happier and more fulfilling life, maybe there is only one person in the universe for everyone, one person that we call home, and maybe it has led me to finding love, my true love, my first and only love and soul mate.

I just know I do not want to be complicit in modern dating culture any more. I am happy when building real emotional connections in business and in life, and I guess, that is what we all want in the end, to be happy and in love with real connections, real people, real-life – a real soul connection – not a world stage with an actor or actors.

One of my favourite quotes by Tamie Dearen, from her book ‘The Best Match’:

“Love is such a small word for what I feel. For the first time in my life, I have a reason to breathe. I’m enchanted with every part of you I know, and I only know a small part so far. I plan to spend the rest of my life searching out every hidden enchantment in your body and soul. And I’m going to cherish and protect you with every fiber of my being. So, do I love you? No… I love love love you.”

Leadership needs to lead with Trust Intelligence (TI)

The global pandemic triggered by Covid-19 presented the world with the ultimate test of leadership across industries and geographies. From health care to government, school systems to non-profits, almost every organization has experienced unprecedented challenges over the past few months that have tested the values and skills of its leaders. Navigating this uncertainty requires mental and emotional stamina, courage and compassion.

I have written on the subject of the balance between IQ vs EI, ‘Why emotional intelligence is leadership, team spirit and company culture’, ‘Emotional Intelligence and Your Survival through the 4th Industrial Revolution‘ and more recently ‘The four Intelligences; IQ, EI, SI, DI and why we need Wisdom Intelligence (WI)‘.

In our company Douglas and I often debate the importance of the intelligences – the very reason ‘The four Intelligences; IQ, EI, SI, DI and why we need Wisdom Intelligence (WI)’ was written, was based on why as human’s we need a balance of skill, competence, moral and ethic behaviours to be truly effective in this new world, our conversations continue as whilst trust is not a new subject, there are just a few elemental forces that hold our world together. The one that’s the glue of society is called trust.

As Douglas Lines once said: “The importance of trust, integrity and experience has always been critical at IBEM, in my experience, this is ethically and morally important, but it is also our business mantra.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said ‘“To earn trust, money and power aren’t enough; you have to show some concern for others. You can’t buy trust in the supermarket.”‘

Trust in a leader allows organizations and communities to flourish, while the absence of trust can cause fragmentation, conflict, and even war. That’s why we need to trust our leaders, our family members, our friends and our co-workers, albeit in different ways.

Trust is hard to define, but we do know when it’s lost. When that happens, we withdraw our energy and level of engagement. We go on an internal strike, not wanting to be sympathetic to the person who we feel has hurt us or treated us wrongly. We may not show it outwardly, but we are less likely to tell the formerly trusted person that we are upset, to share what is important to us or to follow through on commitments. As a result, we pull back from that person and no longer feel part of their world. This loss of trust can be obvious or somewhat hidden, especially if we pretend to be present but inwardly disengage. And those who have done something to lose our trust may not even know it.

On the positive side, trust makes people feel eager to be part of a relationship or group, with a shared purpose and a willingness to depend on each other. When trust is intact, we will willingly contribute what is needed, not just by offering our presence, but also by sharing our dedication, talent, energy, and honest thoughts on how the relationship or group is working.

The dynamics of trust are delicate in important relationships, and the loss of trust can be costly — not only psychologically, but also financially and in terms of work and livelihood. What’s helpful to remember is that trust is an ongoing exchange between people and is not static. Trust can be earned. It can be lost. And it can be regained.

Trust is the new disruptor, one that businesses must master to realize the full power of data and new intelligent technologies.

Markets face complex and accelerating change. This is fuelled by “intelligent technologies” such as robotic process automation and artificial intelligence (AI), including speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision based on machine-learning algorithms and enabled by limitless cloud-based computing capacity.

The proliferation of inexpensive sensor technology has generated massive amounts of data, which AI consumes to learn from experience, make decisions, and deliver enhanced insights. But can this intelligence be trusted?

Those able to exploit how new intelligent technologies use data are gaining a competitive advantage. But they also face a new set of risks. For some, the mode and speed at which intelligent technologies digest and act on data are creating unexpected outcomes — fracturing trust with customers, markets and across ecosystems. For example, would you use online banking if you didn’t trust the bank? Would you get into a self-driving car you didn’t trust?

A key question for executives has emerged: can you trust the intelligence driving your enterprise?

We are living in a time of increasingly intelligent technologies when an organization’s ability to be trusted really matters. But the way data and intelligent technologies such as AI are being used is creating significant trust gaps. For example, the public feels that intelligent technology is moving too fast and that regulators can’t keep up, as documented in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.

There are plenty of high-profile examples of data misuse and unintended outcomes from AI usage that have contributed to these gaps. One small example took place this June when an AI tool to reconstruct pixelated photos turned a photo of Barack Obama into a white man. It became a matter of hot debate in the AI community: was the bias towards creating more photos of white people than people of colour the result of incomplete data or indicative of the racial bias baked into AI from non-diverse datasets and development teams?

Trust gaps have reframed the question of “Can tech do this?” into “Should tech do this?” It’s no longer about capabilities. It’s about trust in the intelligence that a business uses, and that customers, markets, regulators and ecosystems rely on. Can companies and government organizations ensure the outcomes of their technologies? Do they have reliable methods for identifying, tracking and correcting unintended outcomes? Without trust, the ability of an organization to operate and innovate is reduced and slowed down.

In low-trust environments, you’ll see low morale, disengagement and a lack of commitment. You’ll also see people manipulating, distorting facts and withholding information. There will be resistance to new ideas, blame culture, finger-pointing, overpromising, underdelivering, and, often, tension and fear. Everything will take longer to do and everything will cost more.

Increase trust within your team: Stephen M. R. Covey

The converse in high-trust cultures is equally true. When the trust goes up in an organisation, the speed will go up and costs will come down. Your ability to collaborate goes up, as does your ability to attract, retain and engage people. When trust goes up, you’ll see people sharing information, not being afraid to make mistakes, more creativity, higher accountability and greater energy and satisfaction. When you move the needle on trust, you move all kinds of other needles with it.

As businesses and governments transform to meet new challenges, it’s essential to embed Trust Intelligence into the core of their operations.

Enterprises powered by trust will be able to deliver on all three transformation drivers: people, technology and innovation. They’ll be able to leapfrog their competitors. To shape new markets.
To lead into better futures.

It’s hard to quantify exactly how important trust is for a business. For business owners, a lack of trust is your biggest expense. It may take years for a manager or an executive to develop the trust of his or her employees, but only moments to lose. Without trust, transactions cannot occur, influence is destroyed, leaders can lose teams and salespeople can lose sales. The list goes on.

Trust and relationships, much more than money, are the currency of business.

Trust is the natural result of thousands of tiny actions, words, thoughts, and intentions. Trust does not happen all at once; gaining trust takes work. It might take years of calling on a certain client to break through and fully gain their comfort and trust. Yet in spite of the importance of trust in the business world today, few leaders have given it the focus and nurturing it deserves.

Business strategist and author David Horsager speaks internationally on the bottom-line impact of trust. He has developed a system with which he teaches leaders how to build the Eight Pillars of Trust:

• Clarity – People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous
• Compassion – People put faith in those who care beyond themselves
• Character – People notice those who do what is right over what is easy
• Competency – People have confidence in those who stay fresh, relevant, and capable
• Commitment – People believe in those who stand through adversity
• Connection – People want to follow, buy from, and be around friends
• Contribution – People immediately respond to results
• Consistency – People love to see the little things done consistently

Finally, it is crucial to understand that trust is fundamental to the genuine success of any kind. The trust you have with your team, colleagues or family, traditionally, businesses have relied on a “command and control” management style, focusing on rigid hierarchies and compliance from employees.

We must shift from a “command and control” to a “trust and inspire” leadership model.

Trusting and inspiring your team is defined by the commitment from both sides, with a focus on effectiveness and fostering a growth mindset. It is based on the belief that employees are creative, collaborative, and full of potential; through trust, you can inspire them to do their best work, and reinforce the need for trust.

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, philosopher, who served as the third president of the United States, once said:

‘Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.’

The influence of Trust on Regulation

Massive amounts of data used by intelligent technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain are reshaping our world. The next frontier will take us even further, with developments such as quantum computing.

These intelligent technologies present new opportunities but also new risks. The public has deep concerns over how data and technology are being used; business leaders suffer the uncertainty of what they can confidently do without breaching rules or risking reputational damage. Together, this is slowing the adoption of intelligent technologies and limiting their possibilities.

For business, it has become a question of trust. Trust is the credibility required from customers, suppliers, markets and ecosystems for businesses to operate successfully. Enterprises can’t get past the gate and into the value creation zone without it. In essence, organizations will struggle to create long-term value unless trusted data is flowing through them

Today’s disruptions are creating a slew of new products, services, and ideas to enjoy. Transit, hospitality, financial services, supply chain management and so on are all innovating and challenging the status quo, reimagining how we go about our daily lives, how we interact and connect with each other, and how we should set rules that are in the public’s best interest.

Setting rules that are fit for purpose is key to unlocking technology’s and new business models’ full potential. What may have worked in the past is being upended, in this fast-paced, constantly shifting environment. But it is not just the digital platform revolution where the future of regulation applies. It also applies to other areas of import, like employment. Consider the changing contours of work and the workplace.

Regulators around the world have launched a bewildering number of antitrust lawsuits and investigations against the big tech firms: Amazon, Apple, Facebook (now known as Meta) and Google. Each focuses on a different part of the conglomerate, from Apple’s App Store to Google’s advertising data. Scarcely a day passes without an existing case making headlines or a new one popping up.

That is unlikely to change in 2022. But instead of trying to make sense of this ever-changing legal smorgasbord, it is more edifying to follow what lawmakers are up to. While lawsuits drag on (and often end with not much to show for all the effort), 2022 will be the year when the world’s parliaments and regulators start to pass substantial rules to govern the tech industry. It will therefore be possible to guess which country (or region) might develop the world’s best competition framework.

Global policymaking on digital assets is very fragmented, partly because much of it has been a scramble to keep pace with market changes and emerging threats. Another factor is the absence of an authority to oversee a truly international effort. While banking regulators agree with global policies under the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, digital assets have no equivalent convening body.

Some suggest that even the Financial Stability Board, which includes the finance ministers of some of the world’s biggest economies, is not a broad enough forum because the questions around digital assets stretch beyond finance into fields such as technology and into wider society.

In early 2021 it seemed that the European Union would win, hands down. Its executive branch, the European Commission, had just introduced the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the first law aimed at regulating big tech “ex-ante” — that is, constraining firms’ behaviour upfront, rather than punishing them after the fact with antitrust cases. The idea is to prohibit the gatekeepers of important digital markets, such as apps and online search, from engaging in unfair practices, such as discriminating against rivals that use their platforms.

The idea is to prohibit the gatekeepers of important digital markets from engaging in unfair practices

Other governments have caught up and in some ways overtaken the EU. For starters, there is China, which surprised the world in 2021 by seriously tightening competition rules for its internet giants. As in other policy fields, authorities in Beijing have taken more than one page from the EU’s book. Yet enforcement comes with Chinese characteristics. Firms are asked for swift “self-rectification”. And it is not clear if they have any official recourse if they feel unfairly treated.

China’s crackdown makes America look even further behind: although a regulatory and cultural “techlash” has raged for years now, the results have been meager. That may change in 2022. As with antitrust lawsuits, a confusing number of tech bills have been proposed in Congress: the House of Representatives has moved forward with half a dozen. Some Republicans, who claim that the big platforms want to censor them, may yet team up with Democrats to pass DMA-like legislation.

Yet it is Britain that appears to have the best setup so far, though it is not fully implemented. Its Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) now has a Digital Markets Unit (DMU). The government is working on new regulation, to be passed in 2022, that would empower the DMU, like Germany’s FCO, to give tech firms “strategic market status” and require them to follow stricter rules.

The main difference is that the CMA, even more than the FCO, has invested in relevant resources. Its researchers have published some of the best studies of the market for digital advertising.

The CMA also boasts a Data, Technology and Analytics team, which consistently recruits data scientists in order to close the wide knowledge gap between tech titans and their regulators.

