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Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Jun
02

With the right mindset (and tools) leaders can build trust in a new work environment.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel

Over the past few months, members of our Trust Alliance have participated in a series of Lunch & Learns. Our global membership crosses every organizational silo and we rarely view organizational trust through the same lens. Sharing our cultural perspectives and trust expertise has elevated our understanding of the nuances of this increasingly relevant and timely topic.

Working from home is just one of many “new” realities facing business leaders during this pandemic. These realities have exposed the lack of leadership acknowledgement of the role trust plays in organizational success. Now more than ever leaders MUST develop intentional trust-building strategies that are internally driven.

So once again, we reached out to our Alliance members, asking for their perspective on the trust challenges leaders should be addressing right now, and any examples of those who are stepping up to meet them.

Leaders Must Extend Trust to their Employees

According to David Belden, one of the most transformational aspects of the pandemic is the transition of the workforce to remote functioning. In working with over 400 companies for the past 22 years, the major hindrance in this transformation has been a lack of trust from leadership towards employees. Companies have traditionally felt that if they could not directly monitor their workforce, the work would not get done.

The current crisis has forced a change in that view. The results have been nothing less than astounding. In recent surveys, over 70%  reported that, given the choice, they would continue to work remotely. Concurrently, companies are reporting an unexpected increase in productivity.

 There are two critical aspects for a successful transition to remote work:

  1. Absolute clarity regarding the expected outcome. The focus has to be on outcome/results rather than hours worked.
  2. Line of sight on the part of the employee between the goal of the company and his or her personal contribution in attaining that goal.

When these two prerequisites are met, the company has to trust that the employee will fulfill their agreed upon duties. The employee must trust that the company will act in the best interests of all of the stakeholders, particularly the employees. Without mutual trust, this new arrangement will not succeed.

Trustworthiness is a 2-way street with the leader and the team adds Kevin McCarthy. COVID19 is a tough shift in every aspect of our lives and lifestyles. Such times reveal us–particularly our varying personal health conditions, risk profiles and preferences.  Leaders who acknowledge and respect these differences may honor them by providing team members, where practical, a transitional period to continue to work from home or return to the workplace as each person sees fit. Likewise, willing, but financially disincentivized,  team members drawing unemployment compensation greater than or equal to their pay can do their civic duty by returning to the workforce for the common good of their co-workers, company, and country.

Elevating Trust Requires Acknowledging Uncertainty

Bart Alexander reminds leaders that crises often result in debilitating uncertainty.  By saying “It’s too early, we just don’t know,” organizations reinforce collective and individual stress, even panic.  Companies can translate uncertainty into manageable  risk by openly sharing their best judgement, as in, “This is the worst case, this is the best case, and this is the most likely case, and if anything changes, you’ll be the first to know.”  Adding the probability of each scenario will help all to be on the same page and begin to prepare.  Open solicitation of ideas on how to best adapt further engages the entire organization into a shared future.

And Lea Brovedani supports these sentiments and provides an example. Leaders should be acknowledging uncertainty and showing their own humanity. They should tell what they know, what they don’t know and still take action. At this time, they need to model the duality of feeling uncertain and showing how to keep moving forward.

The first business leader that comes to mind is Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive who instructed people to work from home well before most other companies. He acknowledged feeling uncertain and worried, talking about his son who has cerebral palsy and the worries he and his wife have.

Here is a quote from an article written in the Seattle Times:

Nadella gave the interview shortly before releasing a lengthy email to his more than 140,000 employees worldwide, applauding them for their response to the pandemic and urging them to do the best they can to help others on a personal and professional level...

Nadella said in his email that Microsoft is in a position to help slow the pandemic by demonstrating leadership in the face of adversity and maximizing the company’s biggest strength — bringing people, ideas and solutions together quickly through tech. He mentioned the company’s work to bring “trusted news and facts” about COVID-19 to LinkedIn members and on Bing, while working with Facebook, Google and Twitter to bring “authoritative content” to those platforms and “combat fraud and misinformation about the virus.

Trust Will be Predicated on Employee Engagement

Ben Boyd recently wrote an article called “The COVID case for stakeholder capitalism – and the elevated role of corporate communications.” He had this to say about employees and the future of engagement. Employees have shown incredible resiliency, enduring extraordinary and ongoing change. Their continued engagement and commitment are critical to meeting the future needs and demands of the business; however, their expectations have changed over these past four months. Developing programs to engage, motivate, reassure and rebuild an organization’s workforce must be a top priority. Key questions to consider are: How will you address employees’ most basic needs related to personal safety and company hygiene? Moving toward the “next normal,” how will you assess employees’ evolving needs and expectations to ensure your leaders are authentically and empathetically connecting with the workforce?    

