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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 twenty-fourth essay brings advice from Tom McCoy, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at CH2M Hill. Tom is also the retired Executive Vice President, Legal Affairs, and Chief Administrative Officer of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., where he served in leadership for 16 years.

Forward-Thinking Boards

Forward-thinking boards will commit to lighthouse leadership and rebuilding employee engagement and trust

The S&P 500 is up around $175%, but employee engagement languishes — and for good reason. Shareholders and option-laden directors and executives are winning while wage earners are losing and retirement security for most people continues to slip. Boards are buffeted by short-term investor pressure and remain absorbed in rear-view mirrors, activist investor gun sights and enterprise (and, understandably, personal) risk management. Leadership teams no longer trust the board to give them time and space to build long-term value and careers, and employees’ confidence in organizational and economic justice has not recovered from the impacts of a frightening recession. Yet, the business fundamentals have not changed.

A company cannot sustainably grow profitable market share and outperform its peers with employees who are not unified, inspired, growing and secure that the board of directors and the leadership team authentically care about their well- being, their potential and their communities. Without putting employees first, no company can out-innovate, out-engineer, out-think and out-hustle its competitors to delight customers and earn superior returns for shareholders. The nimble execution of strategy — and change — requires high trust, high integrity and high performance culture. History teaches, and contemporary politics confirm, that an enduring failure to balance smartly the power of capital and capitalists with the needs of employees and communities leads to populist pressure for policies and regulations that may serve no one very well in the long run.

Corporate Executive Board studies prove that employee perceptions of organizational justice explain 75% of their perception of integrity and competence of the board and the leadership team. E.g., Corporate Executive Board, Compliance and Ethics Leadership Council, Protecting a Culture of Integrity in a Downturn (2009). Today’s perceptions are largely poor. There is no better time in the fragile aftermath of the recession to refocus investment in the long-term high performance of human capital, the most valuable of all resources in the corporate treasury.


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.

August 12: Three Ways to Build Trust  and organization that are blind to the dialogue.

August 13: Lead from the Front explains why it’s important to remove the filters between leaders and employees.

August 14: Building Trust For Boards & C-Suites and why published scientific evidence is important.

August 15: (Trust) Communication & the Hiring Process discusses engaging employees in the decision.

August 16: CEO Tip: Trust Your Board as Your Ally emphasizes the importance of trusting partnerships.

August 17: The Culture is the Secret Sauce that must bubble down from the Boardroom to the Mailroom.

August 18: Trust & Strategy Thinking reminds us that it is hard to trust when you cannot relate.

August 19: Be Proactive About Trust & Integrity: just handling problems as they arise is not enough.

August 20: Trust Traps reminds us to ask the tough questions.

August 21: Trust Danger Signs and the need for synergy between the Board and Senior Managers.

August 22: Trust & Public Rewards reminds us to publicly acknowledge and reward staff.

August 23: The Cost of Mistrust and 8 ways to develop it.

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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