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Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

May
06

How many of the following are present in your workplace?

Leaders trust their employees

Employees trust their leaders

Team members trust each other

Ethical behavior is rewarded

 

In most workplaces the answer may be “None.” How do we know that? Our global Survey of Workplace Trust continues to reveal trust gaps that should concern every stakeholder.

Trust is always interpersonal and the outcome of principled behavior. The reasons for low trust vary from relationship to relationship and team to team making “one size fits all” box checking impossible. The good news, trust can be a learned competence and need not be “shelved” until the next crisis, only to be used as a talking point with no followup action to support it. Instead, trust can and should be a proactive business strategy that is practiced by leadership and reinforced daily.

This past November I wrote an article for SHRM Executive Network Blog called Hiring for Trust.

Many of our Trust Alliance members including Charles H. Green, Lea Brovedani, Olivia Mathijsen and David Belden were quoted, all subject matter experts in their own right.

As I mentioned in the article… Sadly, most leadership teams and their HR professional staff have never considered the role trust plays in organizational success, beginning with hiring practices. Even sadder, working from home has now further compounded the glaring lack of trust that exists between employees and employers, making hiring even more challenging.

Hiring for trust does not just “happen” and when leadership fails to consider the role trust plays in organizational success, let alone adopt it as a core value of the organization, hiring for trust makes little to no sense. Given this all too common scenario, leaders should be prepared for new employees quickly to become disengaged and to jump ship once they realize that their personal values and those of the organization do not align.

Since the publication of this article, I have been asked numerous times for some “pointers” on the kinds of questions interviewers might ask if trust were, in fact, a core value of their organization. The list of questions provided below are drawn from some of the behaviors in our TAP Framework, the basis for our Workplace Trust Survey, that strengthen or weaken trust in a team.

Thirteen questions to consider asking if hiring for trust

  • How do you feel about telling “white” lies?
  • If you failed at achieving a goal, would you openly and candidly acknowledge it?
  • Do you feel that your values are aligned with the values of this organization? 
  • Can you provide an example of how you have recently acted with integrity in either your personal or professional life?
  • Do you consider yourself a good listener and why? 
  • Are you more competitive or more collaborative?
  • If someone on your team disagrees with you, how do you react?
  • What do you consider your top three character strengths?
  • What would keep you from having open and frank conversations?
  • Is transparency the best option if it compromises kindness?
  • Could you respect a teammate you didn’t trust?
  • Should employees feel safe to fail?
  • What ethical behavioral goals have you set for yourself?

These questions are meant to address specific trust-building behaviors like truth, accountability, purpose and respect, among others. If you are in a hiring role and can’t personally answer them or don’t know the “right” answer, Tap Into Trust for more free resources. Rest assured, if you start incorporating some of these questions into your practices you will be not only be hiring for competence but also for those character traits that build interpersonal trust.

Join over 150,000 global citizens who have accessed our behavioral principles to not only hire for trust, but to strengthen both team and organizational success.

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

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

Have you heard about The “Art” of Trust? It’s our newest tool!

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Apr
13

Copyright 2021 Next Decade, Inc.

 

What role does TRUTH play in the core values and culture of your workplace?

Truth is the first of *12 behaviors in our Tap Into Trust (TAP) framework having now been accessed over 150,000 times in 16 languages. 

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World created these visual “cues” to start a discussion about behaviors in the workplace that build and weaken trust. Together these cues form a “Wall” of Trust, telling a story to enhance learning and retention.

 

 

 

 

 

In the context of a team, we define Truth as follows:

 We are honest & humble. We put the truth ahead of personal or professional gain.

If truth is lacking on your team how do you begin to address it? These are two questions our Trust Alliance members suggest to foster a discussion and improve trust.

  1. Does our organization tolerate or even encourage “white lies” to avoid conflict and produce results? If so, how can we safely bring that out in the open and change it?
  2. Do we put down people who willingly share their truth? If so, how do we create a forum that invites appropriate candor?

 

The “Art” of Trust  is one of many resources designed during our Trust Action Project 2021 to help leaders, teams and organizations move from trust talk to ACTION in 2021 and beyond. Build a “Wall” of Trust for your team as the first step down the road to trust.

What behaviors do you think impact trust the MOST in teams and organizations? Our 1 minute/1 question AIM Workplace Diagnostic compares your response to more than 600 others.

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

Would you like more information about how to purchase The “Art” of Trust? Let us know.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

 

*TAP INTO TRUST is an acronym. The 12 behaviors are equally weighted. The weakest behaviors break the trust chain.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
07

The Trust Action Project 2021 (#tap2021) Weekly Action is one of many Trust Alliance resources designed to help leaders, teams and organizations move beyond trust talk to ACTION in 2021.

 

 

What behaviors do you think impact trust the most in teams and organizations? Our 1 minute/1 question AIM Workplace Diagnostic compares your response to 600 others.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

How would you like to get involved? Let us know.

 

 

 

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
23

A few years ago John Baldoni, one of our long-time Trust Alliance members gave me the following advice. He said “Barbara stop trying to change the world. Focus on one person and one organization at a time.”

With that advice in mind, today we celebrate a milestone. In less than three years, over 150,000 global citizens have Tapped Into Trust to access our Trust Alliance Principles (TAP), available at no cost in 16 languages. This would never have been possible without the support of our global Trust Alliance members who continue to work collaboratively to develop and promote these universal principles that can be applied to any organization or team of any size.

