Allan O'Dette
March 28, 2018

Think of the words you'd want your friends, family, partners and colleagues to use to describe you.

Kind? For sure.

Hardworking? Definitely.

I'm willing to bet that being trustworthy also makes that list. It's an attractive quality to have, in all of our relationships. It's one we seek out in others and hope others see in us.

Recently, I had the privilege to attend Edelman's 2018 Trust Barometer event, and learned that businesses based in Canada are the most trusted in the world.

What's even more exciting is the opportunity we as business leaders have to build on this. While social media and fake news drive mistrust, they have also left a space for other authorities to make their mark, including business leaders. In fact, the Trust Barometer revealed that 68 per cent of Canada's general population thinks CEOs should take the lead on driving change, instead of waiting for governments and institutions to move us move society forward. I couldn't agree more.

At the same time, the public is savvy and still, understandably, has high expectations for what our business leaders should actually deliver. The Trust report shows there is still a healthy skepticism of the business world and of what drives executives to make their decisions, with 68 per cent of Canadians believing that greed drives CEOs more than a desire to have a positive impact on the world. What's more, 51 per cent said companies that think only about themselves are doomed to fail.

I see that as an opportunity for C-Suite leaders to define their organizations' purpose and think about their work in a context bigger than their own business, or even their own industry.

Looking at Ontario, businesses operating here are already well placed to lead the charge and feed that appetite for change makers. We can see a number of businesses whose purpose goes beyond profit alone.

As business leaders, there's no magic bullet to make ourselves more trustworthy. It takes hard work and dedication to understand what the public wants and to drive meaningful change. It also takes the courage to be a blue-sky thinker – because big ideas are what ultimately shape success.

Now is the time for Canadian business to prosper. Ontario is already well-positioned to meet high expectations for truthfulness and purpose, but we can always do more and we can always do it better. In the end, doing so will only make our companies more profitable, our economies stronger and our society better.

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