Archive

Archive for the ‘Articles written by experts’ Category

Mar
10

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

“Building trust doesn’t have to be overwhelming; trust starts with small actions that honor your commitment to others and grows larger and more powerful over time.”  Doug Conant, ConantLeadership

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Many leaders are so beset by the deluge of competing priorities they face on any given day that the idea of creating space for building and maintaining trust is daunting. But the heartening truth is that trust—like anything else—can be built by taking small, manageable steps. Rather than feeling that you must embark on an enormous and momentous trust-building endeavor that could extend across the space of many months or years, you can start to bring trust to life in your leadership today by taking one small action in service to trust.

Remember: Behaviors are what make trust real. Focus on building micro-practices that honor your commitment to others into the way you lead; this allows you to create trustworthy teams and organizations while acknowledging the zany reality of busy, modern life. Each step you take towards trust can and should be in harmony with the pace and complexity of the modern enterprise. You don’t have to choose between honoring your commitments and cultivating trust. With a small-steps approach, you can do both.

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

In 2001, on my first day as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, I arrived to a foreboding sight: a rundown building surrounded by razor wire with guard towers looming in the sky. The grounds were overgrown with weeds and the whole headquarters looked like a prison. Inside was just as bad: the paint was peeling and there were dead plants in the common areas. The drab tableau was a grim visual metaphor for the state of the company overall where market performance had been declining and employee engagement had become abysmally low. There was barely any trust left between the leadership and the employees. It was going to be an uphill battle to rebuild trust and advance performance. But I was determined to make an impact. I knew I couldn’t tackle it all at once; I had to start small.

The first micro-action I took was the simple act of listening, really listening to people. I started soliciting feedback right away. I discovered that many employees felt disrespected, even imprisoned, by their sub-par workplace environment. Some leaders might dismiss this as petty belly-aching. But they were right; the facilities needed help. And I saw a clear and compelling opportunity to start to build trust. Here was a way I could demonstrate that I valued the perceptions of our employees. Relative to other initiatives, it would be a low-investment endeavor that could earn me lots of goodwill.

Almost immediately, physical changes were made; we removed the razor wire, we cleared the overgrowth, we repainted the walls. These improvements quickly contributed to an increase in employee engagement. Performance got better. A virtuous circle began to form. As I heard people and took action in response to that listening, I earned trust, which led to better outcomes, which led to even more trust.

Building trust began with something as tiny and seemingly inconsequential as a fresh coat of paint. But it activated a cycle of continuous improvement across all of our operations and paved the way for more and better facility improvements. Over my decade-long tenure, these upgrades became symbols of my promise to listen to the people who worked there. Bettering the work environment and making people feel heard ultimately led to a modern reimagined world headquarters in Camden that everyone in the company could take pride in. The better facilities were a manifestation of trust-building in action. We started with very small actions like listening, pulling up weeds, and removing some razor wire; it might not seem like much, but these actions grew into something bigger which was inflected throughout all of our initiatives and our improved performance in the marketplace.

Little, incremental steps are the “walk” that demonstrate the “talk,” or language of trust. It’s a powerful lesson to learn. You don’t have to fix everything all at once. To start to build trust, just do something small. Do it earnestly, do it quickly, and you’ll begin to create a positive cycle of elevated trustworthiness and better outcomes.

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

There is an undeniable dearth of trust globally. That said, I do think the global trust climate is modestly improving–at least in the business community (where the baseline is admittedly far too low to begin with). It’s easy to watch the news and feel discouraged—and it is important to have a clear-eyed view of the trust challenges we face as a whole—but it’s important to remember that good news seldom makes headlines.

While I do believe trust is modestly improving, we can’t rest on our laurels. Leaders must lead from in front on this issue, championing the importance of trust from the top, and modeling the behaviors that build trust–with diligence and passion.

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

I don’t believe it is a crisis; however, it simply must get better. When we catastrophize, we let ourselves off the hook; people begin to feel the problem is so big that they absolve themselves of the responsibility of addressing it. This benefits no one. We must be both idealistic and realistic: we have to acknowledge that there is indeed a lack of trust in public institutions and in leadership while simultaneously working to be the change we want to see in the world at large. As leaders, it is our duty to show people the way. We have to rise to the occasion and stand up and be counted. Trust is paramount. Let’s show people how to build it one small action at a time.

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

As a leader, I always benefit from the learnings and insights from a community of my peers. The Trust Alliance helps me engage with a like-minded cadre of trust-focused leaders, buoys my dedication to continuous improvement, and empowers me to remain steadfast in my commitment to workplace trust.

Doug, 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?

Doug Conant is an internationally renowned business leader and New York Times bestselling author with over 45 years of experience at world-class global companies. He is Founder of ConantLeadership, a boutique leadership firm committed to championing leadership that works in the 21st century. For the past 20 years of his leadership journey, Doug has honed his craft as a C-suite executive – first as President of the Nabisco Foods Company, then as CEO of Campbell Soup Company (2001-2011), and finally as Chairman of Avon Products. Doug’s new book, The Blueprint: 6 Powerful Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights is now available wherever books are sold.

