Horatio Nelson – like any great leader – didn’t command trust by accident or his position; he worked at earning it. Do you have a strategy that creates trust?
Unwavering commitment to his country was what marked Nelson out as one of the greatest, most inspiring leaders of our times. He was fighting for a higher power over and above any personal gain and taking risks to deliver, these behaviours compelled people to trust Nelson in the most difficult of situations. And whilst the business landscape today is an altogether different battlefield, brands and businesses need a framework of beliefs and behaviours that can guide them through to trust.
The most trusted businesses and brands use a combination of factors to command trust:
- They have a Mission – they know what it is that their business actually wants to achieve both commercially and socially. With every decision they are on a mission that helps achieve a sustainable balance of positive outcomes between all stakeholders. They compete on social as well as commercial dimensions. Nelson’s mission was to fight for King and Country to the bitter end.
- They understand risks and benefits – the mood in many developed markets today has switched from greed to fear. Consumers are much, much more aware of the risks that they run, as well as the benefits that they may attain. Most marketers are stuck in the age of benefit selling and find it difficult to connect with consumers around risk and fear. Nelson, having worked at virtually every level in the Navy, new the risks and fears of his men, he actively connected with them frequently and personally.
- They communicate – using their communication to set the right expectations, and describe and connect with their individual narrative. They understand the promises that are being made, and match their messages with both the reality and the aspiration. Nelson often used story-telling to illustrate and guide his commanders.
- They behave –the best businesses create a culture of trust both within and outside the organization, and see transparency in their operation as an enabler and not a barrier. Nelson demonstrated the highest standards of personal behaviour and this was a powerful driver of consistent delivery.
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