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Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Jan
31

This past week the World Economic Forum held its annual meeting at Davos and the global elite were buzzing like bees around the word “trust.” 

Overlapping was another meeting being held in a remote corner of NJ (of all places), perhaps because the “polar vortex” was about to ground the attendees’ private jets. This gathering was called “Sovad so Good” or “Sovad” for short.)

For those unfamiliar with the annual Davos event, it’s by “invitation only,” and even those who secure an invite might not be able to afford the cost of admission. Most badges require a membership to the World Economic Forum, which costs somewhere between $60,000 and $600,000, plus an additional fee of more than $27,000 per person to get into the conference. (CNBC, January 25, 2019)

Worth noting: Of the 3000 attendees almost 800 were Americans and 22% were women, up from 21% last year! Less than 5% of S&P 500 CEOs are women—that’s just 24 companies. We can’t know how many of those 24 were invited to the event in Davos, but the official attendance list includes four of their names: Heather Bresch, CEO of Mylan N.V.; Adena Friedman, CEO of  Nasdaq Inc.;  Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corp.; and Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM. Quartz, January 21, 2019

Sovad (the other Davos) didn’t include the high price tag (or any admission fee for that matter), nor the “A” list of celebrities like Matt Damon or Will.i.am, and side deals were not being done off stage, probably because there was no stage. (Over 50% of the SOVAD group is women.) No large “trust signs” were erected at the entrance to our gathering like the one leading up to Davos. It was just too darn cold for anyone to want to climb a ladder, especially those in skirts.

CNN reported, ‘Trust is the new buzzword at Davos,” and as Dana Carvey “The Church Lady” liked to say on SNL, “Well isn’t that special.” (Dana and I lived together at one time but that’s a topic for another post.) So what was all the Davos “buzz” on trust about? These were the trust “themes:”

  1. Rebuilding trust (think Facebook.) Sheryl Sandberg was the trust “expert” on this subject.
  2. Trust and technology (digital security, AI, blockchain, etc.)
  3. Trust and innovation
  4. Trust and sustainability
  5. Trust and CEOs “taking stands.”

To the attendees at Davos these are certainly important revenue generating discussions to be having. But do they actually get to the heart of trust, or even move the needle slightly to elevate societal trust? That’s a solid “No.”  Here’s why.

It seems only one trust conversation was missing at Davos, and probably the most important one: How do we move our societal institutions from trust buzz to trust action? And that was the ONLY conversation at Sovad.

So while the fine food and drink flowed, and the planes stayed warm on the tarmac in Switzerland, the Sovad attendees arrived by auto and took the following action over a burger and a beer:

With no revenue generating agenda, we created 12 universal principles for elevating trust and began asking those who didn’t travel to Europe, how that “trust thing” is working in their organization. After all, isn’t that where trust starts (and ends)? Apparently, we struck a chord as over 35,000 unassuming folks from around the world have joined the conversation.

Will you take our brand new (one question/one minute) survey? Find out how your organization compares to others.

Note: Some believe that this year’s gathering was a disappointment on many fronts. Perhaps the word “trust” was simply a placeholder until a “real” topic can be identified for 2020. Kenneth Rogoff, the Harvard economist, summed it up: “This is the flattest Davos I can remember. Normally, there is a star country or a star industry that everybody is talking about. But this year, there is nothing.”

Could it be that the “nothing” has “something” to do with trust?

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. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright(c) 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jan
24

This is a timely article about what trust is and what it isn’t! 

www.fcpablog.com/blog/2019/1/24/five-stupid-ideas-about-trust-in-business.html

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, pictured above left, is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Charles H. Green, above right, is an author, speaker and world expert on trust-based relationships and sales in complex businesses. Founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, he is author of Trust-based Selling, and co-author of The Trusted Advisor and the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook. He majored in philosophy (Columbia), and has an MBA (Harvard). He has authored articles in Harvard Business Review, Directorship Magazine, Management Consulting News, CPA Journal, American Lawyer, Investments and Wealth Monitor, and Commercial Lending Review.

