Attended an excellent seminar at DLA Piper yesterday on the publication of their Populus Trust Deficit Report, but I was surprised….

…that the report, which highlights the degree of mistrust still prevalent despite all the talk since the crash, is nevertheless silent on the need to create a process which decision makers can use to “act responsibly”, or for being “socially useful” – terms which are not clearly defined. This is not the fault of the report. It is just analysing the responses it received. However, the report does seem to reflect an unwillingness of respondents to move away from the personification of “business” as if each brand were a person, separate from themselves. They are not. I believe that, post crash, organisations are merely coalitions of “micro-busiensses” for a very brief period and that there is evidence to support this. The focus now needs to be on how leaders take decisions. One movement which you may find of interest is Blueprint for Better Business in which I have taken a close interest. Whilst my jury is out on whether or not it can succeed in getting stressed decision makers to engage with its framework on a day-today basis, I feel it’s a good framework and gets to the heart of the matter. Meanwhile, all credit to DLA Piper for taking time to get engaged in this debate and for pulling together such an interesting panel: Sir Nigel Knowles – Co-CEO and Managing Partner DLA Piper, Ian King – City Editor & Chief Business Commentator, The Times; Andrew Cooper – Founder of Populous and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister; Edward Bonham Carter – Group CEO, Jupiter Fund Management Plc; Baroness Wheatcross – NXD, Fiat Spa and St James’s Place plc and Simon Walker – DG, IOD. They debated the key issues robustly and if the bad news is that not much has changed, the good news is that there is still an energy for change. Long may it continue.

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Ciaran

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