Paving the way for a new era of trust
Another week, another example of a failure in trust courtesy of cricket ball tampering. Call me old fashioned, or naïve, or both, but I rather hope our elite sportsmen and women, of whatever sport and nationality, are above gaining advantage through cheating.
I have a fond hope that they’ve achieved the heights of performance on the basis of great talent plus exceptionally hard work plus adherence to a moral code of fair play. And when I think about that statement I can feel the naivety in it, however hopeful or optimistic I may be. The material and emotional rewards for coming first are enormous and ever increasing if we add in the sponsorships and professional endorsements showered on those at the top of their game.
Yet I think these disappointments – of which the Australian Cricket team’s failure is just one – is part of ushering in a new era of trust…eventually.
Consider, the financial crash of 2008 – spotlighting the roulette style behaviour of some banks and our complicity as consumers in accepting credit we could ill afford. This started, in my view, a chain reaction of clearing and cleansing. This cleansing has, for example, seen the predatory (and criminal) sexual behaviour of previously respected figures exposed and the accepted sexual mores of the 1970s and 80s consigned to a place beyond unacceptability.
Our political scene in the West is in turmoil, even though the leaders of two of the world’s most powerful nations seem to have installed themselves for life. Surely this is the last gasp of the old order. And right now the spotlight is on the gender pay gap. Rather poetic in the 100th anniversary year of women getting the vote in the UK.
The point is that trust in our institutions and leadership is pretty low. Exposing the blockages, poor behaviours, iniquities as we are doing, on an almost daily basis, is paving the way for change, for creating the structures, approaches, ways of being and doing that will build and sustain trust.
As leaders we must do our bit too, in our own organisations. Where are our behaviours less than the standard our leadership responsibility demands? Where are we allowing others’ poor behaviours to grow and spread unchecked? Where are we allowing unfairness to fester? How often do we think about trust and how we’re doing in fostering trust?
No matter how busy we are the most important thing on the ‘to do’ list – the one we likely promise ourselves we’ll get to when we aren’t so busy – is creating the conditions that allow trust to take root and flourish. Then we’ll be stepping up and leading, and allowing for the comeback of trust that our world so needs.