Skip to content

‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is Often a Question of Trust

Democracy has prevailed and the huge turn-out in Scotland has not only been about shaping the future but it is also and endorsement of the democratic process.

Trust operates at all levels, between nations, between Governments and citizens, between politicians and the electorate, public services and community, businesses and customers and so on.

It will be noted that trust is not something working in isolation but an emotion that operates ‘between’ two people. In some scenarios, like marriage or a business partnership, the trust is equal, but very often, it operates in unequal circumstances where the party carrying the greater risk is more concerned about the trustworthiness of the more powerful party (I don’t mean political parties).

This makes it very difficult for the electorate when Government, political parties and politicians find themselves at the lower end of the trust ladder.

The Question of Trust

The question of Trust certainly arose during the referendum campaigns with at least one side describing campaigners on the other side as having little trust.

For the electorate in any campaign the question of trust is likely to be critical to deciding if the candidate will do what they say they will do and also, act in their best interest in unknown events in the future.

So how is trust generated in a campaign? Well it’s not simply about having the same political ideology or social, cultural or economic vision. That is a good start point but often the undecided rely on trust in the candidate and argument to decide on their position. It is about listening and understanding need and expectation, about addressing false perceptions and about having shared values.

Of course, people have different needs and expectations and at the most basic level, by nature and/or nurture, we are configured differently to trust. In this campaign we heard that females found it harder to trust one of the primary politicians. This presented a huge challenge (for both sides) to understand the needs and expectations of the female electorate. Did women in Scotland feel a greater risk from one of the outcomes based on personality or Party or something else?

Trust is Central

This is the big point and it extends to every relationship where trust and confidence is a critical component – wherever there is a personal risk and a choice, the issue of trust is central.  Of course, this is equally relevant to all elections, businesses, public services, charities and so on.

Take retail, one study showed that 70% of consumers associate a brand with the company and if they don’t trust the company, in a choice, they are less likely to choose the product. It is equally essential for political parties and retail businesses to understand what drives the trust of those that do the trusting – those that decide.

Take a look at our wide range of CPD programmes here:






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *