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VW’s slow road back to trust

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

By secretly tampering with its cars’ emissions controls for years, German automaker Volkswagen has dealt itself a self-inflicted wound. The company’s only hope of rebuilding trust:

• Acknowledge publicly that it brought this catastrophe on itself. The company must make such an acknowledgment regardless of consequences.

• Stop announcing a “sweeping” restructure of operations. Card shuffling executives further reveals confusion and disarray. VW needs one visible face.

• Clearly explain how it will make things right with millions of customers.

• Say that regardless of legal consequences, it will be open and transparent.

Start behaving with honesty and integrity. That can be done overnight through a moderated forum through which customers can vent anger.

Openly communicate using other online channels. It’s not difficult but it mandates brutal honesty.

— Adapted from “6 Steps for Volkswagen to Begin Rebuilding Trust,” David Henderson blog.

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