Apr
06

Jan
14

David, thank you for participating in our 2020 Trust Insights series. What is your trust insight?

Developing trust starts in the C-suite. 

David Reiling, CEO Sunrise Banks

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be established by organizational leaders and promoted from the top down. The executive team should set the tone for the rest of the organization, and exhibit trustworthiness and integrity as role models for the organization.

Without trust at the top, it will be impossible to spread throughout the rest of the organization.

Can you provide a real life example of a trust “challenge” where your insight has been effectively applied.

Years ago I saw some management behavior that was not acceptable as defined by the organization’s values. When something like this happens, trust slowly erodes and the organization started to break. With time, I saw the management team rebuild itself embracing the organization’s values, leading to a trusted leadership team.  This resulted in a ripple effect of trust and transparency throughout the organization.

David, generally, do you think the global “trust” climate is improving or worsening? What actions are making it better or worse?

I think it depends on who you ask. Our political climate is extremely polarized of late and this has caused trust issues for certain people. We’re also experiencing a boom technology and artificial intelligence; data breaches and mishandling of personal information has created a lack of trust in data collection and big tech.

It’s too speculative to say the climate is improving or worsening. However, I do think there would be strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

Many claim we have a crisis of trust. Do you agree?

I wouldn’t call it a crisis of trust, but rather a healthy dose of skepticism in regards to certain developments. In particular, technology and personal data collection have been a point of contention for some. We’ve yet to reconcile our desire for the convenience of technology and the risks that can come with it.

We’re comfortable quickly signing privacy policies – likely without reading them – but we become frustrated when we learn our actions have been used for marketing purposes or our information compromised. As new technology continues to emerge, tech companies need to be as transparent as possible and consumers need to become more self-aware of their actions and the potential consequences connected with providing personal information.

David, how has your membership in our Trust Alliance benefitted you professionally?

The Trust Alliance has set the bar for years now.  As a member, the value I have received, as well as the value my organization has received, has been more than significant.  The concepts that the Trust Alliance presents have been great fire-starter conversations within the organization at all levels.

David, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

David Reiling is a social entrepreneur, who is an innovator in community development finance and financial inclusion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a certified B-Corp, a legal Benefit Corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them below.

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Jan
07

Stephen, thank you for kicking off our 2020 Trust Insights series. What is your trust insight?

Trust is both earned and given—therefore to build trust, it’s not enough to be trustworthy; you also have to be trusting.  Stephen M.R. Covey

 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

We earn trust through our character and competence—our credibility—along with our behavior.  This makes a leader trustworthy.  But consider this:  you could have two trustworthy people working together, and no trust between them . . . if neither person is willing to extend trust to the other. 

While I believe most leaders today recognize the need to be trustworthy, I’m not sure if most recognize the equally vital need to be trusting.  And that’s where I think we’re got to put special focus in our leadership work by learning to lead out in extending trust (smartly) to others.

And it’s the leader’s job to go first.  Someone needs to go first; that’s what leaders do—leaders go first.  Yes, there’s risk in trusting people.  But there’s also risk in not trusting people.  And in today’s collaborative world, filled with multiple generations and characterized by disruption, not trusting people is quite often the greater risk.

Extending trust to others not only improves performance, it also generates a reciprocity of trust: when we give trust, people receive it and return it.  When we withhold it, they withhold it. 

Indeed, the act of extending trust to others is the defining act of leadership.  It’s a game-changer, both for the leader extending the trust and for the person being trusted.  Indeed, to be trusted is the most inspiring form of human motivation. 

That’s why the first job of a leader is to inspire trust, and the second job is to extend it.

Can you provide a real life example of a trust “challenge” where your insight has been effectively applied.

I recently presented at the University of Missouri with David Novak, former CEO of Yum! Brands for over 16 years.  David validated the impact of applying this approach of leading out in extending trust to others as he shared with me his experience of when he first took the job as President of KFC and inherited a situation where there was massive distrust, and even hostility, between the corporation and the franchisees.

