Archive

Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

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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Nov
20

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a holistic unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and data driven 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.

F   Financial Stability and Strength: assesses the company’s financial and market performance. Companies that maintain high rankings have been shown to have better stock performance, with lower volatility over time.

A   Accounting Stability: analyzes the company’s transparency of earnings and quality of reporting. Companies ranking highly over time have conservative ratings and are shown to have less regulatory actions and restatements.

C   Corporate Integrity: assesses the company’s overall governance risk, board independence and composition, and compensation policies and risks. The focus is on real-world value and risk, not just “check-the-box” practices.

T  Transparency: analyzes the company’s financial and nonfinancial clarity including disclosure, environmental management and climate change, diversity, human rights and workforce composition.

S   Sustainability: assesses the company’s environmental, workforce policies, community impact and human rights performance among other metrics.

 

Trustworthy public companies are rewarded in the long-term. Click To Tweet They not only avoid expensive crises but also have the benefit of stakeholder support and longevity.

During the three-year period from February 2013-February 2016, and according to FACTS® Framework audited live returns, America’s most trustworthy public companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 1.8x. The composite results translate to 16.7% annualized for FACTS® vs. 9.5% for the S&P 500.

Almost two years since this chart was created, Trust has continually proven to be a successful business strategy that may significantly impact… Click To Tweet

Our Corporate Integrity Monitor provides additional insights into America’s most trustworthy companies.

Interested in learning more?

Buy our books

or contact Barbara Kimmel: Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Next Decade, Inc. All Rights Reserved. FACTS® is a service mark of Next Decade, Inc. in which Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder and CEO. Jordan Kimmel and Barbara Brooks Kimmel are the Cofounders of Trust Across America.

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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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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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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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Mar
10

 

I am proud to announce my appointment as a Fellow of Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.

Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. is a for-profit strategies advisor, provider of consulting services and well-respected research firm serving leaders in organizations in the corporate (private), public and social/institutional sectors.

The Institute provides corporate and investment community clients with a portfolio of integrated services and resources to help leaders identify, quantify, monitor, analyze, and manage effective approaches to address critical issues — especially those reaching “the tipping point,” when resolution of [issues] may be harder to achieve.

To read more about the Institute’s Fellows, please visit this page.

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. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

 

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Feb
27

For the past four years Trust Across America’s Trust Alliance Members and Top Thought Leaders in Trust have collaborated on an annual poster to assist organizational leadership and teams in fostering trust. These are some highlights from our 2017 poster: Do’s and Don’ts to Foster Organizational Trust 

DO

  1. Act from the belief that trust can be measured in terms of its impact on business outcomes.
  1. Trust yourself first if you want others to trust you.
  1. Lead by example to allow trust to flourish.
  1. Make sure your team members are crystal clear on your organization’s mission and values.
  1. Act in accordance with those values and ethics so all stakeholders can trust you.

 

DON’T

  1. Take trust for granted or simply assume it exists.
  1. Expect organizations to reflect trust if it’s not embodied at the very top.
  1. Fall into trap of condoning or practicing cordial hypocrisy.
  1. Think trust is too difficult to talk about or tackle as an organizational, team, or personal relationship issue.
  1. Let ego, lack of personal awareness, or overt self-reliance impede trustworthiness.

Thank you to all our 2017 contributors. The following can be found on Twitter for more insights into organizational trust.

Patricia AburdeneBart AlexanderLea BrovedaniRandy ConleyStephen M.R. CoveyNatalie Doyle OldfieldJed EmersonCharles H. GreenNadine HackBarbara Brooks KimmelJim KouzesHolly Latty-MannCarol SanfordLinda Fisher ThorntonBob VanourekBob Whipple

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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Aug
19

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If your life is anything like mine, you spend waste at least an hour every week, sometimes more, on a customer service issue involving some third party vendor who claims to be in business to enhance your personal or professional life. Comcast, Verizon, First Energy and all health insurance providers top this list. I’m not sure why these companies still bother using the word “service.” CHR or Customer Hindrance Representative would be more accurate.

These calls usually begin by pressing lots of buttons, entering many codes and personal information, and then being put on hold due to “heavy call volume” while being told the “call is important to us.” Often, before the offshore CHR picks up, the call is disconnected, and the process must be repeated. The latest “innovation” is notification that the call is being recorded. For whose benefit is that? One can only guess.

Who remembers when customer service meant something? When customers came before profits, calls were answered by an actual living being who had at least an elementary command of the English language, and who hadn’t been handed a robotic script to answer questions? It wasn’t really that long ago. But apparently now companies think they can save redirect money by hiring minimum wage, offshore CHRs and then, in the name of “training” hand them a list of responses that were certainly written by the legal department, and from which they cannot deviate. Not only are these companies sending a message that they do not trust their employees, apparently they also have little regard for their customers. The term “I apologize” is #1 on this script and so companies have taken two sacred words and devalued them into meaningless drivel that is supposed to solve all customer issues, regardless of the problem.

Is it any wonder why consumers have so little regard for the companies with which they do are forced to do business? Is it any wonder why trust in business continues to decline? Is it any wonder that more than 70% of employees are disengaged at work?

Who decided this was a “better way?” How did this happen? Is there a solution?

I propose a simple experiment.

  • Put every manager on phone duty for one week. Heck, call it “The Golden Rule” CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program and kill two birds with one stone.
  • Send the entire legal department on vacation during this same time period.
  • Replace the script with these 7 words: Let me see what I can do.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Co-founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World . Established in 2008, the program’s mission is simply to provide tools and assistance to organizations interested in building stakeholder 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 at the City University of NY.

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Mar
08

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Some encouraging headlines for consumers, employees and the public….

McDonalds is limiting the use of antibiotics in its chicken according to NPR

Nestle says “Goodbye” to artificial colors as reported by CNN

Be it for the right or wrong reasons, Walmart is raising its minimum wage as is TJX

Capital One empowers Americans to close the digital skills gap by committing $150 million in community grants

When companies do more than just talk about the importance of “good business” and begin walking it with commitments like the above, it’s a good sign. From my perspective these announcements sound like more than just corporate window dressing.

It’s worth mentioning that McDonald’s has a brand new CEO and Walmart a relatively new one. Nestle is a Swiss company, and TJX is run by a woman. The CEO of Capital One, Richard Fairbank is also its founder.

Building organizational trust is a “top down” business strategy. Sometimes it takes a new leader to bring a fresh perspective regarding the imperative to build trust with all stakeholders. Other times tenure is more important, and recently it’s been reported by Fortune that women not only make better CEOs, but perform 3X better than the S&P 500.

Whatever the reasons, I’m glad to read these headlines and hope more companies follow suit. Let’s keep the momentum going on that tidal shift in organizational trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She runs the world’s largest membership program for those interested in learning more, and 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 2015 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.

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft914Trust front Cover

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oct
06

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If a brand genuinely wants to make a social contribution, it should start with who they are, not what they do. For only when a brand has defined itself and its core values can it identify causes or social responsibility initiatives that are in alignment with its authentic brand story. Simon Mainwaring

 

We know that trust is built in incremental steps via a holistic approach that begins with leadership voluntarily choosing to make trust a business imperative. In other words, trust and trustworthiness become core values. Many companies, however, choose to view trust through the narrow lens of corporate social responsibility. They measure their good citizenship according to the number of boxes they check on the various independent surveys and standards of “proper behavior,” and then they use the awards and rewards in their messaging to their stakeholders. Sadly a good percentage of these programs in no way reflect the overall health of the company, and fall very short on gauging the trustworthiness of the organization. One need only look at some of the corporate names that rise to the top of annual “Best of CSR” lists to reach the same conclusion.

Over the past ten years much has been written and debated about corporate social responsibility programs and check the box practices:

2005 The Myth of CSR 

Corporate Social Responsibility A Study of Key Features, Benefits, Criticism and the Various Initiatives.

CSR, The Dangers of Doing the Right Thing

Corporate Social Responsibility: An Overview

At Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, we have been tracking the trustworthiness of almost 2500 public companies over the past five years using our proprietary FACTS Framework. In reviewing the data, what’s often clear is that many of the companies using CSR success as the gold standard of good business are falling far short in other areas of corporate health. Let’s not forget that Enron claimed to have one of the best CSR programs.

Where does CSR end and moral responsibility begin? Does CSR distract the public from asking deeper ethical questions. Does it similarly distract Boards of Directors and C-Suites?

Many claim that any corporate program that “betters” society is good, but not everyone agrees on what is “better” or good. We argue that the betterment of society is not enough. Core values hold the key.

It would behoove leadership to look deeper into trust as a holistic business imperative. Exercising does not ensure good health. Eating well, lowering stress and getting enough sleep are just as important.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft914Trust front Cover

                                                                                               Coming Soon!

Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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