Rethinking the Purpose and Trust of Leadership

Over the past five years, there’s been an explosion of interest in purpose-driven leadership. Academics, business experts, and even doctors make the case that purpose is a key to exceptional leadership and the pathway to greater well-being.

Despite this growing understanding, however, a big challenge remains. Few leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose, research and experience show, and even fewer can distill their purpose into a concrete statement or have a clear plan for translating purpose into action. As a result, they limit their aspirations and often fail to achieve their most ambitious professional and personal goals.

To harness the power of corporate purpose, CEOs and other senior executives must pressure-test that purpose with their teams, employees—and themselves.

But what does that really mean, and does it make a difference?

There’s been considerable interest in the notion of “purposeful” and “purpose-driven” leaders and organisations in recent years, driven by growing levels of distrust and disillusionment with what are often regarded as the short-termism, financial imperatives driving contemporary firms. Typically, the attributes of purposeful organisations – societal responsibility, values and ethics – are simply translated into the qualities that characterise their ideal leaders. But what type of leaders do purposeful organisations really need?

Purpose is an aspirational reason for being that inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation, its partners, stakeholders, and society as a whole. Strategic research has consistently shown that purpose enables organisations to perform well in times of volatility. The research joins a growing body of evidence demonstrating that a strong and active purpose raises employee engagement and acts as a unifier, makes customers more loyal and committed to working with you, and helps to frame effective decision making in an environment of uncertainty. The EY Global Leadership Forecast 2018 found that getting purpose right builds organisational resilience and, crucially, improves long-term financial performance.

Don’t assume a lack of discussion equals agreement. Don’t assume that your organization’s purpose is good enough, goes far enough, or that your colleagues even see eye to eye about it. Have the courage to participate in tough discussions and learn where things stand.

Independent research from Linkage found connections between purposeful leaders and business results: The companies they led had 2.5 times higher sales growth, four times higher profit growth, five times higher “competitive differentiation and innovation” scores, and nine times higher employee engagement scores. Companies that create lasting leadership impact differentially invest in developing purposeful leaders; and they take concrete steps to assess the organisational dynamics that shape leadership performance.

So exactly what is Purposeful Business Leader?

My extensive research into the subject came up with the following structure of what makes a Purposeful Leader:
 Purposeful leadership and its constituent components – moral self, commitment to stakeholders and vision – are important in influencing a range of employee outcomes, including intent to quit, job satisfaction, willingness to go the extra mile, sales performance and lower levels of cynicism. Alongside this, ethical leadership approaches also emerge as central for employees’ experience of their work. Employers should consider ways of creating and embedding a purposeful and ethical approach throughout the organisation.
 Vision is especially important for employees and leaders alike to provide a sense of direction to guide activities. However, multiple or conflicting visions can emerge over time and in different departments or units, causing a sense of confusion and uncertainty, and so organisations should aim for alignment around a set of core themes.
 There is much that organisations can do to foster an environment conducive to purposeful and ethical leadership; appropriate central policies, leader role-modelling, training and development, and the organisational values and culture can nurture purposeful leaders. 41
 Constraints in organisations revolve around time and resource pressures, unrealistic targets, communication errors such as over-communication, remoteness of the centre, and cultural factors such as risk-aversion. When seeking to develop a purposeful approach to leadership, organisations should attend to issues such as these that may sabotage their efforts.
 Organisations tend to focus on a limited range of stakeholders and discount others from their decision-making. However, this can lead to an imbalance in how the organisation relates to its wider setting.

Leadership is central to transformation success. Companies with a systematic and well-supported approach to activate leaders see transformation success rates that are three times higher than those of their competitors. Yet leader engagement has decreased significantly since the pandemic—a drop of roughly 40% in two years.

The current business environment creates a paradox for leaders. Increased complexity and volatility mean that companies face a constant need for change. Yet the accelerating pace of business means that CEOs often struggle to manage complex transformation programs. Success requires a new approach to leadership—research shows that CEO engagement has a dramatic impact on transformation success. Aligning leadership with a powerful purpose is one of six attributes empirically identified as an essential component of short- and medium-term company performance.

Leaders of future-built companies are generative across the head, heart, and hands—as one team. The head refers to reinventing business to serve people, planet, society, and shareholders; the heart involves inspiring and enriching the human experience; and the hands entails executing and innovating through supercharged teams. Among companies that fully engage the head, heart, and hands, 96% see a sustained performance improvement, compared with just 33% that partially engage.

Leaders focus on a purpose that goes beyond the bottom line. Increasingly, leaders need to develop an authentic purpose to create value for people, for society and for the planet—not just investors. Moreover, they must embed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) into their overall strategy, not keep it off to the side.

Companies face common barriers. A shift in C-suite behaviours can help organizations drive faster end-to-end, cross-functional outcomes and overcome common barriers around near-sighted business targets, insufficient funding, and business unit misalignment. Building and scaling generative leadership across the organization and beyond the C-suite requires following a set of six key principles—relevance, impact, flexibility, integration, immersion, and coaching.

The Next Steps for Leaders

Building a reinvention for leadership is a process. Building for the future through leadership is a process that takes continued effort over time. Yet it pays financial and nonfinancial benefits as companies move up in terms of their maturity.

Many organizations mistakenly neglect the heart aspect of transformation. Leading with the heart is the most valuable to employees, but leaders most commonly neglect this dimension. Starting with a purpose and spearheading authentic ESG efforts are foundational to the leading with the heart, both with high impact across people and business results.

Purpose has power. The key to leadership from the heart and the head begins with a purpose among the top three success factors for transformation, having a clear purpose ranks first. Purpose aligns every element of the business; it is how employees see themselves as part of something bigger, regardless of their role. Purpose has tremendous impact when done well—companies with a clear purpose have 8% less turnover, a two-fold increase in productivity, and 3.25 times the involvement in transformation initiatives. Perhaps most important: they are twice as likely to have a high TSR.

Let’s now look at some of the most recognised model leaders from the past:

The Ability to Initiate Change — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Good leaders are never satisfied with the status quo and usually take action to change it. In addition, strong leaders bring about change for the common good by involving others in the process. Roosevelt. sought practical ways to help struggling men and women make a better world for themselves and their children.

His philosophy was, “bold, persistent experimentation…Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” Being willing to take risks by trying new ideas and involving others in the process of change is a key quality of strong leaders.