In his own words, he said:  “My first official act as president was to get together with my executive team and let them know things had to change…. I said, ‘I want you to know something.  I love working with franchisees.  And from now on we’re going to trust our franchisees.”

From this decision to extend trust, new ideas, collaboration and innovation began to emerge from the franchisees and new products resulted from it.  The business experienced a dramatic turnaround in both results and culture. 

Novak continues: “If you ask the finance people what ignited the business, they will tell you it was the new products, but my answer would be that it was the triumph of the human spirit.  It all started with one simple decision: to trust franchisees.  That opened the way for them to trust me and the corporation in return, and together we unleashed the power of our people to succeed.”

Stephen, generally, do you think the global “trust” climate is improving or worsening? What actions are making it better or worse?

On balance, given the current state of our society and politics, I believe it’s worsening.  And the internet, social media, and 24/7 connectivity immediately highlights untrustworthy behavior and often exacerbates the challenges we face.  The danger of a low-trust world is that it tends to perpetuate itself.  When we see scandals, corruption, self-serving and untrustworthy behavior, we tend to become more careful, guarded and suspicious because none of us want to get burned.  Distrust and suspicion tend to create more distrust and suspicion, and we can find ourselves perpetuating a vicious downward cycle.  Distrust is contagious.

But thankfully, trust is also contagious.  And there are increasing actions by leaders and organizations and movements that are seeking to counteract this decline in trust.  Both because it’s the right thing to do, and also because it’s the economic thing to do.  In other words, there’s a compelling business case for trust. 

And the internet, social media and 24/7 connectivity can also immediately highlight the numerous positive actions being taken by leaders and organizations everywhere to model trust, trustworthiness, transparency, integrity, service and contribution—ranging from ethics initiatives to good governance frameworks to effective leadership development in establishing high-trust cultures within organizations, among countless efforts.

Many claim we have a crisis of trust. Do you agree?

Yes, I do believe with all the changes and challenges going on in our world and in society that there is, in many ways, a crisis of trust.  There’s a lot of data that would back that up. 

But I also believe that simultaneously, and paradoxically, there is also a “renaissance of trust” taking place.  A renaissance of trust in the sense of having people, leaders, organizations, and movements that are saying, in effect, “there is a better way to lead, a better way to operate.”  And they’re modeling the way, and pointing out to others a better way.  I believe Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is one of many such organizations.

So the paradox is that in the midst of the crisis of trust, there’s simultaneously a renaissance of trust taking place.

I hope to be a co-catalyst, with countless others, in helping to bring about this renaissance of trust.

Stephen, how has your membership in our Trust Alliance benefitted you professionally?

I like to think that Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is part of the renaissance of trust.  It brings together like minded leaders, practitioners, thought leaders, and organizations to focus their best thinking and energies on how to bring attention to this critical currency of trust—and how to increase trust in our lives, our relationships, our organizations, and our society.

I like being part of and aligned with such an effort that’s so vital to my personal and professional mission to help increase trust in the world.

Stephen, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Stephen M. R. Covey is The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, which has been translated into 22 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.  He is co-author of the #1 Amazon bestseller Smart Trust.

Stephen is the former President & CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which became, at the time, the largest leadership development company in the world.  A Harvard MBA, Stephen co-founded and currently leads FranklinCovey’s Trust Practice. 

Stephen has taught trust in 55 countries to leaders and organizations, spanning business, government, education, healthcare, and NGO sectors.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Dec
13

 

Thank you to these amazing colleagues!

Since launching Trust Across America-Trust Around the World over ten years ago, I have been fortunate to have engaged with thousands of global scholars and professionals in my search to find meaning in the word “trust.” Among them are these amazing eleven individuals who have chosen to voluntarily serve as members of our Trust Council.

If you are interested in learning about organizational trust, I’d suggest you start here:

Bart Alexander (Colorado)

A Principal at Alexander & Associates LLC Bart’s firm assists leaders, teams and organizations in integrating sustainability into their purpose, strategy and culture.

