A ground-breaking exploration of the changing nature of trust and how to bridge the gap from where you are to where you need to be.
Trust, at every level of business and society, has never mattered so much and at the same time. CEOs, managers, presidents, governors - leaders at every level and in every institution - face vexing issues and trade-offs. Many flounder, especially in a turbulent era when confronted with multiple crises and constituencies demanding change. How to bridge these gaps requires a new understanding of just what trust is, how it can be built, and regained when lost. Trust is, however, an elusive, even mushy, concept. Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta examine the science behind trust, grounding our understanding of why we humans trust in the first place, describing how customers, employees, community members and investors decide whether an organization or a person can be trusted. Creating and sustaining trust does not, they show, come from "reputation-building" and PR but by being the "real deal," creating products, services, and technologies that work, having good intentions, treating people fairly, and taking responsibility for all the impacts an organization creates, whether intended or not. Then, through a framing of how to think through the elements of trust - competence, motives, means, impact - combined with in-depth stories from twenty years of research we emerge with a new understanding of the business, economic and societal importance of trust and how to regain it once lost. How to, in short, bridge the gap from where you are to where you should be.
About the Author
Sandra Sucher is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, where she has been teaching for the last twenty years. She's an advisor to the Edelman Trust Barometer, and has spoken about trust at Edelman and numerous companies and at Harvard Business School events. She provides expert commentary for Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and Fortune. Prior to teaching at Harvard, Sucher had a two-decade career as a senior level executive and business 'fixer,' specializing in uncovering complex organization problems and creating new ways to address them. She lives in Massachusetts. Shalene Gupta is a research associate at Harvard Business School. She is a former Fortune reporter, who covered diversity in Silicon Valley, big data and smart cities. She lives in Massachusetts.
“You can’t buy it. You can’t sell it. You can’t even see it. But if you had more of it, your employees would work harder, and your customers would stay with you longer. Trust is one of the most valuable intangible assets that a company can have and this book will show you how to get more of it. Packed with wonderful stories and practical examples, this book is a great read. TRUST me!” —Erin Meyer, INSEAD, author of The Culture Map and coauthor of No Rules Rules
“The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer found business is the most trusted institution. Business has a new mandate to lead as the world combats ongoing crises and widespread mistrust. Against this backdrop, The Power of Trust is a must-read. Both scholarly and practical, it draws on fields from ancient philosophy to modern management theory to analyze and deeply examine the core elements of business trust while taking a lively journey through real-world cases of trust won and lost (and won again). Professor Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta make a vital contribution to the trust conversation and provide a compelling call to action for CEOs to build trust by embracing a broader societal role.”—Richard Edelman, CEO, Edelman
“Full of fresh insights brought to life by compelling examples, The Power of Trust is a rich and rewarding read. It’s also extremely timely. With more and more companies today pledging to balance the interests of all of their stakeholders, and not always put their shareholders first, Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta make clear that the driving question executives should be asking themselves every time they make a major decision is, ‘Will this enhance trust among those we claim to serve—or betray it?’”—Rick Wartzman, author of The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America
“Unveils a new understanding of the business, economic, and societal importance of trust.”—Jeffery Weirens, global financial advisory leader, Deloitte
“With vibrant and compelling insights, Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta break important new ground about trust as a key foundation for both human relationships and business. Their illuminating and exciting exploration of what it takes to build trust, combined with vivid storytelling, make this page-turner a critical companion for any business leader.”—Hubert Joly, former chairman and CEO, Best Buy, and author of The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism
“Trust is at the foundation of sustainably successful enterprises in business, government, and any organization, for that matter. The Power of Trust does a great job explaining the how and why of building trust, including fairness, one of my favorite issues.”—David M. Cote, former CEO, Honeywell, and author of Winning Now, Winning Later
“Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta offer a comprehensive blueprint for companies and leaders who want to build or regain the trust of their stakeholders. Their work provides an insightful trust model that underpins moral leadership—looking at competence, motives, means, and impact. A brilliant resource for anyone who wants to truly understand what trust is, how it works, and what they can do to incorporate it into their leadership practice.”—Celia Moore, codirector, Centre for Responsible Leadership Imperial College Business School