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Archive for the ‘Compliance’ Category

Sep
18

Photo courtesy of www.dondalrymple.com

According to a July 2017 World Economic Forum article about regaining trust in business….

Business is on the brink of distrust.

It is clear that the expectations of business are changing as rapidly as the world around us. Corporations must find a way to lead.

A contemporary CEO cannot afford to ignore this sentiment. The epoch of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a cost of doing business has passed; the era of “doing well by doing good” is upon us. Balancing the profit motive with the creation of societal value is about to become a precondition for the long-term success of any corporation, sector, scale or geographic reach notwithstanding.”

(Note: Trust Across America, through it’s FACTS Framework, developed the scorecard in 2009 and has been tracking and ranking the trustworthiness of the largest 2000 US based public companies since that time.)

So what is the path forward for leaders to regain trust in business? After all, the business case for trust has been proven time and again. Perhaps it boils down to the simple question of who owns trust.

The current SOP in most companies, is to take trust for granted until there is an “issue” and then trust is “delegated” to the “right” silo depending on the nature of the problem:

  • If there is a corporate crisis, the communications and legal team are there to talk about restoring trust after conferring with their PR firm.
  • If it’s a matter of “ethics,” the Chief Compliance Officer steps in.
  • Market share declining? The CMO steps up to tout brand “trust” in its campaign.
  • High employee turnover got you down? Head to HR. After all, they must not have hired “right.” Fire the whole darn department and replace the staff with interview robots. (I kid you not)
  • Unhappy shareholders? Punt to Investor Relations.
  • Giving a speech about building trust in the community? The corporate responsibility and sustainability silos are right on it, once legal signs off.

Got the picture?

Unfortunately, in most companies, no single person or department owns trust and that’s why business is on the brink of distrust. It’s that simple. Imagine running a company without a Chief Financial Officer. How would the job get done? Trust can no longer afford to be treated like a hot potato.

Who should own trust?

No doubt, it’s the CEO. Trust starts at the top, as a directive from the Board, with leadership acknowledgement of its strategic importance. Once that occurs, the day-to- day practice could be delegated to a Chief Trust Officer, who reports directly to the CEO. Imagine the first company bold enough to do this. Did I just say bold? I meant smart and proactive. 

What would the job entail?

  • Review and refine the credo, vision and values, with buy-in from every C-Suite member (and the Board.)
  • Regularly communicate vision and values to all stakeholders and ensure everyone abides by them.
  • Work closely with HR so hiring (and firing) is done according to the standards set forth above.
  • Get trust on the daily docket.  This is an example of how one company does this, and a bit more about driving culture.
  • Enforce a “zero” tolerance policy for trust breaches. Nobody is immune, especially the CEO.

What would the job requirements be?

Someone who lives the holistic concept of doing well by doing good, is a stellar communicator, and has the right combination of personal qualities to rally the troops. Impeccable character, courage, competence and consistency are key. In fact, not all that different from the qualities of a great CEO.

An organization’s chances at long-term success are predicated on the level of trust it builds with all its stakeholders. I can’t think of a more important and timely job title than Chief Trust Officer. Can you?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Sep
12

Photo courtesy of trepscore.com

Are the following low trust warning signs present in your company?

  • The Board emphasizes short-term financial results over long-term value creation.
  • CEO values are unknown or unclear and never communicated.
  • The C-Suite operates in individual silos.
  • Management ignores trust as a proactive business strategy or a competitive advantage.
  • The largest departments are legal and compliance with hyper focus on risk.
  • HR is lacking a “values driven” hiring framework hindering the construction of a talented and engaged team.
  • Transparency has taken a back seat to secrecy and closed doors, and employees are always the last to “find out.”
  • Layers of bureaucracy and “rules” slow every decision to a crawl.
  • Failure is punished so passion and innovation are low or nonexistent.
  • Stakeholder activism is increasing.

What other low trust warning signs would you add?

Trust Across America has been researching and measuring the trustworthiness of the 1500 largest US public companies for almost eight years via it’s FACTS® Framework. This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and fact-based ongoing study on this subject. We analyze quarterly and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization. We are particularly interested in tracking individual companies and sector trends over time.

 

While Trust Across America continues to make the business case for trust, it remains quite common for warning signs to be overlooked or completely ignored.  Address the “trust” danger signs before distrust becomes the norm, or the next crisis comes knocking at the CEOs front door.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Aug
19

Photo courtesy of www.foodconnections.org

Business leaders often talk about trust, particularly after a crisis. Yet, in the majority of companies proactive initiatives to elevate trust simply don’t exist, and that’s why the crises continue unabated and repeat themselves across corporate America.

