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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 final essay wraps up our series with a short piece that I wrote for this book.  For those interested in a brief bio, I am the  Co-founder and Executive Director of Trust Across America –Trust Around the World and editor of  the Trust Inc. series of books.  In 2012 I was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. In a previous life, I worked as a consultant to McKinsey & Company, and for the past 20 years, I have owned an award-winning communications firm in the NY Metro area called Next Decade, Inc. I majored in International Affairs at Lafayette College and have an MBA from Baruch at the City University of New York. My proudest accomplishment is having raised two children with extraordinary character and values, who like many of their friends and classmates, represent hope for the next generation of business leaders.

Trust in Crisis: The Leader’s Formula

Crisis management has become a complex field, and for good reason. There is no shortage of them in communities, businesses and the government.   But those who choose to proactively lead with trust will find any reputation blow to be softer and speedier, and the recovery much easier.

First, let’s look at the central attributes of a crisis:

  • It has the potential to do significant reputational damage
  • It has the potential to hurt at least one group of stakeholders- consumers, shareholders, employees, community, etc.
  • It is unique and often unpredictable (although not always)
  • It is of interest to the media

Now let’s look at the 5 essential SHORT-TERM measures leaders must take as the crisis unfolds:

  1. In the first 24 hours communicate widely and communicate consistently
  2. Tell the truth
  3. Tell it accurately
  4. Tell it fully
  5. Tell it yourself

And the 5 essential LONG-TERM measures for those choosing to lead with trust:

  1. Accept responsibility
  2. Take long-term corrective action, not a short term band aid
  3. Address any systemic problems
  4. Rebuild broken bridges
  5. Continue to communicate openly

It’s not rocket science, but the missing ingredient is ALWAYS trust, and that’s what keeps the crisis consultants and specialists in business.

The “business case for trusthas been made. While cultural shifts take time, those who lead with trust will be rewarded with a long-term competitive edge, and an easier recovery when the next crisis happens.

This essay concludes our August series. I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peak into our second book. There are many more suggestions and advice in our TRUST INC. book series. 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 earlier essays in the series, here’s what’s been covered 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.

August 24: Forward-Thinking Boards Build Trust and will commit to lighthouse leadership and employee engagement.

August 25: When Trust Breaks Down: 5 Steps You Can Take to rebuild it.

August 26: The Key To Trust in the C-Suite is safety, but how do we create it?

August 27: Lead With Integrity & Character reminds us to start with integrity.

August 28: Trust is Built Upon Shadows and you can cast your shadow and light over your team.

August 29: Boards in Crisis- Where Trust is Forged & Broken provides advice for managing crises proactively.

August 30: Leading for Trust: Let’s Get Real tells us to forget incentives, metrics and recognition programs.

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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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