Donna Boehme (New Jersey)

An internationally recognized authority in the field of compliance and ethics, Donna designs and manages compliance and ethics solutions for a wide spectrum of organizations. Principal of Compliance Strategists, a N.J.-based consulting firm.

Alain Bolea (Boston & Colorado)

A management advisor who helps organizations integrate the necessity of “making money” and the desire to “do the right thing” in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. Alain works with leaders as an executive coach, and consults to organizations on strategy and development using group processes.

Randy Conley (California)

Vice President of Client Services & Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies, Randy oversees Blanchard’s client delivery operations and works with organizations around the globe helping them build trust in the workplace. Author of the award-winning Leading with Trust blog, Randy is a recognized authority in the field of trust and leadership.

Stephen M. R. Covey (Utah)

Stephen is the New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything, which has been translated into over 20 languages worldwide. A Harvard MBA, Stephen co-founded and leads Franklin Covey’s Global Speed of Trust Practice.

Charles H. Green (New Jersey & Florida)

An author, speaker, and founder-CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, Charles co-authored the classic The Trusted Advisor, along with The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, as well as writing Trust-based Selling. He founded Trusted Advisor Associates in 1999, which helps create trust-based organizations and relationships in complex B2B businesses globally.

Nadine Hack (Switzerland)

Nadine Hack, CEO beCause Global Consulting advises Fortune 500 company executives, heads of state, and other leaders and organizations. She was Board Chair of Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and served as non-executive director on other for- and not-for profit boards.

Deb Krizmanich (Canada)

Deb is an accomplished business strategist, facilitator and entrepreneur driven by a passion for technologies that unleash the innate potential of individuals and groups. In 2010, she founded Powernoodle to provide a cloud-based platform to leverage the inherent diversity of people and groups to improve how decisions are made and implemented.

Linda Fisher Thornton (Virginia)

An innovative leadership development consultant with a passion for ethical leadership, Linda’s book 7 Lenses, introduces the 7-Lens model for seeing ethical complexity and a holistic model for learning ethical leadership. She teaches leadership and applied ethics as adjunct associate professor for the University of Richmond SPCS.

Bob Vanourek (Colorado)

Leadership expert Bob Vanourek is the former CEO of five companies, ranging from a start-up to a $1 billion NY stock exchange company. Bob is the author of two award-winning books: Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse and the co-author of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations.

Bob Whipple (New York)

“The Trust Ambassador,” Bob is CEO of Leadergrow Inc., an organization dedicated to growing leaders. He is an international speaker on the topics of trust and ethics.

Thank you Trust Council members. Here’s to more trust in 2020!

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder 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. Barbara 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

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Dec
10

Our 2020 Trust Insights series kicks off with the best trust-building stories of 2019.

As the year comes to an end, the news media routinely “treats us” to the top “trust fails,” and 2019 is certainly no exception. This year we saw Boeing, Google, and the continuation of the Facebook trust saga take center stage.

While media outlets hold fast to the belief that only “bad news” sells, Trust Across America-Trust Around the World was launched more than ten years ago, in part to tell the “good” stories that rarely get coverage.

The following list is not about “feel good” PR, CEOs taking stands, philanthropy, “check the box sustainability” or a CSR project, but rather about high integrity leaders who understand the benefits that a long-term holistic trust-building strategy can have on their stakeholders.

While this is not the first year running our year-end review, this one was particularly challenging. Finding ten “trust in action” stories wasn’t easy. 

This diverse group of business leaders have gone beyond “talking trust” to sharing their strategy for building it.

The following list is presented alphabetically:

Aron Ain, CEO Kronos

Aron builds trust by focusing on “us” not “me.”

Dr. Richard Baron, CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation

Dr. Baron offers insights on building trust with patients.

Marc Benioff, co-CEO Salesforce

Marc considers trust a company’s highest value and explains why.

Anil Dash, CEO Glitch

Anil discusses the role personal accountability plays in building trust.

Hussein Fazal, CEO Snaptravel

Hussien finds common ground, shares responsibility and prioritizes transparency to build trust.

