Feb
11

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Is the notion of organizational trust as an intentional business strategy moving beyond the “talk” stage?

Back in 2013 the World Economic Forum published their Leadership, Trust & Performance Equation paper with several partners including Edelman and PwC. Fast forward to 2016 and the subject of building trust again appeared on the agenda at Davos, this time with four recommendations on how to accomplish this: Action, Values, Employee Advocacy and Engagement. Sounds like the beginning of a plan.

PwC published its own 2013 report Measuring and Managing Total Impact. These are just a few of its “trust sound bytes (note that this report also originated from Europe):

Consumers are becoming ever more environmentally and socially conscious, especially younger ones: they want to know more than ever about the products and services they use and who they buy them from. 

It is becoming impossible for companies to operate behind closed doors, so transparency is the new paradigm for conducting business successfully.

Reputation management: more open dialogue with stakeholders can improve business reputation (for example, by building trust and reinforcing the licence to operate) whereas “closed” businesses that fail to embrace new ways to communicate could be adversely affected (for example, if they are implicated in environmental damage or species extinction, tax avoidance or poor labour standards).

Clearly, businesses have to satisfy their shareholders’ demands. But, as we have seen, achieving this increasingly depends on their ability to meet the ever more exacting expectations of a broader set of stakeholders, stretching from customers, employees and suppliers to politicians, environmental groups and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

This is prompting some business leaders to consider how best to tell their own story, not just that required by legislation.

Looking forward, with trust at an all-time low, business must recognise that it is already operating in new conditions where society’s expectations are quite different and the need to rebuild trust is irrefutable. In particular, it needs to explain its purpose and manage its impact, not only through its direct operations, but also across its entire value chain, including all its stakeholders. This heightens the value of impact measurement as a means to better understand, demonstrate and manage its role and contribution to society.

And more recently PwCs own trust research and insights blog began writing a series of topical articles.

I think it’s good news that these large global organizations are, at a minimum engaging in a discussion about elevating trust in business. But four ongoing challenges remain:

  • Whether they are able to take the discussion to the implementation phase.
  • Whether all the organizations (PwC & WEF are just two of many) are willing to set their own personal agendas aside and combine all their resources to solve one of the most critical business issues of our time.
  • Whether leadership in public companies recognizes the need to adopt organizational trust (which extends way beyond sustainability, corporate responsibility and “giving back”) as an intentional holistic business strategy and are willing to make the long-term changes required to do so.
  • Whether PwC, the WEF and other organizations see the value in opening their closed door discussions by bringing the “right” people to the table, those with expertise and first hand experience in organizational trust, culture, engagement, ethics, compliance, leadership, Board composition, etc.

What do you think? Is progress being made or are we permanently stuck in “talk.”

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust and integrity. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

Feb
08

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It’s Week #6 of 2016. This is our latest article in a series of  ideas to elevate trust in your organization, drawn from our 3rd annual 2016 Trust Poster….now hanging in offices of hundreds of organizations around the world who have placed trust on their business agenda.

52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust

Professor Roger Steare, also known as The Corporate Philosopher, a Trust Alliance Member from the UK, and one of our 2016 Top Thought Leaders in Trust, offers this:

Leaders can create a culture of trust by helping people feel valued, respected and heard in every meeting, huddle or call.

After working with leaders in many organizations across the world for 15 years, it has become clear to me that large-scale, “boil the ocean”, change programs fail because we do not experience leadership, culture and trust at large scale, we experience it locally in the here and now. Who your local manager is, their character, their values and their behavior are more likely to inspire you or de-motivate you than any messaging you get from the center. So as a leader, we lead locally with our teams. Focus on creating a safe, open climate for debate and constructive dissent. To create trust in your organization, treat your colleagues as mature, responsible grown-ups rather than children or compliant robots.

How many readers took took the earlier advice offered in our Weekly series?

Week #1 Kouzes & Posner 

Week #2 Bob Vanourek

Week #3 Barbara Kimmel

Week #4 Mark Fernandes

Week #5 Doug Conant

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust and integrity. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Feb
05

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Have you ever seen Trusted Advisor Associates Trust Equation? I’ve pulled it directly from their website with permission from Charles H. Green, a Trust Alliance member and one of our Lifetime Achievement Award Winners.

