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Archive for the ‘Risk’ Category

Nov
10

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.”Warren Bennis

Having counseled leaders across many industries on how to elevate stakeholder trust, I can almost assure you that you won’t come close to passing our 10-question test. Fortunately, the failing grade is usually not due to character or competence flaws, but a lack of understanding of the role of trust as a core value of leadership. Are you willing to take the following test AND the actions required to elevate your results?

*** Warning your degree of honesty and vulnerability may affect your score***

 Give yourself ten points for every “yes” answer.

  1. Do I understand that trust is not a soft skill and that it has tangible value?
  2. Have I thought about what it means to be trustworthy in both my personal and professional life?
  3. Is trust mentioned in my company’s core values and do I practice and reinforce those values daily?
  4. Do I understand that trust is the outcome of principled behavior and have I identified the behavioral weaknesses?
  5. Do I understand that trust cannot be delegated and that low trust is a real risk?
  6. Have I asked my employees and other stakeholders if they think I am trustworthy?
  7. Do I understand that trust is a learned competence, and have I budgeted for trust training for both my leadership team and my staff?
  8. Do I directly engage my employees and my customers in conversations about trust?
  9. Do I catch employees doing something right and reward ethical behavior?
  10. Does trust play a role in my hiring practices?

What was your final  score?

 

Business leaders are constrained by the number of hours in a day, and how they choose to prioritize their time. Many spend it reacting to crises and extinguishing fires caused by low trust. If more leaders not only understood the benefits of high trust, but actually took the steps required to elevate it, their time would be freed up to build a more profitable business much more quickly. Low trust plays a large role in elevating enterprise risk, yet is is widely ignored. Take the questions above and tackle them one at a time. Each 10% improvement will get you closer to high trust.

PS- Don’t fall for expensive trust workarounds that may be offered to you. While they may get you a communications “talking point,” they won’t get you across the enterprise trust finish line. In fact, they won’t even get you close.

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact us.

 

 

Purchase our books at this link

 

Copyright © 2020 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Nov
02


Why should business leaders care about trust? This is why:

 

Performance of Trust Across America’s

Most Trustworthy Public Companies vs. the S&P 500 (2014-2019)

 

The chart above is the cumulative “Return on Trust” of America’s annual “Top 10” Most Trustworthy Public Companies over the past six years. Through its FACTS® Framework, Trust Across America has been analyzing, assembling and publicly reporting on this data for ten years.

If you are the CEO of a public company, or any company for that matter, who claims there is no Business Case for Trust, now may be the time to reconsider. Why DO business leaders require proof or ignore trust as their most valuable strategic advantage?

Leaders take trust for granted

Trust doesn’t just “happen.” It is not bestowed upon leaders by virtue of their title.  Trust is a learned competence and an intentional business strategy that must be crafted, practiced, modeled, and reinforced daily.

Leaders focus on the wrong metrics

Growing quarterly earnings, over reliance on sales quotas, focus on “old school” risk and/or “new school” ESG metrics will not satisfy the trust imperative that stakeholders are increasingly demanding. Neither will talking rather than acting on trust.

Leaders treat trust as a “soft skill”

Organizational trustworthiness is a hard currency. The proof is in the chart above.

Leaders are “trust reactive” 

Rarely do we hear proactive leadership discussions about building stakeholder trust. Instead, trust becomes a communications talking point only after a breach. This is both a missed and lost opportunity for leadership.

Leaders delegate trust

Trust is not a function of legal, compliance, HR, communications, or any other department. Boards of Directors and executive leadership teams must spearhead trust, making it central to the organization’s core values, so that all stakeholders can benefit.

 

Note: In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, an EXTERNAL quantitative measurement of the corporate trustworthiness of America’s largest 2000+ US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal and compliant to choosing the right core values that satisfy all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on the trustworthiness of public companies. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.