Social scientists from various disciplines have identified trust as an important feature of well-functioning and prosperous societies. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the creation of trust is a regulatory goal in several sectors of society, i.e. legislation is being used with the intention to create trust.

For the next normal, people are expecting organizations to be kind and think human. Recognizing the relevance of privacy brings the individual to the centre of the conversation to create trust and generate value beyond just compliance or risk reduction. The question should not be why, but how.

Today’s business decisions are data-driven. How effective these decisions are will depend on the accuracy of the data. How human they are will depend on getting positive consent from the individuals impacted, as well as full commitment from other stakeholders involved in properly protecting data and making decisions on their processing based on a well thought set of principles.

This is data trust, the action of using data with all stakeholders in mind and based on four fundamental pillars: stewardship, ethics, protection and privacy.

By defining a proactive data trust strategy that incorporates effective privacy elements, organizations can achieve the following benefits:
• Incorporation of controls earlier in the design of processes and tools to increase effectiveness and reduce costs
• Identification of value generators for key stakeholders
• Increased trust in the organization’s brand by creating trust by design

Finally, risk is everywhere – and changing rapidly. New technologies, demographic shifts and globalization are happening as we see a reinvention of industry, consumption and even the very future of work. While this unprecedented transformation is revealing new opportunities, there are also many new risks for companies to navigate. Building a foundation of trust is an important first step in turning digital disruption into long-term value. The board’s role here is critical. Boards today are challenged to help steer companies through a shifting risk terrain, overseeing a dynamic risk management approach that embraces disruption and enhances resiliency and trust.

Without trust, you can’t create value. In the Transformative Age, with more data changing hands and more technology used in decision-making, trust is more important than ever. It’s trust that enables organizations to create value and capital markets to function properly. With richer insights from deeper data analysis, you can look at risk afresh. You can make smarter choices, from what you should mitigate to what you can embrace. With trust comes the confidence to make bolder strategic moves. It’s trust that will help you seize the upside of disruption.

In the words of Paul Samuelson – American economist:

“I’m not speaking in favor of killing innovation. I’m speaking in favor of centrist use of the market, which involves necessarily a considerable degree of regulation. Markets by themselves will get themselves inevitably into inequality and into their own destruction. It will happen again and again.”

Startupgrind: Tech Leaders’ challenges and leadership traits in the digital age. Fireside chat with Geoff Hudson-Searle

We have made great strides in technology over the last years, but are we ready? Does our virtual century require anthropocentric leadership? What leadership traits are the most useful in the current pace?

StartupGrind invited Geoff Hudson-Searle, for a fireside chat to explore the challenges tech leaders face, from ensuring security and prioritising digital protection to building resilience and trust. Geoff will discuss strategy, scaling tech companies, and his own experience as international management professional.

Each of us is, to some extent or other, a reflection of the experiences of our lives. However, whether and how we succeed is determined at least in part by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them. This is the story of a man who, despite a difficult family life and professional setbacks, developed the determination, drive and skills to create a successful business and a happy life.

Leadership forces you to stay true to yourself and to recognize when you are at your best and when you are at your worst; the important thing is to stay focused and keep moving forward. He learned that it is overcoming adversity that brings the most satisfaction, and that achievements are made more meaningful by the struggle it took to achieve them.

Change has a funny habit of teaching you much about yourself; it goes to the core of your own weaknesses, strengths and eccentricities. Leadership forces you to stay true to yourself and recognize times when you are at your best and worst; the key is to stay focused and to make decisions that will look at continuous improvement. Even though this may be a small, incremental change, it is positive change you can build upon even though you may be in quicksand.

Covid-19 was a crucible within which resilient leadership is refined. Acting without perfect information, often with only a few hours or days to spare, CEOs have to guide their organisations through myriad decisions and challenges, with significant implications for their company’s whole system; employees, customers, clients, financial partners, suppliers, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as for society as a whole.

Clarity of thinking, communications, and decision-making will be at a premium. Those CEOs who can best exhibit this clarity, and lead from the heart and the head, will inspire their organisations to persevere through this crisis, positioning their brand to emerge in a better place, prepared for whatever may come. Crises like these, with deep challenges to be navigated, will also lead to opportunities for learning and deepening trust with all stakeholders, while equipping organisations for a step change that creates more value not just for shareholders, but for society as a whole.

Adversity of any magnitude should make us stronger and fill us with life’s wisdom, however, art in any form is born from adversity, I wrote ‘Freedom after the Sharks’ from adversity and set up a business in the double-dip of 2008 and 2009 – many people have done the same and it is almost a universal theme in the lives of many of the world’s most eminent creative minds.

For artists who have struggled with physical and mental illness, parental loss during childhood, social rejection, heartbreak, abandonment, abuse, and other forms of trauma, creativity often becomes an act of turning difficulty and challenge into an opportunity.

As Eckhart Tolle once said:

“Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it.”

Determination, resilience, and persistence are the enabler for people to push past their adversities and prevail. Overcoming adversity is one of our main challenges in life. When we resolve to confront and overcome it, we become experts at dealing with it and consequently triumph over our day-to-day struggles.

At any time, thriving organisations are true to their purpose, rely on their values, and model agility. Today’s pandemic, which will reduce profits all over the world, is a searing test of every organisation’s culture and values. Leaders who have laid a solid cultural foundation, authentically committed to a set of values, and defined and depended on an inspiring purpose are leading through this crisis by making a difference in the lives of employees and the communities they serve. This crisis also serves as a furnace for change for those companies that haven’t yet laid the foundation for a thriving culture.

Leaders today are constantly in the spotlight and are often called upon to earn authority without control. Economic and social change demands leadership by consent rather than by control. What we perceive as good leadership tends to be created by leaders, followers, and the context and purpose of the organisation, thus it is a collective rather than individual responsibility.

Trust is a key ingredient of successful leadership. Trusted leaders are the guardians of the values of the organisation. Trust can release the energy of people and enlarge the human and intellectual capital of employees. In a trusting environment when we are committed to our shared purpose we play active roles both as leaders and as followers.
We talk a lot about trust these days because it tends to be a precious and scarce resource.

