Building Digital Trust for Business Success

by | May 15, 2020 | Privacy, Trends of working remotely

The C19 lockdown has underscored the struggle many business leaders have with their cybercapacity. The pandemic impacted everyone’s life and businesses faced abrupt transition to cyberspace only, to which only a few were prepared properly. This is the perfect time for you as a business leader and your networked teams to align your digital identity management consisting of measures and behaviours.

Whilst the technical capabilities do reduce your business risk, they still require your leadership skills for the investment to turn into a competitive advantage. 

Your teams’ displayed identity behaviours will finally help you turn around potential risks to become business benefits. This mindset must become the guiding principle across the value chain of your business. Let us deconstruct what we mean by your team’s identity behaviours.  If your networked team has been working remotely or is starting only now, how does identity come through in digital collaboration? If your business is more or less mobile, what then, is your digital identity based on?  Most importantly, how can you leverage your digital identity in the future of work? 

Going from Personality to Identity in Cyberspace

Many organisations use personality assessments to recognise, hire and motivate their workforce. Developed in the latter half of the 20th century, this personality-based approach is believed to be closely linked to an individual’s expected professional performance. Personalities are based on psychological and cognitive factors and regarded as permanent.

But what if, as we believe, identity not only describes who we are, but is constantly in motion. As a construct, it is made up of both non-changeable aspects as well as elements that develop as time goes on. Developed at the beginning of the digital era, an identity-based approach stems from the idea that people shape an organisation, and an individual’s identity is developed through social interaction and interpersonal relationships among other members of the organisation.

Key differences in the concepts of personality tools and identity creation:

Establishing Your Privacy First Culture with an Identity-based Approach

Leading a business, you are ultimately responsible for proactively defining your identity and brand.

Unconstrained by management or the personality-based assessments of the human resources department idiosyncratic for larger organisations, you shape  your privacy first culture based on digital identity. How then, can you shape and influence it to work in your favour?

Your behaviour-centric digital identity is dependent on a number of factors:  

  • You: Your identity describes who you are. You have coexisting, multifaceted and overlapping identities. Identity is never static; it evolves over time.
  • Your interactions: Your interactions are key and your identity shapes the way you interact with others, face-to-face and virtually.
  • Your brand: You and your interactions inform your privacy first culture.

​Your multi-faceted identity is also context-dependent. Individuals tend to emphasise different parts of their identity for example at home, surrounded by family, in comparison to work, where they are surrounded by their team. This therefore also extends to the way you exhibit yourself to your prospective clients, which will subsequently have an effect on your portfolio in the near future. 

A significant advantage of this identity-based approach is its ability to recognise the individual’s entire self. As the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this type of self-actualisation would stimulate higher motivation in any remote worker and lead to greater productivity. 

Integrating Identity with Privacy in Cyberspace

Three years ago, it was predicted that remote work will become the standard operating mode for at least 50% of the U.S. population by 2020. By now, it is clear that these numbers are likely to be much higher with the behavioural shifts that are taking place as a result of Covid-19. The world we are now entering, with even greater connectivity than first anticipated, requires the integration of your technical capabilities with your core identity. This combination establishes the foundation for a privacy-first culture.  

Establishing a privacy-first culture is a reciprocal process among leaders and teams. Culture is not automatically built – it is enacted through people’s identity, specifically, when it comes to remote teams. So what can leaders do to create and sustain a privacy-first culture from afar? It starts with digital trust. It takes an intentional and continuous effort to role-model and foster cybersavvy behaviours to build and maintain digital trust among the team and with clients.

About the author:  Priya E. Abraham

Priya E. Abraham is the founder of Cyberconnecting and author of ‘Your Cyberpower. How to Safeguard Your Remote Business’. She is a digital transformation strategist, privacy advisor, and mentor. Priya brings 20+ years of experience in global business across industries, working with established enterprises and start-ups. In addition to holding a PhD in Business Anthropology and an MBA, she is an accredited Data Protection Officer. Priya has lived and worked in Europe, Russia, the U.S. and MENA. Her experience in all things remote is brought to life in her products and services.