In 2018 Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s Trust Alliance, a group of global trust scholars and practitioners, introduced its Trust Alliance Principles (TAP), and in 2019 our AIM Survey tool was created to guide leaders and teams in building trust INTERNALLY. It is based on universal behaviors that strengthen and weaken trust. To date, almost 150,000 global professionals have tapped into trust, and dozens of teams and organizations have used our simple survey tool to start a trust discussion.

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact us.

 

 

Purchase our books at this link

 

Copyright © 2020 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
25

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”  Benjamin Franklin

“Say you’re sorry.” As a child, how often did you hear those words from parents and teachers? While apologies become even more “complex” in adulthood, have you stopped to consider the role they play in trust repair?  This week, as part of our Zoom Lunch & Learn series seven members of our Trust Alliance convened to discuss the topic of apologies in a session called “I’m sorry…but.”

Prior to meeting, I provided the group with the following insights shared by one of our members:  
It’s been almost four decades since Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol crisis, and public affairs professionals have been fixated on the “apologize” model.  Whenever a company is attacked, they recommend that trust can be rebuilt only by an immediate apology. Yet there have been critics of this approach, most notably renowned crisis manager Eric Dezenhall.  In his 2007 book Damage Control, subtitled “What Everything You Know About Crisis Management is Wrong,” Dezenhall argues that not all situations are the same, that not all apologies are the same, and that the costs and benefits of the apology must be carefully evaluated.
Through the lens of trust, the apology plays a particularly important role, which may be to restore, build or further undermine trust. The apology is no panacea that fixes broken trust; at best, it is one step in an ongoing process.  

Our discussion extended beyond apologies at the organizational or corporate level. We reviewed interpersonal apologies as well.

The following are some of the key take aways:

  • The purpose of an apology is to repair a damaged relationship, whether it is between two people or at the leadership/ corporate level, and there must be a desire to do so.
  • Apologies must have a unifying quality with no “conditions” or “buts.”
  • Authentic apologies must contain an acknowledgement of harm and a commitment to a behavioral change. (Example: A husband is caught cheating on his wife. The apology must go beyond, “I’m sorry for hurting you” to “I promise you I will never do it again.”)
  • Apologies should not be confused with taking responsibility. (Example: Johnson & Johnson followed their credo and took responsibility after the Tylenol crisis. They did not apologize.)
  • Victims need validation more than an apology.
  • Apologies are words. Trust is built through actions. A plan must be announced with specifics. Simply saying we “hope to regain your trust” is worthless.
  • Trust can be built only after lasting changes have been made. Remember, actions always speak louder than words.
  • Ethical actions not only reduce the need for apologies, they also raise awareness of the benefits of principled behavior. Incivility, sarcasm and humiliation have no place in relationships inside or outside the office. In fact, they are breeding grounds for reducing trust and increasing the odds of a crisis.
  • Consider what is happening in the relationship that creates the need for an apology. What internal changes should be made to modify the dynamic and prevent future crises? Without an internal culture of responsibility and accountability, there WILL be crises and regardless of whether or not an apology is given, there will not be a change in behavior to correct things.

A few additional thoughts the intersection of apologies and trust for leaders and organizations facing a crisis:

  • While most companies have a mission or vision “statement”, quarterly reviews based on financial returns still rule the day. This creates the perfect storm for a crisis. Leaders then delegate the apology and trust repair “fix” to their corporate communications/PR team, instead of taking ownership. Wells Fargo is the poster child for this approach which fails every time.
  • Most business leaders are unaware of the independent variables or behaviors that create trust. If they don’t defer to PR, they defer to “legal” who are trained in risk, not trust.
  • Spontaneous conversations about reputation rarely occur until reputation is in the ditch. Reputation management, like crisis management, like employee engagement are really PR terms rather than management terms. That’s why they’re not seriously a part of management’s vocabulary. Trust is a management word. Integrity is a management word. Civility and decency aren’t really management words.
  • One of my favorite questions in these circumstances is,” what would your mother’s say if they were in the room right now, after they slapped you in the head and told you that you were not the kid they raised.”
  • An attack on trust/a crisis means that the organization performed below expectations of at least one of its stakeholders. An organization can have a crisis with one stakeholder that does not impact others. For example, HP had a governance issue that caused it to apologize to investors with plans for how it would be avoided in the future, but it did not register with customers.
In conclusion, consider this:
Individuals, leaders and trustworthy organizations who are in the enviable position of having built trust over time, will be more easily forgiven for what may be viewed as a genuine or unavoidable mistake instead of an ethical lapse. This not only increases the chances of surviving future crises, it prevents the majority of those crises from happening at all.
For more information on how to assess the level of trust in your organization and reduce those apology “moments” Tap into Trust and access our simple survey tools.
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To participate in future Lunch & Learns, apply to join our vetted Trust Alliance.
Thank you to Bart Alexander, David Belden, Lea Brovedani, Charles Feltman, Nadine Hack, Jim Lukaszewski and Elliot Schreiber for your insights. Until next time!
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Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

 

 

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Aug
11

“Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time.”– Arthur Ashe

 

 

 

Performing a quick review of recent news headlines on trust repair and restoration returns the following results:

Restore Trust in Science

Pittsburgh Diocese to do More to Restore Trust

Can a Blockchain Timestamp Help Rebuild Trust

Fair and Unbiased Reporting Will Restore Trust in Media

Mayor Peter Gets Hired by Notre Dame to Restore Trust in Politics

Zuckerberg Has a Lot of Work To do To Restore Public Trust in Facebook

These headlines might lead the average reader to believe that, at one point, the referenced societal institutions had built trust and have now lost it. For others including me, they are a naive attention grabbing media tool, serving no purpose and misleading most readers. It’s simply not possible to rebuild or restore something that was ignored during the organizational construction phase.

Building trust should never be used as a crisis response or news headline following a reputation hit.

Trust doesn’t work that way. It is always proactive, intentional and deliberate and trust is built:

  • Through ethical and principled behavior modeled by leadership
  • From the inside out
  • Over time
  • In incremental steps

A strong foundation of trust supports an even stronger “trust bank account” and ensures that reputation hits will be minimized and repair will be easy and inexpensive. It also brings many collateral benefits including:

  • Elevated employee engagement and retention
  • Reduced workplace stress
  • Improved stakeholder relationships
  • More innovation
  • Better accountability, transparency and communication
  • Reduced costs and elevated profits

Unfortunately the current global crisis has revealed the level to which most leaders across all societal institutions from science to business, have ignored the organizational risks that their low trust environments have created. Many are now faced with the monumental task of climbing their way out of the “trust repair trap.”  While it’s never too late to start building trust, it must begin with leadership acknowledgement that the crisis response strategy to trust does not work. It never did.

Those interested in proactively elevating trust can choose to:

  1. Join our global Trust Alliance
  2. Tap into Trust and join almost 150,000 global professionals who have already done so
  3. Use our AIM assessment tools to start a trust discussion
  4. Host a virtual trust building workshop
  5. Or drop a note to Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

 

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jul
28

Our 7th Trust Alliance Lunch & Learn was held on July 23rd when we convened nine members to discuss trust and trustworthiness. This one-page presentation summarizes our findings, providing both Essential Steps and Additional Considerations for those interested in further exploring the role trust plays in organizational success.

Join the Alliance to participate in our next event on August 6th at noon.