Building trust proactively requires not only a strategic plan, but full understanding and support on the part of leadership. These facts about trust represent a good starting point to elevate trust in any business.

  1. Without trust at the top, trust in the middle cannot be maintained.
  2. Trust cannot be regulated. It’s voluntary and built on vision and values, not on rules and laws.
  3. Ethics and compliance are not synonymous with trust.
  4. Hanging a corporate credo on the wall doesn’t satisfy the trust imperative.
  5. Growing quarterly earnings does not make a company trustworthy. What makes it trustworthy is meeting the needs of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
  6. Trust cannot be owned by one corporate silo. It’s holistic and must flow down through the entire organization.
  7. Elevating trust is NOT a CSR program.
  8. The trustworthiness of public companies CAN be measured.
  9. Trust is a hard currency, not a soft skill, and it’s more profitable in the long-term.
  10. The business case for trust can be ignored by corporate leaders, but only for so long.

The most progressive business leaders have joined our Trust Alliance to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to learn about elevating organizational trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
12

A customer service representative at a major health insurance company recently told me that HIPAA prevented him from disclosing whether an application submitted for one of my children had been received by the company. I sensed he had misinterpreted HIPAA whose purpose is to safeguard medical information, but as he insisted, he was just “following the rules.” I thanked him for his time, hung up, and called back to the same department. The second customer service rep gave me the information I needed without hesitation.

Whether an employee or a customer, I’ll bet you’ve heard these statements (excuses) or used them yourself more than once.

  • I need to get approval to do (or say) that.
  • I need to clear this through compliance.
  • I need permission before you can quote me.
  • I can’t help you without approval.
  • I’m just following the rules.
  • I apologize for your frustration.

Perhaps it’s time for business leaders to take a few minutes to understand the relationship between trust and approval.

Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions of approval:

Definition #1: The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

Definition #2:  Permission to do something: acceptance of an idea, action, plan, etc.

Focusing now on Definition #2, how many employees are constrained by “permission” in your organization? Have you considered how this impacts:

  • Speed of innovation
  • Decision-making
  • Employee engagement
  • Cost

Every time an employee needs approval to say or do something, the “approval” process impedes the outcome. In fact, the process may be so daunting, that employees choose to take the “easy” road, never creating anything new or suggesting a novel idea;  or as in the story above, checking with someone else when they clearly do not understand the company’s daunting “rules.”

As a business leader, have you considered how your customers are impacted by the “approval process” in your organization, or how the company’s actions:

  • Waste customer AND employee time
  • Create hard feelings
  • Lower customer retention
  • Damage reputation and elevate risk
  • Raise costs

As a business leader, what if your focus shifted from “approval” or rule enforcement to elevating stakeholder trust?

The most progressive and successful CEOs and their Boards have redirected their attention to crafting long-term vision and values statements and/or Codes of Conduct, not driven by legal and compliance, but by their two most important stakeholders, their employees and their customers. (The “credo” etched into the wall at corporate headquarters does not even begin to satisfy this requirement.) The entire staff, beginning with the Board and CEO, must vow to live their values every day, and ensure that employees understand that any “values violation” will result in immediate termination. Just imagine the innovation, speed of decision-making and empowerment that would result from this cultural transformation, not to mention the ultimate cost savings and impact on profitability.

During the editing process of our book Trust Inc. I reviewed the websites of many large public companies with the goal of including an Appendix brimming over with examples of well-crafted vision statements. This became a difficult and disappointing task as the handful identified could not be included in the book without “approval” from the respective company’s legal department, which would have meant a lengthy delay of the book’s publication. Instead, I created a “work around” by eliminating the company name. What a lost opportunity for all!

If organizations spent more time building values instead of layers of legal teams and compliance departments, the word “approval” would start to look more like Merriam-Webster’s first definition:

The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

And “approval” would be replaced with trust.

The most progressive business leaders have joined our Trust Alliance to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to learn about elevating organizational trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
07

Courtesy of mystorybook.com

Far away and just as long ago, in the land of gardens and strip malls, also known as New Jersey, a somewhat smallish “Jersey Girl” named Barbara (Barb to her high school friends) had a rather tall vision to change the world, or at least the conversation.  Barb believed that if she could get people thinking about trust, particularly in business, trust would spring eternal- similar to Jersey blueberries- and take off like a Jersey driver.

