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    The Trust Edge Blog


    Conclusion | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    The world is in a trust crisis, and developing the eight-pillar framework of trust is the way out. Top leaders ought to use Trust Trends 2014 as a timely application for developing themselves, their teams, their organizations, and society. The following is a summary of the eight trends, their key embedded opportunities, and the pillar of trust each most corresponds with.



    Key Opportunity

    Pillar Focus

    Volatile & Vulnerable Global Context

    Trusted Leadership


    Growing Pains from Resource Distribution

    ESG Initiatives


    Strategy for Innovative Agility

    Big Data Insights


    Quality & Meaning for People

    Talent Economists


    International Hubbing & Structure

    Intelligent Manufacturing


    Systems Collaboration & Interdependence

    Leader Collaboration


    Hyper-Personal & Shared Experience Culture

    Customized Experiences


    Smarter Proficiency & Precision Results

    Data Visualization



    Organizations that seize the embedded opportunities will decrease volatility and vulnerability and increase productivity and profit. Leaders who actively and consistently develop the 8 Pillars through these suggestions will gain faster results, deeper relationships, and a stronger bottom-line. This ultimate competitive advantage is something that we call The Trust Edge.


    Smarter Proficiency & Precision Results | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    Machines are becoming more intelligent, interactive, efficient, and precise.

    Machines are becoming more intelligent, interactive, efficient, and precise. Nano-technologies are changing clothing, photonic thread is transforming computing, driverless cars are shifting the transportation paradigm, drones are altering warfare, and three-dimensional data visualization is revolutionizing decision-making. Smarter computers deliver increasingly more proficient and precise results.




    Machines are becoming progressively smarter, leading to more proficient surgery, video games, phones, cars, appliances, factories, cities, etc. Vending machines don’t just sell soft drinks and candy anymore – they now function as movie stories, restaurants, and even retail stores.[i] According to a report from FedEx, web controlled cars are expected to be on America roads by 2015.[ii]  Machines and robots like these are increasingly overtaking human jobs, such as receptionists, banking assistants, prison guards, and farmers. Drones and other robots are doing the work of the military, 900 more satellites have been launched to space for communication and navigation, and entire environments are under further control by machines. Entire factories, smart factories, will soon be operable by just a handful of individuals, and entire cities, smart cities, will have more calculated energy expenditure, public transportation, and government services. Techies are creating more fun and simplified consumer interfacing as well. Video-gamers are soon to experience mind control gaming, and smart phone owners will get improved pervasive computing, with relevant apps surfacing on screen, based on location. [iii] The pinnacle of all is Google Glass, a smart phone built into a pair of glasses.[iv] Machines of all types are getting smarter and more proficient and precise.




    Technology is getting smaller, and smaller technology is getting faster. Nano-materials are improving clothing and other products, lasers are improved, neuro-enhancements are improving the brain, pharmaceutical drugs are becoming more precise and customized, and quantum mechanics is beginning to break onto the scene. Research led by the Center for Quantum Sciences at the University of Vienna for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information is developing a photonic thread that is expected to transmit information so quickly that machines would be able to process multi-dimensionally instead of linear-sequentially.[v][vi] 


    Simulations & Data Visualization


    Pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are worth a thousand dollars, and simulations and data visualization are worth millions of dollars. Welcome to an age where ideas can be tested without the expensive costs of manufacturing and modeling with real material, and where communication is a virtual experience. With simulations, teams are increasingly able to envision the potential impact of choices prior to massive investments. They’re able to play out entire scenarios with just a few clicks of a button and make strong collective decisions quickly. PWC’s Digital IQ names data visualization as the only analytical technique more valued than simulations. With Data visualization, virtual reality, augmented reality, and advanced display devices allow teams to interact with their data in three dimensional space, and play out scenarios for the future.[vii]


    Why this matters


    “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates [viii]


    • You need technology, but your organization’s ability to utilize the right technologies in the right way, will make or break your results.
    • The gap is widening between what customers expect and what is delivered to them. Most notably, there’s a 22% gap on “offers high quality products or services.” [ix]
    • Smart technologies displace jobs and create other jobs.
    • Smart technologies save a lot of time and money.
    • Simulations and data visualization will save on manufacturing, modeling, and physical testing.
    • Ethical dilemmas become more present with robot use, such as drones, self-driving cars, and personal robots, especially on taking accountability and blame out of situations of death and pain.
    • Smart, micro, and simulations are proficient and precise.


