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Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination  — Warren Bennis


Last week Jack Haren, the President and CFO of Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc. delivered a short speech at the CFO of the Year Luncheon in Troy, NY. Mohawk is North America’s largest privately owned (4th generation) manufacturer of fine papers, envelopes and specialty substrates for commercial and digital printing. Jack chose the subject of trust and was kind enough to allow me to reprint his speech.


I have selected the question: What advice would you give someone going into leadership position for the first time? 

Putting aside the obvious ingredients of diligence and hard work, the INSIGHT that I would share is that long term career success is powered by the ability to generate TRUST.

Merriam- Webster dictionary defines trust as the assured reliance on the character, ability and strength of someone or something.


As a mentor, I would remind them that Trust cannot be purchased. It doesn’t come with a college degree, your family name or your zip code.

It can only be earned.

It comes forth from the values you exhibit…the way you interact with peers, subordinates and superiors.    

It comes when you demonstrate that the MEANS that you employ to accomplish an end have as much to say about your success as the final result.


I would remind them that Trust is fueled by consistency, fairness and openness.

It is strengthened by adversity.

It is built up over a series of experiences, a series of projects, a period of years.


Finally, it is a quality that will draw others to you.  It is an essential of  leadership.

BUT a caution…it is very fragile… so handle it with great care.


Thank you Jack. Your commitment to trust is reflected in the ongoing success of your company.


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.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

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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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