Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Forbes recently came out with the "10 Most Trusted Celebrities" list, based on research conducted by a Los Angeles-based firm.

While the story begins with why Tiger Woods is obviously not on the list, the story fails to mention that Tiger still has a chance at redemption and recovery. That is, if you simply look at the Forbes list, you will find a couple of celebrities who had their own hiccups and who have managed to move past their personal issues to regain public trust.

A simple Google search should help you find which two of the top 10 celebrities had their own issues. Yes, these missteps did receive mainstream press coverage. No, these personal failings did not even come close to the level of Woods. But, there was damage to the image. At least, only temporarily - if you can believe this latest research.

Certainly, the Tiger Woods fall-from-grace is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest for an international figure. So, one would reason he has a much bigger hole to climb out of and a longer time frame in which to regain public trust.

And that's the point of all this - public trust makes good business sense.

Ever since a few news organizations - like Newsweek and one of its columnists - initially questioned America's fascination with celebrities and argued why a person's private life shouldn't have anything to do with their regular job, there have been plenty of other stories that correctly highlight the ingredients to earning public trust and maintaining a positive reputation.

The entire picture DOES matter. Individuals build a positive public image to earn trust - because they know earned respect will turn into greater financial earnings. There are many core values that we place with corporate leaders - business acumen, decisiveness, ethics and team building. A company's stock price can rise or fall based on the perceived "strength" of its CEO. And, there have been many cases where a "moral misstep" has eroded public confidence in a top executive - even if that leader's business skills remain unchanged. Look at how trust matters leading into DAVOS 2010. Most polling indicates banks have a long road ahead of them to regain public trust. And regaining trust begins with a business leader's ability to earn public respect.

Regaining trust is not impossible. Just look at a couple of celebrities who now are part of a top 10 list.

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