Episode #34: What does it take to trust a business?

The Green Room by Deloitte podcast

Trust. It can be hard to define, but we all know how it feels. They say it takes a long time to build and a short time to lose. So what are the fundamentals of trust in business? And what happens when you get it wrong – is it lost forever?

Trust often has more to do with intuition than hard facts. We ask our friends for great restaurant recommendations. Turn to our social media contacts when we need a last-minute plumber. And of course, only believe our own mother when we want to know if we can really pull off those red trousers.

But trust is a key topic in the business world too – and not always a straightforward one. We all know most businesses are about making money. But more and more are also talking about putting ‘purpose’, ‘people’ and ‘planet’ first. And the cynics amongst us might be concerned that this is more about luring in millennials than doing the right thing.

Over the past year, society has been watching to see what action the business community take during the crisis and how they will change as we emerge from the pandemic.

And if you think trust is just a ‘nice to have’, think again. Studies show that companies that invest in their workers, support their communities, and protect the planet actually do better commercially.

So what are the fundamentals of trust in business? Is it as simple as doing as you say? A well-known leader or recognisable brand? What about how they make us feel as customers or investors?

They say trust takes a long time to build and a short time to lose. So, what does it take to build trust over the years? And what happens when you get it wrong – is it lost forever?

Tune in to find out:

  • Why Baroness Ford is turning her attention to the perfume trade
  • The role trust has played in the careers of two leading business leaders to date
  • The impact the pandemic has had on confidence in business
  • Why the phrase “institutional shareholders” is someone's pet peeve
  • Why actions will always be more important than words

Baroness Ford

Margaret, Baroness Ford of Cunninghame OBE, has over 25 years’ experience as a non-executive director and chair of private and listed companies, and government bodies. She currently chairs NewRiver REIT plc, is a senior adviser to the Lendlease Corporation and chairs the Challenge Board of the building renewal programme at Buckingham Palace. She is also a Trustee of the British Olympic Association, National President of Epilepsy Action.

Previous corporate experience includes chairing STV plc, Grainger plc, May Gurney Integrated Service plc, and Barchester Healthcare Ltd. In the public sector she chaired English Partnerships (now Homes England) and the Olympic Park Legacy Company. She sits as a crossbench peer but is currently on a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

Baroness Ford was appointed as Chair of the Deloitte Audit Governance Board when it was established in January 2021.

Tony Danker

Tony joined the CBI as Director-General in November 2020. His career spans a range of roles in business, media and government. Before the CBI, Tony was the first CEO of Be the Business, a business-led movement created to transform UK’s productivity founded by a group of FTSE-100 Chairmen and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. From 2010-2017 Tony was International Director, then Chief Strategy Officer, at Guardian News & Media.

For two years before that, he was a Policy Advisor HM Government (2008-10), joining the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. Tony’s early career was at McKinsey & Company (1998-2008) in London and Washington DC where he worked for 10 years.

Further reading

If you’re interested in any of the topics we talked about during this episode, you might find the links below useful.

More about Tony Danker and his thoughts on his new role - follow him on Twitter at @tonydanker.

More about Baroness Ford and Deloitte’s audit governance board (AGB)

Deloitte's recent response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS’) consultation on “Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance”

Deloitte’s latest millennial survey

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