Part 1 of 6
January 21st saw the publication of the 19th Edelman Trust Barometer. This research, produced by a New York marketing company since the start of the millennium, aims to assess levels of trust by the public (30,000 people from 30 countries). It sounds like a curious combination - a marketing company and trust! But, be that as it may, the insights of the annual Trust Barometer are interesting reading.
The Barometer sets out to understand public trust in four main areas of society: government, business, NGOs and media. This year, once again, business emerged as the most trusted of the four sectors. That’s right - business is generally more trusted than governments, NGOs (including churches) and media.
Of course this is not a case of blanket trust in the benign nature of business, it is specifically trust of the boss; 75% of respondents recorded that their boss was the most trusted authority in their lives (19% more than business in general and 27% more than government). This is trust invested with expectation. Bosses are expected to pursue remedies to injustice before governments bring in legislation, and the businesses they run are expected to impact society beneficially instead of merely pursuing corporate self-interest.
However the most obvious thing about bosses and businesses is that they are known. Politicians, journalists and government officials are all distant whilst those we work for are people we connect to in relationships of proximity, authenticity and trust. A boss we no longer trust is a boss we find it hard to work for.
As Christians trust is key, it defines who we are. The most famous verse in the Bible - John 3:16 reads like this: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whoever trusts in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Did you read that? Whoever trusts… I know we normally read 3:16 as believe, but the Greek Pistis translates as trust as well as believe and this is really important. The Gospel begins with God revealing Himself in the proximity and authenticity of His Son. In response we trust in the goodness of His plans and purposes for us.
What do we take from this - well three things. First, as children of God whose identity is built on the Gospel. We must be people of trust, we must be people whose hope and ambition is founded in our trust of God. Second, if trust is relational, we must invest our time in that relationship and we will need to cultivate habits that allow us to bring that relationship into all of life, including our work. Third, the Trust Barometer calls out for a greater level of trust for the benefit and cohesion of society, so we, as people whose identity is founded on trust, should work hard to reflect the Gospel’s impact in our lives, to be people of authenticity and trust, especially to those immediately around us.
This mini-series of Workwise will explore how we cultivate habits of trust in our lifestyle and our work-style as an essential dimension of living lives that can draw those we work with to glorify God.
View the Edelman Trust Barometer here