InvestorIntel – It’s all about trust!
When Tracy asked some of the InvestorIntel editors to write about trust as the “new currency to success”, what I see she was doing was asking us to put into relatively simple terms, how we somewhat simple human beings communicate with each other, learn from each other and hopefully trust each other.
Tracy asked me to provide a summary, a prologue to the works published by our team here at InvestorIntel. Having had some time to think about the approach I would take, I will as usual try to get an interesting way of looking at the subject matter. The matter of trust.
OK. Let’s do a ranking exercise on trust. Look at each of the scenarios or positions and try to rank them. Which or who do I trust the most?
- The used salesman from whom I have just bought a car who said it would be problem free for 5 years.
- The sun will come up tomorrow.
- Politicians in general.
- Your local General Practitioner.
- Journalists in general.
- That matriarch elephant getting her herd across the Serengeti to better pastures.
The ranking you have produced is based on the sum of your experiences and learnings, good and bad, successful or unsuccessful, and interestingly, your ranking may be right or wrong. And that is because your trust, your relative ranking, is about you. It is about your history, your education, your beliefs, your possible misapprehensions (or not); and I’m supposed to summarise! But I’ll bet, if you were completely honest with yourself, you trusted the elephant more than the politician or the journalist!
So, let’s look at what we don’t trust.
- Those who over-promise and under-deliver on an on-going basis.
- Those who continue to misrepresent.
- Those who have persistent biases.
Notice a recurrent theme here. It’s time! We, as humans do accept error, mistakes, maybe even lies, but what we don’t accept is the ongoing belief by others that we, the people at large, can be fooled. As they say, “You can fool all the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”.
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There is a rationale to this developing summary, so bear with me.
Let’s look at the politician. In Australia, we simplistically have two major parties who are vying to govern.
You generally have an incumbent Prime Minister whose performance you can review to see if he does what he says, has he achieved his promises, are you happy with the way the country is being run? Can you trust him to be better than the other guy? The opposition leader has had opportunity to put his case over a number of years, but he has only had the opportunity to promise. You haven’t seen his delivery performance. Well not in the Prime Ministership anyway. Which do you trust? I will talk about the Trump success because it provides another way of looking at the issue of trust. Please excuse me as an Australian looking at your system, but it’s the way I see what has occurred. The Democrats lost due to a lack of trust by the voting system majority born by eight years of perceived lost opportunity and a new candidate who offered much of the same. Trump won not so much on a trust issue but on a hope issue.
The electorate saw a successful business man (albeit with many failings), attempting to advance America in a way that people could understand. That is not trust so much as it is hope. Should he succeed in his promises, that will develop trust. Because trust is more about the future. I will vote for what I trust the most to deliver the benefits that are important to me.
Let’s look at the journalist. What do they do? Well they report on the news, right? Well not quite right. There is an evolution here. Again, bear with me in the discussion. Twenty years ago, newsprint was a major influencer and a major money earner. Who can remember every Saturday buying the paper to look at the employment section? Or every Wednesday looking for real estate? We all do. But who remembers the relative importance or quality of page two or three articles? Last week the Fairfax Group (Oz newspapers etc) announced further massive redundancies to stay profitable. Why? What has changed in the last twenty years? Answer: us and it’s due to the internet. All job ads are online, all real estate is on line, everything is being challenged by online. So where is the journalist? Gone from simply delivering the news (ie facts), to adding value (ie comment), to perhaps searching for headlines to grab attention in our instantaneous world. How can trust for a journalist be developed in this new action packed, fast paced internet world? It can be done, but be careful. Each media organisation has a different orientation. That’s fact in Australia and from the commentary I hear from America it’s the same. So, for example, media company A always delivers a business friendly bias. Media company B always delivers a social values bias. Interesting. Who can you trust? Well both really, at least in a way. As an impartial observer, you can always trust A to deliver business friendly opinion, just as you can always trust B to deliver a social values opinion. But which is right? I don’t want to get into the philosophy too deep here, but you will more likely trust the view that is closest to your values. So, a business-centric person will likely trust the business opinionated view and so on. So where am I going with this?
At InvestorIntel, we are aligned with a strategy that “Trust is the new currency of success”. Big call if taken in isolation so let me elaborate. Let’s go back to the poor journalist searching for a place in the new internet world. You have to deliver facts. That’s the easy part. There are securities commission, stock exchange and professional body standards covering all of the information that companies make public. So the facts are there and should be indisputable. But what about the comment? Are you comparing Company A with Company B or C? If you are, you had better be very clear, transparent and logical, otherwise any bias that you may have (even if you don’t know it) will prevail and be on display. And as to making predictions? Well, since the InvestorIntel audience are probably going to invest (or not) based on what they read, you need to be aware of the ramifications. And the most satisfying ramification for me and I expect all of us at InvestorIntel is trust! This is when you have accurately provided the data (with references); been very fair, equitable and balanced in your commentary, providing both the pros and cons in any comparisons; and provided all the support materials and assumptions in any predictions you may make; this is when your audience will see that your data/views/predictions are accurate, well-researched, unbiased and fair and honest and over time will see a pattern of delivery. And that pattern of delivery results in success, and the currency of that success was trust. The trust that we, as editors of InvestorIntel, try to deliver to you with each article we provide.
Mr Mackowski is a qualified engineer in mineral processing with over 30 years technical and operational experience in rare earths, uranium, industrial minerals, nickel, kaolin ... <Read more about Steve Mackowski>