Inspiring a Shared Vision — The Leadership of Martin Luther King

Leaders, through their words and actions, must have the ability to draw others into a common vision by telling others where they intend to go and urging them to join in that vision.
Martin Luther King’s vision of a country free from racial segregation and discrimination, so poignantly expressed in his famous “I have a dream…” speech, exemplifies this critical leadership trait. King had a vision of a better America, and his ability to bring both whites and blacks together to march against segregation changed America profoundly.

Model Leadership — Mohandas K. Gandhi

Strong leaders not only need to have a vision and the ability to initiate change, but they must also model the values, actions, and behaviors necessary to make the vision reality. Gandhi not only created and espoused the philosophies of passive resistance and constructive non-violence, but he also lived by these principles.

According to Indira Gandhi, “More than his words, his life was his message.” By choosing to consistently live and work in a manner that exemplified the values he believed in, Gandhi engendered trust, becoming a role model for others looking to affect change without resorting to violence.

Encouraging the Heart — The Leadership of Winston Churchill

On December 29, 1940, London was hit by one of the largest aerial attacks of World War II. Somehow, St. Paul’s Cathedral survived. Two days later a photo showing a silhouette of the dome of St. Paul’s, surrounded by smoke and flames ran in the paper with a caption that read, “It symbolises the steadiness of London’s stand against the enemy: the firmness of right against wrong.”

Churchill recognized the importance of St. Paul’s as a morale booster. His instructions were clear on that December night, “At all costs, St. Paul’s must be saved.”

Rewriting The Laws of Nature For The Betterment of Humanity – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is perhaps the most famous scientist of the 20th century. The prized physicist had a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, including basic concepts such as time, light and gravity.

To this day, his work is being used to guide physicists to new frontiers, helping us to understand our significance on the grandest scale.

In addition to his timeless quotes and deep sense of humour, Einstein is remembered for overcoming adversity. His ability to keep a positive attitude and provoke creative thought experiments were at the centre of his genius. More than 60 years after his death, the world remembers not a man who spent years working at a patent office, but a man who changed the world.

The Embodiment of Liberty and Great Emancipator of Slaves – Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was more than just an American hero; he represented the dawn of a new era in human civilization based on freedom, self-government and equality.

Lincoln rapidly modernized the economy without sacrificing his values. By 1860, he secured the Republican Party presidential nomination and was elected president. Lincoln’s victory prompted southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America.

To this day, Lincoln is synonymous with the principles of liberty, democracy, equal rights and unification.
His willingness to stand alone on issues he believed in made him one of the most beloved and memorable leaders in modern history.

The Physicist Who Proved That Determination and Positive Thinking Can Triumph Over Even The Most Severe Limitations – Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking probably had every reason to give up on life.

Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, he would spend most of his life severely disabled to the point where he controls his communication device through movement of his cheek muscles.

Despite his debilitating condition, Hawking became arguably the most well-known theoretical physicist since Albert Einstein. Hawking is known for his groundbreaking work on cosmology, quantum physics and black holes.

Hawking came from humble beginnings. The eldest of 4 children, Stephen was born in England during the Second World War. By his own admission, Hawking didn’t spend a lot of time studying.

That didn’t stop him from graduating with full honours before pursuing a PhD in cosmology at Cambridge University.

Much has been written about Hawking and his thought-provoking theories on the universe. He has received worldwide acclaim not only for his work, but for his determination in overcoming a severe disability.

When he was originally diagnosed with ALS, he was given only two years to live. That was over 50 years ago. On overcoming his disability.

Hawking’s attitude comes from his sheer refusal to make excuses for his disabilities. His ex-wife Jane Hawking attributed his outlook on the world to a combination of determination and stubbornness. As Hawking clearly demonstrates, both traits have their pedigree.

Leaders must be able to encourage the hearts of those who share their vision, providing a sense of confident optimism even in the face of enormous difficulties.

Traditional skills have not been supplanted but they now co-exist and very visually have survived with a mix of new factors, in your mind was Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln or Stephen Hawking a Purposeful Leader?

When creating an organisational shared purpose the essential questions to ask are:

What is the shared purpose that;
 Articulates a clear purpose for your organisation. Focus on answering the why questions. We all know what our organisations do. Purpose is about asking why we exist in the first place, what our employees and stakeholders care about, and what resonates with customers.
 Use purpose as a lens for everything you do. Let purpose guide the solutions you offer, how you treat your customers, and how you engage your workforce.
 Communicate success stories to all constituents. Stories perpetuate purpose. Each time people repeat them, purpose entwines more closely with day-to-day business.
 Integrate purpose into the company’s DNA. Reinforce purpose through the day-to-day customer and employee experience. Treat purpose as a commitment to stakeholders and publicly update on its progress.
 Focus on leaders. Help them develop their own “why.” Work with all leaders to articulate their own purpose as it relates to the overarching purpose for the business. Then, help them do the same for their teams and employees.
 Develop key skills. Purpose-driven leaders form teams, inspire, and motivate in a fast-changing world. They develop psychological safety and agility.

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.”

The continued success of my 5th book, Purposeful Discussions, was published across some of the biggest issues in business today, purpose driven outcomes, which lead to my 6th book, The Trust Paradigm.

The best business leaders begin by framing trust in economic terms for their companies. The best leaders focus on making the creation of trust an explicit objective. Like any other goal, it must be measured and improved. It must be made clear to everyone that trust matters to management and leadership.

It’s clear from the news that the leaders of some of our most influential governments and corporations are making morally questionable decisions. These decisions will lose the trust of society, customers, and employees.

No amount of electronic communication – staff intranet, corporate social media, marketing emails – will fix this, yet many organizations assume this can replace meaningful dialogue even though this is the only real means of building trust and high-functioning #relationships.

Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

You can order your copy of the book on all formats now Amazon: audible hardback kindle softback

Or visit #TheTrustParadigmBook website:

Ima von Wenden (MCIPR) interviews Geoff Hudson-Searle on The Trust Paradigm and Strategy

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ima von Wenden (MCIPR) for a glass of champagne at one of London’s most prodigious clubs, The Savile Club.

The club was established in 1868 by a group of the most distinguished writers and artists of the time, a perfect venue to be discussing my latest book.

Ima is an experienced global communications professional with a successful track record in PR, strategy and media relations.

Ima wanted to discuss the recent publication of “The Trust Paradigm”, she went on to say ‘’I found this book interesting, well-researched and well-structured, published at the right time and offering real solutions to serious C-suite readers on both sides of the Atlantic.’’

‘’Despite daily headlines questioning the public trust to the Government and post-pandemic media coverage of distrust of the bosses towards employees working from home, there’s too little talked about the growing distrust of the employees towards bosses. And this book addresses this issue, giving practical tools and steps for today’s business and thought leaders to prevent crisis in corporate communications.’’