The Trust Equation uses four objective variables to measure trustworthiness. These four variables are best described as: Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy and Self-Orientation.

We combine these variables into the following equation:

TQ stands for Trust Quotient. The Trust Quotient is a number — like your IQ or EQ — that benchmarks your trustworthiness against the four variables.

In my opinion, and maybe Charlie’s too, nothing busts trust faster than a high denominator. All the credibility, reliability and intimacy in the world can’t fix that all too frequent “out of control” self-orientation.

Whether your work is in consulting, sales or any other profession requiring people skills, consider the possibility that the other individuals sitting at the table are familiar with Charlie’s Trust Equation. They are seeking signs of high self-orientation and it may just be the personality trait that kills the deal. Here’s ten signs to look for:

  1. Focus on the “I” instead of the “We”
  2. Failure to ask (or ask for) questions
  3. Interrupting
  4. Talking more than listening
  5. Lack of transparency
  6. Need for recognition
  7. Taking all the credit
  8. Having a win/lose perspective as opposed to a win/win
  9. Bending the truth
  10. Making excuses

It’s never too late to lower your self-orientation if it’s impeding your ability to succeed. What do you think?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help responsible organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Jan
31

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It’s Week #5 of 2016. This is our latest article in a series of weekly ideas to elevate trust in your organization, drawn from our third annual 2016 Trust Poster, 52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust.

Doug Conant of Conant Leadership and one of our 2016 Top Thought Leaders in Trust offers this:

Work tirelessly to dispel the illusion that trust is a “soft” skill.

Here are eight research-based reasons for taking Doug’s advice:

Trust Across America’s FACTS® Framework (an ongoing 3-year analysis) shows America’s Most Trustworthy Public Companies more than doubling the outperformance of the S&P 500 over that same period: FACTS 62.4% vs. S&P 29.5% in a live institutional portfolio.

A study by KRW International surveyed employees and CEOs in 84 companies about the character of their leadership teams and compared the results to their financial performance. The average ROA for the S&P 500 ranges from 2 – 3.25%. Character counts and pays off.

From Global Alliance for Banking on Values, (see more on the GABV in the first issue of TRUST! Magazine,) which compared values- based and sustainable banks to their big-bank rivals and found: 7% higher Return on Equity for values-based banks (7.1% ROE compared to 6.6% for big banks).

A 2013 study by Guiso, Sapienza and Zingales called “The Value of Corporate Culture” finds that proclaimed values appear irrelevant. Yet, when employees perceive top managers as trustworthy and ethical, firm’s performance is stronger.

And when trust is ignored or perceived as a soft skill, organizations suffer from the following and much more:

Less than one-third of US workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014, with millenials the least engaged. (Gallup) and this is costing the US economy $450-550 billion a year, which is over 15% of payroll costs. (Gallup, 2013)

The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. have piled up $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis. (Bloomberg, August 2013)

The PR firm Edelman finds in their 2015 “Trust Barometer” that Among the informed public segment of the 33,000-person survey — a group of 700 wealthy, well-educated, well-informed individuals — 57 per cent said they trusted business, down from 59 per cent last year. (Financial Times, January 20, 2015)

The Washington Post reported that “the federal government imposed an estimated $216 billion in regulatory costs on the economy (in 2012), nearly double its previous record.”

Do you still believe trust is a soft skill? Need more proof of the argument that trust is a hard asset?

How many readers took took the advice offered in January in our Weekly series?

Week #1 Kouzes & Posner 

Week #2 Bob Vanourek

Week #3 Barbara Kimmel

Week #4 Mark Fernandes

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help responsible organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

 

Jan
29

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Rahm Emanuel, besieged by angry crowds clamoring for his resignation or recall, now admits, “We have a trust problem.” Well, Duh. We think both Chicago and its Mayor have some strong and graphic lessons in trust to share with CEOs, Boards, C-Suites, CCOs, government officials, and even some of the political candidates for our nation’s highest office.

