Our trust crisis hit all-time lows, yet 2018 offers great opportunities for people and companies caring to earn trust, credibility & relevance

By: Bill Van Eron Thursday December 28, 2017 Tags: Bill Van Eron


By Bill Van Eron

Proactive Innovation & Value Systems Architect

Headwaters Marketing and Innovation

As a growing number of Americans wish for a return to some form of normalcy and new stability, the answer is less rooted in our past. It seems more rooted in how well we can learn from the threats we see to our values in increased abundance to now embrace a future we can shape, yet no longer take for granted.

This blog will offer hope in the face of despair, and a greater sense of collective conscience where its absence has had a negative impact on many.

Trust, credibility and relevance have never gone out of style or failed us when anything important was being considered. So why now does it seem like rare air few of us can attain?

The endless list of negative answers to this question – while most are well founded - can only serve as a learning platform from which to shape more accountable answers and a better future. I offer one answer that reflects a nation’s concerns while offering tangible hope:

We have to open up our dialog individually, within communities, organizationally and as a nation among many. Only then will we see progress as aligned to the values that make a people, community, business or nation truly great.  

The lack of positive and accountable bipartisan dialog, is just a mirror reflection of what we struggle to do as a people in a changed world begging for such a mindset and skills. My collective message across all my blogs is one of encouragement to adapt and thrive by embracing the value tenets shaping change. The shame of it all is how long it takes all forms of organized communities to see, synthesize and apply what is learned into genuine actions.  

Here are a few of the prevailing truths that may aid that journey:

  1. Just saying what people want to hear is not enough as total transparency presents convincing data as to how genuine a company is to promises made internally and externally. Actions, not words define who you really are.
  2. Increasingly, the top question any new employee or current employees ask is what do you stand for and what is your purpose? About 98% of all organizations, especially government and education, fall well short of the quality answer and actions people deserve or expect to hear and witness firsthand.
  3. You can’t mandate revenue growth. It is the earned outcome of an organization that invests in its employees through a more open culture, jobs of meaning and inclusion, and a commitment to shape a value and experience that earns internal and external regard. It is the outcome of a healthy internal and external trust ecosystem.
  4. Don’t expect others to tell you how you can make a bigger difference. Welcome the dialog and act on the rare input that may help. Better yet, step up to champion a need that your company may not yet quite understand or do at a level that makes a difference. There are many opportunities to champion your customers greater needs and values well beyond the typical corporate view. You may want to champion other values, such as business agility, credibility, relevancy, possibility and systems thinking to highlight the ones that enabled me to make a huge difference to organizations large and small.
  5. Most organizations and the people within, that fail to challenge their own status quo, welcome outside in objectivity, challenge key assumptions may already reflect a closed culture.
  6. Stop treating accountability like it’s a four letter word. Embrace it and watch your organization prosper as employees with qualified insights, ideas and customers also feel participant in your success as paying it forward, recognizing and rewarding your champions, new thinking and entrepreneurs reflects on success all can share.

Finding and pursuing the opportunities for truth, credibility, relevance may require going outside to get past internal limitations at first, but it has to eventually become an internal competency so you can sustain a meaningful future personally and organizationally.

Finding that help is hard when many solution providers are still offering silo solutions and pushing things that fall short if you do not have a foundation of trust, credibility and relevance to make marketing, brand strategy, sales, new product development, leadership or revenues growth something many others care to invest in.

Imagining all or most of these principles in place is not hard as it too is an ecosystem versus an arbitrary selection of one or two things to do. Your markets have already spoken by their actions to include or avoid you, so why wait?

Looking out to 2018, now upon us, the following loom as both huge needs and manageable opportunities to shape solutions that matter:

  1. Talking heads all say “it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs. Yet few have any clue why, how and where those jobs will come from. Given the growing separation of trust and confidence in industry that universities are not preparing the leaders of tomorrow, as stated by companies that struggle with it as well, I’d like to see a greater sense of interdependency shape a partnership between industry and education that is vital to defining work around the values shaping a future that is inclusive to more of us than less.
  2. We all seem to support disruptive technologies. Our association with most is that they offer a greater value, and are designed to enable us to solve problems faster, better, cheaper. But what happens with advanced technologies, such as AI and Machine Learning that still offer positive disruption, but also destructive disruption. I like AI and am applying it where it can enable people and create value. When Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Google, and Amazon formed an AI Alliance last September, they initially professed, as did others including Elon Musk, that AI in the wrong hands could wipe out many entire work categories. Given the propensity of our current administration to still think of coal as a growth segment, it is fair to say the lag time between technology application and societal impact is now crucial. I’d like to see a more accountable guidance system in place so that AI applications can be guided to those that matter versus those fueled by control and greed. Robots don’t shop. Some state AI can eradicate the middle class as we know it. Maybe that was government cheering it on (-:
  3. Our constitutionally valued free press finds it self under attack by an increasingly unaccountable White House as offering fake news while the real fake news media prosper by manipulating our opinions to the whims of the 1% that fund this broken system. While most still value freedom of the press, I’d love to see them up their game and re-emerge as trusted enablers helping more of us to understand and shape prevailing truths so elections fueled by big money and annoying ads, give way to a system we all can have greater trust in.
  4. Innovation is our lifeblood and future. How about a greater support ecosystem? I applaud that incubators are out there and raising more funds for vetted startups. I read that large companies are really bad at enabling innovation so many have gone to buying smaller entrepreneurial startups. It’s debatable as to whether they also kill the cultures of those startups as they begin to influence how success is decided. I also have reviewed several top-rated innovation management solutions and most are far more complex, slow and expensive as if designed to overlook that innovation is an expression of business humanity in play. But we need to do better and yes, we can. I see innovation as a broader ecosystem that needs room to get past the status quo, false criteria and outdated guidance principles to fly as the power it can be. Entire communities now vie to attract and birth startups as they know that creates jobs, prosperity and a path for their kids to consider staying. Why not raise the bar and get beyond a 30% success rate to a 70% rate or better?
  5. I wish all of us that aspire to have lives that matter and work that fuels that belief to embrace the new mindset and skills that can pave the way for others. As we can understand our trappings, patterns, beliefs as well as our values, hopes and dreams, there is a happy place that is far more relevant to discover now, while we have the chance. We all have good friends that inadvertently give us the wrong advice where we are challenging a status quo they still subscribe to. Get out and meet new people who understand the new playing field and that may challenge your assumptions as well as recognizing the seeds of your best ideas. Being listened to, as well as listening to others remains the secret to success even more so now. Imagine CEO’s, politicians, educators, any that aspire to lead, having that very best of humane skills.

May 2018 see you investing to be that person.

Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

For Bill Van Eron, life & work are all about conscious observation and earning our needed humanity high bar. Whether Bill was an art director or lead designer in NYC, the most demanding marketing environment, or shaping a more relevant brand for soon to be major companies in Denver, or across his 25-year career in HP, as its champion for progressive enlightenment, diversity, inclusion and the highest relevance, which followed every project, Bill stays inspired to help others shape a better world, lives & work as connected to greater attention to our humanity, creativity and value-creation. All as vital to any organization's greater success. Bill now is championing the first and most conscious innovations that resolve challenges to our planets environment, as well as business and government realizing each’s greater purpose and brand value. Tired of conventional approaches and willful ignorance, Bill was recruited as one who can champion each solutions authentic relevance. Bill hopes Colorado and Fort Collins can open up and get in flow, as a community Bill & his wife only wish the best for as also enabled with a view all others benefit by, whether they see it initially or not.