And finally my thoughts. Business leaders have many tough decisions ahead of them. Hopefully they also have the skill set to engage their employees to help make them. Our current climate of fear has revealed just how much leaders in all societal institutions have taken trust for granted.  In business, not only do employees fear for their physical and emotional safety, but also for the future of their jobs. In other words, they don’t trust their employers to keep them safe. Perhaps it’s the emotional element of trust (some call it benevolence) that are even more critical now in allaying those fears. Hard skills like leadership competence are no longer sufficient. In fact, they haven’t ever been. Emotional intelligence, an ethical mindset and empathy are the “soft” skills that build trust. Who returns to work and how to manage social distancing are the easy problems, and the ones that most C-Suite advisors will tackle first. They will also be the ones that are promoted in stakeholder communications. And if the emotional elements that have created the “fear” are not  given equal weight, then we will simply return to the pre pandemic levels of low employee engagement and increasingly challenging mental health issues, while sitting six feet apart.  Those “hard” decisions are the ones that will continue to separate authentic trustworthy leaders from all others. For the rest, it will be business as “usual” with a few minor and inconvenient adjustments that are the easiest to communicate.

 

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:

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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May
26

Leadership ultimately comes down to creating conditions of trust within an organization.

Colin Powell

 

 

 

In honor of Memorial Day, this week’s Trust Insight comes courtesy of Colin Powell. During this brief and concise video, Powell discusses the role trust plays in leadership:

Powell’s timeless “rules” of leadership were first printed in the August 13, 1989 issue of Parade magazine and are reproduced below.

13 Rules of Leadership

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

 

Please stop by our website for additional organizational trust resources, or schedule a call to learn how we can help elevate trust in your leadership team and among employees in your organization.

Did you know that over 137,000 global professionals have Tapped into Trust? Have you?

 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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May
05


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

“Trust is not a message; it’s an outcome – and trust may not even be the real issue.” Robert Phillips

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this timely insight?

For way too long, “trust” has been hijacked by communications consultancies and strategy firms, who see/ position the trust “issue” and how to address it as a function of what the organisations says, rather than what it does. They sell strategies and programmes accordingly.  Together with reliance on some dodgy data, this leads to a bogus and corrosive narrative around trust: often creating a false sense of (global) crisis. This masks more profound issues and challenges and many cultural and political nuances.

Organisations would do better by focusing on their own behaviours and on the real issues (including the climate emergency and tech disruption) that lead to better outcomes for employees, customers and stakeholders. Furthermore, trustworthiness is a more relevant construct than “trust”. Trustworthiness is a function of Honesty + Competence + Reliability + Good. It is undermined by self-interest, especially where such self-interest is not transparently declared.

 

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

The Global Responsible Tax Project curated by Jericho Chambers for KPMG, has been running since 2014. Based on organising principles of activism, participation, accountability and dissent, it now hosts a community of 1700 experts, built peer-to-peer, from the Global North to Global South and across the political spectrum – including corporate leaders; advisors; politicians and policy-makers; activists, NGOs and campaigners; academics and experts; media and the commentariart. This global coalition has worked together to develop new policy ideas and recommendations – leading to more trust between all parties and better policy outcomes for the common good. It’s starting point was that any solution to global tax problems were better served by addressing the purpose of tax, than communications and lobbying around the issues, and that no-one has all the answers. Tax is trust, write large – as this article brings to life.

 

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

IpsosMORI long-term veracity data would suggest that trust remains in a chronic condition. The so-called “crisis of trust” masks a more profound crisis of leadership – in business and in politics. A failure to address the leadership issue will only prolong and never resolve the current condition.

 

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

No, although a recognition of the chronic condition (see above) is important, as is a determination to do something about it.

 

Robert, 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?

Robert has been at the forefront of the UK Public Relations industry for three decades. His expert area is the relationship between communications, leadership and trust. 

Robert’s 2015 book Trust Me, PR is Dead was heralded by Management Today as “a game-changer for the future of communications”. His often-outspoken views have been described as “essential for anyone who wants to influence and persuade in the mid-21st century”. Since 2014, Robert has helped build coalitions across business, government and civil society on subjects ranging from Responsible Tax to the Future of Work; Adult Social Care to the Future of Transport; Infrastructure and Housing to the Built Environment. Robert advocates new operating principles based on activism, accountability, co-production and dissent.

