Why Building Walls Won’t Bridge The Trust Gap

Insights from the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer clearly show that the trust gap is widening between people and government, business, media, and NGOs. The mass population rejects authority. Today, the mass population has much greater influence and authority than established institutions. This research indicates that employees continue to have low-trust in their leadership. As business leaders, your employees, partners, and suppliers want you to be a standard of trust leader.

Definition of Standard of Trust Leadership:

To proactively look out for your stakeholders interests

We are at an important point in time

For most business organizations to survive and thrive, they must innovate. Innovation requires a business culture of purpose, values, and relationship capital. Many leaders have had the false belief that their organization’s culture was not a lever that they could effectively manage for higher levels of performance. Culture is often overlooked as a business driver because it’s an asset without a dollar value. Leaders need to assess and implement new operating models that leverage the innate purpose, values, and creativity of the individual and the team with the flexibility and efficiency of technology.

Organizational Culture is a key lever for high performing and innovative self-governing and your highest performing teams do the right things to earn this self-governance. You will learn our meaning and business benefits for assessing, capturing, measuring, and utilizing your business culture’s Relationship capital (RC). RC measures this most mature culture of purpose and guiding principles of behavior that is the greatest asset of a flourishing business.

Edelman 2017 Trust Barometer

Get your standard of culture right and you will have a sustainable strategic advantage that will be difficult to copy and hard to compete against in the marketplace. Success goes to those leaders and organizations that build and nurture a “culture of high relationship capital trust” across your ecosystem of stakeholders; customers, employees, partners, and suppliers.

Today, business cultures of high trust are relatively unique, but in the near future, it will be a necessity in order to stay in the game and effectively compete. If not, the hyperconnected client, customer, star-performing employee, and partner will bypass you and your organization.

Our goal is to assist leaders and for-profit B2B organizations in implementing a culture of high proactive trustworthiness by assessing, capturing, measuring, and utilizing it’s greatest asset; Relationship Capital (RC). If building a culture of high trust or proactive trustworthiness is strategic to competing in the global hyper-connected and transparent marketplace of today, it must start with the leaders at the top, demonstrated on a daily basis, and measured so as to attract and sustain high performance.

A business case will be made for a more tangible and open “store of value” for these assets of high performance; purpose, values/guiding principles, credibility, reputation, and influence. For too long, individuals and organizations have had no operational process for capturing the value of social relationships from a financial perspective. Every consulting firm has their own perspective on the problem and the measurement. The global relationship economy is becoming more horizontal or Peer to Peer (P2P) in its interactions and all stakeholders are requiring more openness and transparency.

Before learning how an effective leader equipped with influence can create great change in an organization, let’s take a closer look at what influence really is. The term influence is defined in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force. The definition suggests that the genuine meaning of influence is to get people to take action without any sort of force or exertion.

As a business leader, you practice influence. By staying genuine to its core meaning, you can really make a difference. Influence is an essential leadership quality that gives you the ability to move just one individual or a large group. You can use your influence to launch a new initiative, make strategic decisions, and create change in your organization. Influential leaders perform what others believe to be important.

Leaders across the world proclaim that “High Quality” relationships are a strategic asset. When asking a CEO of one the largest private banks in the United States how he measured this relationship asset, he did not have an answer.

The Challenge of Traditional Institutional Thinking

Today, most business organizations operate with an “Institutional Mindset. Focused on serving customers and clients in very competitive markets (Red Ocean). Practicing “Convergent Thinking” in which the questions asked have only one “correct answer”, and are “Unresponsive” in their processes.

We are in a networked world and that requires networking thinking which is much more about being “Responsive, leveraging “Divergent Thinking” (multiple potential answers to questions being asked), and serving a unique market niche or Blue Ocean.

Innovating by Capturing, Measuring, and Utilizing Relationship Capital (RC)

In business, we do not currently measure intangible assets such as influence, reputation, and credibility with open standards. There are no current operational accounting measures of Relationship Capital (RC) on the balance sheet. And therein lies the rub. How can leaders design, shape, and operate a high-performance culture without this intangible asset being measured? Business leaders require open standards of “RC” in order to guide their progress.

As a business leader, professional/entrepreneur, organizational unit, or product/service, your:

  • Relationship Capital (RC) will become as important as revenue, income, and cash flow.
  • RC will validate your credibility, reputation, and influence.
  • Relationship Capital (RC) will provide a Key Performance Indicator to attract opportunities to you.
  • Relationship Capital (RC) process will be the self-governance model of high-performing groups.

Relationship Capital (RC) has always been a key-performance indicator of high performing leadership. The challenge has been that this intangible asset is based on the values, perceptions, and behaviors of the individual & group, of which behavior is the only observable element.

Whether you are an executive leader of a global corporation, an entrepreneur, or a business professional, you compete in a global marketplace. The rapid deployment of mobile devices, cloud infrastructure platforms, and big data analytics technologies creates an environment that will transform the competitive landscape across whole industries. Add open standards for capturing and measuring what has been an intangible asset and you can foresee a business world that competes on high proactive trustworthiness or Relationship Capital (RC). Outcompeting by out-behaving the competition[i].

The speed at which a product or service innovation can be created, sold, and implemented through these global digital channels is mind-numbing. The ability to earn and maintain trust by capturing Relationship Capital (RC) is as important as any other forms of capital (financial, intellectual, human, etc.)

As we visualize the future, it is important to see where we have been. We have moved from an agrarian society thru the industrial age to the information age over the last 100 years. Now, through the explosion of social media channels, we have entered the “Relationship Capital Economy” where establishing and growing a trustable reputation or “RC” with your entire ecosystem of customers, employees, and partners will be the new currency or even gold standard for success.


In today’s low-trust world, business leaders, professionals, and entrepreneurs, whatever specific industry you are focused on serving and competing in, we are all in the trust-building business. Building walls will not bridge the trust gap. The difference today from the past is everyone is watching to see if you do what you say and say what you do and the relationship capital you earn is your most strategic asset.