Trust is the true coin of the realm in today’s cynical times. This is why Jamie Dimon’s unfortunate reversal may come back to haunt him. His early dismissal of the now $2 billion trading loss, was—he later admitted—a mistake. But it comes at an awkward moment: when the words of admission and acceptance of fault by other CEOs (like Scott Thompson at Yahoo and Brian Dunn at Best Buy) have been found to be wanting.
And now JP Morgan is facing lawsuits from shareholders over its trading losses and its CEO’s initial misrepresentation of those losses to investors.
The moral of the story is that CEOs—even good ones like Dimon—must be very, very careful about what they say and how they say it. Business leaders (if public approval in polling is a true indicator) have a fragile hold on public confidence. Such incidents can have far-reaching effects if leaders are not careful.