The Public Trust
Mike Neidle/Optimal Management - July 24, 2017
Every business or government institution should pride themselves on providing a product, service or other deliverable that one can count upon. That means that everyone who relies upon you can do so without reservations in the way you do business, unless this was agreed upon by all parties. This is called the public trust.
If you can no longer be trusted you are going to have big problems. As a company you will lose customers, your good name and reputation. Think of some of the self-inflicted wounds some have companies have suffered i.e.: Enron’s fiasco where they destroyed the company with scam deals, while their employees lost their jobs and their investment in the company stock, this was aided and abetted by CPA firm Arthur Anderson who also when bankrupt. Then then is PG&E’s who did not inspected and repair their gas pipelines, but failing to do so resulted in a an explosion that killed a dozen people and was forced to do TV as ads admitting to all their wrong doings. Takeda, owned auto collision airbag market, which they knew had defects that resulted in thousands of killed or maimed people. BP’s oil spill disaster in the Gulf Coast resulted from took shortcuts to expedite production, costing billions in damages and fines and killed many of their own employees. Exxon’s Valdez Alaska disaster, would up costing them billions do to years of people avoiding their products. Lehmann Brothers shenanigans in the toxic loans bankrupted them and almost sank the world economy in 2007. These incidents could have been prevented by sound management practices and the ethics of a trusted company; but they betrayed public trust.
Similar practices appear now to be happening in the highest levels of our government where the public trust is again being put to the test. And how long it will take to recover the trust and confidence of our citizenry and the world is anyone’s guess. For years, by deed and action over the last 75 years “our word was our bond”. We were recognized moral and as well as the economic leader in the world. This seemed to now being again tested in just the last 120 days. Can we remain the world’s leader when we have walked away from the Paris Climate Accord we crafted and question the evidence of global climate change? Can we be trusted if we abrogate our NATO obligations? What will be the long term impact of purposely blurring the lines for political gain between real and fake news? How long will it take to lose the moral high ground by taking away from the healthcare needs of 23 million Americans and passing on these savings to the richest 1% by changes to the tax code? How long will it take for cuts in the sciences and educational federal budget for the US to lose our leadership recover our leadership in the industries of the future; as countries are now trying to woo away our best scientists and researchers? How long will it take for our friends and allies to trust us when we brush them aside side with questionable motives and make common cause with our advisories? How long will it take to realize the jobs of yesteryear are forever gone and not invest in our infrastructure and retrain people with skills needed for the future? How long will we foster divisiveness and fear of others, replacing our common values? What will be the lasting impact of politics trumping patriotism? The answer many unfortunately be very long unless we reverse course quickly to regain the public trust?
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