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Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World  published the first in a planned series of award-winning books.  TRUST INC., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset brings together the wisdom of 32 experts. Six months later we released our second book, Trust Inc. A Guide for Boards & C-SuitesIn this book, sixty experts have joined forces to offer 100 strategies.

Throughout the month of August, we will be featuring 31 essays from our second book. Each stands alone as an excellent resource in guiding Boards and C-Suites on driving a trust agenda at the highest level in the organization, and provides tools for those who choose to implement trust-building programs in their organization.

This twelfth essay in our series brings advice from  Linda Locke, a corporate reputation management expert and Senior Vice President at Standing PartnershipLocke previously served as the group head and senior vice president for Reputation and Issues Management for MasterCard Worldwide. Linda is a 2014 Top Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business and a member of the Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts.


Three Ways to Build Trust

Trust-building is not a one-way road. I wish I had a dollar bill – okay a $50 bill – for every organization that asked me to improve perceptions by changing its name, buying advertising, or writing checks to charities.

Trust is the currency of organizational success. Strong trust enables organizations to achieve their goals; lack of trust can make it impossible. Trust can be built or destroyed several ways.

Direct experiences: Examine the experiences people have with your organization. Is customer service satisfying? Do you embrace every touch point as an opportunity to build trust through engagement? Or, are customer service calls an irritant? At the end of each engagement would the customer agree that his or her perspective was important?

What others say: In a connected world we are influenced by strangers. We actively seek input from people we think share our perspective or needs – including from legacy media, on networks and forums, and in conversations with our friends. A company that wants to build trust should listen to the public dialogue about itself and its industry, identify what drives perceptions, and share information throughout the organization to influence decision-making.

What the organization says about itself: The company’s leaders and spokespeople should articulate (authentically) the positive impact their work has on society. In times of crisis they should express empathy and commitment to resolving the situation.

People expect organizations to be savvy about the conversation going on around it. Organizations that are blind to the dialogue, and only communicate outward are unlikely to build and maintain the trust required to be a respected and trusted business in the modern world.

I hope you have enjoyed this next sneak peak into our second book. If this brief look behind the door has been helpful, follow this link to order both of our books online.

And for those who want to catch up on the series, a quick reference on what’s been covered so far this month:

August 1: There’s a Reason Why We Call Them Trustees explains why being an “absentee landlord” doesn’t work.

August 2: Kill the Evening Before Dinner and take a small group of front line employees to dinner instead.

August 3: In Head of Business- Hope for the World we introduce the Winston “V” Model.

August 4: Reputation vs. Trust and why leaders should care more about the latter.

August 5: C-Suite Must Speak With a V.O.I.C.E. of Trust, a new communications model.

August 6: It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way You Do It) discusses an organization’s core values and traits.

August 7: Superficial CEOs and Their Boards talks about the fiduciary responsibility of board members.

August 8: Headline: Be the Leaders Others Will Follow we learn about consistency between actions and words.

August 9: Towards a Mindset for Corporate Responsibility requiring a shift in mindset on the part of boards.

August 10: Warning: Don’t Drown in the Slogan Swamp explores the (mis)use of slogans in corporate America.

August 11: Trust in the Boardroom in creating competitive advantage.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


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