‘’Trust is the most valuable asset of any business and losing it spells the beginning of the end. The book explains how to spot a problem with trust and take the needed actions to prevent it escalating into a crisis.’’

‘’I found particularly invaluable the second part of the book outlining a clear strategy for dealing with diminishing trust, something which is too often too difficult to develop on your own. I am certain that this book will be a great reference source for me and my clients when advising them on crisis comms related to their internal corporate affairs.’’

‘’I think this book should be read by the business owners/managers of every level and the communication experts like myself. Thank you for your great work!’’

Ima was interested to continue the conversation across my views on strategy, here are a list of the questions and my answers:

1) Can you please explain the difference between ‘strategy’ and ‘strategic management?
 The essence of strategy is about the courses of action necessary, or approach taken, for achieving the organization’s core objectives and ultimately the overall purpose.
 Strategic management concerns the management of the organization’s overall purpose, to ensure all the needs of the present are considered with those of the future. These may relate to all the six specific tasks of purpose, objectives, strategy, implementation, execution, and strategic control

2) Explain the levels of involvement in strategic management and the role of staff at each level. How does the strategy hierarchy facilitate this?
 The main responsibility of strategic management is predominantly at the top level. This is because senior management is most knowledgeable of the purpose of the organization and can therefore direct the whole organization to accomplish it.

3) Explain the controversial debate in strategic management regarding how strategy can be formed or formulated, ie – how emergent strategy is different from deliberate strategy.
 Despite the more sophisticated contributions to the subject field on what makes up the strategy, one of the key debates is if strategy should be formed over time or be formulated by senior management.
 With formulation, the main premise is that senior management has the best knowledge of the overall strategy and is most appropriate for deciding on a strategy that the rest of the organization should follow. This view suggests that strategy should be consistent and specific to the organization, which is what gives it competitive advantage.

4) Discuss the importance of purpose to an organization, and how that purpose may be regarded as synonymous to the purpose that underpins human existence.
 The starting point to anything is its purpose, which is the same whether it is an organization or a human being. While there are numerous theories behind the existence of human beings on Earth, every individual has his/her own belief, and it is that belief that determines how s/he lives his/her life. An organization exists for a long-term purpose, and making money is only one activity that facilitates the achievement of that long-term purpose, and does not constitute that purpose per se (otherwise it will have accomplished it already!).
 To make a ‘purpose’ comprehensible to the organization, three distinct components are available to assist: vision, mission and values. The role of each of these is different, and quite often companies get it wrong. Even if these are not explicit, every organization still has them in the sense that they are implicit in the way it manages. Explicit statements also have the advantage of promoting to the public the strength of the company and further acts as a marketing tool.

5) Is there always a perfect alignment between an organization’s purpose and culture?
 There may be a mismatch between the true intention of the organization’s purpose and its culture mainly due to the lack of clarity of the former.
 The purpose normally influences the culture of the organization as the purpose exists first and then people who are appointed to the position are then nurtured to the needs of that purpose. However, for reformed organizations, such as those which have become the outcome of non-organic growth (merger and acquisition activity), then the cultures may have existed first through a legacy of the merged companies and the newly established purpose may not be consistently or well aligned with them.
 There are three levels of culture (artifacts, espoused values, and basic underlying assumptions) which must be managed differently by the manager concerned, and if these are not managed properly there is likely to be misalignment to the organizational purpose.

6) Discuss the dangers of mismatch between corporate image and corporate identity. What strategies are possible for closing this difference gap?
 Corporate image and corporate identity are different things: the former refers to what the organization is understood as to the stakeholders (as receivers), and the latter refers to the organization’s self-image.
 It is common for a mismatch between the two, particularly when the marketing efforts of the organization are not effective; in this case it is important that the organization is not prone to bad public impression.

7) How can the emergence of the importance of corporate social responsibility be seen as a threat to the purpose of an organization?
 If the organization is an old one, there may be explicit mission statements that do not accord with the present expectation of corporate social responsibility.
 Compliance with corporate social responsibility matters may often be expensive, and therefore the incurrence of these costs may mean cut-backs on other organizational objectives.

8) How can objectives be used as a filter system through which the organizational purpose is transferred into comprehensive outcomes against which to measure performance?
 The primary role of objectives is to break down the organizational purpose into an understandable definition, often offered by a set of objectives that relate to different people in different parts of the organization.
 This can be done through a number of ways, and tools have been developed over the years to deal with this role, for example the balanced scorecard is probably the most prominent, but there are other ‘performance management tools’, such as the performance pyramid, tableau de bord, etc.
 There are different kinds and types of objectives, all serving different purposes. The way organizations use and categorise objectives (into those which are strategic vis-à-vis operational) is a way of identifying what needs to be done to drive performance and what monitors performance.
 Employees need to be clear about their objectives and what they mean, in order for them to be effective.

9) How can objectives be problematic, and in what way can the use of objectives be considered as ‘bad’ management?
 Bad management of objectives is when organizations do not understand what kind of objectives they are in the first place. For example, some are strategic and some are operational, and the tools employed for them may be problematic if they are not understood properly.

10) How can a SWOT analysis be useful for both internal and external organizational environmental analysis?
 A SWOT analysis recognises the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats confronting an organization. These relate to both the internal as well as external environments, and are often used as a quick framework to provide an overview of an organization.
 The SWOT list should not be static; these items should be updated as continuing areas to monitor for them to be useful to an organization.

11) Explain the meaning of ‘the world is flat’ in the context of globalization.
 In practice, this means that nations must find new sources of competitive advantage, new strategies must be found for local companies, and strategic approaches for global level business must be championed.
 Globalization does not just mean that trade barriers have been opened and companies can source internationally; anything that helps to provide a platform for seeking cross border advantages, such as the emergence of the internet over the last 15 years, may be used as a strategic platform.

12) If the benefits of globalization concern the expansion of operations across international borders, why then is it necessary to consider a strong home base?
 The foundation of a strong home base helps to support global strategies (and is not contradictory to globalization!). Porter argued that industrial sectors are clustered in geographical regions, which need nurturing to ensure a sufficient concentration of suppliers and specialised resources, so that a balance of home-based and dispersed foreign activities are pursued.

Ima asked me what is next in my writing, at which point I recited the words of Winston Churchill: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Geoff Hudson-Searle is an independent digital non-executive director across regulation, technology and internet security, a C-Suite executive on private and listed companies, and a serial business advisor for growth-phase tech companies.

