It can happen to any organization. Millions spent on advertising and marketing. A carefully crafted message about your products and your service. A huge misstep- and it’s gone. All that goodwill- so fragile and easily broken. Toyota has certainly learned this the hard way.
Those of us in the business of working with organizational leaders in building and sustaining trust have been heeding the clarion call that trust takes years to build and can be gone in a minute. We have beat the drum over and over that it doesn’t matter how many culture audits you conduct, how much team training you do and how many feel good messages you put out to the market- if your product fails and your systems are not designed to deal with failure, you have wasted your money.
Too many times I have heard clients tell me that trust is the number one value to their business, but they don’t need to focus on trust because after all, it’s JUST one factor. As we can all see, it’s the ONLY factor that matters. Because when your systems fail, when your CEO doesn’t deliver the right message and your customer service isn’t 100%, loss of trust is the consequence. And rebuilding trust is a lot harder and more expensive than making sure that you don’t lose it in the first place.
Toyota will eventually recover but not after losing untold millions of dollars in sales, profits and share value. Customers will switch to their competitors, never to return. Reputation, the bedrock of all businesses, is shattered.
Yet, you don’t have to focus on trust in your organization, because after all, it’s ONLY one factor.