James Filsinger, CEO Yapta

James stresses maintaining culture and rowing in the same direction.

Fisk Johnson, CEO SC Johnson

Fisk is transparently sharing the ingredients in his products so consumers know what they are buying.

Beth Mooney, CEO KeyCorp

Beth is a strong advocate for transparency, truth telling and a mission mindset.

Brian Niccol, CEO Chipotle

Brian talks about the new food safety culture at Chipotle to address customer trust.

Rami Rahim, CEO Juniper Networks

Rami discusses building trust as one of the 3 “Juniper Way” pillars

Congratulations to all of these CEOs!

Let’s work together to build more trust in 2020.

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder 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. Barbara 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

PS-

Why aren’t more business leaders choosing to publicly share their stories?  This could be attributed to one of several factors:

  1. Trust is not believed to be a proactive business strategy
  2. Trust is viewed as a soft skill or taken for granted, and low trust is not considered a risk
  3. The crisis of the day takes priority
  4. Only the CEO can “own” trust to communicate it effectively. It can’t be delegated.

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

Nov
23

Tracking trust in teams and organizations and addressing trust weaknesses has the following benefits:

  • Elevating employee engagement & retention
  • Reducing workplace stress
  • Enhancing decision making
  • Increasing innovation
  • Better communication
  • Reducing costs and increasing profits

How many readers work on teams and in organizations with these attributes? 

The growing interest in our Tap Into Trust campaign has brought over 75,000 global professionals to our universal principles, available in 16 languages, since spring 2018. We are now running the largest global (one minute/one question) anonymous survey on workplace trust, with the goal of determining which of our 12 principles of trust are the WEAKEST in teams and organizations. The anonymous survey can be taken here and the results viewed upon completion.

Building a trust based team or organization first requires leadership ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that trust is a tangible asset, not to be taken for granted, and acknowledgement remains the greatest obstacle as it requires vulnerability. If that hurdle can be overcome, then it’s simply a matter of ensuring that the right personal and interpersonal principles of trust are being, IDENTIFIED, discussed, MENDED and tracked. We call this AIM Towards Trust, and the framework is being adopted by enlightened leaders of teams and in organizations of all sizes and across industries, providing a path forward to high trust.

Elevating trust in teams and organizations requires specific personal and interpersonal principles and skills.

The weakest principles break the chain.

If you are still at the point of talking trust, it might be time to start acting on it. Dress down Fridays, four day work weeks, ice cream socials and “purpose” are merely work arounds. 

For more information contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder, Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, inc.

Nov
16

James E. Lukaszewski is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He offers the following timely advice about reputation and trust and the role each play in ensuring organizational success.

I’ve always thought that the whole notion of reputation was more a Public Relations construct than a management concern. Leaders care about trust.

During my nearly 40 years in reputation, leadership and organizational recovery I can’t recall a serious discussion of reputation in a management circumstance by those running the business until just before they were about to lose or see their reputation seriously damaged. Public Relations advisors rather than business operators raised the issues.

Trust is a powerful management term. I define trust as the absence of fear. I interpret fear to mean the absence of trust. Trust is a management word; trust is a powerful cultural word. Trust is a word that has its counterparts in virtually every culture on the planet; and trust is understood clearly and immediately by just about everybody. Generally it’s mom who taught us about trust, so we remember.

Chief Executives of troubled organizations don’t lose their jobs because there’s a reputation problem. They lose their jobs because there is a trust problem, a failure to provide the assurance that prevents the fear of serious adverse circumstances. If we’re talking seriously about our relationship with constituents, stakeholders, employees, the public, anyone who has a stake in our organization for whatever reason, we’re talking about trust.

Reputation? We’ll need to call the PR department for the latest definition.

This is an excerpt from the second of our three book Trust, Inc series.

James E. Lukaszewski (loo-ka-SHEV-skee) is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He is a speaker, author (12 books and hundreds of articles and monographs), lecturer and ethicist (co-chair of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards). 

