Trust… There is too little around!

Finnish voters will tell foreign readers that the present government here made two big election promises – they would reduce the public debt, and that they are there for all the people…

However, but 8 months later they have increased public debt, increased sales tax on daily consumables, reduced public support for low income folk, and reduced taxes significantly for those earning more than €10 000 each month. The average monthly salary here is around €3 500, and that is what is paid to the average man and woman who voted for this government in April… You can now understand that their poll numbers are especially when a number of key ministers have seen sacked or shamed because of prior racist comments…

Trust is earned and not given when promises are broken but it seems that our leading politicians care little about creating trust.

Your correspondent was reminded about one of his articles published in Finland in 2007 – it still rings true today when you think of Trump, Putin, and Orban – all three openly tell lies or spread false stories to feather their own beds which are all financed by those who are gullible or forced to believe!

Trust – You go to buy some of the finest filet steak from your favorite shop. The butcher weighs the meat and packs it in wax paper. It costs a small fortune because the price is EUR 50 a kilo. When you get home you discover that the meat smells rotten.

You vote for the political party you trust or distrust the least. You expect that they will make sure that the banks are supervised correctly and remain safe. Three years later many of the major banks suffer huge losses because they are poorly managed. You lose a great deal of money because your portfolio of shares falls heavily in value when the banks cut back their lending. The banks’ management, their auditors and the banking supervisors have been sleeping at the helm. And we are really suffering because of this huge failure today.

In the above, trust has been violated.

One of Finland’s leading businessmen has said that companies should not be concerned with questions of social morality. I understand him to mean that companies should only seek to earn money for shareholders. If you have followed his activities for the last thirty years, you would not doubt the strength of his convictions. We have all experienced the above cases and I doubt if you would agree with the statement made by this leading light of business.

I recently bought a CD player and radio from Stockmann. The CD player refused to play a new CD and so I took it back. I had a record of my purchase three months before. The sales person offered an immediate full refund or repair under the guarantee. The service was prompt and friendly. You can guess that this made a very positive impression. The salesman was trained to make this honest offer. He felt good. The client, me, was pleased to be treated fairly. The shareholder will benefit from my continued custom and the radio maker will learn to make better CD players.

Companies can only profit in a sustainable manner when they do their utmost to engage the trust of their clients, their staff and their partners. Who would want to deal with a company if this was not the case?

Social responsibility means that companies treat all three with respect and honesty. They must provide their workers with a good work environment where they can earn a reasonable salary and be productive. A good employer certainly can and should demand high levels of productivity from its workforce for which they are paid fairly. When a company is faced with falling demand, it may have to reduce its workforce. In such times, trust and social responsibility mean that the company should, within reason, help its staff to move to alternative employment together with the public sector. Here its responsibility is clearly limited. A good reputation is essential in the next upturn when new workers are needed.

Trust it the most important foundation of business. Without trust we have no business. Corruption, dishonest trading practices, ruthless employment policies, negligent management, shoddy goods and poor service are what poison trust. In fact, violated trust is at the center of today’s financial crisis. Money grabbing businessmen have no business being in business.

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