With more than 30 years of experience in international business and management. He is the author of six books and lectures at business forums, conferences, and universities. He has been the focus of London Live TV, Talk TV, TEDx and RT Europe’s business documentaries across various thought leadership topics and his authorisms.

Geoff is a member and fellow of the Institute of Directors; an associate of The International Business Institute of Management; a co-founder and board member of the Neustar International Security Council (NISC); and a distinguished member of the Advisory Council for The Global Cyber Academy.

He holds a master’s degree in business administration. Rated by Agilence as a Top 250 Harvard Business School thought leader authority covering blogs and writing across; ‘Strategic Management’ and ‘Management Consulting’, Geoff has worked on strategic growth, strategy, operations, finance, international development, growth, and scale-up advisory programmes for the British Government, Citibank, Kaspersky, BT and Barclays among others.

The trust Paradigm
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Building the High-Trust Driven Organisation

There is a strong connection between a high-trust culture and business success. In fact, the connection is so strong that strategy-minded leaders, who care deeply about the financial well-being of their business, should make building a high-trust culture a top priority.

The disruptive world that we all now operate within is a crucible within which resilient leadership is now forced to redefine. Acting without perfect information, often with only a few hours or days to spare, CEOs need to guide their organisations through the daily myriad of 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.

Considering the fact that all entities are primarily made up of people, it is important for individuals in any organisation, nation or global community to trust each other and themselves to get the work done.

Indeed, not only is trust between people necessary for the success of any endeavour, but it is also essential for any entity to even exist.

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.

Transformation and Change

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.

I wrote a blog in January 2022, ‘Leadership needs to lead with Trust Intelligence (TI)‘ which defines why the five Intelligences; IQ, EI, SI, DI and WI.

As humans we need a balance of skill, competence, morality and ethic behaviours to be truly effective in this new world, however, all these intelligences need to be within the TI umbrella to truly be effective.

Moral and ethical leadership is the key to a successful business, yet it’s clear from the news lately that the leaders of some of our most influential governments and corporations are making morally questionable decisions. These decisions will lose the trust of society, customers and employees.

Trust is the foundation of high-functioning relationships and can only be achieved by meaningful dialogue. It is clear that this is not happening. Instead, we’re using electronic communication, where it should never be used.

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 to 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.

Building, maintaining, and sustaining trust is essential, and it is one of the central tenets of Human Resource Management (HRM) theory to actualize such organizations that have a high trust intelligence within them.

This means that HR professionals have the new task of building trust, and more importantly, maintaining and sustaining it so that organisations continue to thrive and differentiate in the new competitive marketplace.

While many factors determine whether a particular organisation is a high-trust or low-trust environment, the key aspect is the organisational culture which needs to encourage trust between the employees and the organisational stakeholders and within the employees.

Organisational Culture is the codified and implicit set of rules or codes of conduct by which organisations operate and hence, the way in which organizational culture is defined, maintained, and upheld is indeed important for organizations to function.

The importance of every organization and HR Function requires clear instructions from Boards, Senior Management and Executive leadership to codify policies and rules or codes of conduct that determine how employees must behave and act in their interactions with each other and with the larger organisational ecosystem.

This is contingent upon the HR function to first assist the stakeholders in defining the rules, and then ensuring that such rules are consistently maintained and enforced, and perhaps, the most important aspect here is that such codes of conduct must be upheld meaning that during times of crisis, the HR function must indeed “co-create” or must back up words with action and execution.

A key challenge for any HR professional is to ensure that cultural factors and socio-cultural influences do not come in the way of actualizing a high-trust organisation.

Authentic cultures are not formed by values posted on the wall; they are the result of leaders being purposefully committed to living those values and willing to personally change in order to model the behaviours and actions that maintain integrity.

When values are real, employees and customers know the enterprise is authentic and true to its culture. Especially in a crisis, comparing actions to values is a litmus test of a company’s authenticity.

Culture, we know, is the core of resilience, but it alone is not enough. Other work by our company has shown that organisations that accelerate performance during good times and bad are able to mobilise, execute, and transform with agility.

Today, 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.

Trust is the Glue

Trust is at the foundation of healthy relationships. At its core, trust is the willingness of one party to be vulnerable to the actions of another. It is an expectation that two parties will act in a way that is mutually beneficial. For these reasons, trust is a key element of effective communication, teamwork, employee commitment and productivity. It leads to stronger working relationships and a healthier organisational culture.

Because of the inherent vulnerability involved in trusting relationships, it is widely understood that trust must be earned. This is true whether it is between two colleagues, a manager and an employee, or even between an employee and the organisation at large. In some instances, it can be hard to build and sustain because individuals may not be aware of the unintentional ways that they have broken the trust of their colleagues.

Once Trust is Broken

A lack of trust in the workplace is the virus that can create a diseased workplace culture. It often begins with leadership and spreads throughout the team, leading to a cycle of unhealthy responses that affect engagement and productivity.

As a leader, if you don’t trust your team, you’re likely either micromanage or withhold information and work on initiatives on your own or with a select group of people. This can create a vicious cycle, as your team may respond by pulling back even further, so you’ve created a perfect storm in this self-fulfilling prophecy of distrust.

Trust helps to make challenging conversations easier – this has been written in my new book “The Trust Paradigm” : making teams more integrated and employees more engaged. Exploring ways in which trust can be built can help individuals and companies create stronger relationships and healthier cultures.

Mark Herbert, my Co-author of ‘The Trust Paradigm‘, states:

“It is my belief that an important part of empathy is the ability to trust and be trusted. When your employees feel that you care, then you have earned their trust. If they trust you, they will take more risks with you and be more open with you. People will talk openly with you only when they trust you. As trust builds, there will be more sharing of information, feelings, and thoughts. The more you share, the easier it is to relate to one another. Building trust is something that takes time and effort. It involves both you and the other person in the relationship. The level of trust is what makes each relationship unique.”

From swift decisions to shutter offices, institute work-from-home policies, and scale the technological tools to stay connected to customers and stakeholders, agile leaders have assessed the risk and pivoted quickly.

They must also reassess the medium and long term, building on past crisis interventions and associated learnings to evolve operations and innovate to meet changing needs, all while staying true to their culture.

To explain, trust is as much a function of personality as it is about the societal culture from which people come.

Many sociologists have pointed out, most Western nations are implicitly high-trust ones, and while developing countries do have high-trust cultures, it is often the case that due to the diversity of such cultures, there are challenges arising from cultural norms as far as building and maintaining trust is concerned.

