As Nigel Cameron says, the impact of social media will be felt.
New tools connect more people, markets, and customers faster and cheaper, to shape reputation and build business selection pressure towards corporate transparency. As the race is only going to get faster, how prepared is your organization?
Independent third party assessments
More than a million of organizations take steps to improve transparency, by inviting independent external assessments beyond mandatory financial audits, such as for management system aspects of quality and customer satisfaction (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001) and other similar standards.
Pioneering organizations show us the next edge by embracing workplace democracy principles and getting their application verified by independent third parties such as WorldBlu.
The common thread weaving through such commercial exercise in trust-building is agreeing to specified requirements or criteria and being transparent, by sharing confidential information of defined scope with independent third-party assessors. Organizations receive a report on fulfillment of requirements, usually pointing out failures to correct, and potential for improvement. In some cases the report concludes with an unqualified or a qualified endorsement or a public listing, or is the basis for a license to bear a certification mark.
The process may be fallible, the assessors are people, and the assessments are based on sampling observations. Yet, there are safeguards for impartiality and to prevent conflict of interest. For me, the impression prevails that independent assessments gradually encourage facets of transparency.
Although the organizations pay for the assessment, they cannot order the positive report or certifcate, that is the very meaning of independent assessment, the assessors recommend certification if the criteria are fulfilled and a qualified person independent of the assessment team makes the certification decision.
Either way, we may be heading towards a new balance on the spectrum between trust and verify.
With a growing bouquet of independent assessments on one side and social media empowered customers, fans, and employees on the other, is corporate on the way to going tribal? (The book by Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright.)
(i) inspired by Nigel Cameron http://futureofbiz.org/2012/07/14/the-crisis-of-trust-in-companies-and-beyond/