You could question the word empathetic leadership. Leaders with empathetic leadership listen attentively to what you’re telling them, putting their complete focus on the person in front of them and not getting easily distracted. They spend more time listening than talking because they want to understand the difficulties others face, all of which helps to give those around them the feeling of being heard and recognized.

Empathetic executives and managers realize that the bottom line of any business is only reached through and with people. Therefore, they have an attitude of openness towards and understanding of the feelings and emotions of their team members.

When we listen to the emerging needs of the workplace we step into the most relevant and useful roles and make relevant and valuable contributions both when leading and when following. Members of organisations who are sensitive to people’s reactions trust themselves and each other. They build and nurture trusting relationships and allow the future to emerge organically.

No heroic leader can resolve the complex challenges we face today. To address the important issues of our time we need a fundamental change of perspective. We need to start questioning many of our taken for granted assumptions about our business and social environments.

Leaders serve as role models for their followers and demonstrate the behavioural boundaries set within an organisation. The appropriate and desired behaviour is enhanced through culture and socialisation process of the newcomers. Employees learn about values from watching leaders in action. The more the leader “walks the talk”, by translating internalized values into action, the higher level of trust and respect he generates from followers.

Final thought, to help bridge the trust gap we recognise that organisations need to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

To create such a settlement, businesses need to see themselves as part of a diverse, interconnected and interdependent ecosystem – one that involves government, regulators, individual citizens and more. Trust within and across this ecosystem is key to its long-term sustainability and survival. That’s why trust needs to be restored to the heart of the business world.

A great quote by Douglas MacArthur – American military leader who served as General of the Army, this quote always resonates with true leadership.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

A True Christmas and New Year Message

In a year filled with global challenges and dramatic changes for everyone, we share gratitude with all our colleagues, family, friends, and network, and importantly, a message to Love 146 over the Christmas period in supporting the children of the world who our lest fortunate than ourselves and find themselves in a care program from devasting extremities from child exploitation and trafficking..

This Christmas time is especially poignant, as we reconnect with our loved ones, families and friends internationally. We wish you a very happy, harmonious and safe holiday season and let us look forward to a positive new year in 2022.

May peace fill all the empty spaces around you, your family and your friends and your colleagues at this special time of year, and in you, may contentment answer all your wishes.

Raise a toast to yesterday’s achievements and tomorrow’s brighter future.

May comfort be yours, warm and soft like a sigh.

And may the coming year show you that every day is really a first day and a new year.

Let abundance be your constant companion, so that you have much to share.

May mirth be near you always, like a lamp shining brightly on the many paths you travel.

Work with the best of your abilities in 2022 and show to the world your power to create wonderful and superior things.

New Year 2022 may turn out to be a year when you are put on the road to everlasting success, love and prosperity.

Be the change that you wish to see at your workplace and take initiatives to make things better.

Wish your tomorrow is more prosperous, happy and successful than yesterday and today.

Looking forward to another year with hunger and passion to exceed at work and you are sure to meet with success.

Let new beginnings signify new chapter filled with pages of success and happiness, written by the ink of hard work and intelligence.

May the New Year bring us more wonderful opportunities for success.

HERE’S WISHING YOU THE GIFT OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY THROUGHOUT 2022

The Adaptable Definition of the Life Work Balance Debate

A very good friend and associate, Colin Smith and I were having our monthly catch up, Colin had just received a birthday present from a loved one, a Tibetan bowl. A Tibetan singing bowl is a type of bell that vibrates and produces a rich, deep tone when played. Also known as singing bowls or Himalayan bowls, Tibetan singing bowls are said to promote relaxation and offer powerful healing properties. When we moved our discussion to life-work balance.

The term “work-life balance” has yet to lose its buzz in the last few years. This is partially due to the dominating presence of millennials in the workforce. Employers have been putting in a tremendous effort trying to determine the best way to appeal to millennial workers. Brookings Education research predicts that the millennial generation of workers is projected to take up 75% of the workforce by 2025, many leaders think it’s time to redefine what work-life balance looks like.

In short, they want to be highly engaged by what they do and smart leaders will harness their sense of mission or risk losing these employees to more purpose-driven companies.

Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Maintaining a work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It can lead to physical consequences such as hypertension, digestive troubles, chronic aches and pains, and heart problems. Chronic stress can also negatively impact mental health because it’s linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

There are significant and horrific trends that show employee illness, mental health issues that directly correlate within the business, not to mention Zoom fatigue. Too much stress over a long period of time leads to workplace burnout. Employees who work tons of overtime hours are at a high risk of burnout. Burnout can cause fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and a decrease in work performance.

This is bad news for employers because according to Harvard Business Review, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees cost an estimated $125 to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States.

It’s important for employers to realize that work-life balance is about more than just hours. Besides promoting flexibility, employers should also strive to improve the overall workplace experience for their employees. Prioritizing a healthy culture and cultivating a happy workplace environment promotes work-life balance. When employees are happy in their roles, work will feel more like a second home, and less like working for a paycheck. Employers should prioritize competitive compensation, comfortable office conditions, opportunities for professional growth, and opportunities for social connections.

Attitudes on work-life balance will continue to evolve with cultural, generational, and economic changes. Flexible leaders can update or reinvent their workplace culture to try something new if employees report poor work-life balance.

While maximizing employee productivity will always remain a constant goal, ensuring employees have the time they desire away from the office and enjoy their time spent in the office is the best way to retain talented employees and make them lifers, regardless of perceived generational differences.

Think about a bell out of sequence or even a change ringing, change ringing is the art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a tightly controlled manner to produce precise variations in their successive striking sequences, known as “changes”. This can be by method ringing in which the ringers commit to memory the rules for generating each change, or by call changes, where the ringers are instructed how to generate each change by instructions from a conductor. This creates a form of bell music that cannot be discerned as a conventional melody but is a series of mathematical sequences.

To ring quickly, the bell must not complete the full 360 degrees before swinging back in the opposite direction; while ringing slowly, the ringer waits with the bell held at the balance, before allowing it to swing back. To achieve this, the ringer must work with the bell’s momentum, applying just the right amount of effort during the pull that the bell swings as far as required and no further.