From these principles grew a simple one question/one minute ongoing master Workplace Trust survey that has now been taken almost 600 times, followed by our AIM diagnostics and the online and in person workshops designed to start a trust discussion, and directly address the weaknesses that are keeping trust from flourishing.

 

 

Trust is always the outcome of principled leadership. If you are an ethical leader who is unwilling to commit to learning more about the impact trust has on your organization’s culture and ultimate success, you are contributing to long-term enterprise risk. (And hiring a motivational speaker to “talk trust” with your employees is not the solution.)

Thank you to all who made this milestone possible. Your ongoing commitment to building trust is getting it done, one person and one organization at a time. Thanks John!

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

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Feb
21

The Trust Action Project 2021 (#tap2021) Weekly Action is one of many Trust Alliance resources designed to help leaders, teams and organizations move beyond trust talk to ACTION in 2021.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

What’s weakening trust on your team or in your organization? Take our 1 minute/1 question AIM workplace survey.

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

How would you like to get involved? Let us know.

 

 

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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Dec
09

The “language” of Coronavirus instills fear and diminishes trust. 

While fear is often used as a tool to gain short-term compliance, it comes with a steep price tag, the loss of trust. Take a closer look at this recently published Gallup chart. Are you surprised?

The following is a list of frequently used fear-inducing COVID19 media terms. How many of these can be accurately defined by the writer, let alone their readers or listeners? And how would you describe your reaction? Anxious, scared, fearful?

  1. Cases and “numbers” exploding
  2. Hospital strain
  3. Unprecedented surge
  4. Running rampant
  5. Whopping
  6. Stay-at-home orders
  7. Shutdowns
  8. Lockdowns
  9. Alarmingly high
  10. Overwhelming

These obtuse and half-baked terms are no different than the food industry calling its products “all natural,” a meaningless marketing label at best. Without a common vocabulary and precise definitions, the present COVID19 language trumpeted by the media is intentionally designed and delivered to produce two outcomes:

  • Instill fear 
  • Destroy trust

What happens when fear dominates?

The brain releases hormones including cortisol and catecholamine, and shuts down certain executive functions like strategic thinking and trust. In other words, people psychologically “freeze.”

What does the media hope to accomplish by freezing the public, and what is motivating them to do this? Is it no more complicated than a lack of conscience, more “eyeballs” and increased ad revenue, or is there something more? Who is driving these panic inducing headlines?  Where have journalistic integrity, ethics and standards gone? How can the public be expected to now pivot away from the fear created by the media and embrace the vaccine news?

Little doubt exists that if we are to accept a vaccine the public’s trust must be elevated. The media needs to immediately take responsibility and be accountable for alleviating their fear porn and replacing it with trust inducing language, concise definitions, increased data transparency, care and empathy. In other words, the ethical practices that build trust. And our politicians and vaccine manufacturers must be held to the same ethical standard, working collaboratively with their media partners to ensure that the fear they have collectively created can be replaced with trust. Unfortunately, that can’t happen by flicking on a switch. Trust is built over time and in incremental steps and it is the outcome of principled behavior.

For more information visit www.trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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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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Oct
06

Nominations are now open for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 11th annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust.

 

 

 

Announcement of honorees will be made in January 2021 via TRUST! Magazine.

This unique program celebrates global professionals advancing the cause of trust.
How can you get involved?
Share this page link with others who may be qualified and interested.
Send along a suggestion of someone worthy of our consideration.
Nominate yourself or someone else (or have someone nominate you).
If you use our free resources, now is the time to show your support with a small donation. Visit our homepage and scroll down on the right.
Advertise in our upcoming annual honors announcement in January. Contact me for details.
Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Sep
02

This post is written for my leadership, ethics and Board advisor friends on LinkedIn.

Maybe I’m naive or out of touch. What do you think of this offer?

When I was contacted last week about a position on an advisory board for a new executive education program at a well established university in NJ, the opportunity sounded promising. I would be joining leaders from organizations including Microsoft, Uber and Google, or so I was told in an introductory email. Yesterday I received more details in a phone conversation with the program manager. The call should have ended when the manager could not tell me how she received my name, but I decided to play along for a few more minutes. My one-year “seat” was contingent on two requirements:

  1. A commitment to three ninety-minute on-line evening calls throughout the year, during which Board members would listen to a presentation and give feedback.
  2. An agreement to complete the executive education curriculum itself (16 hours of online learning.) To clarify, I personally didn’t have to be the one to do that. Someone on my staff could be assigned the responsibility. It didn’t really matter as long as the FEE was paid. And what was that fee? For the general public, the program costs $4995 but as a Board member, the fee was discounted 80% to $980. Not only that, but anyone I signed up to complete the program would also be eligible for the same reduced rate.

I tried to stop choking on my coffee long enough to say that I would check with our Council members for some feedback. Before I had a chance to do that, and within 30 minutes, I received a followup email telling me I had been “approved” with a DocuSign term-sheet attached.

Well, I did a sanity check with one of my Council members who suggested I contact the university to discuss the ethics of their “pay to play” Board program. I may just do that. What would you do?

PS- Why the picture of the dog? I lost my buddy of 13 years on Monday. I’d like to think that the week can only get better from here. Let’s see what today brings.

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
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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