Archive

Posts Tagged ‘corporate reputation’

Dec
21

 

Winter has officially arrived and many of us will be traveling. We tend to blindly trust the various companies that we book to get us from point A to point B, and who host us once we arrive. What do the Trust Across America FACTS ® Framework rankings have to tell us about those in whom we place our trust this holiday season?

The following data compares the Trust scores for ten well-known travel and holiday-related companies, from the highest to the lowest. *See below the rankings for a detailed explanation of the displayed data.

Book with companies that work hard to ensure they are meeting the needs of not only their shareholders, but also their customers and see how your experience compares with your family, friends and business colleagues.

Have a happy holiday season!

 

*The chart above displays only companies in the Russell 1000 Index that have “above average rankings in their industry. Companies that are below “average” have been omitted. Scores are updated annually.
**No company is perfect. It is unusual for any company to score about an 80% in our rankings.

 

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a comprehensive unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.

 

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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Dec
17

Photo above courtesy of www.ceotoceo.com

Every year about this time, the news “treats us” to the top corporate reputation failures, and 2017 is certainly no exception. I think it’s safe to say that the “buck stopped” on the CEO’s desk at Wells Fargo, United Airlines and Equifax, to name just a few leadership fails this year.

While bad news continues to sell, not all is gloom and doom. When I launched Trust Across America-Trust Around the World almost ten years ago, one of our objectives was to redirect attention to the “good.” Great corporate leaders are plentiful, but their stories often get buried amongst all the bad news.

The list below is not about philanthropy or CSR, but rather a long-term holistic embrace of trustworthy leadership and the resulting impact on ALL stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Ten Great CEO “Trust” Stories for 2017

(not in any rank order)

#1 David Reiling, CEO at Sunrise Banks talks about community enrichment, innovation and its impact on underserved consumers in banking.

#2 Basecamp CEO Jason Fried limits both meetings and work hours to ensure his employees lead well-balanced lives.

#3 Amy Hanson, CEO of Hanson Consulting encourages both teamwork and corporate transparency.

#4 Rose Marcario runs Patagonia and for her, conscious leadership has resulted in the quadrupling of profits.

#5 Fifty-year old Earth Friendly Products CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks pays her employees a minimum of $17.00 per hour.

#6 In an industry fraught with reputation disasters, Gary Kelly at Southwest Airlines not only puts customers first but insists on making flying enjoyable.

#7 Love, trust and commitment to excellence are how Mark Stefanski, CEO (for 30 years) of Third Federal Savings and Loan describes his values, while eighty percent of his associates are women.

#8 Mark Benioff at Salesforce is trying to close the gender and racial pay gap.

#9 Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte’s CEO has a 94% employee approval rating and still manages to balance work and family. (After all, family is certainly a stakeholder in the life of a CEO.)

#10 Chip Bergh, who took the helm at Levi Strauss in 2011, has created a long-term focused culture where employees feel safe to experiment… and it’s worked.

(And BTW: Chip and I share the same (Lafayette College alma mater.)

Whether male or female (count them on this list) trustworthy CEOs know that philanthropy and CSR only go so far in building high trust companies. Trustworthy CEOs practice what we call VIP Leadership (Values, Integrity & Promises kept). The CEOs mentioned on our 2017 list don’t just “talk” about stakeholder trust, they walk it. Community enrichment, focus on employees, conscious leadership, treatment of customers, protecting the environment. These are what make a great CEO.

Let’s celebrate these trustworthy leaders and the companies they run. Let’s work together to continue to build organizational trust in 2018.

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 (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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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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Apr
12

 

Trust Across America’s focus has always been on finding and highlighting the “best in breed” corporate citizens while leaving the worst for the scrutiny of others. But today is only Wednesday and my inbox is swamped with so many trust busting stories that even Lucy’s head is spinning. Here we go:

Wells Fargo is clawing back compensation to rebuild trust, or are they?

Volkswagen has found the “secret” to  rebuilding trust…. are they kidding?

Barclay’s CEO has his own strategy for trust, but it’s certainly not the “building” kind. This is the same CEO who not so long ago said “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.”

A  bunch of “fake activist” companies, outraged over the purported trust violations of Bill O’Reilly, pull their advertising, or do they? Thanks Jim!

And let’s not forget United, except this isn’t about customer brutality, and maybe not even about trust! It’s just ironic.

This week, instead of watching sitcoms, I’ve taken to reading the news. As an organizational trust researcher and communicator, I’m finding it not only highly educational but also wildly entertaining.

As I’ve said for many years, the ongoing trust crisis will certainly not abate until untrustworthy leaders sail off into the sunset or recognize the error of their ways and start advocating for change.

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 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Nov
24

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A spate of corporate crises in 2015 have only served to fuel the long-term fire of low organizational trust. Under the theory that trust starts at the top and trickles down, we asked our Alliance Members and Top Thought Leaders how Boards of Directors can be the catalyst to drive organizational trust in the right direction in 2016.

Our readers will find twelve suggestions below:

 

Boards must replace fear with trust:

A trust-based culture increases morale, productivity, innovation, speed, agility, pride in the workplace, value to the customer and sustained high performance.

Edward Marshall, The Marshall Group

 

Boards must widen the scope of their membership:

Diverse boards bring different and new types of expertise and perspectives, increasing the range of topics discussed, and most important, encouraging open, candid and provocative discussions.

Nadine Hack, beCause Global Consulting

 

Boards and CEOs must be proactive:

Boards can and should lead certain functions for the firm from defining the desired culture to involvement in strategy development. They should not be passive monitors.

Bob Vanourek, Triple Crown Leadership

 

Board members must have authentic conversations:

They must be provided with sufficient information; a safe space that protects privacy and rejects behaviors to intimidate, ridicule or insult; and enough time to explore systemic issues without jumping to conclusions.

Alain Bolea, Business Advisors Network

 

Boards must avoid entrenching polarized attitudes:

Boards must have synergy. Look for warning signs in communications including “we versus they” or “if only we can get them to do this.”

Bob Whipple, Leadergrow

 

Board members must ask the tough (ethical) questions…and act on the answers:

Tie compensation and bonuses to ethical leadership metrics as well as financial performance.

Donna C. Boehme, Compliance Strategists

 

Boards must demand management accountability:

Mission, purpose, values, culture, strategy, business model and brand must be thoughtfully defined, activated and aligned to create a coherent whole.

Roger Bolton, Arthur Page Society

 

Boards must align their business agenda with societal expectations:

Board members must have an unmistakable sensitivity to the societal issues of the day. Capabilities must be aligned to build a better world AND a better company.

Doug Conant, Conant Leadership

 

Boards must speak with candor:

The canned, compliance-approved double-talk and corporate window dressing must be replaced. It is, at best, a short-term unsustainable business strategy, and hiding behind philanthropic efforts simply doesn’t work. Boards must build cultures of authentic long-term trust, practice it holistically, and regularly communicate it to all stakeholders.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Trust Across America

 

Boards must kill the evening before dinner:

Instead take a small group of front-line or mid-level employees to dinner in an informal setting without the presence of other corporate executives.

Robert Galford, Center for Leading Organizations

 

Board must understand their organization’s relationship with their stakeholders:

Take surveys, monitor social and legacy media, and share information across the organization; track the emotions of issues, events and topics, follow changes in the environment; engage and address concerns.

Linda Locke, Standing Partnership

 

Boards must develop their own crisis plan:

Enumerate what kinds of actions will be taken for different issues, their crisis strategy and who will be designated to play “first string.”

Davia Temin, Temin and Company

 

What would you add to these recommendations? Drop me a note at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Dozens more suggestions like this can be found in Trust, Inc: A Guide for Boards and C-Suites and in our brand new 2016 annual poster Weekly Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust

 

 

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Nov
01

TrustQuest

In the wake of the ongoing Volkswagen trust debacle and lot’s of “hot potato” blame games, our November Trust Quest asks:

Who’s Responsible?

What are your thoughts? Will you take 60 seconds to weigh in?

In the words of Richard Branson…

“The most valuable business commodity is trust.
There is simply no point in talking about trust if it is not followed by action.”

Nominations are now open for our 6th annual Trust Across America-Trust Around the World Top Thought Leaders.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations identify their core values to build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also servers 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 2015, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Oct
16

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Trust is a holistic subject encompassing leadership, teamwork, crisis management, reputation management, risk, compliance, corporate responsibility and a host of interrelated components.

TRUST! Magazine’s 1st Anniversary issue brings together some of the best and the brightest service providers who are  working to advance the global cause of organizational trust.

Read more about the work they are doing at this link, the FREE fall issue of TRUST! Magazine.

If you are interested in advancing trust in your organization, I hope you choose to avail yourselves of these resources.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

FallCover

Access magazine here

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Jul
27

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How do low-trust leaders communicate when faced with a trust breach? Here’s a quick sampling of 10 “one- liners” pulled from the headlines over the past several weeks.

  1. “It was our legal right to do so.”
  2. “I had no hard evidence.”
  3. “Errors are inadvertent and happen.”
  4. “We will increase our compliance monitoring.”
  5. “There was no calculation to mislead people.”
  6. We’re all a bit stunned by the news.
  7. “I mean it when I say we screwed up.”
  8. “No comment at this time.”
  9. “We continue to cooperate with the relevant authorities on pursuing those responsible for this criminal act.”
  10. “I was totally unaware that this was in the works.”

Huh, what and are you kidding?

Why do we continue to read these rehashed headlines after a trust violation and why do leaders use these excuses? Very simply because organizational trust is not regulated; it’s voluntary. And because of this one simple fact, trust is largely ignored in most organizations. It’s not practiced proactively unless leadership places trust high on it’s business agenda. That’s called intentional trust, and it’s very rare. Instead, most leaders wait for the next crisis (which is a “given” in low trust organizations) and then pull an excuse from the list above, usually with the assistance of the legal department.

If ANY leader of ANY organization actually believes that these “one-liners” build long-term trust with stakeholders, please drop a note to barbara@trustacrossamerica.com . I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel has been the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World  since 2008. The program’s mission is simply to provide tools and assistance to organizations interested in building trust. Barbara runs the world’s largest organizational trust membership program. She is also the 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.

Barbara is an award-winning communications executive and former consultant to McKinsey who has run her own firm, Next Decade, Inc., that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over twenty years. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch (City University of NY).

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Jun
24

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In most companies trust is taken for granted until a crisis threatens earnings and subsequent shareholder loyalty. And because it’s not regulated, most CEOs ignore the word “trust” completely. Just ask any CEO how trustworthy they think their company is, and depending on the route they took in their ascent through the ranks, these are the responses you will most likely receive:

  • The College Sports Team Captain:  “Trust is an outcome of wins over losses.”
  • The Chief Marketing/Communications Officer: “Trust is gained or lost according to the message we deliver.”
  • The Military Officer: “Trust is a product of strong teams.”
  • The Milton Friedman follower: “Our quarterly earnings are growing so we are trusted by our shareholders.”
  • The Chief Compliance Officer: “If we abide by the regulations, we are trustworthy.”
  • The General Counsel: “If we don’t break any laws, we are trustworthy.”
  • The Chief Financial Officer: “Our level of trust is measured in our income statement and balance sheet.”
  • The Investment Banker: “We benchmark our trust against our competitors.”

If all these definitions are correct, then why are the levels of trust so low, not only in corporate America but globally? The answer is simply, “The definitions are wrong.”

Fortunately some leaders, and their Boards have tossed these “old school” siloed and limited definitions of organizational trust to the curb.  We are beginning to see the emergence of a new “class” of enlightened CEOs who are leading very differently and their companies are thriving.

  • The Values Based Leader: We define trust according to how trustworthy I am viewed as a leader.
  • The Trust Based Leader: We define trust through our leadership and organizational values, and how well we are meeting the needs of all our stakeholders- shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, community, etc.

Trust begins with leadership that recognizes its value and embraces it as a long-term business strategy. Until leaders at both the Board and CEO level lose their “old school” definition and adopt a new one that works, trust will stagnate. CEOs will continue to extinguish the daily fires by hiring more compliance staff to meet the needs of the ever increasing regulations that are written as a result of low trust and trust violations. Sounds like a never-ending cycle of mistrust … and a short-term strategy at best.

I challenge all CEOs and Boards to lose their old definition of trust and replace it with one that works. Start by becoming a values based leader and trust will follow.

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

Our annual poster, 52 Weeks of Activities to Increase Organizational Trust is available to those who would like to support our work by making a small donation.

Did you know we have published 3 books in our award-winning TRUST Inc. series. They are yours when you join our Alliance.

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
28

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Low trust comes with high costs.

We have just been presented with a great year-end lesson for every business professor to teach as many graduating students head into corporate America.

What happens when two of the most disliked companies in America try to merge? NOTHING.

Thanks to Tom Wheeler at the FCC, Comcast’s Brian Roberts is licking his wounds. Years of Washington lobbying and deal making just weren’t enough to seal the Comcast/Time Warner deal.

And when all is said and done, every stakeholder loses. What a perfect case study in trust, and it can be taught in one hour!

Assignment #1:

Read TIME Magazine article providing overview of the players and events leading up to the failed merger.

Assignment #2:

Read Slate.com article on the most hated merger in America

Assignment #3:

Read the Wall St. Journal article on how the big investment banks lost out on $380 million in fees

Assignment #4:

A big win for consumers? Not so fast.

Assignment #5:

Entrenched local monopolies are not a “win” for consumers.

Assignment #6: (this could also be Assignment #1)

The Washington Post spends time discussing Roberts leadership and the role it played in this failed merger.

Assignment #7:

Read Return on trust 4-9 and  my article on How to Cut Your Biggest Expense. (Maybe someone can deliver copies to Brian Roberts.)

Questions to ask your students:

  • What is the role of the Board of Directors in building stakeholder trust?
  • What is the role of the CEO?
  • Why are companies like Comcast and Time Warner hated by their customers?
  • What societal “good” could have come out of the merger? Hint: investment bankers getting wealthier and larger monopolies don’t count.
  • What should Comcast and Time Warner leadership do now to begin to earn the trust of their stakeholders?
  • What companies do you consider trustworthy and why?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust, and runs the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. She is also the 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.

Our annual poster, 52 Weeks of Activities to Increase Organizational Trust is available to those who would like to support our work by making a small donation.

The Spring issue of TRUST! Magazine, celebrating trustworthy organizations,  is now available. It’s free by signing up at this link.

04-15 Trust Magazine-cover

 

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.

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