Despite this colossal weight, it can be safely rung by one (experienced) ringer, but in the wrong hands of expertise at the helm, the bell will be imbalanced.

Just like at a theatre, the maestro is on the podium is one of classical music’s most recognisable figures, long before Toscanini or Furtwängler, Bernstein or Dudamel, there was Pherekydes of Patrae, known in ancient Greece as the ‘Giver of Rhythm’.

A report from 709 BC describes him leading a group of eight hundred musicians by beating a golden staff “up and down in equal movements” so that the musicians “began in one and the same time” and “all might keep together”. A music conductor can be responsible for much more than just how a concert turns out. The balanced conductor has the ability to influence the entire system of music education, which can be emulated all over the world.

This is why the importance of wellbeing, life balance and mental health has never been more important.
Research from Mind confirms that a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers:
• More than one in five (21%) agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
• 14% agreed that they had resigned and 42% had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
• 30% of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’.
• 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.

Employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. This includes mental health and wellbeing. You can find out more about health and safety at work in our health and safety factsheet.

Employees who have a mental health condition may be disabled as defined by the Equality Act 2010, and will therefore be protected from discrimination during employment.

One of the greatest challenges for employers and workers in 2020 was finding ways to work to keep companies afloat and to support people, people managers and their psychological wellbeing.

This trend will not disappear in 2021, and it will be necessary to bolster and cultivate employee wellbeing while people continue to work remotely or in partial return to offices. There was a growing awareness of mental health and wellbeing throughout 2020, but the challenges are not over.

In 2021 and beyond, all organisations should be:
• Assessing overall levels of wellbeing of staff on an ongoing basis; and
• Ensuring frontline managers and teams are still sensitive to individual wellbeing.

At the leadership level, there is a sizable disconnect between how important purpose is claimed to be for business and how central purpose actually is to business decisions. This gap demonstrates the optimism and promise that leaders see in being purpose-driven to elevate business, but a hesitation to “walk the walk” and actively embed it into foundational elements of the company, such as organizational decision architecture.

In my mind, the purpose of a company is defined as the reason for being beyond profit. Or to cite EY, it’s the organization’s single, underlying objective that unifies all stakeholders. Purpose should embody the company’s ultimate role in the broader economic, societal, and environmental context for 100 or more years.

A clear purpose goes beyond products or services and instead describes what impact or change the company can make in the largest context possible. Some examples of good purpose statements are:
• Merck: “Our purpose is to preserve and improve human life.”
• Southwest Airlines: “We connect people to what’s important in their lives.”
• Zappos: “Our purpose is to inspire the world by showing it’s possible to simultaneously deliver happiness to customers, employees, community, vendors and shareholders in a long-term sustainable way.”

Clearly defining and articulating purpose can truly propel a company forward. Purpose helps set a long-term business strategy, creates a bigger competitive advantage and differentiation in the marketplace, inspires innovation, increases brand trust and loyalty, and ultimately, helps the company stand the test of time. EY and Harvard Business Review co-authored a research project which revealed that 58% of companies that are truly purpose-driven report 10% growth or more over the past three years, versus 42% of companies that don’t have a fully embedded purpose reporting a lack or even decline of growth in the same period.

Purpose also has the power to positively impact employees. In order for that to happen, the purpose needs to be relevant, aspirational, and actively embedded in the whole company. If that’s the case, a multitude of benefits materializes for employees.

Finally, we are living in a time of increasingly intelligent technologies, when an organization’s ability to be trusted really matters. But the way data and intelligent technologies such as AI are being used is creating significant trust gaps. For example, the public feels that intelligent technology is moving too fast and that regulators can’t keep up, as documented in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer.

There are plenty of high-profile examples of data misuse and unintended outcomes from AI usage that have contributed to these gaps.

In short form:
• We need trust as an essential ingredient for wellbeing, life balance, mental health.
• Unless organizations anticipate and close the potential trust gaps, companies and regulators need to create policies to work with each other and with wider society to identify practicable, actionable steps that businesses can take to shape a new relationship with wider society: a new ‘settlement’ based on mutual understanding and a shared recognition of the positive role that business plays in people’s lives.

• To close trust gaps, organizations must embed a people-first strategy with purpose.
• Trust within and across this ecosystem is key to its long-term sustainability and survival. That’s why trust needs to be restored to the heart of the business world.

As Stephen M.R. Covey – American Educator, once said:

“Contrary to what most people believe, trust is not some soft, illusive quality that you either have or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create.”

Guest-blog: Deana Mitchell CMP DMCP discusses the importance of wellbeing and why good mental health matters

Deana Mitchell

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two.

Since its emergence in Asia in 2019, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica.

But the pandemic is much more than a health crisis, it’s also an unprecedented socio-economic crisis.

Stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic, and political effects that will leave deep and longstanding scars.

Experts have predicted a ‘’tsunami of psychiatric illness’’ in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. For such a large-scale event like the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on mental health can be long-lasting.

The prevalence of common mental health disorders is expected to rise during the post-pandemic time as a result of the long-term effects of the pandemic, the restrictive measures such as social distancing and quarantine, and the socio-economic effects. This has implications for mental health services.

An inspired quote was shared with me recently ‘The darkest moments of our lives are not to be blurred or forgotten, rather they are a memory to be called upon for inspiration, to remind us of the unrelenting human spirit and our capacity to overcome the intolerable.’

People experience emotional disturbance, irritability, insomnia, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms immediately after the quarantine period. The long-term impact is considerable and wide-ranging including anxiety, anger, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, alcohol abuse, and behavioural changes such as avoiding crowded places and cautious hand washing. These psychological symptoms can last from several months up to three years after the quarantine period.

Social distancing could possibly lead to substantial increases in loneliness, anxiety, depression, domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse.

However, on a more positive note, COVID-19 has created opportunities for businesses to become more innovative. Facing external pressures, some business leaders are stepping out of their routines and comfort zones to become creative problem-solvers.

Along the way, they rediscovered their entrepreneurial spirit and provided us with a new sense of appreciation and gratefulness. It has offered us a new perspective on everything we have taken for granted for so long – our freedoms, leisure, connections, work, family, and friends. We have never questioned how life as we know it could be suddenly taken away from us.

