From IQ to EQ: Trust Is the Prerequisite for Growth

You only need go back a few years to stumble upon the belief that you can equate a person’s average grades with the size of his or her future paycheck. However, times have changed, and we are moving away from the notion that a high IQ necessarily leads to a successful career—which is not the case nowadays.

People — consumers as well as colleagues — have become more critical and are looking for the authentic and meaningful, and something or someone they can trust. This trend will continue to grow as the world becomes more and more complex and impossible to grasp.

Trust is the most important prerequisite for growth in all companies and organizations. However, trust is very hard to build and very easy to lose. A serious company or business executive should develop their ability to build trust. It should be a top priority in their strategy agenda.

Everybody should ask themselves, how can the company and its employees build a strong and trustworthy image?

Renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama and Nobel Prize awardee Gary Becker confirm that societies, leaders, and companies that are able to build the highest level of trust deliver the best results in a long-term perspective. This is also the case for individuals—you!

Do people trust or mistrust you? Do you get many referrals, or do people get warned against you? This is important for you to know.

Trust is the new black

Trust is the new black—and it is here to stay. To inspire confidence, you have to get involved in dialogues and pay attention to the way you are perceived in social contexts.

That we live in a so-called networked society is old news, meaning we are dependent on relationships in achieving our individual and organizational goals. Your ability to build trusting relationships with people who are loyal to you is a prerequisite for getting access to contacts, contracts, inspiration, influence, and information. Increasingly, companies are casting their employees based on the criteria that they must be individuals whom other people can remember and trust because it is good for business.

Trust-driven management

In the next 5–10 years, increasingly we will realize that we have to specialize and become known as a society that offers knowledge and management. In Denmark, we can no longer produce our way to growth because we cannot compete on price or quality. In the next 5 years, it is important that we utilize our knowledge in management to outcompete some of our biggest competitors in the global market. The keywords will be management, trust, knowledge, and networking. What will this mean to you?

In the next few years, the ability to inspire trust in people will become the scarcest and most in demand competence for both employees and managers. However, keep in mind that based on experience, generally, when trust is lost, it can never be regained—or it takes a very, very long time to regain it. It has been documented that trust in people or organizations takes many years to build.

Trust is about being able to rely on people and knowing how they react when problems occur. Therefore, trust has a lot to do with predictability. Open, honest, consistent, and predictable managers almost always inspire trust, thereby allowing people to know that the rules will not change suddenly, so they become more willing to take risks and deliver extra effort to help achieve the goals of the organization.

“From IQ to EQ” is an article series edited from Soulaima Gourani’s article New Trends in Human Resources – From IQ to EQ. The original copy of the article can be found here.

Soulaima Gourani is a Danish speaker, author, board member and special adviser to ministers, task forces, goverment think tanks and demanding private companies. She was also one of the speakers of Nordic Business Forum 2014. More about Soulaima at

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