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Why trust, credibility and reputation matter more than ever

The world we live and work in has changed dramatically and will continue to do so at a staggering pace. We’re all seeing it, significant technological advancements, economic needs, changing values and environmental considerations have created a breeding ground for what Rachel Botsman has termed a collaborative consumption economy, which is defined as ‘an economic system of decentralized networks and marketplaces that unlocks the value of underused assets by matching needs and haves, in ways that bypass traditional middlemen, where traditional market behaviours such as renting, lending, swapping, sharing, bartering and gifting (enabled by technology and the internet) can now take place in ways and on scales never experienced before. The business impact of this cannot be understated.

Concurrently, rapid digitisation has brought information to the fingertips and minds of business leaders everywhere – they’ve seen, read and know more than ever before. Google, LinkedIn and the internet, in general, are their friend. These advancements have had a profound effect on how companies approach change and what they want and expect from us as change management professionals.

At the heart of this new ‘collaborative’ climate lie the notion that TRUST is the currency of the new economy and REPUTATION is our most valuable asset. What does this mean for us as changemakers?

Reputation is only a candle, of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit – James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891)

To remain relevant, Change Practitioners need more than just skills and credentials. We must be masterful with the digital landscape of continuous discontinuous change, working amidst uncertain, volatile and complex contexts and showing up as beacons of light during storms.

“[Trust] the good news is that you can earn it” – Seth Godin

We’re inspired by Seth Godin’s permission marketing (July 2015). He quips that attention is not yours to take whenever you need it. And trust is not something you can insist on. The bad news is that you are not entitled to attention and trust. The good news is that you can earn it. You can invest in the organisation and the community. And you can patiently lead and contribute and demonstrate that the attention you are asking for to make change happen, is worthwhile.

At Blue Seed, we use our Change Intelligence to co-create and build trust every step of the way. Here are our top 10 Change Maker suggestions for building trust and a credible reputation:

  1. Add tangible value upfront, not later.
  2. Ensure there’s a compelling need and clear direction – start with Why.
  3. Hand over the mic and get off the stage – it’s not the change manager’s show.
  4. Communicate clearly, actively, directly, and perpetually – this speaks volumes about who you are.
  5. Earn trust, just as you can earn attention. Don’t target everyone, just the people that you need, the people who need you.
  6. Truly be in it – pretend it’s your money and stay relentlessly focused.
  7. Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset – shake things up:
    • Collaborate, coach and co-create. Have a team sports mindset and set a tone for the collective.
    • Light the fires – accelerate action; harness energy and buzz.
    • Face time (with real humans!) – don’t manage change from behind the computer screen.
    • Keep it real – Get concrete and quickly move from the abstract into action.
    • Keep it simple – more noise, confusion and documents are not needed.
  8. Honour creativity (art) as much as discipline (science).
  9. Self-manage and regularly self-assess. Be dynamic, adaptable and flexible, and grow from mistakes.
  10. Learn and lead from the head and the heart (always acting with integrity and authenticity).