    How to seize the embedded opportunities


    • Emphasize developing the competency and contribution pillars of The Trust Edge.
    • Avoid unnecessary troubles in the early adopter stage, and wait to spend your time and money on new investments until you are confident in the value it will offer.
    • Consider if there are vending machine-type robots that could help simplify your business.
    • Don’t get bogged down in too much technology. Have a strong idea of your likely ROI before you get too far.
    • Be sensitive to the potential jobs smart technologies could displace.
    • Utilize data visualization and simulations for scenario planning.

    Key opportunity for competitive advantage: data visualization

    [i] The Biggest Trends in Business for 2013. Entrepreneur.

    [ii] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex.

    [iii] 2013 Top Ten Technology Trends for Business. Price Waterhouse Cooper.

    [iv] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex.

    [v] . James Canton. Global Futures Forecast 2013. Retrieved from

    [vi] 2013 Top Ten Technology Trends for Business. Price Waterhouse Cooper.

    [vii] 2013 Top Ten Technology Trends for Business. Price Waterhouse Cooper.

    [viii] Bill Gates Quote.

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


    Anonymity Dilutes Accountability | Trust in Leadership


    A major way to increase accountability is to reduce anonymity. There is a reason that crime is less per capita in small towns; people know each other. They know what each other is up to, and they talk. They know who is at the bar and whose car is parked outside of “that person’s” house all night long. While gossip is certainly a negative; small town accountability can promote higher character. If people know they are being watched, they are more likely to act above reproach. This is one of the reasons people do more stupid things in Las Vegas while on a business trip.

    Anonymity dilutes accountability. This is the reason why some conscientious families move computers into the main living area. By having the computers in a more public space, family members are less likely to go on sites they would be embarrassed to be found searching. And it’s the same reason why offices with open work spaces promote greater productivity than ones with solid doors and walls. Colleagues can see whether each other is napping, tweeting, or working. 

    Five Ways to Build Character

    1. Be humble. It is the beginning of wisdom.

    2. Live out your principles and values. Whether it’s “love others,” or “do the right thing,” living by your principles will make decision making easier and your character more steadfast. Make sure to hire principled people because it is very hard for any of us to learn principles after age 10. 

    3. Be intentional. Integrity does not happen by accident. We are all products of our thoughts and habits. Be intentional about filling your mind with good thoughts. Creating a habit of this internalizes principles and breeds high character. 

    4. Practice self-discipline. Being of high character takes the ability to do what is right over what is easy. As Harry S Truman said, “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.” 

    5. Be accountable. Surround yourself with people who have high expectations for you. Be responsible to yourself first. Lose the pride. Open yourself up to accountability. To see the questions I get asked every week by my accountability partner, go to


    Plan Ahead to Stay Ahead | Trust in Leadership

    It’s hard to get a running start on the day without a plan. You don’t want to waste your creative morning time wondering what you should do today. If you want to attack your day instead of having it attack you, use this solid strategy. Take the last 15 minutes of a workday to plan out and prioritize the activities for the next day. This will set you up for success and also keep you from forgetting about important tasks or appointments. “Every minute you spend planning saves you an average of approximately 10 minutes in execution” says Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog!”  When you take time to plan you save time in the end, so why not plan ahead?

    Here are 2 strategies to help you plan tomorrow today:

    1. Run the numbers. Use this effective strategy to prioritize your To Do List. Count the items on your To Do List, and then number them in order from most important to least important. Use the numbers one through seven, for example, giving the most important item the seven. The next most important item gets a six, and so on. After you have finished your first set of numbers, repeat the process, only this time in order of urgency. That is, figure out what must be done soonest and give it a seven, what is second most urgent gets a six, etc. When you are done, add the two numbers together. Those with the highest combined scores are to be done first, and on down through the line. By going through this easy process, you ensure that you’re spending your time on what matters most. For some, this may become part of the daily routine. For others, this method may be a one-week learning experience. Give it a try. It will help you prioritize your tasks in a way that makes sense. 