For more information about our programs and how your organization can elevate trust, visit www.trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

Nov
14

In business, it’s easy to just show up.

Show up at a lunch

Show up at a conference

Show up at a meeting

Show up at a webinar

Pay your annual dues

And then leave….

The outcome of showing up is usually little ventured, and probably little gained. And then we move on to the next lunch, conference, meeting or webinar.

 

It’s much more difficult to be involved in the planning.

Because involvement in the planning requires a commitment:

  • Of time
  • Of thought
  • Of teamwork

But it’s the participation in the planning stage that builds the trust. In planning, we engage with others who are working towards a common goal…. a positive outcome. And this is how trust is built. And trustworthy relationships lead to new business. These relationships take time to develop, and the trust is built in incremental steps.

It’s your choice. Maintain your independence, show up and then leave. Get involved in the planning and build trust. Make the investment and the payoff may surprise you.

This is an excerpt from the third of our 3 book Trust, Inc. series:

Trust, Inc., 52 Weeks of Activities and Inspirations for Building Workplace Trust

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

Nov
13

My high school friends still like to tease me that I was one of the hardest “workers” in the class. So yesterday, when we reached our 75,000 milestone, I took a deep breath and begin thinking about the next milestone and how we might get there.

Getting this far….

Our Trust Alliance, comprised of some of the world’s leading trust scholars and practitioners) spent over a year (2017-18) studying (and debating) the question of how trust is built and busted in teams and organizations, until we were able to agree on a set of universal trust elevating principles which we call TAP (Trust Alliance Principles.)

TAP is available at no cost in 16 languages and yesterday we crossed a threshold of 75,000 global views. As someone said in a recent conference call, TAP is quickly becoming the universal gold standard for elevating trust in teams and organizations. How cool is that?
Translating trust “talk” into “action”
Using the TAP principles as a framework, a suite of proprietary survey tools called AIM Towards Trust have been created, and the surveys have been run successfully with great results in over a dozen teams and organizations in the past few months. Later this week we will be introducing this powerful tool to 700 attendees at a national conference.
I am thrilled with the progress we are making moving the needle beyond trust talk to trust action. In fact, there is no longer any justifiable excuse for ANY leader, team or organization to talk about trust, but not act on it.
As for the future, we will continue to chip away, and I will keep working hard.
Thank you for helping us reach this important milestone.
Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World.
For questions or comments, email her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com or visit the website.
Oct
27

How often has the word “trust” been mentioned in the news this past week?

Trust in Google, Facebook, the Supreme Court, science and even the MLB. It seems that by the day, trust “talk” gains in popularity. There is no arguing that trust is a hot topic from the mountains of Davos all the way down to Wall Street.

Unfortunately, most news articles ignore the interpersonal and internal nature of trust in organizations (the ones that are difficult to monetize), instead focusing on trust “talk” and “work arounds.” We read about trust and data security, trust and sustainability, brand trust, and one of my favorites, Natural Language Processing (NLP) measures of trust. This not only adds  to the public’s misperception of what trust is, and what it is not, but it also dilutes the importance of the role trust plays in building principled and healthy organizations; the ones where people want to work.

This past week the global communications firm Edelman turned the discussion of trust to who owns it within the corporate structure. Their conclusion? The CIO. “The CIO in Focus study by Edelman reveals that CIOs are under increasing pressure to help safeguard not only a company’s data but also its corporate reputation and trust.”

What better opportunity to engage the members of our Trust Council  and ask them the same question: “Who owns trust?”

According to Bart Alexander of Alexander & Associates, it’s certainly not the CIO, although that person does play a role.

Chief Information Officers certainly do not “own” trust, nor are they the sole “guardians of trust.”  All C-suite members play significant roles in setting corporate culture including the norms and behaviors that foster trust.  In that respect, CIOs share the same responsibility as their C-suite peers.

At the same time, CIOs do play at least two unique and key roles in building and guarding trust., First, CIOs determine data strategy that determines the level of respect for privacy and security. And additionally, CIOs are business partners across the enterprise in both ongoing operations and innovation, giving them a direct view of the and influence on the value being placed on integrity and respect now and down the road.

