Home » Articles written by experts, Behavior, Leadership » Trust: The 5 Blunders of Corporate Leadership

The chart above shows the “Return on Trust” of America’s Most Trustworthy Public Companies over the past six years. As a corporate leader every year that passes makes ignoring the business case for trust more difficult to justify. Yet in our almost ten years of research, Trust Across America continues to find that most business leaders do just that, they ignore trust. The following are the five main reasons why corporate leaders are missing out on perhaps their single most important strategic advantage.

Leaders take trust for granted

Trust doesn’t just “happen.” It’s a deliberate and intentional business strategy that must be practiced and reinforced daily.

Leaders use the wrong metrics

Growing quarterly earnings, CSR programs and philanthropy do not satisfy the trust imperative.

Leaders treat trust as a “soft skill”

Organizational trustworthiness is a hard currency as shown in the chart above.

Leaders are “trust reactive” 

Rarely do we hear proactive leadership discussions of trust. Instead, trust becomes a talking point after a breach. How often have we heard the battle cry “We must rebuild trust!” (Problem is it’s hard to rebuild something that never existed.)

Leaders delegate trust

Trust is not a function of legal, compliance, HR, communications, or any other department. Maintaining a high trust organization is the responsibility of the Board of Directors and executive leadership.

If you’ve gotten this far, you may want to click on Alison Taylor’s recent piece in the Harvard Business Review “5 Signs Your Organization Might be Headed for an Ethics Scandal.” Thanks for the inspiration Alison!

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a comprehensive unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder 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. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She 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, CEO and Cofounder


You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Purchase our books at this link


Copyright © 2017 Next Decade, Inc.










If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

, , , , , , ,

Add reply