 

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Jan
06

How can organizations ensure that

red lights turn green in 2019?

 

Please share your ideas.

 

 


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Dec
07

Ten years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis, I undertook a study of organizational trust. Ten years later, and with the assistance of hundreds of global experts, I offer the following observations gleaned over the past decade.

Organizational trust is built over time and in incremental steps. There are simply no shortcuts.

Trust facts:

Organizational trust is an “inside out” strategy built through…

  1. A shared purpose and tactical vision acknowledging all stakeholders, not just shareholders
  2. A high integrity/high accountability board and CEO
  3. Long-term and corporate-wide intentional trust building strategies
  4. Daily reinforcement
  5. Hiring (and firing) in accordance with corporate values
  6. Rejection of hidden agendas
  7. Vulnerability and a willingness to admit mistakes
  8. Transparency, truth telling and promises kept
  9. Rewarding moral character
  10. Trust measurement and tracking

Recently my colleagues and I have witnessed some “sloppy” use of the word “trust” via short-term thinking attempts to provide quick and easy illusory measurements and solutions.

Trust Fiction:

Trust is not built through…

  1. Delegation of trust building to middle management or online ethics training modules
  2. Expensive and slick PR or “branding” campaigns
  3. CEO activism unrelated to the business
  4. CSR “one off” projects and ESG “check the box” practices
  5. Self-fulfilling surveys, reports and “best of” awards
  6. Philanthropy
  7. Empty apologies, lots of talk and little action
  8. Social media “strategies” and buzz words
  9. More rules and larger legal departments
  10. Short-term share price action

There are no short-term solutions to building a trustworthy business. Attempting to cut corners not only wastes time and resources but damages reputation.  For those Boards and CEOs who want to learn more, check back next week when we offer 12 free tools to elevate trust in every organization, regardless of size, industry or location.

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. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright(c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Sep
12

Having studied trust for over ten years, one thing has become crystal clear. When people trust you (or your brand), their confidence in you (and your products) will increase, and they will be more inclined to do business with you.

Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. What do these new norms mean for companies that are vying for their business and their trust? Much of this experience is rooted in trust: 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.

LinkedIn claims to have more than 500 million users in 200 countries, and it can be a very powerful marketing tool, IF it is used properly. The following are ten tips to build trust on LinkedIn:

  1. Begin with a clearly defined “principle based” LinkedIn marketing strategy, making the focus your targeted customer base, not you.
  2. Communicate authentically. Your 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 an announcement of your next speaking engagement.
  4. Every post should focus on solving customer (or potential customer) problems.
  5. Share relevant, high quality content, even if it is from a competitor. Shine a spotlight on thought leadership written and posted by employees.
  6. Remain humble. Don’t get caught in the insincere “honored” and “humbled” trap to promote your upcoming gig or your most recent award.
  7. Before 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.
  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 brand. (And instead of simply “liking” a post, leave a thoughtful comment.)

Having been an active LinkedIn member for many years, the balance may be shifting away from thought leadership towards a new (and free) form of billboard advertising. If this perception is accurate, LinkedIn will surely (and quickly) lose its value as a marketing tool.

In summary, if the focus is simply “You,” maybe it’s time to rethink your LinkedIn marketing 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 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. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust! For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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Jul
18

Papa John’s is the latest to call for trust “reconstruction” from the inside out. A quick review of recent news headlines also mentions the EPA after Pruitt, Michigan State’s new athletic director, the Charlottesville police department, Samsung, and Wells Fargo, among others, all calling for trust rebuilding.

At first glance, the obvious recipients of that “first” phone call might be: PR firms and ad agencies, crisis management firms, risk experts, monitors or watchdogs, lawyers or compliance consultants. Yet every one of those choices will result in a “Band-Aid” fix, at best.

For an organization to rebuild trust, the first decision is not who gets the phone call, but who makes it. That first call must originate from the top, and be made to a professional firm with expertise in organizational trust. When that call is delegated to communications, legal or compliance, the chances of obtaining a long-term desired outcome are greatly reduced.