Clarity of thinking, communication, 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.

From time to time, we lose our bearings as individuals, especially when facing overwhelming challenges, as we are today faced with a changing global environment; it is in these moments that we lean into our core, our character and personal values, to find strength and focus on what really matters.

Leaders facing the unprecedented times and circumstances of the moment are also looking to their organisation’s core, its communal culture and values, to inspire resilience, unleash agility, and help employees to thrive, not simply survive.

It’s also important to recognise and address the emotions of all stakeholders.

This is not just about charts and numbers. Narratives can be powerful ways to acknowledge the fears that naturally surface in times of crisis, while at the same time framing the opportunity that can be achieved if stakeholders come together and commit to overcoming the challenges that stand in the way.

A recent survey carried out by DataPad for and on behalf of International Business and Executive Management asked employees questions on ‘trust and respect’ in relation to their executive leadership, heads of department and their immediate line managers.

The closer the manager’s role was to the respondent, the more likely it was for the employee to answer positively. Immediate managers were trusted ‘a lot’ by 48% of those who responded and ‘a little’ by 36%. Sixteen percent of immediate managers are not trusted at all.

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.

At their core, organisations are shadows of their leaders. Leaders who greet crisis with perspective and compassion, confront the current reality with optimism for the future, demonstrate personal resilience, and inspire that resilience among their employees are those who will make the difference.

In final summary, indeed, the necessity of maintaining trust is complemented by the behaviour of leadership during any business or economic cycle, when it becomes necessary to return to “First Principles” or the Raison D’etre of

Existence which when translated into plain English means the core of what it means to work for such organisations.

In the same manner in which government, business and personal crises threaten the character of individuals and how they respond is indicative of their personality, organizational impact is the core trust or the glue that binds the organisation, and hence, how the leadership responds determines whether the Trust intelligence has broken down or is very much in existence.

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 the culture and socialisation process of the newcomers.

To conclude, leaders need 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.

As Stephen M.R. Covey 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.”

The IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum and Launch of the The Trust Paradigm Book

This week marked a proud milestone with the launch of my 6th and final book: ‘The Trust Paradigm’. We launched the book in conjunction with the “IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum” in London at Freeths LLP.

We would like to thank our sponsors at Freeths LLP and all the support Stewart Elliston and his team provided in making this event possible.
Keynote speakers and thought leadership was delivered by Mark Herbert – my co-author on the book; Douglas Lines; my co-Director in IBEM, Karen Jones, CEO of Denison Consulting; Luke Dixon, Partner of Freeths LLP on Data Security; Dan Ilett, CEO of Tollejo in his expert capacity as event moderator.

More about the speakers and the image-gallery: Trust Paradigm – Booklaunch – Nov. 2022

We would like to thank all our guests at the event who traveled internationally and nationally to attend the event.

Download the PDF with Event Slides: The IBEM Executive Thought Leadership Forum and Official Launch of The Trust Paradigm

Download the PDF with official invite: Executive Thought Leadership Invite

The Executive Thought Leadership Forum has been in our sights for some time: businesses, particularly in leadership, need to navigate a different course and see the global
economy through a different lens – change is speeding up – change is not a phase, change is constant.

The event covered senior executive thought leadership presentations across design thinking, business model innovation, innovation, corporate culture, trust, business risk and datasecurity.

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. Trust between employer and employee and among employees enhances human capital investment.

This event launched my new book, together with Mark Herbert: The Trust Paradigm.

At the event, trust was discussed as the foundation of healthy relationships. At its core, trust is the willingness of one party to be vulnerable to the actions of another. It is an expectation that two parties will act in a way that is mutually beneficial. For these reasons, trust is a key element of effective communication, teamwork, employee commitment and productivity. It leads to stronger working relationships and a healthier organizational culture.

We know that trust is the glue that holds teams together and creates positive, productive workplaces. But how much trust do you have in your professional and personal relationships? And how do you build more trust if it’s lacking?

Trust is the currency of leadership. When you have established trust with the people around you, you are a more effective and efficient leader.

You will be more effective because you will encounter less resistance to your ideas and will be able to achieve results faster. You will also be more efficient because you will be able to produce these results using less of your time and energy.

Every interaction we have with another person is either placing a deposit or making a withdrawal in their emotional bank account. When you make regular deposits, it creates a positive balance, and there is trust. When we make too many withdrawals, we become overdrawn, which results in distrust.

When you follow the rules within for this strategy and take action using the universal deposits, you will build a solid foundation of credibility and trust as a mindful leader.

Because of the inherent vulnerability involved in trusting relationships, it is widely understood that trust must be earned. This is true whether it is between two colleagues, a manager and employee, or even between an employee and the organization at large. In some instances, it can be hard to build and sustain because individuals may not be aware of the unintentional ways that they have broken trust with their colleagues.

Trust helps to make challenging conversations easier, teams more integrated and employees more engaged. Exploring ways in which trust can be built can help individuals and companies create stronger relationships and healthier cultures.

Trust within organisations boosts productivity and employee engagement, helps leaders and teams to focus on what is important and reduces friction. Furthermore, while an issue of cross-generational relevance, organisational trust is particularly important to the younger members of the workforce: millennials and members of Gen Z. Transparency, enablement and a culture of trust boost their loyalty and commitment, while a lack thereof can be a primary reason to leave an employer.

Therefore, building trust within organisations is not only key to withstanding current challenges, but will pay off in the future. To inspire decision-makers to lead with the next generation in mind, leaders have more work to do to leverage the power of trust in their organisations, and this presents the opportunity for new paradigms.

A few key thoughts:

• Trust is fundamental to a healthy organizational culture. Each organization must choose whether to earn a trust dividend or pay a trust-tax.
• Every organization has a culture. The best organizations invest in shaping and nurturing their culture.
• People follow leaders. Compliance-based organizations that do not invest in trust are losing trillions annually.
• Leadership and trust are earned, not an entitlement.
• One toxic manager can poison an organization and your culture is determined by the behaviors your reward and tolerate. Choose carefully.

Download free chapters 7 & 10 from the book: PDF

Get your copy at these great stores: BUY ‘The Trust Paradigm’


The Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

London Live – News At 6 – 19th October 2022

A disruptive world, trust, and can we learn from native American wisdom?

The world is facing significant disruption and increasingly urgent global challenges affecting individuals, families, organizations, governments, and society.

This VUCA-driven (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) age of disruption brings new complexities, opportunities, as well as risks for businesses. The potential for crises has intensified, driven by rapid technological change due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and amplified by societal expectations linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) phenomena.

Throughout the COVID-19 response, we’ve seen an acceleration of these trends. We have seen how some businesses have been successful in looking beyond the pandemic and into recovery, while others have failed and many perished, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As the world becomes more complex and connected, the threat of a corporate crisis grows.

Disruptive events, including crises such as pandemics, have no borders or boundaries. They can happen anytime, anywhere, and to any organization. The interconnectedness of the global economy and its political realities can magnify the ripple effect of any single crisis, making it a common feature of corporate life.

The new business reality is that there will be several challenges concerning the new world of work that organizations are expected to face as we enter the ‘new normal’ or ‘next normal’ era of the endemic phase of COVID-19. Just as organizations across the globe went fully remote at the start of the pandemic, many organizations now need to build a successful hybrid work model—or risk losing their employees.

A functioning society is built on trust. Whether we’re drinking water from a faucet, riding an elevator or sending an e-mail, we’re trusting that somebody, somewhere, has taken the necessary steps to make sure that activity is safe.

Yet today, our shared foundation of trust is under strain as never before. Rapid social and economic change, deepening political divisions, and the disruptive impact of new technologies are stretching the limits of traditional systems of trust-building. Governments, businesses and civil society are struggling to keep up.

Our changing digital age has made it harder and harder to know just whom to trust. Is the person or company you’re dealing with real or just an online facade? Is the video you’re looking at genuine or a deepfake? Where exactly does your data go when you share it? There’s no way to fact-check everything, creating anxiety. If people can only trust what they’ve seen and touched, or people they’ve met personally, society can’t function. The system is under strain and we can no longer take trust and trust-building for granted.

Trust is both a glue and a lubricant, holding society together and allowing its many parts to move smoothly. If trust can’t be made suitable for the digital age, the digital age won’t function.

Such mindset shifts will not happen just once – they will evolve with society’s needs. That is at the heart of the trust and governance project: constantly finding new ways to maximize the reach and power of trust across different stakeholders.

It’s an effort that has to be horizontal and cross-sectoral. In a new age, there is no single guarantor of trust. It’s a responsibility all stakeholders must share and prioritize.

There are wonderful opportunities to learn from other cultures how to manage our emotional turmoil and stop the self-blame and the wild goose chase. When we look at other cultures through a wide lens, it empowers us with new insights and strategies that have enabled others to remain resilient and satisfied.

Native Americans, for example, have lived in synchrony with the human and natural world. Their experiences help teach how to find strength, peace and emotional wellness.

They have encountered vast and devastating experiential upheavals in the confrontation with Western values and practices. Yet, many have sustainable belief systems and cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations and serve as models that we can consider in order to improve our own well-being.

The overarching descriptive word for the American Indian worldview is holistic. They view the natural world, the spirit world and human beings as an integrated whole and they cherish balance and harmony in the collective universe.

Some of the richest stories we are not taught in our educational system are those of Native Americans. I recently read a great book by DJ Vanas called ‘The Warrior Within’ – the book discusses your own your power to serve, fight, protect and heal, providing a compass to live an extraordinary life (I have always said we are extraordinary, the question is how we use extraordinary in our everyday lives).

In native American culture, a warrior may surrender, but he never gives up.

June 25, 1876: General Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn between the US Army and the Sioux Indians, commanded by Chief Crazy Horse. Custer had underestimated the size of the camp and his entire column was killed.

During a raging blizzard in early January 1877 along the Tong River in Montana, General Miles and his troops opened fire on Crazy Horse and his camp. He was able to return fire, but they eventually held off the soldiers firing ammunition with bows and arrows. Although he succeeded in retreating 1,100 Indians to Fort Robinson, he never gave up or lacked effort – but eventually surrendered because his tribe was cold and hungry – and it was the best option to avoid all being pursued .

Tecumseh, the great Shawnee chief and warrior said: “When you get up in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of life.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies with you.” In this moral, Tecumseh speaks to our ability to see the prize first.

The Ottawa tribe used birch bark for dwellings and canoes which made them successful in trade and warfare. The Lakota used every part of the buffalo to make everything from clothing to bowstrings and chairs. Oftentimes, when we have limitations, it forces us to be resourceful. When we get past our fear, resistance, and confusion, we realize that we are all surrounded by an embarrassment of riches.

In Native American culture, the medicine bag is filled with sacred, meaningful objects, such as herbs, tobacco and cedar, beads, bones, arrowheads, stones, and animal claws or teeth—that hold the power of protection, strength, luck, or healing for the person who wears it. People often wore them around their necks and they became significant during ceremonies, battles or illnesses.

It helps you visualize how the Indians carry their own medicine bag of things and experiences that make you unique and strong in your own way.

In the early 1800s, Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation had a vision of his people reading and writing — or what he would call “talking leaves.” They didn’t have a system back then and people thought he was crazy to invest all this time to develop it. So much so that his wife threw his project into the fire. He was undeterred, and by the 1830s he had developed a writing system that helped his tribe become one of the most literate groups in the Americas.

The plains tribes had a tradition of fighting that was more honorable than killing an enemy on the battlefield. It was called a “census coup”. Instead of striking their enemy with an arrow, they would simply touch him with a coup staff, a decorated staff resembling a horse, while in the heat of battle. That act of courage to stand face to face with the enemy and essentially say, “I’m not afraid of you.” is the ultimate act of bravery.

One of the best lessons from the book was the one about keeping fire in Native American culture, which was clearly a sacred duty. A good fire was the heart of a village. It provides an opportunity to cook food, shine a light in the dark, warm the village and provide a place for people to gather. Most importantly, it was a crucial component of the ceremonies. Just like the keeper of the fire – we must maintain our own physical and mental well-being so that our fire does not burn to embers or even burn out.

Most people who do not speak up in public meetings have perfectly functioning voices, and training them on better enunciation will not help matters much. Many technology projects have been hampered by inadequate theorizing, by political economy and social movement analysis, and by the lack of reference to historical evidence. And while clear and imaginative thinking is universally valuable, by necessity this analysis needs to be contextual. In particular, we need to be particularly cautious about transferring the successful use of technology from one place and time to another.

Napoleon Hill once said “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

However, transparent communication can open new doors for us to access a more extensive level of information in our lives. When we let go of our individual focus, we are able to experience the dynamics of life to a much greater extent. This allows us to move beyond the interpretation (understanding) of humans as objects in the physical world and thus experience humans from within.