 

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Jun
30

Today we conclude our 2020 Trust Insights series. Should you ever choose to think about the role trust plays on your team or in your organization, start by answering the question “Trust to do what?” and then consider the following:

 

 

 

  • All leaders and their team members must take ownership and be proactive about trust. Trust must first be well defined, never taken for granted or only talked about after a crisis. More on this subject at this link.
  • Trust is an outcome of principled behavior on the part of all leaders and team members. Access our Trust Alliance Principles to learn more. The weakest behaviors break the trust chain.
  • Leadership effectiveness should be evaluated by the internal environment of trust that has been created and maintained. Learn how you can evaluate it.
  • Trust cannot be regulated or delegated to a “department.” Without shared values that foster a culture of trust, leaders defer to legal and compliance to enforce rules. Read “Trust: Going Beyond Compliance & Ethics.”
  • No organization is sustainable without a foundation of trust, and there are no shortcuts.
  • Trust in leadership and among teams cannot be measured by public opinion polls. Don’t confuse external “perception of trust” surveys with internal surveys of trust.
  • A company cannot create authentic brand trust without first building trust internally.
  • If you are a leader who is not willing to personally do the work to build trust, don’t talk about it as if you are. Read “Ten One Liners for the Low Trust Leader.”
  • The only way to build trust is to behave your way into it. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to trust, and there are many work arounds.
  • Ignoring trust as an intentional business strategy presents enormous enterprise risk. The benefits of high trust are too numerous to ignore.

I hope you have enjoyed our 26-week Trust Insights series.

Before you leave, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to over 500 others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an ONLINE webinar today.

Did you miss our previous 2020 Trust Insights? Access them at this link.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly:

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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May
12

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

Ethics and compliance officers need to stimulate and assist management to establish a culture of trust.  Geert Vermeulen

 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

If you want to create a culture where people feel free to speak, hold people accountable, managers set a good example, where employees are engaged with the organization and feel that they are treated fairly, you are basically working towards establishing a culture of trust. This means that as management, you should not only focus on satisfying shareholders, but also on your other stakeholders, starting with your employees.

By establishing a culture of trust, where people are not afraid to admit errors and mistakes, are able to challenge decisions, where they openly discuss potential problems as well as new ideas, you will not only have fewer long-lasting problems but you will also stimulate a more innovative culture. As a result, you will have a better reputation as a company.

Therefore, you will be better able to attract high-potentials to come and work for you and clients will be more inclined to buy something from your brand. And as a result of fewer problems, more innovation and a better reputation, you will see that you will have better financial results in the long term. So, in the end, this also benefits your shareholders. It’s a win-win situation in the long term.

 

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

I was working as an ethics & compliance officer at a multinational and found out that in a certain country people were making corrupt payments. We stopped the payments and asked an outside party to conduct an investigation. Unfortunately, the quality of the investigation was unsatisfactory and in the end, I decided to continue the investigation myself together with a colleague. So, we traveled to this country to interview people, analyze what had gone wrong and submitted a report to the management in which we advised to take a number of corrective and preventive measures, including firing a few people and taking disciplinary measures against others. Virtually all of our recommendations were adopted. As a result, people in the local organizations looked at me as the guy who got their colleagues fired and were frightened to talk with me. But that is not what I wanted, I wanted people to come to me with their challenges and issues, so we can have a discussion and try to find solutions together. We, (the management and I,) basically had to restore trust. But the question was how. We decided to use all the tools that we could think of.

We started by confessing that we (regional/global management and the compliance department) had also dropped the ball and had not been sufficiently involved in this country, despite the fact that it was identified as a high-risk country. Therefore, we invested in the local compliance function and I also visited the country more often. We encouraged everyone to come forward with anything that had happened in the past that they were concerned about, trying to create a culture of openness and transparency. And if they had not been the main driver behind the unethical behavior, they would not get fired or face any negative consequences whatsoever for coming forward. We offered all employees free access to external lawyers for a number of days. They could ask confidential advice and we would pay for that, without knowing who asked what.

Now that the corrupt payments had been stopped, some of our employees received death threats from former clients. After a careful deliberation we decided to step into that discussion, taking away the authority to make payments from the local country office and by communicating that if anyone still had problems with that, they could have a discussion with somebody from the head office (me), herewith exposing ourselves to these threats as well, demonstrating personal commitment. I have to admit that, since I have children, I have become less brave and more careful, so this was quite uncomfortable. Luckily nobody showed up to have that discussion.