The authors have a particular interest in trust and culture development, and have carefully followed Chicago’s protests for this reason. In any organization (corporation, government agency, city or nation), trust is a precious and highly valued commodity. Trust, like all other elements comprising an organization’s culture, can’t be bought or “delegated” by its leaders, but evolves organically in direct proportion to individuals’ perception of transparency, honesty, fair play and organizational justice. Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) has offered some guidance for community leaders seeking to build a culture of trust and transparency that provides a good starting point.

Leaders of any organization always find their words and actions carefully scrutinized by their constituents including employees, voters, and others affected by their leadership. Senior leadership of companies would be well advised to think of their organization’s level of trust as the fluctuating result of the “ripple effect” of leadership’s words and actions at any given point in time. When leadership’s actions match its words, positive ripples of trust occur. Similarly, when leadership’s actions do not match its words, or do not reflect consistent values or transparency, negative ripples result. It’s human nature for employees, voters, and other constituencies to have a natural, basic hunger for organizational justice – the sense that the rules of the organization are fully transparent and apply equally to everyone. Every police force needs its citizenry to feel that its actions are moderated by protocols and rules (consistently applied), and every community hungers for leaders who act with transparency, trustworthiness and a sense of organizational justice.

Experts in the field of organizational trust and ethics often point to the value of organizational justice in successful “layoff” programs by companies faced with a business need to reduce the number of certain groups of employees, whether due to a simple “downsizing” or a corporate merger, consolidation or relocation of company offices. Despite the effects on both those employees that are laid off and the remaining “survivors,” fairness and consistency in the procedure to carry out the layoff program has a notable and positive effect on both parties and the organization. Former RAND expert on organizational justice, Jerald Greenberg, says that such recalls go well where:

  • Management is clear and truthful on the reasons for, and process to be used to implement, the layoff program;
  • The terms of the program are explained accurately in employee communications in advance of the event; and
  • Employees have confidence that the rules have been fairly applied to all.

The layoff case studies confirm one enduring principle of organizational justice: Companies can’t guarantee fair results, but they CAN guarantee that the process will be fairly applied to everyone. This principle of procedural fairness is Exhibit A for the value of truth and candor in employee communications – a key element of any successful culture of trust and ethical leadership.

And here are the lessons we think companies and their leadership can take from Chicago and its embattled Mayor:

  • Leaders who match words to action (“walk the talk”) build trust as ethical leaders and role models.
  • Transparency drives trust and an ethical culture.
  • The cover-up is always worse than the original problem.
  • If there’s a problem, tell it early, tell it all, and tell it yourself.

But let’s be real here. The time it takes to build trust is directly proportional to the frequency and number of positive trust – building interactions combined with attributes like character, competence and consistency. TAA-TAW calls this the “VIP Leadership Model (Values, Integrity and Promises kept).” There is no doubt that Chicago has a trust problem, and from all accounts the roots are deeply embedded in the culture, in both the Mayor’s administration and the police department. In a perfect world all Mayors and their respective administrations would choose to act, visibly and transparently, in a way that encourages trust, but the world is far from perfect. Chicago is simply the latest example of misdirected leadership and politically driven decision-making. There is a better way forward for all organizations, but first, leaders must acknowledge when a problem exists.

If Chicago and its embattled Mayor want to move forward and heal the wounds of the recent controversies, he and his administration must actively work to rebuild trust and credibility as a foundation of an ethical culture and organizational justice.

We would like to hear what you think about Chicago and Rahm Emanuel. You can take our confidential  Trust Quest poll at this link.

Donna Boehme is the Principal of Compliance Strategists LLC, Donna has advised a wide spectrum of private, public, governmental, academic and non-profit entities on organizational compliance and ethics. @DonnaCBoehme

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America – Trust Around the World whose mission is simply to help organizations build trust. @BarbaraKimmel

This article first appeared in:

The winter issue of TRUST! Magazine

The FCPA Blog

Compliance Strategists Blog

Copyright 2016 Next Decade, Inc.

Jan
25

 

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For Immediate Release:

Barbara Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder
Trust Across America – Trust Around the World
barbara@trustacrossamerica.com
Twitter: @BarbaraKimmel
Trust Across America 2016 Top Thought Leaders Announced

 

CHESTER, NEW JERSEY, January 25, 2016. Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW), global leaders in organizational trust honors its 2016 Top Thought Leaders. The awards program, now in its 6th year, celebrates professionals who are transforming the way organizations do business.

