June 18, 2024

Harnessing trust as a force for positive change

3 min read

In an era marked by a global “trust deficit disorder”, a collaboration between VUKA Group and The Global Trust Project stands out as a necessary and timely endeavour. Together, they will work with leaders, organisations, governments and societies to foster a shared understanding of, and leverage, trust as a catalyst for impact.

Trust is the foundation upon which personal, professional and societal relationships are built. Increasing complexity and uncertainty in the current global landscape has significantly elevated the value of the currency of trust. 

There are 60 years of academic research that has gone into validating the benefits of trust. High-trust nations have been found to outperform low-trust nations by about 3 000%. The figure for high-trust versus low-trust organisations is around 300%. And high-trust teams are over 100% more energised than those where trust quotients are low – in fact, most well-being indicators are positively impacted by the presence of social trust.

Recognising its profound significance, VUKA Group and The Global Trust Project have embarked on a collaborative journey to help enable this vital value in all relationships. 

“An example of the correlation between an absence of trust and various societal challenges is South Africa,” notes Dominic Wilhelm, executive director of The Global Trust Project. “We very much hope to make a contribution to building trust in South Africa as we believe we have with our clients in the US, Europe and Asia.”

Leveraging trust for good

Going on to comment, Wilhelm refers: “Back in 2018, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that, ‘Our world is suffering from a bad case of Trust Deficit Disorder.’ Despite the deficit, and the widespread acknowledgement that it must be addressed, it appears that very few know what trust is… Yet, trust is one of the deepest leverage points for shaping the kinds of futures we all want. 

“The Global Trust Project works across scales and domains to bring trust back to the table; we partner with leaders, organisations and governments to build a shared understanding of trust, of what matters most, and how to build trust-rich pathways to achieve it.” 

The Global Trust Project has worked with the Norwegian government at a senior level on trust reform, with the City of Ithaca in New York State, the United Nations, the Philippines government, with business leaders in West Africa and with Wesgro in the Western Cape.

Says David Ashdown, CEO of VUKA Group, “We envision using the concept of trust as a force for positive change within various sector ecosystems. By applying an understanding of trust and its value, this collaboration aims to create a positive impact. This may involve initiating projects, forming partnerships or developing initiatives that leverage trust as a foundation for positive transformation. Our partnership with The Global Trust Project will ensure knowledge and expertise around the building of trust are made accessible and applicable in 1-to-1, 1-to-few, and 1-to-many relationships.”

The genesis of a trust-based partnership

Human connection plays a pivotal role in both VUKA Group’s approach and The Global Trust Project’s mission. VUKA Group places a strong emphasis on human connection within its business model, recognising it is a catalyst for driving outcomes and fostering influence resulting in creative solutions. 

“We are excited to announce our collaboration with The Global Trust Project. Dominic has previously been a keynote speaker at VUKA events – Africa’s Green Economy Summit and Enlit Africa – and this is how the relationship between VUKA Group and The Global Trust Project began,” explains Ashdown. “Both parties identified a strong alignment in their values and ambitions, particularly in the realm of trust and its association to creating influence.”

Wilhelm, reflecting on the partnership, highlights the significance of VUKA’s intuition, and focus on creating the conditions for authentic human connection and unique business acumen. He praises the willingness of VUKA to let intuition lead the way. “As we got to know each other, there were clear moments where curiosity and irrational conviction kept the conversation alive. David often stated, ‘There’s something there, even though it’s not clear what it is – let’s keep at it’.”

Human connections are the crucible in which trust is formed, nurtured and strengthened. This shared belief in the power of human connection is a driving force behind the collaboration. As this partnership gets underway, what was once an intangible future will become one where trust is not only understood but also harnessed for the betterment of all.

Leave a Reply