If we recognise that rather than meeting people, we encounter realities in which these people emerge, based on what they believe and defend, we develop a deeper compassion and understanding. We are aware that in this world we all wear a false smile.

Once we begin to comprehend the inner experiences of others, and to create through our being, we make a quantum leap in our communication. We lift communication up to the next level of evolution. This helps us to acknowledge the true cause of many conflicts, looking beyond the symptoms to the root of the problem.

Have we created a separated culture in society, where we disguise the truth and transparency for what people would prefer to hear across technology?

Cultures also differ in how much they encourage individuality and uniqueness vs. conformity and interdependence. Individualistic cultures stress self-reliance, decision-making based on individual needs, and the right to a private life.

Having a defined place within a family, a community and a culture enhances a sense of purpose, stability and resilience over time. In AI culture, roles are clearly defined and egalitarian.

Men and women exist in a cooperative partnership, elders are respected for their wisdom, children are raised to honour adults and to be part of the community as well as the family.

I was discussing with friends recently the morals around an Indian tipi. For more than 400 years, knowledgeable people have agreed that the Indian tipi is absolutely the finest of all moveable shelters. To the Native peoples whose concept of life and religion was deeper and infinitely more unified than his conqueror, the tipi was much more. Both home and church the tipi was a Sacred Being and sharing with family, nature and Creator. The tipi allowed the Plains Indians to move entire villages to suit the seasons and to be nearer to a good supply of food, wood & fresh supply for their horses.

The Cree people use 15 poles to make the structure of the tipi. For every pole in that tipi, there is a teaching. So there are 15 teachings that hold up the tipi. The poles also teach us that no matter what version of the Great Spirit we believe in, we still go to the same Creator from those many directions and belief systems; we just have different journeys to get there.

And where the poles come out together at the top, it’s like they’re creating a nest. And they also resemble a bird with its wings up when it comes to land, and that’s another teaching: the spirit coming to land, holding its wings up.

A full set of Tipi poles, represent: obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, good child rearing, hope, ultimate protection, control flaps.

The tipi teaches us that we are all connected by relationship and that we depend on each other. Having respect for and understanding this connection creates and controls harmony and balance in the circle of life. For every time that a pole is added, a rope goes around to bind that pole into place. You have to be there and see it to appreciate that teaching. That rope is a sacred bond, binding all the teachings together until they are all connected.

So do we have much to learn from the Native American Indians about trust, integrity, humility, and human 2 human communication?

In summary, transparent communication is a way of life in which different levels of consciousness, as well as different levels of development and intelligence, are included. It requires of us that we engage in an experientially oriented exploration of life.

Only then will we truly learn to comprehend the world as a form of exchange in which we share a common space of interaction and learn to recognise the cosmic addresses of conscious content.

A great quote by Stephen R Covey sums up this article when he stated:

“If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me ‘an offender for a word’. When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

The Pathway to The Trust Paradigm

The first interview for ‘The Trust Paradigm Book’, Geoff Hudson-Searle and Mark Herbert discuss some incredibly important questions about trust and the launch of their new book.

The authors discuss trust and the importance of trust in relationships. Trust is the foundation upon which the legitimacy of government, public institutions and family, the very cornerstone in which relationships are built and is crucial for maintaining social cohesion.

Covid-19 is a crucible within which resilient leadership has been refined since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. Acting without perfect information and no playbook, and often with only a few hours or days to spare, CEOs have had to guide their organizations through the myriad of decisions and challenges that have had 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.

At the same time, almost everywhere we turn, trust is on the decline.

Trust in our culture at large, in our institutions and in our companies is significantly lower than a generation ago. Research commissioned in 2020 by International Business and Executive Management found that 69 percent of employees trust their CEO a little or not at all. Consider the loss of trust and confidence in the financial markets today. Indeed, trust makes the world go round – and right now we’re experiencing a crisis of trust.

In the words of Tom Peters – American writer on business practices – “TRUST, not technology, is the issue of the decade.”

In any normality trust is paramount, but given current world events, never has there been more need for increased trust. This simple formula emphasizes the key elements of trust for individuals and for organizations:

Trust = Transparency + Relationship + Experience

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. ‘The Trust Paradigm’ draws on the hard-won truths of two authors and draws on their deep personal lessons from life and business practice, and their efforts to distill those lessons into principles that lead toward a more purposeful life.

The book is intended to be both a holistic overview of what generates and builds trust and a hands-on guide to how that can be done. A wide range of tips, models, and techniques that will help to build strong and effective trust solutions in today’s business world is combined with a range of insights into the topical subjects of the day.

The term ‘trust’ has been overused forever and, during the last decade, considerably devalued. In this book, the authors aim to take the concept back to its essentials and to re-evaluate how real, meaningful trust can be incorporated into management and leadership.

Although all the chapters in the book are strongly interrelated, for ease of reference it is divided into three key sections: Communications; Strategy, and Business Development and Growth. You can start with your particular area of interest, or you can read the book from the first page to the end; there really is a topic for everyone.

The business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive and disrupted business world now have renewed responsibility for what business does best: they must innovate, invest and grow their organizations.

Change and transformation can be radical and painful, yet many wait until circumstances force their hand, even when they know that change must, and should, come. Whether change has been forced upon you, or whether you are openly seeking and embracing transformation, this book will arm you with tips, advice and techniques to spark fresh thinking about the status quo and inspire the innovation your circumstances demand for the creation of a better business environment.

‘The Trust Paradigm’s’ lessons are also relevant far beyond the business world. They can support a clearer understanding of institutional behaviour for all kinds of people: students, budding entrepreneurs, volunteers, social enterprise organizers – quite simply, anyone who aspires to do better.

The book will be released in October 2022.

Preorder the book at Troubadour:

Our New Forthcoming Book: ‘The Trust Paradigm’

A very proud and privileged moment to have just finished the final manuscript of my sixth book, “The Trust Paradigm”.

The Trust Paradigm draws on the hard-won truths of two authors: Geoff Hudson-Searle and Mark Herbert, in addition to wisdom, deep personal lessons from one’s life and business practice and disciplines towards a more purposeful life.

Matador Publishing has confirmed that this will be the 4th book from Geoff Hudson-Searle that they will now publish in a series of writings aimed to provide individuals with a better lens to understand the opportunities and challenges ahead, to chart your course for change and fulfillment of dreams, desires and aspirations; through wisdom, knowledge and learnings from the book.

