Topic of trust storms Davos

As PR professionals, we have been talking a lot lately about trust. In fact, the recent Page Society report, developed in conjunction with the Business...

As PR professionals, we have been talking a lot lately about trust. In fact, the recent Page Society report, developed in conjunction with the Business Roundtable Institute on Corporate Ethics, is devoted to the kinds of things companies and their leaders can do to overcome the present crisis of trust in business.

So today, while attending the Summer Davos in Dalian, China, I participated in their CEO workshop on “investing when all the rules have changed” and discovered that the underlying theme of the session was on the subject of trust – in corporations, in institutions, and in the future. Among the 50 or so CEOs that participated in the session, it became obvious that there is a consensus that the financial road to recovery may well be underway but the moral hazards that brought us here have left a big void and that confidence in markets and in business will not happen until people again learn to trust.

While the discussion around trust and the role of leadership in rebuilding trust may seem obvious to all of us who have been engaging in this dialogue over the past couple of years, it was very interesting to see this group of very entrepreneurial CEOs from around the world talking about actionable steps that can be taken to rebuild personal and institutional trust. Among the many things mentioned was the need to clearly articulate values and create real sanctions around those who violate these values. Even more revealing was the discussion around the importance of communicating these values internally and externally so they are embedded in the behavior of the company.

There were many more insights from this very full day in China, but it was good to see the recognition of the importance of what we do is slowly making its way around the world.

Margery Kraus, CEO of APCO Worldwide

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