We personally visited some of the more problematic locations to actually see with our own eyes what was going on. We organized dilemma sessions with the employees to explore potential solutions and panel sessions with senior management where employees could ask anything. At the same time, we launched a marketing campaign, organized a compliance quiz and handed out rewards. And to conclude the marketing campaign, we organized a party.

We knew that we would lose a number of clients and were prepared to make a loss. Much to our surprise our experience proved that, as we profiled ourselves as the most compliant supplier in the market, we obtained new clients and our annual results in the end actually showed a growth of both revenue and profit. We put a lot of effort into restoring the trust and I think that we managed to succeed. That said, keeping the trust also requires a lot of work and is something that should not be taken for granted.

 

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

This is a difficult question. If I look at the political climate across the world I am not very positive. I notice that quite a few leaders with a nationalist agenda are elected, taking protective measures. Not trusting other countries. Blaming the opposition. 

At the same time, I also see changes in the business world, like the recent emphasis on ESG, as expressed by BlackRock and other major investors, as well as the declaration from the Business Round Table in the US. Business leaders are realizing that they are losing credit from society and they release statements that they want to balance the interests of the shareholders with the interests of the other stakeholders. But do we see that happening in practice? I guess it is still too early to tell. In The Netherlands we have seen leaders like Paul Polman from Unilever and Feike Sijbesma from DSM making their companies more sustainable and at the same time also delivering better business results. The question is what their successors will do now that they have stepped down. And whether other companies will adopt a similar strategy.

More importantly, I am very optimistic about the younger generations, the millennials, who seem to have another attitude. In the US we have seen employees starting protests against their companies who don’t seem to follow their own value statements. I have not seen that in other countries yet, but I do notice (anecdotally) that also in Europe the young generations are less interested in money, possessions and wealth and more interested in experiences and doing something meaningful with their life.

 

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

Yes, I do. Countries seem to be less inclined to support each other. Free trade agreements are re-negotiated. The value of international institutions is challenged. We spend less money on development aid. The US and Europe stop refugees who want to enter their countries looking for a better life. We have free movement of goods and capital but not of people. If anything bad happens, foreigners are blamed. In the US the Democrats and republicans are so divided that it is hardly impossible to reach a compromise. This while a good democracy also takes the interests of the minorities into account.

Instead, we see an ‘us against them’ attitude and people hardly seem to be able to listen to each other, feel empathy with other people, trying to understand their situation and line of thinking. And this happens at a time where we are more connected than ever through social media and global supply chains. The reality is that we are all in this together. Trust in vital institutions like journalists and scientific institutes is waning. However, I also see some positive trends, as described above.

 

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

The Trust Alliance inspires me. I learn from other people and it is always nice to meet likeminded people to exchange thoughts and ideas. I have also used the outcomes of the FACTS(R) Framework to support my theory that ethical/trustworthy organizations achieve better business results in the long term. I use that in my articles, talks and training sessions.

In The Netherlands I have been active in the Association of Dutch Compliance Professionals. I am the former Chairman. I launched and still chair the expert group on Financial Economic Crime and am a member of the expert group on Culture and Behavior, where I lead the internationalization effort. This last group developed a toolbox with some 40 tools that ethics and compliance officers can use to (assist management to) influence the company culture and the behavior of individuals. We are going to include Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s AIM Survey tool in our toolbox this year.

 

Geert, 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?

My mission is to help organizations conduct business in an ethical and compliant way by reducing risk and stimulating better business. I specialize in establishing and improving ethics and compliance programs in general and anti-corruption programs in specific. In 2016 I founded ECMC: Ethics & Compliance Management & Consulting to provide compliance training, consulting and interim ethics & compliance management. I also speak and write on ethics and compliance.
Most of my experience was obtained in-house as the Chief Compliance Officer Aon EMEA and the Global Head of Compliance of Damco, the freight forwarding arm of Maersk. I have been the President of the Dutch Compliance Officers Association, the founder/chair of the expert group on Financial Economic Crime of the Association, a member of the expert group on Culture and Behavior and a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Law Compliance Minor at The Hague University. I am the recipient of the 2020 National Compliance Award.