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. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours to elevate trust?

Did you miss our previous 2020 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.

, , ,

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.

 

 

 

 

, , , , , , , ,

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.

, , , , ,

Nov
16

James E. Lukaszewski is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He offers the following timely advice about reputation and trust and the role each play in ensuring organizational success.

I’ve always thought that the whole notion of reputation was more a Public Relations construct than a management concern. Leaders care about trust.

During my nearly 40 years in reputation, leadership and organizational recovery I can’t recall a serious discussion of reputation in a management circumstance by those running the business until just before they were about to lose or see their reputation seriously damaged. Public Relations advisors rather than business operators raised the issues.

Trust is a powerful management term. I define trust as the absence of fear. I interpret fear to mean the absence of trust. Trust is a management word; trust is a powerful cultural word. Trust is a word that has its counterparts in virtually every culture on the planet; and trust is understood clearly and immediately by just about everybody. Generally it’s mom who taught us about trust, so we remember.

Chief Executives of troubled organizations don’t lose their jobs because there’s a reputation problem. They lose their jobs because there is a trust problem, a failure to provide the assurance that prevents the fear of serious adverse circumstances. If we’re talking seriously about our relationship with constituents, stakeholders, employees, the public, anyone who has a stake in our organization for whatever reason, we’re talking about trust.

Reputation? We’ll need to call the PR department for the latest definition.

This is an excerpt from the second of our three book Trust, Inc series.

James E. Lukaszewski (loo-ka-SHEV-skee) is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He is a speaker, author (12 books and hundreds of articles and monographs), lecturer and ethicist (co-chair of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards). 

For more information about our programs and how your organization can elevate trust, visit www.trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

, , , ,

Nov
14

In business, it’s easy to just show up.

Show up at a lunch

Show up at a conference

Show up at a meeting

Show up at a webinar

Pay your annual dues

And then leave….

The outcome of showing up is usually little ventured, and probably little gained. And then we move on to the next lunch, conference, meeting or webinar.

 

It’s much more difficult to be involved in the planning.

Because involvement in the planning requires a commitment:

  • Of time
  • Of thought
  • Of teamwork

But it’s the participation in the planning stage that builds the trust. In planning, we engage with others who are working towards a common goal…. a positive outcome. And this is how trust is built. And trustworthy relationships lead to new business. These relationships take time to develop, and the trust is built in incremental steps.

It’s your choice. Maintain your independence, show up and then leave. Get involved in the planning and build trust. Make the investment and the payoff may surprise you.

This is an excerpt from the third of our 3 book Trust, Inc. series:

Trust, Inc., 52 Weeks of Activities and Inspirations for Building Workplace Trust

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

, ,

Oct
27

How often has the word “trust” been mentioned in the news this past week?

Trust in Google, Facebook, the Supreme Court, science and even the MLB. It seems that by the day, trust “talk” gains in popularity. There is no arguing that trust is a hot topic from the mountains of Davos all the way down to Wall Street.

Unfortunately, most news articles ignore the interpersonal and internal nature of trust in organizations (the ones that are difficult to monetize), instead focusing on trust “talk” and “work arounds.” We read about trust and data security, trust and sustainability, brand trust, and one of my favorites, Natural Language Processing (NLP) measures of trust. This not only adds  to the public’s misperception of what trust is, and what it is not, but it also dilutes the importance of the role trust plays in building principled and healthy organizations; the ones where people want to work.

This past week the global communications firm Edelman turned the discussion of trust to who owns it within the corporate structure. Their conclusion? The CIO. “The CIO in Focus study by Edelman reveals that CIOs are under increasing pressure to help safeguard not only a company’s data but also its corporate reputation and trust.”

What better opportunity to engage the members of our Trust Council  and ask them the same question: “Who owns trust?”

According to Bart Alexander of Alexander & Associates, it’s certainly not the CIO, although that person does play a role.

Chief Information Officers certainly do not “own” trust, nor are they the sole “guardians of trust.”  All C-suite members play significant roles in setting corporate culture including the norms and behaviors that foster trust.  In that respect, CIOs share the same responsibility as their C-suite peers.

At the same time, CIOs do play at least two unique and key roles in building and guarding trust., First, CIOs determine data strategy that determines the level of respect for privacy and security. And additionally, CIOs are business partners across the enterprise in both ongoing operations and innovation, giving them a direct view of the and influence on the value being placed on integrity and respect now and down the road.

Randy Conley of Ken Blanchard supported Bart’s position, taking the response one step further:

The person at the top (CEO, President, etc.) has a greater obligation to be the guardian of organizational trust.

Delegating responsibility to the CIO, “Chief Trust Officer,” or any other person or team, signals that trust is just another corporate duty that can be compartmentalized and managed in a silo. Saying the CIO is the guardian of organizational trust is a myopic view on the scope and importance of organizational trust. Corporate governance, brand reputation, customer experience, financial integrity, environmental responsibility, and community stewardship are among many key areas that impact stakeholder trust in an organization. Everyone needs to shoulder responsibility for building trust if an organization wants to achieve the quadruple bottom-line (employer of choice, provider of choice, investment of choice, environmental steward).

