The pavement of good intentions: rebuilding trust to overcome scandals and lies

Charlie Dawson and Simon Caulkin

In an edited extract of an event by The Foundation, Charlie Dawson and Simon Caulkin describe different examples where trust has been violated. Common threads run through these examples: the absence of a core unifying purpose for the organisation or enterprise and the imposition of targets that distort behaviour and result in unintended consequences.

Background and participants

This exploration was built around three big vortices of trust, which we ventured into with the help of some knowledgeable and sure-footed guides:

  • 'Going to war' with Rob Weigh ill, former major-general who led planning and operations for NATO's mission to protect civilians in Libya, and who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and with the UN in Cyprus.
  • Applying spin', with Robert Phillips, former CEO of Edelman Europe, now leading a new kind of trust-building organisation called Jericho Chambers.
  • 'Industrial deceit and the Volkswagen issue', with Toby Rubbra, a partner at systems-thinking advisors Vanguard, whose work shows how widespread the assumptions and practices that led to the scandal really are.