Home' HR Monthly : August 2017 Contents August 2017 HRM magazine 9
Trust: hard to win,
easy to lose
As a leader, I’m often conscious of the desire
to be trusted. But it’s a desire tempered by
the reality that people are reluctant to lightly
ex tend their trust, and I can relate to that.
You often hear the bravado line: ‘Trust me!’
A sentiment that makes more sense to me is
the line: ‘Love all, trust a few’. Despots and
autocrats exercise authority without the need to
win trust, and many enjoy short term success
operating on a coercion model. Fortunately, it’s
not where contemporary business thinking is
One of the reasons I’ve been thinking of
trust lately is because I’m very much looking
forward to hearing the thinking on the topic
from one of our keynote presenters at the
AHRI convention in Sydney this month. I refer
to Rachel Botsman from Oxford University’s
Saïd Business School. Her topic is entitled ‘The
currency of trust’.
Noticing one of Botsman’s retweets the other
day made me think not just about who we
trust, but also what we trust. The tweet linked
to the podcast site 99% Invisible and the story
of Air France Flight 447. On 31 May 2009,
with 228 people on board, and travelling at a
cruising altitude at 35,000 feet between Rio de
Janeiro and Paris, the plane suddenly vanished.
Two years later the cockpit voice recorder and
flight data recorder were recovered intact from
the ocean depths.
It became apparent listening to them that
the automated system flying the plane had
suddenly shut off. There is some dispute over
the judgement of the pilots in their attempt to
diagnose the problem, but, in the event, they
were unable to resume control in the four
minutes 20 seconds available to them before the
plane plunged into the Atlantic.
Like many of you, I’m a regular flyer and
so the story is a sobering one. To add an extra
dimension to it, it seems the ‘fly-by-wire’ safety
system that exists to automatically rectify
dangerous stalls and nose dips had been tu rned
off. It was not turned off by either pilot,
but by the automated system itself, and the
pilots did not realise that. The term used to
describe that particular quandary is ‘mode
confusion’, a phenomenon that has come up
in other accidents. A n abiding question about
automated systems is that over time they can
leave pilots who become too dependent on
them without the skills to resume control.
By inclination, training and repute, H R
practitioners are largely people specialists. Yet
increasingly they are being asked to trust the
computer rather than the hu man operator, the
robot rather than the process worker, and the
existential logic behind artificial intelligence
rather than hu man ingenuity and sound
judgement. I’ll be very interested in hearing
what light Botsman casts on these trends.
Botsman is one of a number of speakers at
the convention who will speak about a future
dominated increasingly by technological and
digital advances, and the disarrangement of
business models and working practices that
they bring with them. Other speakers along
similar lines are futurist Chris Riddell, US
connectional intelligence author Erica Dhawan,
behavioural scientist Matt Wallaert, and UK
standards expert and economist Wilson Wong.
The other reason trust is on my mind is
because AHRI ‘s professional certification
journey is gathering pace and we are starting
to see light at the end of a long tunnel. The
light I’m seeing is an HR profession that meets
a robust standard, sets a bar for entry into the
profession and is recognised like other accepted
The light includes seeing a belief take shape
within business that in order to get the benefits
of good HR, there is no alternative other than
to employ a certified HR professional.
When we judge that there is sufficient
evidence that HR is genuinely self-regulating,
AHRI will apply to gain formal Australian
Professional Standards Authority (PSA)
approval, with all the attendant benefits that
accrue from that for certified HR practitioners.
The PSA is a regulatory agency with powers to
assess the standards overseen by professional
associations, and so limit the civil liability of
members of those associations.
According to the PSA, professionals are
unlike hobbyists, amateurs and enthusiasts.
Professionals are governed by codes of ethics
and profess commitment to competence,
integrity, morality and the promotion of the
public good within their expert domain.
Professions exist to protect the community
from people claiming to be a professional, but
whose expertise and behaviour do not measure
up to the standards set by the profession.
True professions exist so the community can
confidently place their trust in practitioners
who operate under the banner of the profession.
HR needs to become one of them so it wins
that trust. •••
Lyn Goodear FAHRI GAICD
Chief executive officer
26/7/17 2:48 pm
Links Archive July 2017 September 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page