 

Before you leave, 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. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an ONLINE webinar today.

Did you miss our previous 2020 Trust Insights? Access them at this link.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
28

This week’s Trust Insights welcomes our Trust Council members who joined us in addressing the following question:

Is the Apple/Google Contact Tracing Plan Worthy of our Trust?

by Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

 

During these trying times, Apple and Google claim to have temporarily placed their corporate competitiveness on hold to begin collaborating on at least one very large data project. It’s called contact tracing, “the process of tracking down the people with whom infected patients have interacted, and making sure they get tested or go into quarantine’ according to this recent NPR article. The Apple/Google “alliance” will expand the reach of existing contract tracing capabilities. This initiative has raised many questions and multiple collective eyebrows, not only for our trust and ethics subject matter expert community, but also for the general public, and for good reasons. For example:

  • Why should the public now trust the tech giants with their data when these companies have not proven themselves trustworthy in the past?
  • Should all trust concerns be set aside in the interest of global health? 

Who better to ask than Trust Across America’s  Trust Council? Our council is comprised of senior members of our Trust Alliance who are some of the world’s leading trust subject matter experts.

What we already know about trusting the tech giants

Bart Alexander shared a quick retrospective on the state of tech’s visibility into our private lives: 

Providers such as Apple and Google already have comprehensive information about our location.  Even with location services (GPS) off, they have visibility into the relative strength of every wifi signal and cell signal. From years of collection including through  Google’s fleet of Street View cars, they can correlate that triangulated location with GPS.  With other data bases, they can determine if we are at home, at a shop or even a medical facility.  Google recently reached a $13 million settlement on the use of Street View cars for MAC address collection that goes back a decade.  This kind of information is used for target marketing to the public.  To now add a permission marketing app to supplement with Bluetooth technology is a rather minor addition to the existing privacy concerns, and at least has a public health purpose.

Natalie Doyle Oldfield who spent twenty years working in IT before turning her attention to organizational trust, added a bit more historical perspective:

As history has shown, wars vastly expand governments’ powers to regulate, to collect data and introduce new measures.  For example, income tax was introduced as a war time measures act in the interest of public welfare.  At the same time, strict policies to protect personal income data were enacted. Census taking provides another historical example of data collection.

Banks, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants and other professionals must follow established confidentiality rules and codes of ethics to keep our personal data secure and private. For the most part, the regulatory bodies have put safeguards in place to ensure these professions do not abuse our privacy.  And if they do, there are repercussions. Medical professionals can lose their licenses to practice and lawyers can be disbarred. 

The question is will “Big Tech” demonstrate that they too not only can but WILL voluntarily meet the highest ethical standards? Can they provide sound answers to the following questions: Specifically, what data will be collected and who will have access to it?   Are we committing to practicing privacy and security by design? What about HIPAA certification? Will we do what’s ethical and in the public’s best privacy interests,  or only what’s regulated, understanding that tech regulations are lagging far behind other industries like finance and health care.

Personal Trust vs. Societal Health

Charlie Green’s response is one of “Roll the dice trust.”

Personal trust inevitably comes in conflict with tech privacy and security concerns. After all, the height of privacy and security tech models are called “zero trust” for a reason. Because it has nothing to do with personal trust.

I think the trust issue in this case is that we need to trust Apple and Google and each other, adding some clear transparency bumpers, to do something potentially tremendously positive in the face of a pandemic.

Randy Conley sits in the camp of “cautious optimism.”

