Archive

Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

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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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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Aug
04

Having studied and observed trust building and trust busting behavior for over ten years, what’s crystal clear is that when people trust you, their confidence in you will increase, and they will be more inclined to do business with you.

 

 

LinkedIn claims to have more than 700 million users in 200 countries, and the platform can be a very powerful business tool, IF your goal is to build trust with your connections. The following are ten tips on how to do this.

  1. Begin with a clearly defined “ethics based” LinkedIn strategy, with the focus being your connections not you.
  2. Communicate authentically. Your values, beliefs and principles must align with your actions.
  3. Become the “go to” person in your area of expertise by publishing well-written original thought leadership pieces rather than announcing your next podcast or speaking engagement.
  4. Every post should represent added value to your readers or be solutions based.
  5. Share relevant, high quality content, even if it is from a competitor. Shine a spotlight on valuable material, regardless of who wrote it.
  6. Remain humble. Don’t tell your audience how “honored” or “humbled” you are while promoting your upcoming gig or your most recent award. That’s just insincere self-interest.
  7. Before publishing your next post answer this question: “Who cares (other than you and your mother)?”
  8. Engage your audience by asking them for input and feedback, and be sure to acknowledge every response.
  9. In this age of rapidly evolving social “activism” pick your photo captions carefully. For example, does your photo show a room full of men with no female presence? Does it just show you?
  10. You are the company you keep. Make sure the posts you are “liking” reflect positively on your values. (And instead of simply “liking” a post, leave a thoughtful comment.)

And now for a few surefire ways to bust trust really fast…

  1. Connecting with the sole purpose of selling something to your “prospect”
  2. Pretending in your initial connection request that you have something (undefined) in common.
  3. Immediately upon connecting, filling the recipient’s inbox with all sorts of “stuff” about how great you are.
  4. Having a profile that screams “amateur”: Words and phrases like guru, influencer, disruptor, rebel, world-renowned, life coach, Lion, Forbes and Inc. contributor… and best-selling author.
  5. Same goes for credentials- fake PhD’s and questionable experience are easy to spot and even easier to verify.
  6. Being a bragger about your latest upcoming “gig” and then having all your friends say “Congrats!”
  7. Ignoring comments, or better yet, deleting them if you disagree or think they might take the attention away from you.
  8. Trolling LinkedIn and inciting controversy.
  9. Showing zero interest in getting to know your new connections, even when they message you.
  10. Adding your LI connections to your mailing list without permission.

Having been an active LinkedIn member for many years, the balance is shifting away from thought leadership towards billboard advertising. If this is accurate, LinkedIn will surely (and quickly) lose its stature as a valuable business tool. In fact, I’ve spent the past several months deleting hundreds of self-promoting LinkedIn connections.

In summary, if the focus is simply “You,” maybe it’s time to rethink your LinkedIn strategy. Start by making “trust building” your core focus.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Leave your comments.

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.

PS- Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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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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