Robert is Founder of Jericho Chambers and Visiting Professor at Cass Business School, City, University of London. He was formerly CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa for Edelman – the world’s largest Public Relations firm – and Global Chair of its Future Strategies & Public Engagement Group. He co-founded JCPR in 1987 – described by PR Week as “the seminal consumer brands consultancy of the Nineties and Noughties” – which he sold to Edelman in 2004. Two of Robert’s campaigns, for Wonderbra and PlayStation, were included in the Top 20 PR Campaigns of All Time.

 

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
07

Our new reality is teaching us so much about trust. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

This past Thursday, nine members of our Trust Alliance, from four countries, convened for the first in a series of weekly Zoom “Lunch and Learns.” The discussion topic was Trust Lessons from Coronavirus. The conversation ran the gamut from families to communities, and up the societal ladder to government and beyond.

 

 

Let’s begin with trust lessons for the family and work our way up from there.

The Family

The modern family operates differently than it did just a generation ago, when more mothers stayed home with their children. In my research I uncovered the following. As of 2018, 63% of all American families have two working parents. In 1989 the number was 53%. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics.) This represents close to a 19% increase. Suddenly, both parents are home, with many working remotely, and their kids are home too, with no school or childcare options. Certainly a shock and a “new reality” for many families. What does this have to do with trust? Just about everything.

Randy Conley of The Ken Blanchard Companies spoke about benevolence and compassion as not only the launch pad for building greater trust, but as the basis of the human fundamental connection. Working parents may want to consider using this “teaching” moment to build even stronger bonds with their children who will then have an improved “skill set” to build them with their friends, communities, teammates and beyond. Parents may consider taking some of these lessons back to their jobs when they return. This could translate into higher levels of workplace trust and more trustworthy generations in the future.

The Community

At the community level, Lea Brovedani is encouraged by how she sees people connecting, displaying tremendous empathy and generosity towards others by offering to help neighbors, joining together in fundraising for nurses and hospitals, and accepting “distancing” (and even washing hands) in the interests of protecting others. Both empathy and generosity build trust.

Darshan Kulkarni, our resident bioethicist, happens to live across the street from a hospital in a large US city. He is witnessing the virus first hand from his window. He urges everyone in every community to take time to separate fact from fiction to get a better “feel” for what is going on, and lessen fear and panic. Understanding that the political push and pull, and the day to day Fox vs. CNN reporting may hurt trust in the short term, it’s now up to communities to pull together to ensure that trust is not eroded over the long term.

The Workplace

David Belden, an organizational strategy consultant discussed how the coronavirus will permanently change the way we work. He reminded us that in many ways the 2008 financial crisis taught companies how to be more productive with fewer employees. Twelve years later and many people are accustomed to working remotely. Now, even more employees have joined those ranks. Will that continue post Coronavirus crisis? Will employers become more efficient? Will trust flourish as in-person micromanagement is no longer an option? Perhaps output increases when time clocks no longer need to be punched.

Will home based employees be more productive with less rules and restrictions? How about those organizations where remote teams have flourished for many years, using ever improving technology to enhance a new form of “teamwork” and efficiency? Has their forward-thinking strategy built a stronger foundation of trust, and a clear business advantage going forward? Because companies are now being given an opportunity to become even more efficient, will they share their wealth with their employees? This is the perfect time for leaders to demonstrate their support for their workers through their actions, not just their words. Think “Purpose” with a capital “P.”

From Canada, Natalie Doyle Oldfield reminded us of how trust builds business relationships, internally with employees and externally with customers and suppliers. At Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, we call that the trust “bank account.” Whether an entrepreneur, a small business owner or the CEO of a multinational company, the bigger that trust account pre crisis, the more stakeholders will remain loyal during the crisis, and the faster the post crisis recovery will be for business leaders who banked it.

Mark Donohue founder of LifeGuides presented another point of view expressing concerns that working from home will be isolating while social connections disintegrate. He shared that 43% of the US workforce currently works remotely (Gallup). Perhaps the time has come, or is past due, to redesign support systems that not only build trust between employers and employees, but also offer better benefits including counseling services during times of isolation and/or personal crisis.

Government

Our European members weighed in on the role government is playing in building or destroying trust. Olivia Mathijsen, a leadership and business advisor is at ground zero for Coronavirus, working remotely in Milan, Italy. She reminded us that different legislators have contrasting points of view, not all data is created equal, that cost cutting in the health sector has created some of the dissolution of trust, and that some media outlets are fueling mistrust by disseminating misinformation. But she sees a silver lining, and that’s compassion being shown and assistance offered not only between individuals, but also between countries, essential components for building societal trust that will hopefully continue post crisis.

Geert Vermeulen, an ethics and compliance expert reporting in from the Netherlands spoke of the shortages of critical supplies and regulatory constraints that have further taxed the system. But he also sees elevating levels of trust as individuals and companies work together to meet societal needs.