I think technology can play a tremendously helpful role in public health or disaster management situations like this, AND, we have to be cognizant of the personal privacy issues involved. I believe South Korea has leveraged personal technology to a large degree in their successful management of the COVID-19 virus. The reality is that we live with an illusion of privacy. Despite our safeguards, we don’t have as much privacy as we think we do. If nefarious actors in Big Tech or any skilled hacker wants information on us, they can get it.

Linda Fisher Thornton considers the trade offs:

“The challenge we face is balancing the benefits of surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic, which potentially includes saving lives, with the costs in terms of the loss of privacy and autonomy. The surveillance approach puts the safety of the masses ahead of the privacy and autonomy of individuals  For surveillance to be effective, a strong majority will need to allow access to their location and health status data. To convince them to do that, tech companies will need to demonstrate trustworthy intentions, a clear plan, full disclosure, and implementation that includes privacy protections.” 

Bob Whipple adds that with the tech solutions, just remember that anything that is made by people can be hacked by other people.  So the potential of abuse in electronic tracing is immense.

Pandemics Aside, Trust is ALWAYS a Function of Leadership

Bob Vanourek, a former CEO of several large pubic companies reminds us that:

Good leaders go first in extending trust and scale up or down afterwards depending on the behavior of the other. 

This pandemic is a huge Black Swan (or perhaps a “known-unknown”) event that will change much of our world forever. Some would argue that using such tech will help save lives and is, therefore, worthwhile. Others will argue the privacy invasion issues are scary, and we can’t take a step down this potentially slippery slope.

Like many ethical issues, there are legitimate pros and cons on both sides of the argument. Should the government pass a law outlawing this technology and behavior? I think not. Should we blindly accept the tech companies to handle this without close scrutiny? I think not. 

Stephen M.R. Covey’s “smart trust” applies here alongside Jim Kouzes’ “go first” dictum. Let’s extend Google and Apple smart trust and closely monitor what they are doing, adjusting accordingly.

Wrapping up

Getting back to Bart Alexander:

In 1988, Shoshana Zuboff wrote “In the Age of the Smart Machine” that increasing automation can be used to empower or control us at work and beyond.  Even in that pre-internet era, the key moral issue of surveillance had emerged: for whom and for what purpose are we giving up our privacy?

I’ve argued (in the work I did for the U of Denver Institute for Enterprise Ethics) that these moral issues should not and cannot be resolved by engineers.  We need sociologists and ethicist to struggle with what otherwise are just technical problems to be overcome.  I would add that public health officials will always err on the side of protection versus personal freedoms, embodied in the precautionary principle.  They may often be right, but they and the software engineers’ solutions should not be without scrutiny.

Finally, as the Founder of Trust Across America- Trust Around the World, I’ll add my perspective. I do not believe that these two tech giants will receive adequate voluntary public buy-in to reach the scale they had hoped for. They simply haven’t earned the public trust required of such a large initiative. That being said, something tells me that Apple and Google already have all the technology and data they need to go forward, with or without permission, while other competing interests attempt to play catch up.

One member of our Trust Council shared this quote from the often controversial Winston Churchill: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, along with members of its Trust Alliance, offers both online and in-person workshops to help leaders, teams and organizations build their trust competency. These are some samples of recent engagements.

Catch up on our 2020 Trust Insights series at this link.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara has consulted with many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, and also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance . She is  the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine.  Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
21

While there are no shortcuts to trust, there are many work arounds.  Barbara Brooks Kimmel

In the words of Abraham Lincoln…. You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

 

 

 

The same applies to trust. Perhaps now, more than ever, leaders have a responsibility to their stakeholders to stop treating trust like an outcast soft skill, and start approaching low trust as a high risk. Trust is an essential organizational competency with tangible value, just like any other.

How many of these shortcuts to trust have you participated in or taken?