While there are a growing number of global “top” lists and awards, no others address trust, perhaps because the word itself presents a definitional challenge. For seven+ years TAA-TAW has been working with a team of cross-functional professionals to study, define and quantify organizational trust and trustworthiness.

According to Barbara Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder, “The release of this year’s list coincides with the beginning of the 4th year of the formation of our Trust Alliance, a growing group of global professionals committed to learning about and advancing the cause of organizational trust.

Many of this year’s honorees are well-known CEOs, authors and leadership advisors, while others are quietly working behind the scenes as teachers and researchers. We acknowledge and reward all their efforts in elevating societal trust. This year TAA-TAW is presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to seven professionals who have maintained Top Thought Leader status for five years, and their names are being permanently memorialized. i They inspire organizations to look more closely at their higher purpose…to create greater value for, and trust from all of their stakeholders, and understand trust is a “hard currency” with real returns.

The 2016 Lifetime Honorees can be accessed at this link, while complete details including our methodology, judges, award winners, articles and additional trust resources can be found in the Winter 2016 issue of TRUST! Magazine, sent free of charge to our Trust Alliance members.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World™ www.trustacrossamerica.com is a program of Next Decade, Inc., an award-winning research and communications firm that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over 20 years. TAA-TAW helps organizations build trust through an abundance of resources and ever expanding tools including award-winning books, a quarterly magazine, an annual poster, workshops, consulting, speaking and media expertise. It also provides a framework called FACTS(R) for organizations to improve trustworthy practices, and showcases individuals and organizations exhibiting high levels of trust and integrity.

Jan
23

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It’s almost Week #4 of 2016. This is the fourth article in a series of weekly ideas to elevate trust in your organization, pulled from our third annual 2016 Trust Poster, 52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust.

This idea is offered by Mark Fernandes. As Chief Leadership Officer at Luck Companies, Mark has been charged with taking its mission of Values Based Leadership (VBL) around the world. @MarkSFernandes

Build cultures of commitment vs. compliance where choices are guided by values not policies.

For leaders, trust and relationships are the means and end of our work. Over the course of my career I’ve found that with them, all things are possible. And much like many other things in work and life, it’s what you do before you do what you do that matters most in building trust and relationships; and ultimately cultures that are guided by values and rich in commitment, vs. those that are guided by policies and steeped in compliance. As such, I would recommend the following:

BE YOURSELF

By definition authenticity means something is genuine or real, and worthy of acceptance or belief. Kouzes and Posner subscribe “people won’t believe in the message until they believe in the messenger.” 

BE FIRST

Booker T. Washington said, “few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know you trust him.” 

BE ABOUT THEM

My version of this is to love your employees to death, give them something to believe in, and obsess every day about them becoming everything they are capable of becoming.

BE PRESENT

People want to know you are completely there with them, in this moment. Pour yourself into their lives and catch them in the act of doing extraordinary things. 

BE CAREFUL

Employees place their precious lives in our care, tread lightly.

 

How many readers took took the advice offered in January in our Weekly series?

Week #1 Kouzes & Posner 

Week #2 Bob Vanourek

Week #3 Barbara Kimmel

Ignoring organizational trust is similar to swimming in an ocean with no lifeguards on duty. Do so at your own risk!

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help responsible organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

Jan
20

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Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.

 —Warren Bennis

In 2013 Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) formed a Trust Alliance that has grown to several hundred global professionals from for-profit and not for-profit organizations of all sizes, as well as leaders from media, government and sports; academics and researchers; leadership, organizational development and culture change to compliance, ethics and trust professionals, consultants and speakers.

We recently asked our members to comment on what the Alliance represents to them and how they benefit from membership:

(The Trust Alliance) is…a collection of like-minded professionals advocating for the importance of, and need for, developing higher levels of trustworthy behavior in leaders and organizations around the world. I belong to the Alliance for two main reasons. One – it allows me to be part of something bigger than myself. It’s a badge of honor, so to speak, to say that I stand along dozens of other professionals who share the same ideals about the importance of trust. We are standard-bearers of what trust could/should look like in personal and organizational relationships. Second – it’s a good network for me to access…

Another member and  former public company CEO summed it up best:

We are a group of leaders who believe that many of our organizational and leadership challenges can be addressed by showing others that building trust is a huge game changer for people and organizations.