    2. Put it on paper. Without being overly detailed, write or type your schedule for the day. Documenting your activities will keep you on track toward finishing your work for the day. Crossing finished items off can be very satisfying.



    Hyper-Personal & Shared Experience Culture | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    Increasingly, Americans desire to be entertained, fulfilled, and transformed, and they want to share these experiences with their friends.

    Americans are stressed-out, staying obese, and becoming more self-focused and unhealthy. They are often distrusting critics, especially younger anti-institutional generations who have been influenced by scandals in hierarchies, and this makes them increasingly informal. As consumers, they are demanding and difficult to please. They trade their money and options for what they want, when they want, and how they want. Increasingly, they desire to be entertained and fulfilled, and they want to share experiences with friends. In 2014, American consumers desire hyper-personal products, services, experiences, shared experiences and transformations.


    Stressed & Unhealthy

    Americans are stressed and unhealthy. Professionals’ work hours are rising, more energy drinks are being sold, and America keeps getting fatter. The Associated Journal of Preventative Medicine projects that American obesity and severe obesity rates are projected to rise from around 31% and 5% to 42% and 11% by 2030. They also project increased rates of diabetes.[i] People, especially Americans, are more self-focused than ever. Whereas previous generations only saw themselves in mirrors, the self-shot, picture happy, YouTube era has dramatically increased the amount that people see and think about themselves. The difference may seem small, but it’s not. Gen Y has seen thousands of images and videos of themselves. Couple that with the prevalence of pornography, provocative pop culture, beauty infomercials, and we end up with the runaway train culture of self-focused America. Body modifications, tanning, cosmetic surgeries and product sales are rising, as individuals become more aware and dissatisfied with their conditions.[ii] Americans are become more stressed out and unhealthy.



    Informality & Anti-Institution

    The pre-1960’s America is gone. An American free-market economy, democracy, and ideals for self liberties and equality have further disintegrated hierarchical structures, and America’s most powerful CEO’s are universally known as just Bill, Steve, Arianna, etc. Billionaires dress in jeans and untucked shirts, and cable news anchors are as much comedians as they are newscasters. Uniforms are for the lower status workers of society, and freedom of dress at work is a sign of privilege. Insights into the Roman Catholic Church have revealed that their own hierarchy covered up scandals. Similar scandals across hierarchies in business and government have elicited responses from groups like Wiki Leaks and consumers have encouraged corporate transparency. Gen Y is the most affected and anti-institutional group the world has seen. Even the Christian church-goers have encouraged movements like the emerging church, and those in dating relationships often prefer cohabitation to marriage. [iii]



    Consumers are growing increasingly demanding. Why? Because they can – in this flat world, they have lots of options. This is breeding a non-commitment culture, where companies need data scientists who can keep up with shifting expectations and interests.[iv] With their newly gained power, consumers want what they want, how they want it, when they want it, and they want to know about it.[v] Consumers want to purchase personalized products, and they even want to participate in value creation.[vi] More and more want to know where something is from and how it is made. Documentaries on big farms, big companies, and big media have spawned distrust, and more are being asked to reveal the story of their product before it’s purchased – whether it’s how Chinese factory workers are being treated, the types of fertilizers used on vegetables grown in Iowa, or the quality of life of poultry before it becomes Thanksgiving dinner. Lastly, in what JW Intelligence calls the “Urgency Economy,” consumers want it….. NOW, because they’re in a hurry and used to limited-time deals.[vii]



    Consumers want personal devices and services, and they are receiving them. America’s becoming more mobile reliant, with 45% of adults using smart phones, and 20% of Americans owning tablets. Workplace flexibility is increasing, with employees working from online and owning some control over their schedules. [viii]  Education of all types can be purchased online or in a box, and for those without education budgets, they have access to the world’s best content and courses, from outlets like YouTube, Khan Academy, and even MIT and Stanford. Even medicine is becoming more personalized. Customized drugs can be manufactured using epigenetic insights for population economics and individual gene expression. A combination of synthetic biology and molecular medicine is forming a new wave of medicine, and neuroscience progress is transforming the way we understand and work with the brain.[ix]


