“Trust is a powerful way to bring a company forward”

    Business Spotlight 8/2019
    Illustration: zwei Figuren über dem Abgrund reichen sich die Hand
    © erhui1979/iStock.com

    Interview: Bob Dignen

    How do you define trust?
    For me, trust is something that enables you to to let go of sth.etw. loslassenlet go of certain things — so you can really focus and manage the complexity around you as a leader. In a very practical sense, it’s about relying on people and knowing that things will get taken care of. In today’s business environment, trust is a necessity. I think it’s impossible not to work with trust.

    What makes trust difficult to to grant sth.etw. gewährengrant?
    Well, you know, people are not perfect. I use an inner navigation system, which tells me where I need to be cautious. So, I don’t work with incompetent people. I don’t work with people whose integrity I can’t trust. And high-egomit hohem Selbstwertgefühlhigh-ego people are particularly difficult because self-interest is their goal. In the end, a lot depends on the one-to-one (UK ifml.)persönlichone-to-one relationship you create.

    Mark Dekan is CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Media AG and responsible for the Central Eastern European joint venture between Axel Springer and Ringier. He is also CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Polska.


    Mark Dekan

    How do you build and cultivate trusting relationships?
    I don’t systematically plan as such. It’s informal. Sometimes, it’s just spending time with the person and listening — that’s really important — and sharing points of view. You need a genuineechtgenuine interest to do this; you need to like people. It’s not a technique. Even though my background is as a CFO (chief financial officer)FinanzvorstandCFO, I’ve always had this interest in others, and tried to take care of people and treat them the way they want to be treated. I’ve always enjoyed a bit more intimacyVertrautheit; hier auch: Vertrauensverhältnisintimacy than just a working relationship.

    Do you see other leaders underinvesting in trust?
    Yes, I do. I see a general habit to define leadership far too much by hard skillsfachliche Fähigkeitenhard skills. A lot of leaders put this at the to put sth. at the forefrontetw. höchste Priorität einräumenforefront. But it makes them in some way inhuman. People can’t “feel” them, and so they don’t to engage (with sb.)hier: sich (auf jmdn.) einlassenengage. They become less committed and then leadership becomes a power game, relying on authority to get things done. For me, the biggest power is not to use power.

    Does trust actually improve results?
    Yes, there’s lots of empirical evidence that trusting organizations perform better. People to invest of oneselfhier: sich stark einbringeninvest more of themselves at work. They treat the company as their own, as if they were somehow an owner, and not just agents moving around the corridors. They give more.

    How has Ringier Axel Springer innovated in the area of trust-building?
    We have done a lot and we are going to do more. In fact, we’ve just developed the first corporateFirmen-corporate online test, like an app, where people can test their own trustworthiness. What we say is: trust starts with yourself. And if individuals can make themselves more trustworthy, then trust in the organization can grow exponentially. I think over 300 of our people have already tried this test, and we are now developing a 360-degree version, where you can to invite sb.hier: jmdn. aufforderninvite others to to assess sb.jmdn. einschätzen, bewertenassess you. Then you compare your assessments and, with this, you have the information to really develop yourself and develop trusting relationships with others.

    What do you say to people who still see managing trust as a soft topichier: untergeordnetes Themasoft topic?
    For me, trust is a real currencyWährung; hier: Wertcurrency, the ultimate currency. Trust is a powerful way to bring a company forward. It gives us the speed we need — the speed that structures will never give us — to get the right things done in the right way.

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