Trust building (and rebuilding) is an intentional holistic exercise. It can’t be pushed down the chain of command and it can only be fixed by the “right” people. Trust can’t be rebuilt with a press conference or an ad campaign, and it does take time.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a global group of ethics and trust professionals who comprise our Trust Alliance. They are currently available in 14 languages as free PDF downloads and serve as a great starting place and a clear roadmap to building and rebuilding trust. A variety of complimentary tools are also available on our website at trustacrossamerica.com and our Trust Alliance members may also be in a position to help.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Apr
04

 

This story starts with an increase of 30% on our monthly business phone bill for no apparent reason, and with no explanation. I set aside five minutes to call the company since this particular landline exists primarily to accommodate unsolicited robocalls, and not much more. Eighteen minutes later, I was still on the call.

Why?

  • First 2 minutes: A customer service telephone number is not displayed on Page 1 of the bill. (A number is buried on Page 4 as I was later told by Rep #2). Thank goodness for Google who popped the number right up on my screen.
  • Next 5 minutes: Listening to a recorded message and series of prompts with no way to bypass and speak directly to a rep.
  • Next 5 minutes: Speaking to Rep #1 who advised that our “special” rate had expired and she could not extend it. When I suggested that I might discontinue the service, she asked if she should connect me to the “disconnect department.” I suggested that perhaps there was an alternative and…
  • Final 6 minutes: Speaking to Rep #2 in the “loyalty department” who reinstated the discount, but “just for 12 months.”

I don’t think I need to name all the ways this company is busting trust and loyalty under the heading of “customer service” but I did share a few thoughts with #2. She had a rebuttal for every suggestion yet asked me to stay on the line for a customer service survey.

It’s hard to believe that ANY organization still operates in this manner, yet so many do.

Approximately 50,000 employees currently work for this public company. In September 2014, the stock traded at $41.00. Today that same stock can be purchased for $16.75. Are you surprised? I’m not.

PS- The CEO, who has been in this role for over 25 years, recently announced his early retirement.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Company, she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

or contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Follow us on Twitter @BarbaraKimmel and @TapIntoTrust

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Mar
12

Photo courtesy of asiasentinel.com

Have you noticed that as LinkedIn has grown, the user focus has shifted away from relationship building to individual advertising? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am rowing alone in a sea, and it’s not the Caribbean.

As a LinkedIn user, have you considered the benefits of first building trust with your connections?  After all, LinkedIn is a great way to develop relationships that may lead to new business or collaborative opportunities down the road. Under the theory that trust is built over time and in incremental steps consider adjusting your LinkedIn “strategy” using some of the following trust-building suggestions.

Connecting

  • Before accepting a new connection, take a minute to view the profile of the party who is reaching out. If there are no clear personal or professional synergies, consider passing on the invitation.
  • When accepting, send a note indicating that you have spent a few minutes reviewing the profile to get to know the new connection. Ask whether the other party had a specific reason for wanting to connect.
  • When sending an invitation, add a personal note showing some level of interest in the work of the potential new relationship.

Posting

  • First consider the usefulness to your connections of your next post. Are you posting for your benefit or for theirs? Cheap advertising isn’t always the best marketing strategy! (Same goes for posting to groups.)
  • Drop the insincere platitudes like “honored and humbled” when trumpting your minor successes. Save those words for the appropriate occasion.
  • Review your past posts. How many times do you use the words “Me, my, I?”
  • Don’t forget to acknowledge every comment on your post and also to reciprocate.

Networking

  • Periodically review connections and send a note to those who you might want to get to know better.
  • If you haven’t had any interaction beyond the first connection, never send a private message that is nothing more than an advertisement (usually an invitation to attend an event that involves paying a fee.)
  • Do not use your connections to create a mailing list. Ask for permission first.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Please leave your comments below.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Company, she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
20

Trust is not a soft skill, nor should it be taken for granted. It is a tangible asset that impacts the bottom line.

Last week’s blog post discussed the various ways that low trust can kill an organization. So how can trust be elevated? We asked our Trust Alliance members to weigh in and the following are some “best practices” for building organizational trust.