Randy Conley of Ken Blanchard supported Bart’s position, taking the response one step further:

The person at the top (CEO, President, etc.) has a greater obligation to be the guardian of organizational trust.

Delegating responsibility to the CIO, “Chief Trust Officer,” or any other person or team, signals that trust is just another corporate duty that can be compartmentalized and managed in a silo. Saying the CIO is the guardian of organizational trust is a myopic view on the scope and importance of organizational trust. Corporate governance, brand reputation, customer experience, financial integrity, environmental responsibility, and community stewardship are among many key areas that impact stakeholder trust in an organization. Everyone needs to shoulder responsibility for building trust if an organization wants to achieve the quadruple bottom-line (employer of choice, provider of choice, investment of choice, environmental steward).

Bob Vanourek a former Fortune 500 CEO agreed:

Glad to see CIOs need to “safeguard” and “play a crucial role,” or even be the “Guardians” of trust. But trust-building among all stakeholders is so critical that it must not be delegated. Enlist the CIO, CHO, CFO, and more. But only the CEO should “own” trust.

Bob Whipple of Leadergrow also agrees that the ownership of trust is the responsibility of everyone in the organization:

The short answer is “everyone,” since trust can be created or destroyed by anyone in an organization.  In reality, the mandate to create, maintain, enhance, and repair trust gets more important as you go upward in an organization.  The most senior leaders have the responsibility for setting the tone for everything that happens in their organization.  If the level of trust throughout the layers is inadequate, the senior-most leader needs to take a good long look in the mirror to see the culprit.

Apparently, engaging subject matter experts who know trust best also provides the most coherent answers to questions like “Who owns trust?”

In summary, trust ownership cannot be delegated to a CIO or anyone else, and it will only be effective when: 

  1. Leaders acknowledge that trust starts with them, and is always constructed from the inside out
  2. The right tools are used to identify trust weaknesses and strengths
  3. Team members are free to discuss trust through open dialogue
  4. Trust weaknesses are mended and strengths are celebrated

We call this process AIM Towards Trust... Acknowledge, Identify, Mend and it’s been used successfully in teams and organizations of all sizes, shapes and colors; but only when leaders intentionally choose to build trust into their corporate culture AND don’t attempt to delegate it. 

Falling prey to quick fix solutions for elevating trust should be avoided. So should news coverage that misdefines and misplaces trust including discussions of brand trust, data trust, NLP trust, and check-the-box trust. Trust is always internal and interpersonal. These “perception of trust” work arounds may be money-makers for those who promote them, but as far as ensuring sustainable trust within an organization, there is only one route, and it’s not by having the CIO “own it.”

Thanks Trust Council members for your contributions to this article. Would you like to serve on our Council? The place to begin is by joining our Trust Alliance.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. For more information on how to build authentic trust, contact her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

 

Click here to read Edelman’s Press Release. www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cios-emerge-as-new-guardians-of-corporate-trust-300942787.html

Oct
15

Last week a business owner inquired if I could help his company build a roadmap to a high trust culture. First I asked what he thought the roadmap might include, and his answer was not surprising. “My business coach instructed my office manager to hire a motivational speaker, enter us in a “great workplace” competition, donate money to charity, and have an annual picnic. Then we can call ourselves trustworthy.” ( I didn’t dare ask for the name of the coach, as it was immediately apparent that trust subject matter expertise was not their forte.) My next question was a bit more difficult. I asked him what role he would play in designing the trust roadmap. His response, “That’s why I hired a coach, so I would know how and what to delegate to my staff.” Suffice it to say, it’s a good thing the conversation was occurring by phone so I could end the call quickly.

With unemployment at record lows and employee engagement and retention looking very bleak, one might think that leaders would pay closer attention to building a culture of trust, which some have gone as far as calling the “new currency,” but apparently not so. In fact, over the past ten+ years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard similar (and sometimes worse) answers to the questions posed above. 