Hopefully, when this crisis is over, we will exhibit new levels of gratitude. We have also learned to value and thank health workers who are at the frontline of this crisis, risking their lives every day by just showing up to their vital work. This sense of gratefulness can also help us develop our resilience and overcome the crisis in the long-term.

Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing another Guest Blogger, Deana Mitchell CMP DMCP – Deana and myself collaborated on a book, ‘God in Business’, I have the utmost respect for Deana and her work, and I know you will enjoy hearing her experiences and advice.

Deana Mitchell is an entrepreneur, mental health advocate, and co-author.

She started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 14. Deana holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Louisiana State University and has enjoyed a three-decade career in the hospitality, meetings & events industry.

As the President of the newly formed company, Genius & Sanity, her mission is to help entrepreneurs and business owners reach their potential and thrive. The focus is to find the balance between career, success, and whole self-health.

In March of 2020, Deana founded the Realize Foundation which is dedicated to creating awareness around mental health. Specifically, depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation. Deana is going to talk to us about the importance of wellbeing and ‘Why Good Mental Health Matters’.

Thank you, Geoff, it is a pleasure to collaborate with you on this important subject.

“I woke up in the hospital, realizing I was still alive…”

In May of 1997, I survived a suicide attempt. And then I spent 23 years hiding it from the world, and from myself. During those decades, instead of practicing self-care, I threw myself into work 24/7. I was used to being a workaholic, in fact, it was all I knew.

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, I had my first business was at the age of fourteen. In 2010, I started a venture that grew into an award-winning seven-figure company.

All came to a screeching halt in March of 2020 with the rest of the world. I found myself with no work to keep my mind occupied and no travel to keep me moving. I was learning that work was my coping mechanism. I had to focus on something, or I was not OK.

What transpired in the next few months was life-changing. There was research, many conversations, networking, learning, self-reflection, and yes therapy. The result was becoming a different person and realizing my true calling in life. Let me explain…

You see, all those years I was constantly obsessed with climbing the ladder. Driven by proving myself to everyone and anyone around me, and all the while hiding the depression and anxiety that I dealt with on almost a daily basis.

The year of COVID taught me the absolute necessity of honesty and hard conversations. There is no true success in life without some sort of failure. If being successful was easy, whether personally or professionally, it would not have the same meaning to us. There is something to say about overcoming obstacles and working hard for something. It has a deeper meaning and is more fulfilling once you get there.

Without failures and hard times, success would feel empty. I believe that God uses all the tough awful stuff in our lives for growth. Once we have experienced the bad, we can use it for good. In order for that to work, we must be willing to look inside ourselves and process the things we survive. Without self-reflection, we cannot truly be our authentic and best selves.

First, we must get honest with ourselves. I mean, really honest. In order to get there, we have to spend time alone and quiet. You must find what works for you: journaling, meditation, praying, being out in nature, listening to music… there is no right answer as everyone is different. The key is to truly connect with yourself, reflect on your life and discover the kid inside. This can be painful and freeing at the same time.

Try talking to yourself in the mirror. I have a friend that hosted a self-care challenge recently and she told us to get in front of the mirror and say, “I promise to take care of you mentally and physically every day”. I got the first two words out before the tears streamed down my face. I realized I had not taken care of myself physically or mentally in decades, possibly my entire life. I felt like a fraud.

For me, after 23 years of silence on this front, it was difficult to even remember all that I had been hiding. I am not going to lie, it was hard and there were lots of tears, but in the end, it has been more valuable than I can explain.

Talking heart to heart with old friends from childhood and college gave me the sense of the person I had lost along the way. Asking them how they remembered me, helped me find myself again. I decided how I wanted to show up in the world moving forward and I am not ashamed of my past anymore. My identity was not the career I had built, although that was the person people knew for decades.

We must look inside to understand the shortfalls and disappointments we have experienced. The wisdom you glean from being honest with yourself is immeasurable. It is freeing. Then you get to decide what to do with that information.

It will change you. Are you are feeling stuck, stressed, overwhelmed, stretched thin, and exhausted? Self-reflection and a custom plan of self-care can indeed change you into a happy, healthy, productive, rested, balanced person. It is a process, so be patient with yourself.

Next, we must get honest with the people closest to us. These conversations are hard, but I promise they will bring so much clarity and understanding. Preparing for these conversations is key.

Make sure you tell your loved one or friend that you need to have a serious conversation about something especially important to you. Make the time and space that you both need to make it productive. You cannot just schedule this as an hour in your calendar, it may need to be a whole day.

This works personally and professionally on different levels, but the person you are approaching needs context to understand what they are walking into, so they are ready, open to hearing what you want to tell them and not blindsided.

Think about the annual review you receive from your boss. You must mentally prepare for that conversation. Usually, even the criticism is constructive once you have time to digest and reflect on it. That information is painful at first but makes you stronger and better for it in the long run.

In my situation, I have the most loving supportive husband anyone could ask for, but he does not understand how my brain works. To be truthful, most of the time I do not understand how my brain works! Communication is key for him to help me get through. In the past, I hid it all. I traveled so much that it was easy to not let anyone in.

We can only hold it in and ‘go it alone’ for so long. There are people in our lives that care about us. If they knew what you were going through, they would do whatever they could to be supportive.

Having hard conversations does not end with your family and friends. It can be a business partner, employees, audiences that you speak to, or your followers on social media. If you start these conversations, there will have a ripple effect and help people in your various communities do the same.

Why do you do what you do? Does it make you happy? Do you enjoy your daily routine? I am not talking about what the people around you want you to do… or what you do to make others happy. This is not about why you make the world, or your industry better. But why do you do what you do? What is your passion? What makes you come alive? What is your life’s mission? Your true calling?

If you would have asked me those questions a year ago, I would have said I loved what I was doing. I had a wonderful husband and family, a successful business, an amazing team, and I enjoyed a plethora of colleagues all over the world. I served on several boards and was traveling all the time. It appeared that I had everything.

With the understanding I have gained over the last 10 months, the reality is that I was keeping up the appearance, so everyone saw what I just explained. But for me, I was exhausted, stressed, anxious and there was no end in sight. I was never home to spend time with the person in the world who loved me most.