  • First identify what builds trust and what breaks trust. Bob Vanourek
  • Agree on core values, then practice and reinforce them daily. Barbara Brooks Kimmel
  • Build cultures of commitment vs. compliance where choices are guided by values, not policies. Mark Fernandes
  • Work tirelessly to dispel the illusion that trust is a soft skill. Doug Conant
  • Be a role model. Charlie Green
  • Be inclusive in your decision-making process. Nadine Hack
  • Set intentional promises and expectations on what you will deliver to all stakeholders. David Reiling
  • Go public when expressing gratitude; go private when expressing disappointment. Holly Latty-Mann
  • Presume good intentions. Bart Alexander
  • In every interaction with every person, ask yourself “What can I do in this moment to strengthen the trust between us?” Jim Kouzes

Our growing global Trust Alliance is working to build tools to help organizations of all sizes and shapes build trust. What’s stopping you from joining?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Co., she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

Join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Copyright 2018 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Sep
18

Photo courtesy of www.dondalrymple.com

According to a July 2017 World Economic Forum article about regaining trust in business….

Business is on the brink of distrust.

It is clear that the expectations of business are changing as rapidly as the world around us. Corporations must find a way to lead.

A contemporary CEO cannot afford to ignore this sentiment. The epoch of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a cost of doing business has passed; the era of “doing well by doing good” is upon us. Balancing the profit motive with the creation of societal value is about to become a precondition for the long-term success of any corporation, sector, scale or geographic reach notwithstanding.”

(Note: Trust Across America, through it’s FACTS Framework, developed the scorecard in 2009 and has been tracking and ranking the trustworthiness of the largest 2000 US based public companies since that time.)

So what is the path forward for leaders to regain trust in business? After all, the business case for trust has been proven time and again. Perhaps it boils down to the simple question of who owns trust.

The current SOP in most companies, is to take trust for granted until there is an “issue” and then trust is “delegated” to the “right” silo depending on the nature of the problem:

  • If there is a corporate crisis, the communications and legal team are there to talk about restoring trust after conferring with their PR firm.
  • If it’s a matter of “ethics,” the Chief Compliance Officer steps in.
  • Market share declining? The CMO steps up to tout brand “trust” in its campaign.
  • High employee turnover got you down? Head to HR. After all, they must not have hired “right.” Fire the whole darn department and replace the staff with interview robots. (I kid you not)
  • Unhappy shareholders? Punt to Investor Relations.
  • Giving a speech about building trust in the community? The corporate responsibility and sustainability silos are right on it, once legal signs off.

Got the picture?

Unfortunately, in most companies, no single person or department owns trust and that’s why business is on the brink of distrust. It’s that simple. Imagine running a company without a Chief Financial Officer. How would the job get done? Trust can no longer afford to be treated like a hot potato.

Who should own trust?

No doubt, it’s the CEO. Trust starts at the top, as a directive from the Board, with leadership acknowledgement of its strategic importance. Once that occurs, the day-to- day practice could be delegated to a Chief Trust Officer, who reports directly to the CEO. Imagine the first company bold enough to do this. Did I just say bold? I meant smart and proactive. 

What would the job entail?

  • Review and refine the credo, vision and values, with buy-in from every C-Suite member (and the Board.)
  • Regularly communicate vision and values to all stakeholders and ensure everyone abides by them.
  • Work closely with HR so hiring (and firing) is done according to the standards set forth above.
  • Get trust on the daily docket.  This is an example of how one company does this, and a bit more about driving culture.
  • Enforce a “zero” tolerance policy for trust breaches. Nobody is immune, especially the CEO.

What would the job requirements be?

Someone who lives the holistic concept of doing well by doing good, is a stellar communicator, and has the right combination of personal qualities to rally the troops. Impeccable character, courage, competence and consistency are key. In fact, not all that different from the qualities of a great CEO.

An organization’s chances at long-term success are predicated on the level of trust it builds with all its stakeholders. I can’t think of a more important and timely job title than Chief Trust Officer. Can you?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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