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Archive for the ‘Governance’ Category

Nov
02


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

 

Performance of Trust Across America’s

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

 

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

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

Leaders take trust for granted

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

Leaders focus on the wrong metrics

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

Leaders treat trust as a “soft skill”

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

Leaders are “trust reactive” 

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

Leaders delegate trust

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Purchase our books at this link

 

Copyright © 2020 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Aug
25

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

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

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

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

The following are some of the key take aways:

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

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

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

 

 

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jul
14

Regardless of your occupation, job title, or the type of organization that employs you, have you ever considered the role trust plays in leadership, team and organizational success?

And are you helping to build (or deplete) your organization’s trust bank account?

 

 

If you haven’t given any or much thought to these questions, you certainly are not alone. In fact, most people view trust as a soft skill that can simply be taken for granted. But consider this for a moment; there has never been a more critical time to acknowledge and embrace the business case for trust.* In fact, study after study confirms that over the long-term, high trust organizations outperform their low trust competitors, with the following benefits:

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

Using our definition of Trust as “an OUTCOME of principled behavior,” what we knew about the benefits of high trust in the past is currently amplified in our current business environment. Often, it takes a crisis to remind us what happens when trust is ignored or taken for granted.

Whether you are working in person or remotely, these are some characteristics of a high trust workplace environment. How many are currently present in yours?

  • Energy, motivation and engagement
  • Easy to hire and onboard new employees
  • Fun and laughter
  • High confidence, creativity and risk taking
  • Thriving innovation and productivity
  • Team alignment, sharing of information and credit, and quick forgiveness
  • Accountability and transparency as the norm
  • Willingness to be vulnerable and open, speak freely, and to listen
  • Positive team-building behaviors including gratitude, empathy and candor
  • A strong sense of “community” and shared values

How many of the following signs of low trust are present in your workplace? 

  • Lack of transparency
  • Distortions of truth
  • Disrespect
  • Hidden agendas
  • Poor communication
  • Low accountability
  • Short-term thinking
  • Inconsistent talk and actions

Leaders who ACKNOWLEDGE that low trust is a tangible risk have taken the first step in building a trust based team and/or workplace. And acknowledgement remains the greatest obstacle in most organizations as it requires direct leadership attention and input, and some degree of vulnerability. If this hurdle can be overcome, then it simply becomes a matter of IDENTIFYING the personal and interpersonal strengths and weakness that are either building trust or busting it. They can then be discussed, MENDED and tracked. Our Trust Across America program calls this AIM Towards Trust, and the tool is being easily adopted by enlightened leaders of teams and in organizations of all sizes and across industries, providing a path forward to high trust.

If a long term approach to elevating trust is not a leadership imperative at this time, all is not lost. Here are a few short-term ideas that any team can implement during the current crisis.

  • Consider hiring or appointing a remote-workforce manager.
  • If you didn’t already have one, a crisis-continuity plan should be created.
  • Be clear about all expected outcomes with the focus on results rather than hours worked.
  • Ensure that all team members have a line of sight between the goal of the company and his or her personal contribution in getting to the goal post.
  • Have frequent touch points with your team about work-related matters and also about personal needs. It’s critical not to overlook your employee’s mental health during these difficult times.
  • Establish a buddy system for new employees.
  • Get your workforce up to speed with technology, but don’t over invest in it or view it as a quick and easy trust “fix.” Set aside some of that budget to learn how to build trust. It may be a little more work but will produce much great rewards over the long-term.
  • Access our Trust Alliance Principles for additional ideas and remember the weakest behaviors break the trust chain. (Over 140,000 global professionals already have.)

Which organizations will emerge the strongest from COVID-19? Probably those whose leaders chose to place trust in the center of their business strategy before March 2020. In fact, leaders and their organizations who banked trust in advance of the pandemic are now being handsomely rewarded and will continue to be long into the future. It’s never too late to start thinking about the role of trust in leadership, team and organizational success. Why not today?

*To receive a copy of our two-page Business Case for Trust, please contact us.

 

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 11th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools. 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 industries and with many Fortune 500 CEOs. 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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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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Jun
09

Building trust in policing requires both trustworthy and collaborative community leadership and teamwork.  Barbara Brooks Kimmel

Police chiefs are not solely responsible for building trust with their communities. They are part of a team.  Just like a large corporation, the police department represents only one silo in the organization. They happen to also be the group subject to the most community exposure. In other words, it’s harder for the police department to hide behind a veil of secrecy, especially in cases involving misconduct, as we have recently witnessed. If you believe in the saying “The fish rots from the head,” you would be hard pressed to find an untrustworthy police chief working as part of a well-functioning team alongside a trustworthy mayor.

