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Discriminating Trust and Corporate Leaders

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Over on the Church of the Customer Blog I read the following:

According to a survey of nearly 2,000 opinion leaders in 11 countries, it’s “a person like me,” meaning a friend or colleague. “A person like me” has dramatically surpassed previous answers of “doctors” and “academic experts” for the first time, according to the seventh-annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

In the U.S., trust in “a person like me” increased from 20% in 2003 to the current figure of 68%. Wow! And in what’s sure to be a blow to some egos, the 2,000 respondents in the survey consider rank-and-file employees more credible than corporate CEOs.

When I first read this, I couldn’t help but to think “Duh! Is anyone actually surprised by this?” And I still think that.

The situation has only been made worse by recent corporate scandals (Enron, WorldCom, etc). In every case, those high up in the company speak as if nothing is wrong, but their well hidden actions spoke far more loudly.

Of course, it’s hard to argue that trust is an important part of friendship. So you’re more apt to trust your friends (or people like them) than someone who probably wouldn’t give you the time of day.

The lesson is that credibility must be earned. It doesn’t come free with a fancy title and a big salary.

Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

Visit Jeremy’s blog: Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

Discriminating Trust and Corporate Leaders
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