And so Barb began to knock softly on the doors of corporate America to politely inquire about trustworthy leaders and their business practices. The responses were far from what she expected to hear.

  • We are big business and don’t budget for soft stuff like trust since it doesn’t impact our bottom line.
  • The corporate credo written on the lobby wall has trust covered.
  • We are already trustworthy. After all, our quarterly earnings are growing and look how fast we are expanding globally.
  • We give to charities and have an annual CSR event.
  • Haven’t you seen our latest TV commercial on diversity?
  • We’re conserving water and energy.
  • We are looking in to cybersecurity.
  • Our compliance department “has trust covered.” We stay just on the “right side” of the law.
  • Who cares if our employees are unhappy? There are plenty to replace them.
  • And the best one, the response from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company… “Trust? Interesting, I never even thought about that word!”

Barb’s quick takeaway…the trust crisis is not the “problem” of big business (until there’s an internal crisis and then lots of money is paid to consultants to make it look like the problem is fixed when it’s not), and one person named Barb from NJ is no threat to big business! Go knock somewhere else until such time as trust is regulated.

And that’s exactly what she did, because Barb had changed her middle name from Jane to “Tenacity” right around her fifth annual 39th birthday. She knocked and knocked and did not give up until the right people started to listen, and even lend a hand. And then the idea struck (sort of like a lightening bolt) – if one rather small woman from NJ could get some “trust loving”, imagine how much 100 men and women, or 1000, or even a million could attract? And so she started a movement, A Campaign for Trust, and she invited everyone who didn’t slam the door to join her (except the mainstream media because they seemed perpetually stuck on bad news that sells)!

In a few months, eyebrows began to raise beyond Jersey’s borders, as did the roster of global Trust Alliance members, men and women from “big business” (the ones who didn’t slam the trust door), small business, startups academia, researchers, community leaders, government and consulting (leadership, culture, teamwork, compliance, ethics, CSR, HR, sales, reputation and crisis repair, communications, risk, data security, governance, sustainability.) They weren’t exactly sure what “signing up” meant, but they trusted Barb enough to know they wanted to be part of this particular movement, because without trust, organizations are at best mediocre, never knowing when the next crisis will strike.

The Trust Alliance has been quite busy over the past four+ years with dozens of projects including:

  1. Roundtable discussions with industry leaders on building trust
  2. Publication of three books in our Trust Inc. series
  3. Introductions between members resulting in speaking engagements, consulting opportunities and new business relationships
  4. An annual trust poster
  5. Publication of a collaborative digital magazine called TRUST!
  6. Assembly of DIY Trust Boxes
  7. Real world case studies called Trustlets

And many more initiatives including two new programs launching this fall. After all, it’s hard to imagine why any organization (even one run by a small, perpetually 39 year old woman from NJ) wouldn’t want to join us and collaboratively help in elevating organizational trust. So what’s holding you back? Feel free to use one of the excuses listed above!

(And by the way, on most days Trust Across America’s website attracts between 500-1000 enlightened visitors who “get” the importance of organizational trust.)

PS- One of Barb’s offspring cautions about trying to be funny about trust. It’s a serious subject. Barb disagrees. She thinks trust can be funny and fun, and serious too! What do you think?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
22

 

In our ongoing monthly Tuning in to Trust & Ethics series on elevating organizational trust and ethics, we asked our Trust Alliance members to weigh in on the following question:

Many believe that the HR function plays an important role in building organizational trust and trustworthiness. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Deb Mills-Scofield helps companies create dynamic strategic plans to promote a business-wide innovation mindset.

HR builds trust in how they behave every single day - with each other, their peers and all… Click To Tweet

Obviously, how HR deals with employees’ issues, complaints, and concerns conveys corporate culture.  Confidences need to be kept, gossip discouraged (especially by not participating in it), and root causes addressed.  People need to be held accountable. This applies equally, and perhaps even more importantly, to how HR interacts within their own organization and with their peers.  Double standards are common, but to create sustainable trust, they are absolutely unacceptable. Behavior matters.”

Donna Boehme is an international authority in the field of compliance and ethics.