The last few minutes of the conversation turned to the shared GLOBAL level of accountability, empathy, compassion and benevolence that has been so apparent over the past several weeks. If we can maintain these basic human behaviors when the Coronavirus crisis subsides, societal trust will certainly be stronger.

In closing, David Belden pointed out that the Latinized form of the Greek word crisis (krisis) means turning point. Coronavirus is already moving the world in the direction of increasing empathy, compassion and benevolence. And as Mark Donohue concluded, the nature of trust is built on the “golden rule,” perhaps the most important reminder during these challenging times.

 

An abbreviated version of this article was published earlier this week on SmartBrief.

If you would like to participate in our upcoming “Lunch & Learns” join our Trust Alliance.

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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Mar
31

This week we are providing a quarterly wrap up of our Trust Insights series. Many of the world’s leading trust scholars and practitioners are collaborating on this project to bring you actionable insights that you can use to elevate trust at both the team and organizational level.

 

 

Simply click on the blue link in the list below to read more.

 

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey
Trust is both earned and given. January 7, 2020
Trust Insights Week #2: David Reiling
Developing trust starts in the C-Suite. January 14, 2020
Trust Insights Week #3: Margaret Heffernan
Trust is always and only about what you DO; nothing else matters. January 21, 2020
Trust Insights Week #4: Special Announcement
2020 Top Thought Leaders. January 28, 2020
Trust Insights Week #5: Charles H. Green
Trust is what happens when a risk-taking trustor meets a virtuous trustee. February 4, 2020
Trust Insights Week #6: Walt Rakowich
Real leadership starts by building trust; without trust, you have no platform from which to build positive influence with others. February 11, 2020
Trust Insights Week #7: Bob Vanourek
Three trust questions are the best way to deal with the ethical dilemmas we face. February 18, 2020
Trust Insights Week #8: Barbara Brooks Kimmel
The benefits of high trust are too numerous for leaders to ignore. February 25, 2020
Trust Insights Week #9: Bob Whipple
The absence of fear is the incubator of trust. March 3 , 2020
Trust Insights Week #10: Doug Conant
Building trust doesn’t have to be overwhelming… March 10, 2020
Trust Insights Week #11: Lea Brovedani
It is easier to trust someone and for others to trust you if there is genuine care… March 17, 2020
Trust Insights Week #12: Sean Flaherty
Developing trust starts with building a culture that values trust. March 24, 2020

 

 

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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Dec
10

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following list is presented alphabetically:

Aron Ain, CEO Kronos

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

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

Dr. Baron offers insights on building trust with patients.

Marc Benioff, co-CEO Salesforce

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

Anil Dash, CEO Glitch

Anil discusses the role personal accountability plays in building trust.

Hussein Fazal, CEO Snaptravel

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

James Filsinger, CEO Yapta

James stresses maintaining culture and rowing in the same direction.

Fisk Johnson, CEO SC Johnson

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

Beth Mooney, CEO KeyCorp

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

Brian Niccol, CEO Chipotle

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

Rami Rahim, CEO Juniper Networks

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

Congratulations to all of these CEOs!

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

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

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

PS-

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

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

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

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Nov
23

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

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

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

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

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

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

The weakest principles break the chain.

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

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

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, inc.

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Oct
12

 

Is it just me?

Most people I’ve met in business are honest, while a handful can’t stop their bulls–t.

How many BS excuses have you heard? What’s your favorite? These are a few of mine:

 

 

 

  • I’m VERY busy
  • I’m traveling nonstop
  • Check back with me in a month
  • I never saw your email
  • Let me run it by my team

Instead, why not just say “I’m not interested?”

People on the receiving end of BS excuses know they are just that, because they have heard them all before.

In my book, excuse givers get two strikes (the first might be legit), and then they are out! And I’ll share my experience with any colleague who asks.

I’ll take honesty over crappy excuses any day, because honesty builds trust. And if you can’t trust someone to initially tell you the truth, you probably don’t want to do business with them.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. 

 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Sep
18

Brand Trust has become a “big deal” for marketers in 2019.

While some define brand trust as building trust with your customers and consumers, not everyone agrees.

A recent article in Adweek called Consumer’s Trust in Brands Has Fallen to a New Low highlights the confusion that often arises when “talking trust” from a brand standpoint, or any point for that matter. This particular article ran the “building trust gamut” from:

  • Elevating trust with consumers
  • Through data privacy 
  • Relationship building
  • To increasing transparency
  • Meeting the needs of millennials and Get Z
  • And even being good corporate citizens.

