Need sustainability & trust in an interconnected world: Sanjay Dawar at ISA CEO Conference

Dawar, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy explained that in a digitally disrupted and interconnected world, trust can erode in a matter of days

Sanjay Dawar

At the second edition of ISA CEO Conference, speaker Sanjay Dawar, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, said trust is extremely important for employees, employer and the consumer and achieving competitive agility in an interconnected world.

While corporations today are focussed on profit and growth, growth in both revenue and market value, there is seldom being a mechanism to actually quantify how much weightage needs to be given to entire element of trust and sustainability addressed Dawar when speaking on the topic 'The Bottom Line on Trust - Achieving Competitive Agility in an Interconnected World'. 

Talking on the importance of trust, Dawar points out, “We have a system which is evolving and where employees are expecting the companies to be ethical in the way they do business. The employers see the reputation of the company before working with them as top three parameters as far as choices are concerned. On the other hand, the consumers today almost 90 per cent listen to the peer group. And, only to the extent of 15-20 per cent will actually believe what the company has said.”

He further attributed, “To investors, who are now starting to put in a number of non-financial parameters into the evaluation of cuttings and we have had example in India where a Scandinavian company which helped at equity stake in one of our metals and mining company withdrew because of the news that company was not handling its ecosystem appropriately to suppliers. If, you actually look at it this entire circle gets influenced by domain called advertising. Today, 50 percent of the population is millennial. Sixty per cent of the population wants to work for the company which has social status. Sustainability and trust comes to fore and play an important part.” 

Dawar explained, “The companies need to stop thinking about only profitable growth. In order to  put some sense how important the trust is we ran a global survey of 7,000 companies, 20 odd industries and the whole idea was that let’s take the cross section of the ecosystem of the business community and let’s try and see if we can make some sense of this trust factor and add value to it.” 
One cannot do away with fake news. It’s important to detect, investigate and respond, added Dawar. 

Discussing what it means to quantify trust- called competitive agility, Dawar said, “Competitive agility the way we define it is not just about growth, not about profit but it’s also about the license to grow which your employees are asking for, your customers are demanding, your investors expect. And, therefore today what you need is a trusted company which look at all these parameters.”

“So, it’s not just enough to have profit and growth but also need sustainability and trust. And how we define sustainability and trust? Well it’s all about what we are doing for environment, what we are doing for society, and what are doing in terms of governance to control and to effect from the ecosystem,” added Dawar.

Dawar asserted that trust can be divided into three levels - societal, environmental and government related. One must remember that one in every two companies could be impacted by trust event over the course of period, pointed Dawar. 

He further emphasised that drop in trust impacts the bottom line adversely. Therefore, building trust is a very hard exercise, and pay back is not much but it does not mean a company should stand still. “In a digitally disrupted and interconnected world, trust can erode in a matter of days.”

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