The following is taken from a recently updated report written by Trust Across America called Building Trust in Community Leadership, and originally published in 2013. It provides insights from top subject matter experts with whom we have worked over the years.

At a minimum….

The following are quick guiding principles in building and maintaining trust for community leaders:

Mayor

Public confidence in the integrity of elected officials is the cornerstone of our democratic representative system of governance.  As the highest-ranking elected official of its municipal town or city, the Office of the Mayor is charged with the trust, wellbeing, security, and prosperity of its citizens and community.  The Office of the Mayor should perform its responsibilities with the highest sense of ethical leadership, integrity and competence.  Each Mayor’s Office should develop, implement and monitor a set of Guiding Principles of Integrity that is tailored to its unique mandate and responsibilities. Donna C. Boehme, Compliance Strategists

(This short news clip provides a timely example of a Mayor who is talking about fortifying trust between community, police and local government.) Thanks Mayor Terry Short!

Town Manager

Today more than half of U.S. cities with a population of more than 10,000—and an increasing number of counties—are run by a combination of appointed professional administrators and elected officials. 

Trust is both the foundation and result of ethical leadership, and the manager must seek to create trust between himself and (1) the municipal employees, (2) his elected board, and (3) the community.  He can only do this one-day at a time as he sets examples for all other employees to follow, and public policy for the elected board to adopt.  His decisions on hiring, promotions, municipal services, and public policy must begin with transparency, and reflect his unbiased opinions on how municipalities provide public services to its citizens. David L. Woglom, Lafayette College

Chief of Police

An trustworthy policing leader creates and maintains a comprehensive values-based risk-management program that:

    1. Is based on clear, practical, effective and fair policies and practices to identify, prevent and detect illegal, unethical and unprofessional conduct.
    2. Assures that, if improper conduct occurs, prompt and appropriate remedial actions are taken to prevent future misconduct and to protect and enhance the agency’s credibility and reputation.   Michael Josephson, Josephson Institute

Head of Emergency Management

In emergency management the single most important issue that comes up again and again is the need for individual relationships to be in place before there is a disaster.  The criticality of these personal connections cannot be over emphasized.  One illustrative mantra that is shared is this, “If you see people exchanging business cards at the scene of an incident; you know it won’t go well.”

In reality while it sounds like relationships are key, the real shortfall that dooms projects, programs and regional efforts is a lack of trust between the individual players.  Trust then is the ultimate goal and how you get there is a critical path to be followed.  Eric Holdeman, Eric Holdeman & Associates

Superintendent of Schools

Few would argue that our education system must transform if we are to truly serve the needs of our students into the future. Now more than ever, the foundation for an educational leader’s strength comes from their trustworthiness and their ability to build trust among others.  Trust is no longer assumed based on position and credentials, but rather must be built based on the quality of relationships.  This requires a shift in leadership approach from one of command and control to one of collaboration.  Susan Mazza

To obtain a copy of the complete 17- page report including trust-building action plans for the job functions mentioned above, as well as other community leaders, please click here.

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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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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Jan
23

It may be no coincidence that three trust surveys were published just when the annual World Economic Forum Davos event kicked off in Switzerland.  Let’s take a quick look at them:

 

 

Edelman Trust Barometer: The annual Edelman survey polls the public on the four major societal groups: government, business, NGOs and the media.  The results are not so much about trust, but rather PERCEPTION of trust by members of the public who participate in the survey.

YPO Global Pulse Survey on Trust: Another global survey, this time of business leaders. Again, a measure of perception of trust, this time by business leaders.

Morning Consult: Survey of the Building Blocks of Consumer Trust in Brands: Explores the factors that are important to consumers when considering whether to trust a company. The results of this survey are quite different from the first two. I suppose it depends who you ask and how you ask your questions about trust. This survey also measures perception of trust, this time on the part of consumers.

These surveys, and others like them provide Davos attendees with some common language to talk about trust, and in many ways, that’s important, especially in a gathering of world leaders who may be thinking about “trust” for the first time. But it’s only a start.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is, and has been for over a decade, that perception of trust surveys provide no action plan for moving the needle on trust in any societal group. All they do is provide something to talk about.