    Shared Experience

    “If you don’t titillate our senses, we don’t want to buy from you. Oh, and we want to share it with our friends.” This is the sentiment of the new American consumer.  Anything entertaining is destined as a  bullish market. For most purchases, the American mentality is past scraping by on commodities, goods and services. Consumers are seeking experiences and transformations.[x] Whether they are buying or just watching, they want to fill their void of fulfillment and entertainment. Productions and videos get more and more silly and crazy, with such popular content as the Stratosphere Jump, the 1 billion+ YouTube views for Gangnam Style, and Discovery Channels tight rope walk across the Grand Canyon. Geo-driven applications are helping to feed this every day hunger, as geo-services increase. Geo-coding and tagging allow friends to see each other’s locations, new forming apps will begin automatically appearing to give reviews and information on location businesses, Google Glass will move from prototype to mainstream, and predictive GPS will begin planning our lives for us. Predictive GPS can even predict and let friends know where other friends are likely to be on certain days and times. They are so accurate that the average error in preliminary tests by one company was 65 feet for predictions of where someone would be the next day.[xi] Finally, Americans want to share these engaging experiences with their friends. They desire social shopping, shared value, and their mindsets are shifting to “made with me” and “shared with me”. [xii][xiii]  They want experiences and transformation that benefit society rather than possessions.[xiv]


    Why this matters

    “All other economic offerings have no lasting consequence beyond their consumption. Even the memories of an experience fade over time. But buyers of transformations seek to be guided toward some specific aim or purpose, and transformations must elicit that intended effect... The individual buyer of the transformation essentially says, ‘Change me.’” – Pine & Gilmore, The Experience Economy[xv] 



    • Consumers have reached the edge of their spectrum on individualistic personalization. Now, they want to be entertained with friends.
    • A 2013 Deloitte survey revealed that 67% of organization’s top priority for consumer engagement is through social media.
    • Some generations like informality and others prefer formality.
    • People want to be entertained, engaged, and fulfilled. If you can’t meet it as much as your competitor, they’ll just go to the other. Internally, increase trustworthiness with your team – they want to engage with others and collaborate.
    • American’s like options, but not so many options that it creates the paralysis of choice.
    • American’s are unhealthy for a reason, why? How is it a barrier to long-term sustainability and success? And what are potential solutions?
    • American’s often enjoy knowing the back story for how something was developed before they purchase it.



    How to seize the embedded opportunities


    • Emphasize developing the pillars of clarity, commitment, and connection of The Trust Edge.
    • Fancy the American desire for sensory engagement. Find ways to entertain buyers and potential buyers.
    • Find value in good hard work, in and of itself.
    • Be sensitive to formality levels with generations, but err on the side of formality.
    • Help make consumers more intelligent and developed individuals.
    • Contribute to making Americans healthier.
    • Prepare your sales team with miniature staged performances that can be used on demand to engage customers and allow them to interact with products and services.
    • Recognize that people want to be fulfilled. Engage them personally to win friends, and you’ll win customers as well as help bring some fulfillment.
    • Develop trusted memorable experiences for those who engage with your brand.
    • Use the Inclusive Management strategy outlined in the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer and share vision with employees, experts, media, consumers and activist. Then listen for feedback and adapt.
    • Involve consumers in the story of what they are considering buying.
    • Offer more than one version of your offerings so consumers have options. Consider a hyper-personalized version.
    • American’s generally distrust government officials and CEO’s and trust their peers and experts. Leverage peers via social networking and collaborate with experts.[xvi]
    • Key opportunity for competitive advantage: customized experiences.


    [i] 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030, CDC study finds.

    [ii] Crouch, Andy. Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade.

    [iii] Crouch, Andy. Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade.


    [v] 5 Global Trends Unfolding Over the Next Decade. Leadership Now.

    [vi] A Top Ten for Business Leaders. The Economist. The World in 2013.


    [viii] TNS Financial Insights Small Business: Top 10 Trends for 2013.

    [ix] Dr. James Canton. Global Futures Forecast 2013. Retrieved from

    [x] Pine, Joseph & Gilmorek James. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.  1999. Harvard Business Press.

    [xi] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex.

    [xii] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex.


    [xiv] Pine, Joseph & Gilmorek James. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.  1999. Harvard Business Press.

    [xv] The Experience Economy and Advanced Value Creating Ideas. Retrieved on 19 September 2013 from

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

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