I have always regarded HR as the beating heart of an organization. Click To Tweet

That’s because the mission and mandate of this critical function, as it’s name suggests, is all about a company’s people- and all aspects of the organizational cycle of their people, from hiring and on boarding/ orientation, to compensation, development and promotion; to retirement/ separation/discipline (as appropriate) of employees It’s obvious that organizations can only conduct business through their employees.  Thus, the manner in which the HR department discharges its mission is absolutely critical to the building of organizational trust and an ethical culture.  For this reason, experienced compliance and ethics professionals regard the HR function as a key partner in all aspects of their work.   It’s my observation that how well Compliance and HR work together on the shared goals of strong ethical culture and organizational trust is the critical factor.  Both functions need to work together to promote employees’ sense of “organizational justice” – probably the most important endeavor of their partnership.

Bob Whipple is a consultant who helps leaders build and maintain trust:

Without question the HR function has a lot to do with whether the culture will be one of high trust, but I think it works in a strange way. I think it is necessary but not sufficient.

If HR is not working with candor and transparency, then a culture of doubt will kindle that is hard… Click To Tweet  

But if HR shows the highest integrity and trustworthy behaviors, it will not be sufficient to create a high trust culture throughout the organization. Reason: I believe trust starts at the top of the organization and cascades throughout the various levels.  The most significant factor influencing a culture of trust is the behaviors of the most senior leader.  A problem leader at any level in the organization can thwart the culture, but a really great leader at the top will root out the problem and eliminate it.  If there is ethical dry rot at any level, the trust will be snuffed out like a candle hit with a bucket of water.

And finally Holly Latty-Mann, a clinical psychologist offers the following advice on HR’s role in building a trustworthy organization:

1) When HR questions management’s decisions that negatively impact the rights of the workforce, they serve equally both management and staff, garnering trust.

2) When HR represents without bias expressed concerns of workforce members to management, trust deepens on all levels.

3) HR is transparent without bias regarding actions staff can take when systems aren’t currently in place to honor legitimate needs, and

4) HR doesn’t play favorites by making themselves the gatekeepers as to who gets what. Click To Tweet

Trust building plays a vital role in the value system and subsequent long-term sustainability of any organization. It must not only be built into the cultural DNA, but must also be practiced and reinforced daily.

Hiring for trust, with the support of upper management should be just as important, if not more… Click To Tweet

The most progressive HR leaders will promote a culture of trust and assist in elevating it throughout the organization.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

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Jan
10

 

A high performing trustworthy business is a great source of competitive advantage, and that is driven by the Board of Directors. The following are 12 “must follow” strategies for 2017 adapted from our book. 

 

Boards must pay attention to corporate culture. Culture is the legacy of leadership, and a healthy… Click To TweetBob Vanourek, Triple Crown Leadership

Demand management accountability for the factors that contribute to corporate character. Click To TweetRoger Bolton, President Arthur Page Society

Empower an independent chief compliance officer (CCO) to act as a strong ethical culture leader… Click To TweetDonna Boehme, Principal, Compliance Strategists

Align the business agenda with societal expectations. Build a better world as you build a better… Click To TweetDoug Conant, Conant Leadership

Understand how your stakeholders feel about you. Take surveys, monitor social media and share… Click To Tweet Linda Locke, Standing Partnership

Practice values based leadership: articulate precisely, connect frequently, role-model, sanction… Click To Tweet Charles H. Green, Trusted Advisor Associates

Develop the strategic direction for the enterprise by taking the constellation of all stakeholders… Click To Tweet. Nadine Hack, beCause Global Consulting

See the entity through the eyes of a new employee by attending a live new-employee orientation… Click To Tweet Robert Galford, Center for Leading Organizations

Boards must develop their own robust crisis plans prior to any crisis. Click To Tweet Davia Temin, Temin and Company

Build authentic conversations based on trust and exchange ideas fearlessly. Click To Tweet Alain Bolea, Business Advisors Network

The Golden Rule is the best strategy for Boards to drive C-Suite behavior. Click To Tweet Mark Chandler, Senior VP & General Counsel, Cisco

Review, discuss, share and elevate your company’s “Return on Trust.” What can be measured can be managed.  Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO Trust Across America

Get the Board on board in elevating trust in 2017! Click To Tweet. Over 50 more ideas like these are available by ordering the book.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its eighth year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 1500 US public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International.
Copyright (c) 2017 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Oct
16

TAA_R2_EDIT-CS3

Executive Summary of White Paper Recently Published

by Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

 

Building a trustworthy company will improve both its profitability and organizational sustainability. Supporting this statement is a growing body of evidence showing an increasing correlation between trustworthiness and superior financial performance. Our 2016 report attempts to provide content and context to place trust in the center of more business conversations, to answer the following questions and dispel the myth that integrity and trust are “soft” skills.