I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a pretty tall and confusing trust order.

So I asked the members of our Trust Council to read the article and share their professional observations about what brand trust is and what it isn’t. Here’s what five members had to say:

Bart Alexander, a seasoned CSR professional opined that most consumers, including young adults, are still choosing products and services based on functional attributes more than responsibility performance of the parent company. Similarly, most investors still seek to maximize total return rather than focus on long-term sustainability performance. But we may well be on the cusp of a tipping point where the approaches referenced in the article become mainstream. At the same time, we must acknowledge that most of the economy is continuing to operate on far more traditional views about value.

Nadine Hack, a leadership consultant and educator, concurs. All of this activity makes me wonder (hopefully, yet cautiously) if we may have finally reached a tipping point where corporate social responsibility is something businesses must act on, not just talk about.

Randy Conley at Ken Blanchard adds that in the digital world, organizations are having to constantly make deposits in the “trust bank” of their customers, because sooner or later, there will be an instance where trust is broken. It’s not a question of if they’ll break trust, but when. The vast majority of consumers are starting to realize that we only live under the illusion of privacy and data security.  At the end of the day, each of us as consumers has to decide our own comfort level of risk in sharing our information with others and trusting those individuals/organizations to keep it safe.

Linda Fisher Thornton, an ethics educator and consultant had this to say… Reputation and brand used to be considered separate things. You built your brand (what you wanted people to believe about your company) and you sought to protect the image of your brand that you had built. That approach is outdated. With social media transparency, reputation and brand have converged to the point that reputation defines and shapes the brand. People believe what they see a company doing rather than any pretty picture it has created to represent itself.The way to build trust is not to pretend to be a trustworthy brand, but to actually live it.

“The Trust Ambassador” Bob Whipple concluded with these thoughts…The thing I was reminded of is that we all need to be cognizant of the reputation of our own brands and the jeopardy we could put people in unwittingly. The real test is how diligent the company is on the front end to design a robust system and how the company reacts if and when something goes wrong. That is the test of their leadership.

Which brings us back to the question in the title of the article. What does Brand Trust mean?

I suppose it depends on one’s personal and professional perspective. If you are a marketer in 2019, apparently it’s a big deal, not unlike “purpose,” another big deal. Sadly, many of these are merely PR “campaigns” designed by those who have no subject matter expertise. The result is not only less trust, but more cynicism and confusion for both customers and consumers. 

Marketers who choose to talk about brand trust, should consider shifting their focus to helping build trustworthy and enduring brands. That’s not accomplished through data security or meeting the needs of a certain generation, and it’s certainly not the sole responsibility of the marketing department. The way trustworthy brands are built is similar to the way people build trust between themselves. It always boils down to principles and values, and either leaders, teams and organizations have them or they don’t. If brands want to be trustworthy and trusted, it’s leadership’s responsibility, along with their Board, to first clean up their own house from the inside out. Building a foundation of trust via principled leadership and trustworthy employees is the only solution to elevating brand trust. And then the marketing team can step in and craft an authentic message, not just a PR campaign.

As Bob Whipple said earlier, the real test is how diligent the company is on the front end.

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

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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May
14

Taken from this week’s “Rebuilding Trust” headlines…

Facebook promises to rebuild trust via a “feel good” marketing campaign.

Boeing hints that perhaps a name change is (not) in order. There’s been “no discussion” of a name change, Johndroe said, including dropping “Max” and referring to the jet family by product numbers such as 737-8.

Danske Bank picks a new CEO and states, without details “We have a big task ahead of us in continuing to rebuild trust,” Danske Bank Chairman Karsten Dybvad said in a statement.

 

Who is doling out all this misdirected advice? And what does rebuilding trust even mean?

Ad campaigns, name changes and new CEOs are not the solution. Trust is internal and interpersonal, and is built from the inside out. It is an intentional and holistic business strategy that is practiced and reinforced daily starting at the very top and impacting every stakeholder group. As we have seen with almost every corporate crisis in the past, putting a Band-Aid on the elephant in the room doesn’t heal the wound. It just covers it up.

And why do these business leaders, and their respective “advisors” believe that trust was present in the past and now needs to be rebuilt? When was the last time trust building was a proactive agenda item at the Board level or in the C-Suite in any of these organizations? Until a deliberate acknowledgement is made that “perception of trust” is no replacement for trust itself, the “headlines” will repeat themselves, and the proposed solutions will not only be very costly, but ultimately lead nowhere. The crisis will blow over and it will be “business as usual.” No need to utter the “T” word again.

For authentic leaders who want to build trust from the inside out, please visit our website and read more about our new diagnostic, AIM Towards Trust.

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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