  • Misdefining trust in a way that suits organizational leadership and its advisors. A few examples: brand trust, check the box sustainability/ESG, philanthropy, “feel good” CSR, and blockchain solutions are not trust. Neither is”purpose.”
  • Engaging a “feel good” speaker, rather than holding a trust competency workshop with a trust subject matter expert.
  • Paying to be designated as a “great workplace.”
  • Hiring additional legal and compliance professionals.
  • Creating a marketing campaign based on trust “talk” rather than action.

Unfortunately, not a single one of these costly “perception of trust” shortcuts will elevate trust.

Building a high trust organization is not difficult if trust is acknowledged as the outcome of principled behavior. It simply requires leadership buy-in, a solid trust-building framework, and a destination. High priced trust shortcuts might fool some of the people in the short-term, but in the long-term principled leaders build trust-based organizations from the inside out, not the outside in.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, along with members of its Trust Alliance, offers both online and in-person workshops to help leaders, teams and organizations build their trust competency. These are some samples of recent engagements.

Refer to the list of above and decide which you would rather do, build trust or work around it.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara has consulted with many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, and also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance . She is  the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine.  Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
25

The benefits of high trust are too numerous for leaders to continue to ignore.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

 

 

Study after study confirms that over the long-term, high trust organizations outperform their low trust competitors. These are a few of the benefits:

  • Elevated employee engagement and retention
  • Reduced workplace stress
  • Enhanced decision-making
  • Innovative culture
  • More accountability, transparency and communication
  • Reduced costs

Why do most leaders choose to ignore trust or take it for granted?

The greatest challenges to elevating trust are the inability to delegate it, and having the right tools to fix it. Trust is a top down imperative that cannot be addressed via regulation and requires its own budget. It is not a Corporate Social Responsibility or “purpose” project, nor a compliance, human resources or marketing function, but rather an intentional business strategy adopted by leadership and practiced and reinforced daily. According to the Business Roundtable, vanishing are the days of low transparency, “short-term” thinking and maximization of shareholder value at the expense of other stakeholders. And as low trust continues to make the headlines across the globe, organizations that choose trust as an intentional strategy will continue to outperform their peers.

Take a look at some of the more recent study results:

  • On average, Trust Across America’s (that’s us) annual “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since 2012 (June, 2018). This study  has also been referenced by Gartner and in the Harvard Business Review.
  • Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.
  • PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey (2018) asked consumers which factors, other than price, influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer. More than one in three (35%) ranked ‘trust in brand’ as among their top three reasons. 

  • Another study looking at workplace trust and the impact on employee wellbeing reveals that more than half (53%) of employees considered it to be a major factor in whether they stayed or left a company. More research on the link between trust and wellness in this recent SmartBrief article.
  • According to Gallup, when employees don’t trust organizational leadership, their chances of being engaged are one in 12. But when that trust is established, the chances of engagement skyrocket to better than one in two. That’s more than a six-fold increase.

These references are bolstered by dozens of others. Short-sighted business leaders may continue to challenge the “return on trust” but the evidence is mounting. There is not only a business case but also a financial case for trust.

How can leaders elevate trust proactively instead of addressing it after a crisis and playing catch up?

It requires moving beyond talk to acknowledgement followed by ownership and action. Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World introduced a quick and simple survey tool called AIM Towards Trust and Workshop opportunities for teams and organizations of all sizes and in any industry to begin a trust discussion and address the challenges that are holding back trust. The survey has been successfully administered in dozens of teams, organizations and in advance of conferences and workshops. Readers interested in reviewing its various applications can learn more at this link.

Making the decision to elevate trust is not easy.  It requires both introspection on the part of leadership and a certain amount of vulnerability. Virtues like trust, the ones that really matter, must be treated as business imperatives for those who are seeking long-term success. Waiting for the inevitable crisis (most are the result of low trust) to make the old and tired PR speech, declaring that trust must be rebuilt may be the most popular choice, but as we have seen, it’s also the most expensive and least effective. Just ask Wells Fargo.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. Now in its eleventh year, the mission is to help organizations build trust. That’s all we do. 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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