  • Why do trust and integrity matter?
  • Can they be measured?
  • Are they profitable?
  • Which sectors are the most trustworthy?
  • Is industry destiny?
  • What are the costs of low trust and integrity and why do they matter as hard currencies?
  • Which companies are some of the most trustworthy and why?
  • How can companies become more trustworthy?

Integrity and trust should start at the top and flow down through the organization. They are not CSR, compliance, HR or leadership “programs” but rather an intentional holistic business strategy adopted by leadership and practiced daily. Vanishing are the days of low transparency, “short termism” and maximization of shareholder value at the expense of other stakeholders.

As trust breaches continue to make the headlines across many major institutions and societies around the globe, organizations that choose integrity and trust as intentional strategies will continue to outperform their peers.

Who will find value in reading this paper?

  • Business leaders
  • Boards of Directors
  • Associations
  • Investors
  • Communications and Investor Relations
  • Corporate responsibility officers
  • Regulators
  • Politicians
  • NGOs

Please register here to request access to the full paper.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 1500 US public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor.

Copyright © 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Sep
13

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Leaders and their organizations must earn trust before they can build it.

Failure to earn trust leaves the enterprise vulnerable to countless risks. —

Barbara Brooks Kimmel

Trust building can be implemented through the following sequence of actions and initiatives. We call this the VIP Trust Model.

 Triangle

 

  • VISION & VALUES: Leaders identify, with input from all stakeholders, the organization’s principles or core values. Why does the organization exist and what does it stand for? Write a meaningful credo with buy-in from all silos.
  • INTEGRITY: Practice and regularly communicate the moral principles and purpose of the leadership team and the organization. Hold training for employees in leading with trust in their behaviors and interactions. Lose the “sales scripts.”
  • PROMISES & PROCESS: Ensure that leadership is held accountable for doing what they say they will do, and for regularly communicating the vision, values and promises to all stakeholders. Make this a daily function of your corporate responsibility team in collaboration with compliance and communications.

Implement ways of doing things that translate the principles above into organized group behavior. Internally this includes the hiring and training of employees, structure of meetings, transparency of/fair personnel policies, how decisions are made and accessibility to leadership. With external stakeholders (vendors, customers, community, etc.), trust can be enhanced using quantitative measurement, benchmark and screening “tools” like Trust Across America’s FACTS® Framework.

About the Author:

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 2,000 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara is also the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.

Nominations are now open for the 7th annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust.

Copyright (c)  2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
30

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Organizations and their leaders often find themselves caught in “trust and ethics traps.”

Jes Staley the newly appointed American CEO of the beleaguered British Barclays Bank is one such leader. In fact, as he recently announced in this BBC News Article “I do believe that trust is returning to our institution. But we will never rest, we are never done. We have to focus on building that trust every day.”

Eerily, Staley’s comments have a familiar ring. In the wake of the Libor scandal in 2012 the Bank’s new CEO, an insider named Antony Jenkins also spoke extensively about rebuilding trust. Yet in an all too common response when faced with a crisis of trust and ethics, the Board Chair John McFarlane recently passed blame to regulators for picking on the bank.

We asked our Trust Alliance members to weigh in on the steps Barclays new CEO should take to build trust and ethics, carrying on the legacy of his predecessor.

Leadership Momentum’s Elizabeth Doty emphasizes the importance of building on the company’s new purpose and values, by making clearer, stronger commitments to stakeholders:

Though outsiders can never know a company’s internal reality, Mr. Staley’s comments show that he recognizes that trust is earned by being trustworthy. It is also positive that Mr. Staley’s predecessor, Mr. Jenkins, clarified the company’s purpose and values, and outlined specific behaviors, such as “I honour my commitments.” Still, given the turmoil of repeated leadership changes and reorganization, Mr. Staley and his team are likely to face serious credibility challenges, regardless of their intent.

The purpose of a commitment is to reduce others’ uncertainty, so they feel less risk in trusting us. Making and keeping meaningful commitments is a powerful way to proactively demonstrate trustworthiness. Yet, despite Barclay’s clarification of its purpose and values, stakeholders are still left with their primary uncertainty: How will you make tradeoffs under pressure? “I see nothing to indicate rates and markets will not be rigged again in future or that schemes to enhance bank profits at customers’ expense…could not repeat,” posted one commenter. One solution is to make clearer, stronger commitments specifically related to the side-stepping stakeholders worry about. For example, Barclay’s could commit to doing whatever most contributes to a customer’s goals, or to a level playing field in the market. Though it takes courage, companies that put such a stake in the ground and learn how to deliver a) increase credibility by showing they understand stakeholders’ true risks, b) reduce the potential for mixed messages to staff, c) force themselves to innovate, and d) differentiate themselves in a way that is extremely difficult to emulate. The key will be not to underestimate the challenges of re-shaping their culture to get there.