And finally….

(The Trust Alliance) has unequivocally deepened and enlivened our company mission, administration, and operations.

TAA-TAW is proud of the work our members are doing and the resources we are creating, both individually and collectively. But perhaps most importantly, we are changing the way organizations think about trust. It’s not a soft skill, but rather a hard asset that when implemented as a business strategy, brings out the best in both leaders and their organizations.

To explore more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Have you seen our 2016 Trust Poster? It’s changing the way organizations do business.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

Jan
19

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Certainly, everyone who has studied marketing learned the rule of “Giving the customer what they want.” But too often what the customer wants and what the customer actually needs are not the same.

For example, ask most leaders whether they believe a need exists to elevate the level of trust in their organization and without the blink of an eye, the answer will be a resounding “No!” Their understanding of organizational trust extends no further than increasing quarterly earnings, keeping Wall Street happy and following the advice of the general counsel. But if the level of organizational trust was what leaders believe it to be, innovation would be at an all time high, as would employee engagement and retention, those Glassdoor reviews would read a whole lot better, and decisions would be made, as Stephen M.R. Covey likes to say, “at the speed of trust.”

So why the glaring disconnect? It begins with the leader who simply does not know the right questions to ask and ends with the paid “experts”,”gurus” and “consultants” who deliver what many call “the happy talk song and dance” in the form of NSA trained and scripted speeches and seemingly quick and painless fixes forgotten before the ink dries on the check. It’s simply a revolving door of wasted time and money delivering what the customer wants.

The truth is that strategic trust not only takes time but also expertise to develop and implement. It requires leadership commitment, an understanding of organizational culture and core values, Board support, stakeholder buy-in and daily practice. It’s not built through happy talk and pre approved PowerPoint presentations, and rarely is it a quick fix. It requires a leader with a willingness to explore, with the right professionals (and there are only a handful), not what they believe they want but what they actually need. It requires vulnerability and a long-term perspective.

It’s no secret that most leaders continue to hold firm to the argument that the business case for trust simply does not exist, even though it does and continues to grow stronger. If you are a leader who wants to build organizational trust but cannot answer these questions, find someone who can help you. The returns will be game changing and the organization will flourish. If you are a service provider, stop giving the customer what they (think) they want and instead, take the time to find out what they need. If you are not the right person to fill that need, offer to help locate someone who can.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Have you seen our 2016 Trust Poster? It’s changing the way organizations do business.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

Jan
16

Trust Begins With Core Values

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It’s almost Week #3 of 2016. How many readers took the advice of Kouzes & Posner on building organizational trust in Week #1 or of Bob Vanourek in Week #2?

This is the third article in a series of weekly ideas to elevate trust in your organization, pulled from our third annual 2016 Trust Poster, 52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust.

This idea is offered by yours truly (Barbara Brooks Kimmel), the CEO and cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. 

Agree on a set of core values, practice and reinforce them daily

Or, as Peter Drucker said, “the enterprise must have simple, clear, and unifying objectives.”

 Moving towards a trust-based business strategy requires the following steps:

  • First, the Board of Directors, then the CEO with C-Suite support must acknowledge and embrace the importance of building trust. The business case has been made but the vast majority of organizations continue to ignore it.
  • Regularly communicating the values and culture.
  • Mandating and ensuring that those values are meeting the long-term needs of all internal and external stakeholders and across all silos- shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, community, etc.
  • Always “walking the talk.”

If you are looking for an example of a company that embraces its core values, look no further than Starbucks:

With our partners, our coffee and our customers at our core, we live these values:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

If you currently hold a leadership position or aspire to be a trustworthy leader, remember that if leaders haven’t identified the organization’s values, it’s unlikely that trust can work its magic. And by the way, trustworthy leaders also ask the right questions!

The third week of 2016 starts soon! Be sure to spend some time on building trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help responsible organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.