And what is the solution?

If you lead any team or organization, please consider the following statements when planning an ACTIONABLE trust strategy:

 

  • In every organization, trust is an outcome of ethical leadership, nothing else will build it. If the leader is unwilling to acknowledge that trust starts and stops with them, there is no reason to read any further.
  • To elevate trust, only the leader can CHOOSE it as a business priority.
  • Leaders should not confuse PURPOSE with PRINCIPLED BEHAVIOR. Principles must be addressed if purpose is to have any meaning or impact. Putting purpose before principles has the same effect as a clean shirt on a dirty body.
  • Trust is built through actions not words. Modeling trust is an intentional business strategy that must be practiced and reinforced daily, and driven by leadership.
  • Trust is not a marketing tool, and it can’t be delegated to compliance, HR or any other function. The leader owns it along with the Board.
  • A leader cannot expect anyone in their organization to care about trust if they don’t. And if you think low trust is not a tangible risk, consider its impact on Boeing and many others who chose to ignore it.
  • Trust is interpersonal, and a trustworthy culture is built from the inside out. Brand trust, data trust, AI trust and every other “buzzy” trust of the day, including “Purpose” will be natural outcomes.
  • When presented with an expensive trust “solution,” by an organization that offers “trust” as one of many options, a closer look is probably in order, since its chances for long-term success are slim. Trust subject matter experts may be more difficult to identify, but locating them will be well worth the price. Don’t follow the crowd.
  • Waiting until after the crisis to build trust will be very costly and in most cases, completely ineffective.
  • Many leaders are proactively embracing trust as an intentional business strategy. They currently have an advantage over those who are still at the “talking” stage.

Making the decision to move beyond trust talk to trust action is a hard one. It requires not only introspection but a certain amount of vulnerability. Virtues like trust, the ones that really matter, may not be easy, but they are certainly worth exploring for those who are seeking long-term success.. Who is up for the challenge once Davos ends?

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

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

 

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Jan
14

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

Developing trust starts in the C-suite. 

David Reiling, CEO Sunrise Banks

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be established by organizational leaders and promoted from the top down. The executive team should set the tone for the rest of the organization, and exhibit trustworthiness and integrity as role models for the organization.

Without trust at the top, it will be impossible to spread throughout the rest of the organization.

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

Years ago I saw some management behavior that was not acceptable as defined by the organization’s values. When something like this happens, trust slowly erodes and the organization started to break. With time, I saw the management team rebuild itself embracing the organization’s values, leading to a trusted leadership team.  This resulted in a ripple effect of trust and transparency throughout the organization.

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

I think it depends on who you ask. Our political climate is extremely polarized of late and this has caused trust issues for certain people. We’re also experiencing a boom technology and artificial intelligence; data breaches and mishandling of personal information has created a lack of trust in data collection and big tech.

It’s too speculative to say the climate is improving or worsening. However, I do think there would be strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

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

I wouldn’t call it a crisis of trust, but rather a healthy dose of skepticism in regards to certain developments. In particular, technology and personal data collection have been a point of contention for some. We’ve yet to reconcile our desire for the convenience of technology and the risks that can come with it.

We’re comfortable quickly signing privacy policies – likely without reading them – but we become frustrated when we learn our actions have been used for marketing purposes or our information compromised. As new technology continues to emerge, tech companies need to be as transparent as possible and consumers need to become more self-aware of their actions and the potential consequences connected with providing personal information.

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

The Trust Alliance has set the bar for years now.  As a member, the value I have received, as well as the value my organization has received, has been more than significant.  The concepts that the Trust Alliance presents have been great fire-starter conversations within the organization at all levels.

David, 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?

David Reiling is a social entrepreneur, who is an innovator in community development finance and financial inclusion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a certified B-Corp, a legal Benefit Corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

And while you are here, 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.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them below.

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Oct
15

Last week a business owner inquired if I could help his company build a roadmap to a high trust culture. First I asked what he thought the roadmap might include, and his answer was not surprising. “My business coach instructed my office manager to hire a motivational speaker, enter us in a “great workplace” competition, donate money to charity, and have an annual picnic. Then we can call ourselves trustworthy.” ( I didn’t dare ask for the name of the coach, as it was immediately apparent that trust subject matter expertise was not their forte.) My next question was a bit more difficult. I asked him what role he would play in designing the trust roadmap. His response, “That’s why I hired a coach, so I would know how and what to delegate to my staff.” Suffice it to say, it’s a good thing the conversation was occurring by phone so I could end the call quickly.

