Friday, 8 April 2011

Trust and Business Success (and Hay Group International Conference)


   See below for information on www.thehaygroupconference,com.


I’ve been posting recently on the importance of a differentiated HR Point of View; of influencing business from this POV; and of talking in a more people focused language to support this. And I’ve also posted previously about the irony of promoting the use of more people focused language when I tend to be use rather dry language myself (at least I’ve resisted the temptation to acronym-ise the language I’m promoting as ‘PFL’ – at least until now that is!).

So I’ve decided that I’m going to do a series of posts on the more human language we need to start to use more of, including the words suggested by Gary Hamel that I posted on before: joy, truth, honour, fidelity, equality, wisdom, beauty, justice and love – and on their relevance for business, and HR.

Now this isn’t going to be easy for me, and it may take a few weeks for me to start (I should also point out that I’m generally very poor at delivering on the commitments I make on this blog - I do try, but so many new things tend to come along that end up taking priority and getting in the way. So I should perhaps just say that I do currently feel totally committed to delivering on this – and we’ll just have to see if I can retain my current motivation).

I thought it might help by starting out on this journey by biting off a slightly easier challenge, and writing here about trust. I say easier, not because trust is any less important, or any less human than joy, truth and honour etc, but it does seem to have become rather more acceptable to talk about it in business recently. (I’ll have to think further about the impact on trust between you and me if I don’t fulfil the commitments above that I’ve just made you!).

I guess the main context for this growing level of acceptance is the falling level of trust around the world that we’ve experienced over the last decade and especially over the last few years during the recession. Much of this fall relates in particular to those traditional, authority based sources of trust such as business leaders, politicians and newspapers, and yes, even to consultants and bloggers.

But it’s also about the changing nature of employment, and the increase in service, knowledge and team based work. All of these factors make business more people shaped - and people, and the relationships between them, more obviously critical to success. And trust is the key to developing these relationships.

This reduction of something this important is what I think has made organisations realise that they need to spend time thinking and talking about how trust can once more be raised.

My input into these conversations would be to think about who are the people that create trust in organisations. And from my perspective, despite its somewhat smaller role in Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer this year, I remain convinced that this is the group called People Like Me (or ‘PLM’s I suppose).

This group is often linked to social media but I’d suggest friending on Facebook is about a very different thing. For me, making someone a PLM is about finding a mutual basis for connection, a shared interest or preferably a passion which provides a basis to develop a relationship (Alexander Fliaster referred to the ‘like me’ principle as the dark side of social networking, but there’s a bright side to this effect as well).

If you’re a Person Like Me, you’ve got an immediate connection with me, the basis for some rapport, and then anything you then talk about or present, even those wonderful financial metrics coming out of HR, are likely to be more trusted, because you’re more trusted too.

In a sense, this is only restating the main insight behind most negotiation skills training – that two parties have more room for agreement when they have a common goal, objective or even just a shared interest – something that makes each other a PLM.

And it’s why sharing those snippets of information on Twitter (‘just about to have a cup of coffee’) IS useful communication – doing this helps to provide a basis for a shared personal connection, and once you’ve got this, the more ‘important’ factual tweets are likely to have more resonance and impact as well.

So perhaps trust isn’t just another important area of focus alongside joy, truth and honour etc – perhaps it’s an output of these things. Maybe if we did talk about joy and these other areas a bit more, and importantly worked to create more joy as well, then perhaps trust between people would increase a bit more too?


One more thing you can do if you want to increase trust within your organisation, and between your organisation and its stakeholders, is attend this conference organised by Hay Group which is generously sponsoring this blog:


Hay Group International Conference 2011

Success Built on Trust

18-20 May, Vienna Austria

Conference highlights:

  • Latest insights from top business and economic experts
  • Lively, engaging debate on the big issues
  • Finger on the pulse, industry knowledge from Hay Group consultants
  • Superb networking opportunities with other senior leaders
  • Social events including a gala dinner at one of Vienna's cultural highlights.



  • Robin Bew, Editorial director and chief economist, Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Professor Noreena Hertz, Socio-economist
  • Richard Reed, Co-founder, Innocent Drinks
  • Robert Bond, Managing director, Chief distribution officer, UK Retail Distribution, Barclays Bank
  • Dr Nicolas von Rosty, Corporate vice president, Siemens
  • Rob Goffee, Professor of Editorial organisational behaviour director at London
  • Tharuma Rajah, Managing director, Hay Group ASEAN and South Asia
  • Wayne Chen, Managing director, Hay Group North East Asia
  • Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor, professor of management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sylvia DeVoge, International client advisor, Hay Group.


For more information about the conference please visit or contact on +44 (0) 20 7856 7238.


This post is sponsored by Hay Group.

Hay Group is a global management consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. The firm develops talent, organises people to be more effective and motivates them to perform at their best. Its focus is on making change happen and helping people and organisations realise their potential.

Hay Group has over 2,600 employees working in 85 offices in 49 countries. Its clients come from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, across every major industry and represent diverse business challenges.

See more on Hay Group's blog and follow the firm on Twitter.





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