Jeremy Thompson, Managing Director, and Hannah Dakin, Customer Services Manager at Matador are truly excited to be working with Mark and me on book number six through their publishing house, I must say working with Matador has really been a seamless process, a truly great and committed team.

Hannah recently quoted ‘Geoff is back with a brand new book, The Trust Paradigm. The book has been written in the hope to help governments, businesses and individuals have a better understanding on a range of subjects across trust — whether that be those who are a part of a government or agency, company/organisation, to students, and any aspiring individuals. It’s always a pleasure to work with Geoff and at Matador Publishing we very much look forward to working with him again on The Trust Paradigm!’
Hannah Daikin, Customer Services Manager Matador Publishing

The Trust Paradigm provides a holistic overview of the essential leading methods in these areas and can be viewed as a hands-on guide. Readers will gain insights into topical subjects, including a wide range of tips, models and techniques that will help to build strong and effective trust solutions in today’s business world.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
American educator and author, Steven R. Covey.

The term Trust has been overused forever and during the last decade devalued. In this book, we aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership by addressing topics and subjects in each chapter.

Each component can be located by the titles at the top of the pages. The sections within the three components relate strongly to each other and are interrelated to all the other sections. You can start with your area of interest, or you can read the book from the first page to the end; there really is a topic for everyone.

Government, Business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive business world have renewed responsibility for what business does best: innovate, invest, and grow.

The business professionals and individuals dealing with the great challenges of today’s disruptive and disrupted business world now have renewed responsibility for what business does best: they must innovate, invest, and grow their organizations. Change and transformation can be radical and painful, yet many wait until circumstances force their hand even when they know that change must, and should, come.

Whether the change has been forced upon you, or whether you are openly seeking and embracing transformation, this book will arm you with tips, advice, and techniques to spark fresh thinking about the status quo and inspire the innovation your circumstances demand the creation of a better business environment.

The Trust Paradigm’s lessons are also relevant far beyond the business world. They can support a clearer understanding of institutional behaviour for all kinds of people: students, budding entrepreneurs, volunteers, social enterprise organizers – quite simply, anyone who aspires to do better.

The Trust Paradigm will be a 2022 publication!

In February 2014, I set out as an author with my first book, “Freedom after the Sharks”, to write a weekly blog across a variety of subjects and foremost about people in business, opinions, research and tips, advise on some revelations, past and present.

Each person, no matter their age, occupation or place in the world has a tremendous story to share. A vast tapestry of experiences, truths & pearls of wisdom lies in the vault of the mind, waiting to be unlocked. It takes the slightest intuitive spark to get us talking about our inner lives, the details and dynamics of being human. We are all aware of how important technology is in our lives and keeping our individual worlds connected.

We need to explore new and creative ways of listening, engaging, working together, learning, building community and being in conversation with the other. We are more connected than ever through technology and at the same time the disconnect with ourselves, others and our environment is growing. We need The Trust Paradigm to help us reconnect, going beyond our egos and our fears to build strong relationships, communities, networks and organisations, so that through trusted collaboration we can begin to co-create a more sustainable future.

Readers will gain insights into topical subjects, which include a wide range of tips, models and techniques that will help to build strong and effective solutions in today’s disruptive business world.

The Trust Paradigm will be available in e-book/kindle, paperback, hardback and audiobook formats.

Writing has changed my life. I have always believed that it is your right to speak truthfully in all matters that concern you and to speak from the heart.

It has been an overwhelming experience to receive emails and phone calls from people across all walks of life wanting to share their experiences, their story. Governments, entrepreneurs, business people, students, children, and universities and charitable causes have approached me for keynote sessions, general advice, and inspirational leadership.

I have been overwhelmed with inquiries but will continue to expand and express the journey that each and every one of us deserves.

Every audience has a different dynamic, a different rhythm, and a different reaction. The audience wants, needs, and expects pertinent, real-life information to enhance and support their lives and importantly what they’re facing. I believe it was my destiny in life to push things to the limit. You only get one chance to make an impression. I gave blogging and writing books every opportunity I had of the events that took place for what I believed to be right and true.

In life you survive. You move on but with a purpose and now ‘The Trust Paradigm’

Finally, in times of growing uncertainty, trust is built further when you demonstrate an ability to address unanticipated situations effectively and demonstrate a steady commitment to address the needs of all stakeholders in the best way possible.

The best business leaders begin by framing trust in economic terms for their companies. When an organization has low trust, the economic consequences can be huge. Everything will take longer and everything will cost more because the organization has to compensate for the lack of trust it commands. These costs can be quantified and when they are, leaders suddenly recognize that low trust is not merely a social issue, but it becomes an economic matter. The dividends of high trust can also be calculated and this can help leaders make a compelling business case for trust.

The best leaders focus on making the creation of trust an explicit objective. Like any other goal, it must be measured and improved. It must be made clear to everyone that trust matters to management and leadership. The unambiguous message must be that this is the right thing to do and it is the right economic thing to do. One of the best ways to do this is to make an initial baseline measurement of organizational trust and then to track improvements over time.

It’s clear from the news today that the leaders of some of our most influential governments and corporations are making morally questionable decisions. These decisions will lose the trust of society, customers and employees. No amount of electronic communication – staff intranet, corporate social media, marketing emails – will fix this, yet many organizations assume this can replace meaningful dialogue, which is the only real means of building trust and high-functioning relationships.

Finally, any true transformation starts with building credibility at the personal level. The foundation of trust is your own credibility, and it can be a real differentiator for any leader. A person’s reputation is a direct reflection of their credibility and it precedes them in any interactions or negotiations they might have. When a leader’s credibility and reputation are high, it enables them to establish trust quickly. Speed goes up, the cost goes down

A strong culture is one where there’s trust, connection and belonging, among more. Without trust, you don’t connect with colleagues and without connection, it’s only a matter of time before any sense of belonging to that employer dissipates and you start looking for a job elsewhere — likely with a competitor.

One of the best ways to gauge whether there’s connection or not is to look at your meetings. Do the right conversations take place during those meetings, or, do people wait for the meeting after the meeting so they can get “real work” done? If it’s the latter, then you might want to consider strategies for building trust.

Our intent in this book is to explore from our perspective some of the reasons we find ourselves in this environment and some of the things we need to at least consider changing unless we want to continue the path we are on. This is the rationale why Mark Herbert an I have written The Trust Paradigm.

In the words of Stephen R. Covey:

“If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me ‘an offender for a word’. When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.”

I will be making periodic updates on the progress of our new book, and invite you all to read the new tome on its release.

If there is any question, I can answer for you please leave me a note or send me an email.