With unemployment at record lows and employee engagement and retention looking very bleak, one might think that leaders would pay closer attention to building a culture of trust, which some have gone as far as calling the “new currency,” but apparently not so. In fact, over the past ten+ years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard similar (and sometimes worse) answers to the questions posed above. 

So once again I turned to the members of our Trust Council  and asked them for what they considered to be the first three steps in building a culture of trust.

Bob Vanourek a former Fortune 500 CEO was the first to respond, sharing the following, and from the perspective of a consultant engaged by a large organization:
1. Contact the top leader of the organization for a personal appointment to tell him/her what they are undertaking and why it is so important, promising to keep them and all intermediate levels of authority informed about this effort.
2. Call a special meeting (with no other agenda items) of his/her direct reports and other influential staff members to:
  • Inform them of this effort.
  • Ask for their help in supporting it.
  • Ask for their help in finding resources (written, video, or in-person) to support it.
  • Ask their help in creating periodic measures for all of them for how to observe progress.

3. Commit to keep trust-building as a top professional priority in the future.

Bob Whipple of Leadergrow approached the question from the perspective of what a small business owner might do:

Have a staff meeting and tell your team there are some new rules for the enterprise:

  1. We will admit our mistakes, and model that behavior by admitting a mistake you have made during the last week that you have not shared yet.
  2. Ask that every time a person receives help or some special effort from someone else on the team – that person writes a thank you email to the person and copies you on it.  You then read a selected few of those notes at the start of every meeting. Build a culture of reinforcement at all levels of the organization.
  3. Insist that when you say or do something that someone in the organization believes is not right or consistent with our values, that person is obligated to tell you what the concern is and promise that you will make that person glad he or she brought it up.  Then do exactly that without fail – ever.  Practice reinforcing candor!

My approach to constructing a high trust culture, encompasses some of the suggestions made by “the Bobs” above, and will work in any organization of any size.

  1. Establish an organizational trust-building committee comprised of a Board member if applicable, a member of the executive team, one senior employee from the compliance, finance, communications and HR functions. Set a one-year goal to build a culture of trust from the inside out, at the team level, including the Board and executive team.
  2. Since trust is an outcome of many universal principles, step two is for each team to determine which principles are weak, and which are strong. As our past surveys have shown, the results won’t necessarily be the same from team to team within the organization. (If the organization is relatively small, it may not be necessary to survey each team individually.)
  3. Spend the first six months addressing the weakest principles on each team and celebrating the strengths. Repeat survey in 6 months and continue working on the principles that remain weak. By the end of one year, the hardest part of the trust “construction project” will have been completed. Now go have that ice cream social!

Building a culture of trust will only be effective when: 

  1. Leaders acknowledge that culture change starts with them, and is always built from the inside out
  2. The right tools are used to identify trust weaknesses and strengths
  3. Team members are free to discuss survey or other diagnostic outcomes through open dialogue
  4. Trust weaknesses are mended and strengths are celebrated

We call this process AIM Towards Trust... Acknowledge, Identify, Mend and it’s been used successfully in teams and organizations of all sizes, shapes and colors; but only when leaders intentionally choose to build trust into their corporate culture AND own it. That must always occur BEFORE a crisis, not after the fact.

Finally don’t get caught up in “work arounds” to building a high trust culture because there ARE no quick fixes. These are a few of the more “trendy” ones that you might have encountered:

  • Misdefined trust: This includes brand trust, data trust, blockchain trust, and check-the-box trust. Trust is always internal and interpersonal.
  • External trust polls: If the question “trust to do what?” is not answered, the survey is either invalid or misleading.
  • Trust as a popular place holder title:  Many will use trust interchangeably with other terms like transparency, ethics or integrity, when it is actually a combination of many universal principles.
  • Trust as one-size-fits-all: Because of its complexity, all organizational trust challenges can be attributed to a variety of factors that must be identified and addressed separately and differently.
  • Trust that is not “principles” based: Trust is not a function of the PR department or a “purpose” campaign, but rather a function of highly principled trustworthy leadership.

I hope these suggestions will help you in constructing your own trust roadmap. Special thanks to Bob V. and Bob W. Your contributions to elevating trust are always appreciated.