Bob Vanourek a former Fortune 500 CEO agreed:

Glad to see CIOs need to “safeguard” and “play a crucial role,” or even be the “Guardians” of trust. But trust-building among all stakeholders is so critical that it must not be delegated. Enlist the CIO, CHO, CFO, and more. But only the CEO should “own” trust.

Bob Whipple of Leadergrow also agrees that the ownership of trust is the responsibility of everyone in the organization:

The short answer is “everyone,” since trust can be created or destroyed by anyone in an organization.  In reality, the mandate to create, maintain, enhance, and repair trust gets more important as you go upward in an organization.  The most senior leaders have the responsibility for setting the tone for everything that happens in their organization.  If the level of trust throughout the layers is inadequate, the senior-most leader needs to take a good long look in the mirror to see the culprit.

Apparently, engaging subject matter experts who know trust best also provides the most coherent answers to questions like “Who owns trust?”

In summary, trust ownership cannot be delegated to a CIO or anyone else, and it will only be effective when: 

  1. Leaders acknowledge that trust starts with them, and is always constructed from the inside out
  2. The right tools are used to identify trust weaknesses and strengths
  3. Team members are free to discuss trust 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 don’t attempt to delegate it. 

Falling prey to quick fix solutions for elevating trust should be avoided. So should news coverage that misdefines and misplaces trust including discussions of brand trust, data trust, NLP trust, and check-the-box trust. Trust is always internal and interpersonal. These “perception of trust” work arounds may be money-makers for those who promote them, but as far as ensuring sustainable trust within an organization, there is only one route, and it’s not by having the CIO “own it.”

Thanks Trust Council members for your contributions to this article. Would you like to serve on our Council? The place to begin is by joining our Trust Alliance.

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.

 

Click here to read Edelman’s Press Release. www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cios-emerge-as-new-guardians-of-corporate-trust-300942787.html

, , , , ,

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.

 

, ,

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.

, , ,

Oct
08

A story of a toxic industry and how a soccer game might just offer some guidance…

This week HSBC announced the layoff of 10,000 employees, just months after ousting its Chief Executive, and bringing in an interim. According to the Financial Times, in 2014 the company employed 24,300 risk and compliance officers, and in their 2018 annual report the word “compliance” appeared 129 times. Yet since 2014, billions of dollars in fines have been levied against HSBC ranging from bank violations, fraud, money laundering, wage and hour violations and toxic securities abuses. Even with a very significant compliance presence, something still isn’t quite right at HSBC, and hasn’t been for years. Could it be that it’s not a compliance issue?

HSBC isn’t alone. Others in the industry are taking similar steps, with banking leaders continuing to cite “external” factors driving their decisions. Rarely, if ever do we hear “I screwed up” or better yet, “Our culture remains toxic and the expensive 1980s fixes are no longer working.” What if instead, leaders chose an all together different strategy, one that began with some introspection and ended with an outcome other than mass layoffs?

And now for the soccer part…

Any parent who has sat on the sidelines of a high school soccer game knows that the referee serves in a “leadership” capacity, “controlling” both the technical and behavioral components of the game. Some might think of the referee as the “Chief Compliance Officer.” Usually the “calls” are accurate, but not always. When they aren’t, coaches, parents and players pile in, and the yellow cards fly.  Sometimes these “stakeholders” are even removed from the field.

But what happens when the referee doesn’t to show up? That scenario recently played out in a game between two teams- one a big inner city group, and the other a “smaller” suburban group. From the sideline, it looked like trouble. Who could imagine these two groups facing off on a field with no one in charge? But since it was an “add on” to the schedule, and didn’t “count”, the coaches made the decision to play the game without a “leader.”

The parents and coaches held their collective breath as the game began, and for the next hour, we waited for “trouble.” It never came. In fact, the two teams got along just fine, better than in most games. Good sportsmanship was displayed and members of both teams were communicating and laughing with each other throughout the hour. It ended in a 2-1 victory for the urban team, the boys shook hands, and we all went home. What a pleasant surprise. Nobody got “carded.”

What can we learn from this story?

Perhaps the person in charge only thinks they have the power. After all, they can make the “obvious” short-term calls, collect their fee and leave the field. They have completed the “task” they were hired to do. Yet when no one is in charge or the leader chooses to relinquish some control, team members are empowered and collaboration replaces command and control. The obvious calls are mutually agreed upon, and the not so obvious are talked through until a consensus is reached. This is a healthy culture where trust replaces fear. Maybe there is a lesson for everyone to take away from this story.

What are your thoughts? Drop me an email at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

If you want to learn more, join over 70,000 global professionals who have Tapped Into Trust, participate in our global 1 minute/ 1 question global workplace study and access our survey tools.

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , ,

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.

, , , , , ,