Answer to the Trust Crisis | Trust Trends 2014 Series

In 2014, eight key global trends reveal that the world is in a trust crisis, and developing the eight-pillar framework of The Trust Edge is the way out. From the Cyprus bank fiasco and Edward Snowden’s leaks to the Syria chemical weapons attack and horsemeat scandals, stories of distrust are overflowing from the news. These trust breaches are combining with trends of rapid change to leave the world in a volatile state. Worse yet, leaders are leaving our world vulnerable.

One of the biggest questions of the year is whether leadership is consistent, predictable, and transparent in decision and action, according to the Interaction Associates.[i]  Leaders who once exhibited these trustworthy characteristics have fallen in the last year, such as Silvio Berlusconi, Lance Armstrong, Bo Xilai, Anthony Weiner, and Joe Paterno.  Edelman Public Relations is aptly calling 2013 the year of the “Crisis of Leadership”, and we are feeling the consequences in 2014, just like we did after the AIG, Enron, and Lehman Brothers disasters.[ii]


The trust crisis appears to be an inescapable cycle, but we, at Horsager Leadership, Inc. believe there is hope. Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer supports this claim, revealing that global trust is rising slowly across all measures in comparison to 2012. Trust in government is up to 48% from 43%, business is seeing a bump for 53% to 58%, NGO’s jumped up seven percentage points to 63%, and even trust in the media has risen from 52% to 57%.  Perhaps the biggest question, then, is whether leadership will leverage this upswing, learn from trust breaches, seize opportunities embedded within this year’s trends, and develop trust.


In the volatile and vulnerable world of 2014, David Horsager’s National Bestselling book and concept The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line provides a way out of the trust crisis.  The Trust Edge eight-pillar framework for developing trusted leaders and organizations has been utilized everywhere from John Deere Credit and the US Congress to Fed Ex and the Department of Homeland Security through Horsager Leadership’s consulting, training, speaking, coaching, and other resources. As leaders and organizations learn to implement these eight pillars, they experience better relationships, reputations, retention, revenue, and results. The commonalities, “pillars”, of history’s greatest leaders and organizations are:


  1. Clarity
  2. Compassion
  3. Character
  4. Competency
  5. Commitment
  6. Connection
  7. Contribution
  8. Consistency


When the eight-pillar framework is laid over each of the eight dimensions of organization, it forms a powerful tool for assessing and designing solutions for teams, departments, companies, nations, and society.  This tool is called the Trust Edge Organizational Effectiveness Metric, and it was utilized in the development of this report to assess the global business landscape, analyze the most prominent trends in each dimension, discover key embedded opportunities, and design broad solutions. The eight dimensions of organization are:


  1. Context
  2. Resources
  3. Strategy
  4. People
  5. Structure
  6. Systems
  7. Culture
  8. Results



This report examines the most prominent trend in each of these dimensions, briefly explains why they matter, and provides timely solutions for developing trust. Leaders ought to seize the opportunities embedded in the Trust Trends 2014, especially the highlighted key opportunities. By doing this, organizations will decrease volatility and vulnerability and increase productivity and profit. Those that apply the eight-pillar framework of trust to the trends will gain faster results, deeper relationships, more committed teams, and a stronger bottom-line. They will experience the greatest and ultimate competitive advantage of all time—The Trust Edge.

[i] Building Trust in Business 2012. Interaction Associates & Human Capital Institute. Retrieved on 20 April 2012 from

[ii] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from

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