The gift for me was understanding how life changes when you find your why. I lost a 20-year friend to suicide and knew at that moment I had to do something about it. That I needed to use my story to save others from the same plight. My silence did not help my friend, but the hard conversation may have.

When you understand your true calling in life and reach for it with everything you’ve got, your perception of yourself and the world changes for the better.

We all feel afraid, powerless, and alone at some point in our life. Whether it is a sick loved one or keeping our business afloat. Give yourself some grace, the world needs more kindness.

You matter, you are worth it, and you are not alone.

You can contact Deana Mitchell via the following websites and social links:

www.deanabrownmitchell.com

Linkedin – Deana (Brown) Mitchell, CMP DMCP
Facebook – @GenuisandSanity
Instagram – @geniusandsanity
Twitter – @GeniusandSanity

Foundation – www.realizefoundation.org

The four Intelligences; IQ, EI, SI, DI and why we need Wisdom Intelligence (WI)

I recently had a very in-depth philosophical discussion with a good friend and associate, Douglas, this was a fascinating discussion, one that could have easily progressed through the day and not the hour.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.

I have written on the subject of the balance between IQ vs EI and more recently ‘why emotional intelligence is leadership, team spirit and company culture’ and Emotional Intelligence and Your Survival through the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. TalentSmart tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills, and found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Of all the people I have studied at work, I found that 90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are high in emotional intelligence. You can be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the chances are slim.

The WEF (World Economic Forum) published a report, Future of Work 2020-2030, no big surprise that in the skills categories EI was identified as one of the key categories of skills to save your job in the decade.

The questions I am sure you are thinking:
1. What is Emotional Intelligence (EI) and why it matters?
2. What is Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and why it matters?
3. What is Spiritual Intelligence (SI) and why it matters?
4. Is there a significant relationship between EI and SI?
5. What is Decency Intelligence (DI)?
6. How does Wisdom Intelligence (WI) have a place in society?

It is clear that today’s executives are more diverse in terms of their wellbeing, age, culture, nationality and several other factors.

EI is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence.
SI is the set of abilities that individuals use to apply, manifest and embody spiritual resources, values and qualities in ways that enhance their daily functioning and wellbeing.
With both these intelligences happening in the workplace, the environment will be more conducive. A better working environment relates to a higher level of productivity and wellbeing of both individual as well as organizational wellbeing.

Intelligence quotient (IQ)
Total score derived from a set of standardized tests or subtests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation “IQ” was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenzquotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests at the University of Breslau he advocated in a 1912 book.

Historically, IQ was a score obtained by dividing a person’s mental age score, obtained by administering an intelligence test, by the person’s chronological age, both expressed in terms of years and months.

The resulting fraction (quotient) is multiplied by 100 to obtain the IQ score. For modern IQ tests, the median raw score of the norming sample is defined as IQ 100 and scores each standard deviation (SD) up or down are defined as 15 IQ points greater or less. By this definition, approximately two-thirds of the population scores are between IQ 85 and IQ 115. About 2.5 percent of the population scores above 130, and 2.5 percent below 70.

If you take an IQ test, you will be presented with questions to assess the following competence:
• spatial ability, a person’s capacity to visualise space and shapes
• mathematical ability, how a person uses logic in solving problems
• language ability, the recognition of meaning from incomplete sentences and jumbled letters
• memory ability, how a person recalls information

Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Daniel Goleman in 1998, defined emotional intelligence as ‘the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, for motivating our-selves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.’ EI is essential for the accomplishment of day-to-day objectives of life, which is a challenge to everyone. EI is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people because EI provides a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential.

EI is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, and more. EI determines the potential for learning practical skills viz. personal skills and social skills. These skills lead to superior performance at work which is based on the five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships.

Spiritual Intelligence is the ability to act with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the circumstances. Spiritual intelligence is the way we assign meaning and feel connected to the power of larger than ourselves.

It has been identified as a key component of leadership by bestselling business author Stephen (2004), who observes that Spiritual Intelligence is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source of guidance for others. Spiritual intelligence is one of the several types of intelligence that can be developed independently and contributes to psychological wellbeing and overall healthy human development (Vaughan, 2003).

The four components of spiritual intelligence are critical existential thinking, personal meaning production, transcendental awareness and conscious state expansion.
Critical existential thinking is best described as the capacity an individual to critically contemplate meaning, purpose, and other existential/metaphysical issues; to come to original existential conclusions or philosophies, and to contemplate non-existential issues in relation to one’s existence. An ability to derive personal meaning and purpose from all physical and mental experiences, including the capacity to create and master a life purpose is regarded as personal meaning production.

Transcendental awareness is the capacity to identify transcendent dimensions/patterns of the self, of others, and of the physical world during normal states of consciousness, accompanied by the capacity to identify their relationship to one’s self and to the physical world. Conscious State Expansion is defined as an ability to enter and exit higher/spiritual states of consciousness at one’s own discretion.

Decency quotient (DI)
Bill Boulding is dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business who goes on to say that DI goes a step further than EI and IQ and combines SI. DQ means that a leader has a genuine desire to do the right thing for employees and colleagues. DQ means wanting something positive for everyone in the workplace and ensuring everyone feels respected and valued. DQ is evident in a manager’s daily interactions with others, as well as in setting goals for the company that meet fiscal objectives and improve lives. DQ implies your focus is on doing right by others.

Decency quotient has to start at the top. It’s essential that leaders and managers model this type of behaviour more than ever, because outside forces of polarization are working against us. The world feels like an ugly place for many people. It’s impossible for employees to check their feelings at the door, and naïve to think they can.

Leaders with DQ will better navigate what’s bleeding in from outside the office to instil a sense of common purpose and shared values at work. Employees will know the leader always has their best interest at heart. People want to work for decent people, and they will give those leaders their best. Decency is at its core a moral obligation, but it can also be key to a winning business strategy.

If business becomes intentional about decency, it can become the healing force our world so badly needs. It can be the model for how people who are very different come together to work with common purpose. It can demonstrate respect and caring that transcends difference and polarization. It can solve some of the world’s toughest problems by uniting people to find solutions.

