When I saw the agenda for the latest network meeting for the SCEL (Scottish College for Educational Leadership) Fellowship programme my first reaction was something like, 'aye, right, what's this guy going to be able to say about leadership that is going to have any credibility?' I assumed he would come into the room stoop-shouldered, with the cares of the world almost visible on his shoulders. I was wrong. Never assume! Dr Andrew McLaughlin hails from Ayrshire, has played and coached football for many years, and likes to quote Burns, in addition to his responsibilities at RBS. He's a youthful 45 year old, has a family and obviously loves his job, and all the challenges it presents. Don't you always find people who love what they are doing look a lot younger than their chronological age? He's a realist and understands the monumental challenge he and the Bank face to rebuild confidence and credibility. But, like all good organisations, they have a plan and a strategy! I understood all this in the first five minutes of his presentation, which he told us was going to be themed around 'The Business of Trust.'
He explained he was first and foremost an economist, this had always been his passion. But as he took on the mantle of 'Head of Communications' for RBS he realised he needed to develop more skills and knowledge. He needed to find out about marketing. In marketing he felt there were two key elements to consider, brand and reputation. He stated that if the connection between the brand and the reputation of an organisation or company became too big then they were in trouble, RBS being the prime example of this. He recognised that rarely would brand and reputation be in the same place, and if they were this was just a moment in time. What was key, was keeping the two connected closely to each other. 'The thing that keeps these two elements tethered together is trust' was his key message.
Andrew thought people often found it easy to talk about trust and use the term but were unclear of the the elements that were crucial in trust. He identified these as character, competence and intent.He represented them, and their connectedness, by the Venn diagram below.