It’s been an interesting week for trust.
First, Businessweek.com chose to print an article of mine titled Wall Street’s Run Amok: Harvard’s to Blame. In it, I argue that the usual explanations for business malfeasance–greed, poor regulation, badly designed incentives–miss a much more fundamental cause.
For several decades now, our business schools have been teaching competition rather than collaboration, and contracted-out processes rather than partnership-based relationships. With such beliefs at the heart of business, it’s not surprising that we find a dearth of things like trust, ethics, and generally getting along.
In fact, if you design a system based largely on self-aggrandizement (think sustainable competitive advantage, maximum shareholder value) as ends, it’s not just unsurprising–it’s downright predictable. There’s no such thing as ethics if there is only self-involvement.
These belief systems worked well in the 1980s. Today, in a world where six degrees of separation is a vast overstatement, we can no longer afford ideas that encourage competing with our suppliers, customers, employees and partners. We need a new belief system.
I’m not teeing off on Harvard Business School per se. It’s just that, well, it’s the Harvard of Business Schools. And it had more than its share of the designing of the competitive/contractual/process ideology. If it can be as successful at teaching the new beliefs as it was at the old, it will continue to fulfill the powerful and positive role it used to.
Watch Me on CNBC Today
The good folks at CNBC apparently read BusinessWeek.com. They were chatting about the article, and invited me in for today, Wednesday the 7th, on the Street Signs show (Erin and the boys). The plan is for a slot at about 2:20PM. Plans, of course, change, but plan to tune in. And, as they say on the Bravo Channel, watch what happens. [Later: here is the link to the video–have a look-see, it was fun!]
RainToday Article and Webinar
Also this week, RainToday publishes my article How Poor Cross Selling is Ruining Your Business in today’s issue. Another very practical example of how the ability to manage trust–in particular, your trustworthiness–is a key driver of effective performance.
Finally, I’m doing a webinar this week with the good folks at St. Meyer & Hubbard. You can sign up here, and though the session is aimed at building trust in retail and commercial banking, it’s got a lot to say about other industries as well.