Wisdom Intelligence
If you were to look up the word wisdom in the dictionary, you would find a simple definition: a person’s ability to act sensibly, reasonably, and correctly. Of course, that raises some questions. Doesn’t intelligence give you the ability to act reasonably in day to day life? Surely a high IQ guarantee’s the power to make good decisions?

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
-Socrates-

Of course, it can, but there are also different types of intelligence. A brilliant person’s success might be influenced by their personality and maturity, as well as their own ability to care for their own well-being and that of others.

Well, intelligence and wisdom need to be broken down and analyzed to gain a clearer and useful understanding. We have to recognize what’s really important. Beyond a high IQ, becoming exceptionally wise and developing clear values that go beyond cognitive or emotional reasoning is imperative.

It is very strange to know that universities and professors around the world have just started studying the difference between intelligence and wisdom. The concept of wisdom has often been associated with philosophical or spiritual disciplines. It was considered something that the great Greek masters or Buddhist monks studied.

However, a few psychologists investigated wisdom in the last few decades. These studies, like the one led by two University of California psychiatrists, Dr. Dilip V. Jeste and Dr. Thomas W. Meeks, uncovered quite a few interesting ideas.

Some of the findings:
Exploring minds say that ‘Wisdom’ doesn’t come from personal experience.

This important idea creates a common myth. Many people think that experience grants wisdom. However, there’s not a strong and direct association between the length of someone’s life and how wise they are. This quality doesn’t always naturally come with age.

Moreover, many researchers in the fields of psychology and sociology are trying to understand the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that transform experience into wisdom. There are many other mediating variables between the two, such as the ability to reflect on one’s actions. That ability may have created the experience/wisdom myth in the first place.

Intelligence makes you more efficient and competent

Intelligent people are efficient and have high standards. Because of this, they may get frustrated when things don’t meet their expectations. They are often goal-orientated and seek concrete results.

This viewpoint can often make them anxious. This is because people with high IQs often have poor tolerance for uncertainty. That’s precisely what sets them apart from wise people. Wise people are better able to accept the unexpected and unplanned. They know how to step back and take a patient, relaxed, and insightful look at reality.

Wise people make better decisions

Of course, there are huge individual differences between people with a high IQ. While some make reasonable, responsible decisions, others might get carried away by goals and statistics, failing to take other factors into account.

However, if there’s one clear difference between people with high intelligence or deep wisdom, it’s that the second group is often more open-minded. This is because wisdom is more than just factual knowledge. Wise people have experience, are able to reason clearly, and are able to accept life’s ups and downs.

Wise people are also usually more cognizant of how situations develop over time, which helps them stay balanced.

High intelligence can be used for noble ends or, on the contrary, to manipulate, conspire, betray, or create sophisticated plans for bad reasons. However, people also use their intelligence for unselfish and noble purposes.

Wisdom, on the other hand, is connected to an authentic sense of goodness. The word itself has connotations of goodness, humanity, and a sense of spirituality that inspires others to do good as well.

There’s one more interesting difference between intelligence and wisdom. Wisdom almost always gives you a more positive view of life, your situation, and other people. This hopeful yet resolute attitude is related to the factors mentioned above, and to kindness. Looking at a situation with wisdom can give us the energy and the motivation to move forward.

At this point, you may ask yourself which is better, being very intelligent or very wise. But neither quality is better than the other. There are plenty of wise, successful people who might not be very intelligent. However, they’re still happy and effective in their day to day life.

Therefore, aspire (as much as possible) to have both qualities. Train your cognitive abilities, improve in emotional intelligence, and integrate each experience to form a more reasonable, relaxed, and optimistic perspective.

Final thought, wisdom is the art of knowing what really matters and making good decisions to improve our own well-being and, more importantly, that of others. There lies the real key.

The quest for wisdom is an age-old effort. It’s one many have recommended.

It’s been said to be as useful for finding inner contentment as it for fueling external successes. It’s a more prudent way of interacting with reality.

While not everyone’s definition of wisdom is the same, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to distinguish it by a mode of deeper understanding. One that goes beyond just the knowing we commonly associate with the range of intelligence’s; IQ,EI, SI, DI.

When we think of the acquisition of intelligence, we think of new information inspired by a perspective-shift that tells us a truth about one aspect of reality.

Wisdom goes further than that. It strips that same information down to its essence so that it can relate the underlying principle of that knowledge to the existing information network that exists in the mind.

It’s the connectedness of this network that separates it from mere intelligence.

The more links between each pocket of information, the more valuable the whole network will be when tackling any other problem. It adds an extra dimension to each mental model contained in the mind.

Simply knowing this doesn’t make a person more equipped to soak in wisdom, but with awareness and practice, new thinking patterns and imagination can be created.

The great Aristotle once stated when discussing Metaphysics :

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

A True Christmas and New Year Message

Following a turbulent 2020, Christmas this year is going to feel a little different to what we have previously known. The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and the new habits we have formed will shape our behaviour over the festive season.

We would like to say a very special thank you to all of the organisations and individuals who have supported the courage and strength of our NHS, in a period of dramatic uncertainty and loss for many.

May peace fill all the empty spaces around you, your family and your friends and your colleagues at this special time of year, and in you, may contentment answer all your wishes.

Raise a toast to yesterday’s achievements and tomorrow’s brighter future.

May comfort be yours, warm and soft like a sigh.

And may the coming year show you that every day is really a first day and a new year.

Let abundance be your constant companion so that you have much to share.

May mirth be near you always, like a lamp shining brightly on the many paths you travel.

Work with the best of your abilities in 2021 and show to the world your power to create wonderful and superior things.

New Year 2021 may turn out to be a year when you are put on the road to everlasting success and prosperity.

Be the change that you wish to see at your workplace and take initiatives to make things better.

Wish your tomorrow is more prosperous, happy and successful than yesterday and today.

Looking forward to another year with hunger and passion to exceed at work and you are sure to meet with success.

Let new beginnings signify new chapter filled with pages of success and happiness, written by the ink of hard work and intelligence.

May the New Year bring us more wonderful opportunities for success.

HERE’S WISHING YOU THE GIFT OF PEACE, GOOD HEALTH AND PROSPERITY THROUGHOUT 2021