Trust Deficit – The Cause of Economic & Social Depression

Innovation CartoonIt is not an exaggeration to use the word Trust interchangeably with Brand in a societal, enterprise and /or the personal context of the people who inhabit them. That is how the word “Brand” came into being symbolizing the significance an entity. The origins of branding of course come from a symbol being branded (burned with a hot iron stamp) into the skin to distinguish one’s cattle from the other. In today’s enterprise context the question that comes to be is what is the brand you carry that distinguishes you and the organization or society you represent? And by that, what do you define your success by?

Success factors

In its recent research report released in late 2013, Booz & Company has correlated the drivers contributing to the success versus the assumptions / perceptions of the companies researched globally over a three year period and come to some broad conclusions.

  • There is no dominant school of strategy that dominates the thinking of leadership. It is very surprising to see from the following graph that the three dominant success factors considered by leaders in these modern economic are: 1) Economies of Scale; 2) Some things better than anyone else; 3) Controlling Lucrative Assets
  • Paradoxically the three most relevant factors are considered least as success factors including: 1) Agility as an Innovator; 2) Distinctive way of providing Value; 3) Coherence in the Company Direction
  • Many of them belied the understanding of Identity, Addressing Causes and being motivated to deliver Value. They attributed too many strategic initiatives (29% respondents) and focus on short-term performance improvement (27% respondents) as the reasons for this. Only 7% respondents believed that their leaders ignored external market forces while 36% believed leaders lacked the combined strength of Strategy Development and Execution.

Booz & Company in their annual research titled “The Global Innovation 1000” since 2011 have been highlighting on how Culture is Key to Innovation. This is referenced here that Innovation is the pivot on which the future of success for enterprises rests today. Three simple terms define the term “Culture / Trust” as the below illustration demonstrates; Values, Beliefs and Assumptions. There is a complete lack of trust in our societies today and that reflects in every aspect of our life; be it in families, enterprises and governments. Therefore, it is no surprise that we see ourselves adrift globally, despite the huge advances of technology and availability of wealth. These however are not able to solve any of the societal problems such as Poverty, Energy Deficit or Terrorism. Examine closely and you will see a pattern in all of them. The overarching narrative is driven by a selected few that likes to maintain the status quo of mediocrity for one’s own preservation and benefits. This is the reason Breakthrough Innovation or Life Inspiration is so hard to find in any field of life.


Our societies globally have come to a point when private enterprise is driving public life in most ways as well as influencing governance and policy. Therefore the rot needs to be stemmed first here where Culture needs to take center place with a well defined and delivered narrative that connects Potential and Performance. Business enterprises the world over must renew the design of their enterprise to the five principle constructs of Digital Revolution, Globality, Experience Economy, Gen Y Workforce and Societal Wealth as the following illustration demonstrates:

Potential 2 Performance

  1. The narrative must excite the enthusiasm of the people in the Values espoused by an enterprise and make them willing contributors to work towards its delivery.
  2. The narrative must create the Belief in the people that Methods, Tools and Practices that they get to adopt are adequate to help them achieve their aspirations.
  3. The narrative must develop the deep-rooted conviction in people that the Assumptions (when experienced is perceptions) they make are supported strongly; both in the case of failure and success as they are born out of a collective understanding of a context that is common and uniform across a global enterprise.

We must find a way to address this Cultural Transformation as suggested in the above picture. Transforming enterprises and societies with the right context from a Performance to Potential Orientation. A Powerful Narrative that emerges from active strategic processes in organizations and societies must guide the people to believing in their capabilities to deliver value. They should be able to make a difference and contribute effectively to their organizational and societal causes. They should be able to see their own growth in the growth of the causes they participate and support.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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