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

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Oct
02

Once again, the scandal plagued banking industry has a new CEO vowing to rebuild trust. This time the headline is out of Copenhagen… 

 

Trust in Danske Bank has collapsed, says its new chief executive

How many times have we heard these words before? “As reported by Reuters, Trust in Danske Bank has collapsed amid its involvement in a damaging money laundering scandal said the bank’s Chief Executive Chris Vogelzang, as he vowed to strengthen the bank’s defense.”

Fresh out of ABN Amro, another scandal plagued bank, the newly elected Danske CEO cites the primary cause for the loss of trust: “The high level of trust in Denmark, which enjoys a reputation as being one of the least corrupt nations, mean(ing) that there had been fewer incentives to control risks.” And his solution… As a result, he said, nine out of 10 people in the top compliance team are now from outside Denmark.

And also… “There was also some “bad” product in the mix. Trust in the bank has been further dented after a scandal, in which it failed to inform customers that it expected a poor performance from an investment product called Flexinvest Fri and continued to sell the product after raising fees associated with it.”

Once again I asked the members of our Trust Council to read the article and share some advice for Chris Vogelzang.

Donna Boehme, our “Lion” of compliance weighed in first, offering the following observations: 

To rebuild trust and establish a culture of ethical leadership is a huge undertaking that takes years, not days, and requires the advice and coaching of experts, not just PR Wizards of Smart.  One area the experts would focus this company on would be the entire system of “incentives” which has an outsized effect on culture and business decisions, as demonstrated so vividly by Wells Fargo and its fake accounts scandal. Danske might want to look at the leading edge examples being set by a number of companies In this arena.

It is also encouraging that the CEO has brought a compliance team together that has AML and other compliance SME. But if he wants that team to be successful, he must ensure that it has independence, empowerment, line  of sight, seat at the table and resources adequate to do the job well. Gone are the days when reputation and brand can be entrusted to an in-house legal team with no legitimate compliance SME (earned in the trenches) and lacking the positioning and authority to do the job. 

 

Stephen M.R. Covey  shared the following thoughts:

First, “you can’t talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into.”  In other words, the only way to restore trust here will be through actions—behaviors—not merely words (although words can be helpful to signal what you’re going to do).  Key behaviors to restore trust here include:  Confront Reality (acknowledge it), Practice Accountability (own it), Right Wrongs (make it right as best you can), Clarify Expectations (tell people what you’re going to do to re-earn their trust), and Keep Commitments (do what you say you’re going to do).

Second, trust in the marketplace is an extension of trust in the workplace.  It’s inside out.  So in order to restore trust with customers, it will be vital to also restore trust with your own people.  Too often organizations who have lost trust in the marketplace focus primarily (sometimes almost exclusively) on the customer/market trust and don’t recognize that they also need to be rebuilding internal workplace trust.  Without the workplace trust, it’s hard to sustain market trust.  Indeed, it’s incongruent.

Third, while building/rebuilding trust is definitely an inside-out process, starting with each leader and with the leadership team, it’s also vital that the process move out to the organizational level where they can better and more appropriately align systems and structures to ensure they build trust the right way.  Some of these systems/structures may have been misaligned in the past and may have contributed to the challenge.

There’s a lot more they need to do but those are just a couple of thoughts.

 

I’ll add a few more observations to the sage advice provided by Donna and Stephen. 

The concept of rebuilding something implies that it was built before.There is one question that the new CEO must answer before a trust-building strategy can be developed. What exactly did we trust our bank to do in the past that we are currently failing to do? 

While compliance plays a role in elevating trust, it must first come as a directive from the top. If the Board of Directors doesn’t understand or support the importance of creating a long-term strategy to elevate trust, the leadership team will be ineffective. The Danske Board currently consists of five committees: audit, compliance, nomination, remuneration and risk. I would suggest adding a sixth called “trust” and immediately calling in some trust subject matter experts to assist in outlining this critical trust-building strategy.

And speaking of strategy, whether post crisis or proactive, trust can never be delegated, yet this is what we see time and time again. It is not a legal or PR “tactic,” but rather an outcome of an intentional trust “plan” that leadership executes, practices and reinforces daily. In other words, trust “talk” must be followed up with action.

I hope someone at Danske reads this and passes the article up the chain. Perhaps Danske will someday become the industry role model in building trust. After all Denmark, with its high level of trust, should demand nothing less.

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 trust, contact her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

This is the link to the original Reuters article.

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