Davia Temin, a leading reputation and crisis response consultant speaks of the trust challenges continuing to plague most of the largest global financial institutions years after the 2008 financial meltdown.

Rebuilding trust in financial institutions is a complex algorithm that can test the skills of the best financial engineering “rocket scientist.”  

Far from simply making a pronouncement of one’s intent (although that can be the first step), the organization needs to first deconstruct all the elements that went into building trust in their particular firm in the first place, analyze all the things that went wrong, and then construct a plan to overcorrect the breaches. Because simply fixing them will not rebuild trust, it will only, maybe, stop the erosion. 

But this is seriously hard work. Barclays, as most banks, has a number of critical audiences, each of whom needs a different set of fixes in order to begin to restore their trust. And some of those fixes are in direct conflict with others. Individual customers, shareholders, institutional clients, counterparties, regulators and legislators in every country in which they operate, and even the public at large must each feel that the bank puts THEIR INTERESTS in front of its own. Because it has been the self-dealing aspect of financial institutions’ behavior that did the most damage to their reputations and caused the greatest loss of trust.   

So, to rebuild trust, Barclays and others will need to show their audiences that the bank puts them first…and that’s a hard thing to do and remain profitable. But it is almost impossible to make such a promise and then ignore it, or to fail in its announced attempt. So, now that Mr. Staley has thrown down the gauntlet, perhaps he can get his financial product rocket scientists to reverse-engineer all the elements that went into the losing of public trust, share them with us all, and then announce how he will redress them, one by one. That, indeed, just might work, and would be my prescription.”

And finally Bob Whipple of Leadergrow reminds us where trust starts in all institutions.

It sounds like a lot of problems have been swept under the rug for some time and are impacting all facets of Barclays. I applaud the resolve to rebuild trust in the bank and the candor at admitting the many unpopular steps it will take.  My advice is to recognize that rebuilding a culture starts at the top and works its way down the organization.  Establish an understanding that it is safe for people to tell you the things that are hard to say. Do not punish people when they bring up issues that are uncomfortable or difficult to address.    

Similar to Barclays many organizations find themselves in trust traps because they hold on to the notion that trust and ethics are “soft skills.”

And because trust is ignored or taken for granted, its decline continues across all major institutions. Some of the warning signs of low trust include:

  • Disengaged boards with minimal diversity- not only must the board be “on board” with the mission and vision of the organization but research, including our own points to a correlation between high trust organizations and gender diversity.
  • Frequent crises- identifying core values, practicing and reinforcing them daily heads off many “would be” crises. Leaders who view trust as “soft” often find themselves spending the majority of their time putting out fires instead of improving their culture.
  • Short-term profit maximization at all costs including layoffs and job cuts as a first line of defense- it’s not unusual for companies like Barclays to think the bleeding can be stopped by cutting jobs and divisions, but these are simply bandages and they never cure diseases.
  • Decreasing CEO tenure and increasing compensation packages tied to quarterly earnings- try tying CEO compensation to some point in the future (3-5 years) and suddenly the focus changes from the short to the long term.
  • Increasing regulation (and scrutiny from regulators) and larger legal and compliance departments- as we have discussed in the past, trust simply can’t be regulated. It’s voluntary.

Fortunately the most progressive organizations have begun to recognize the strategic advantages of a high trust culture.

  • Fewer crises and the ability to recover more rapidly
  • A large trust “bank account”
  • Faster decision making and improved execution
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Higher customer loyalty and retention
  • Greater innovation (high trust fuels high innovation, not the other way around)
  • Increased long-term profitability

The trust and ethics crisis at Barclays will not end until insiders, beginning at the Board level, not only accept blame and take responsibility, but also put actionable measures in place to clean up the culture. Will Jes Staley be the CEO who turns Barclays around? Will he walk the trust he is talking? What do you think?

Tuning in to Trust & Ethics is a new monthly column of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s Trust Alliance compiled by Barbara Brooks Kimmel

Another version of this article first appeared on the FCPA Blog.

Part I: bit.ly/1Mp9LO7

Part II: bit.ly/1UcHiTJ

Copyright (c)  2016 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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