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Trust is the currency that CEOs need to be using to build their businesses, PwC exec says

Wes Bricker at PwC's Trust Leadership Institute in December 2022.Wes Bricker.


  • Leaders can’t expect to inspire transformation and change without trust, a PwC exec says.
  • It’s a key trait for CEOs, whether it’s a strong market or a down market. 
  • As consumers face day-to-day issues like rising prices, they’ll go with a brand they trust. 

Trust isn’t negotiable for a business’ long-term success around loyalty and customers’ buying decisions — or employee retention. 

That’s the assessment from a high-ranking executive at PwC.

“The world can’t wait for trust, whether it’s a strong market, down market, or sideways,” Wes Bricker, the vice chair and a US trust-solutions coleader at PwC, told Insider. “It’s the currency.”

CEOs and leaders should be using trust daily to build teams and business strategies, as well as to connect with clients, Bricker said.

Bricker pushes C-suite executives and board members to incorporate trust into their thinking and daily conversations.

“It’s time for a new era of leadership,” he said.

Leaders need to understand they must foster trust, regardless of the challenges they might be facing around their supply chains, customer service, inventory, or anything else, Bricker said. 

In a 2022 survey by the global professional-services firm, 71% of consumers said they’re unlikely to buy from a company if it lost their trust. The same percentage of workers said they’re likely to leave if an employer lost their trust. 

And there’s a disconnect that C-suite executives must bridge. In PwC’s survey, 87% of business executives said they thought consumers had a high level of trust in their business, but only 30% of consumers said they did.

If you’re a business leader navigating a downturn or rocky environment, Bricker said, you attract customers and grow by starting with trust. Leaders can’t expect to inspire transformation and change without it. 

The survey found consumers were feeling uncertainty around rising prices for essential goods and that they’re experiencing pandemic fatigue — and these day-to-day realities are demanding more of their attention and helping to determine whether they trust a company and its leadership.

Practicing what Bricker espouses is the catalyst behind PwC’s Trust Leadership Institute, which aims to help C-suite and senior-level executives and directors think about the evolving and increasingly complex role that trust plays in business, including public policy, data and technology, cybersecurity, workforce management, governance, and sustainability.

The institute is part of PwC’s $300 million commitment to push leaders to embed trust-based fundamentals into their day-to-day and long-term management styles and business practices.

In managing his team, his firm, and his relationships with clients, Bricker said, he reminds everyone that if we don’t have trust, “we don’t have the privilege of solving important problems.”

Of course, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach around earning and maintaining trust, especially as people race to keep up with technological and societal changes, Bricker said. But, he added, “the world can’t wait.”

“We need new leadership built around trust,” he said.

“Trust comes first, and it’s what gives us all as business leaders the right to solve important problems,” he said. “This is the time that society needs us.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider