What School Districts Can Learn from Small Businesses

Trust is the most important currency in business and leadership today. According to a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), this can be a big problem for CEOs. Their study shows there is a significant gap between the level of trust CEOs believe they have cultivated and the level of trust consumers and employees say they have in the CEO or organization as a whole.

CEOs have far less trust currency than they think: 

  • 87% of executives think consumers “highly trust their companies” where only 30% of consumers say they do.
  • 84% of executives think their employees “highly trust their companies” compared to 69% of employees who said they do. 

Surprisingly, or perhaps not-so-surprisingly, the highest levels of trust in PwC’s study were tied to small businesses and organizations that consumers believe provide good value and high quality.

So how does this apply and what is the lesson for school districts? As a school leader, it’s imperative to the overall health of your schools that you develop trust by clearly demonstrating that your district provides good value and high quality with your parents, students, employees and residents. 

Here are the first three steps to building small business trust in your district:

  1. Communicate effectively. Clear, concise and honest communication builds trust. Don’t just tell, but show your constituents (think photos, videos, charts and infographics) and employees regularly and through a variety of channels why your district is a good value and provides high-quality education and meaningful work. 
  1. Develop relationships. We know most days you’re lucky to get anything marked off your ever-growing to-do list. But getting in front of your stakeholders and employees is key to building trust. Make it your goal to spend just five minutes each day connecting with someone new or someone you haven’t chatted with in some time. Showing an interest in people and being a good listener will gain you trust faster than anything else.   
  1. Be yourself. Community members nor employees want lip service, and they can spot a performance from a mile away. Be authentic to your style and personality in your communications and when building relationships, and the rest will follow. 

Trust currency takes time to earn but only seconds to spend. Reach out to us today at info@allertonhillcomm.com to learn how we can help you build your trust bank and communicate effectively about how your district is providing good value and high quality in your community.

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