So once again I turned to the members of our Trust Council  and asked them for what they considered to be the first three steps in building a culture of trust.

Bob Vanourek a former Fortune 500 CEO was the first to respond, sharing the following, and from the perspective of a consultant engaged by a large organization:
1. Contact the top leader of the organization for a personal appointment to tell him/her what they are undertaking and why it is so important, promising to keep them and all intermediate levels of authority informed about this effort.
2. Call a special meeting (with no other agenda items) of his/her direct reports and other influential staff members to:
  • Inform them of this effort.
  • Ask for their help in supporting it.
  • Ask for their help in finding resources (written, video, or in-person) to support it.
  • Ask their help in creating periodic measures for all of them for how to observe progress.

3. Commit to keep trust-building as a top professional priority in the future.

Bob Whipple of Leadergrow approached the question from the perspective of what a small business owner might do:

Have a staff meeting and tell your team there are some new rules for the enterprise:

  1. We will admit our mistakes, and model that behavior by admitting a mistake you have made during the last week that you have not shared yet.
  2. Ask that every time a person receives help or some special effort from someone else on the team – that person writes a thank you email to the person and copies you on it.  You then read a selected few of those notes at the start of every meeting. Build a culture of reinforcement at all levels of the organization.
  3. Insist that when you say or do something that someone in the organization believes is not right or consistent with our values, that person is obligated to tell you what the concern is and promise that you will make that person glad he or she brought it up.  Then do exactly that without fail – ever.  Practice reinforcing candor!

My approach to constructing a high trust culture, encompasses some of the suggestions made by “the Bobs” above, and will work in any organization of any size.

  1. Establish an organizational trust-building committee comprised of a Board member if applicable, a member of the executive team, one senior employee from the compliance, finance, communications and HR functions. Set a one-year goal to build a culture of trust from the inside out, at the team level, including the Board and executive team.
  2. Since trust is an outcome of many universal principles, step two is for each team to determine which principles are weak, and which are strong. As our past surveys have shown, the results won’t necessarily be the same from team to team within the organization. (If the organization is relatively small, it may not be necessary to survey each team individually.)
  3. Spend the first six months addressing the weakest principles on each team and celebrating the strengths. Repeat survey in 6 months and continue working on the principles that remain weak. By the end of one year, the hardest part of the trust “construction project” will have been completed. Now go have that ice cream social!

Building a culture of trust will only be effective when: 

  1. Leaders acknowledge that culture change starts with them, and is always built from the inside out
  2. The right tools are used to identify trust weaknesses and strengths
  3. Team members are free to discuss survey or other diagnostic outcomes through open dialogue
  4. Trust weaknesses are mended and strengths are celebrated

We call this process AIM Towards Trust... Acknowledge, Identify, Mend and it’s been used successfully in teams and organizations of all sizes, shapes and colors; but only when leaders intentionally choose to build trust into their corporate culture AND own it. That must always occur BEFORE a crisis, not after the fact.

Finally don’t get caught up in “work arounds” to building a high trust culture because there ARE no quick fixes. These are a few of the more “trendy” ones that you might have encountered:

  • Misdefined trust: This includes brand trust, data trust, blockchain trust, and check-the-box trust. Trust is always internal and interpersonal.
  • External trust polls: If the question “trust to do what?” is not answered, the survey is either invalid or misleading.
  • Trust as a popular place holder title:  Many will use trust interchangeably with other terms like transparency, ethics or integrity, when it is actually a combination of many universal principles.
  • Trust as one-size-fits-all: Because of its complexity, all organizational trust challenges can be attributed to a variety of factors that must be identified and addressed separately and differently.
  • Trust that is not “principles” based: Trust is not a function of the PR department or a “purpose” campaign, but rather a function of highly principled trustworthy leadership.

I hope these suggestions will help you in constructing your own trust roadmap. Special thanks to Bob V. and Bob W. Your contributions to elevating trust are always appreciated.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. For more information on how to build authentic trust, contact her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.