Home » Behavior, Ethics, Governance, Leadership, Risk, TAP INTO TRUST, Trust Research » Why Most Companies Suck at Trust

That’s a brash statement, but the facts are the facts. One of the most enlightening moments of my ten-year career leading TAA-TAW came early when a CEO of a large public company said to me “Trust, I never thought about it, but I like that word.” And that statement is why most companies suck at trust.

The daily news discussion of institutional breaches of trust should raise some eyebrows in Boards and C-Suites, but there is little evidence that it does. In public companies, the reasons why are rather simple. The Board and CEO are unwilling to adopt trust-building as a long-term strategy because it may, in the very short-term, impact:

  • Quarterly earnings
  • Wall Street “guidance”
  • Shareholder value
  • Their compensation and tenure

And they are not willing to sacrifice any of these, not even for one quarter.

Some other reasons why leaders in both public and private companies, suck at trust may include:

  1. They were appointed to their position for the wrong reasons. Former fraternity brothers and college lacrosse teammates don’t always make the best CEOs.
  2. They don’t know what matters to the people they lead, and some simply don’t care.
  3. Their well-written mission and vision statement is not practiced. We’re committed to the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and principled performance. We do the right thing, in the right way, and hold ourselves accountable. (Wells Fargo Vision and Values)
  4. Their legal and compliance team sets the ethical barometer, doing only what is “legal” as opposed to what is “right.”
  5. They believe that crisis repair is less costly than building long-term trust. They will not speak publicly about their organization’s values, ethics, integrity or trust-building until after the breach.
  6. They have never set aside a budget for trust because it is mistakenly viewed as a soft skill.

Industry is not destiny nor is any company perfect. But when the Board and the CEO suck at trust, the chances are that all the employees will too. That’s too bad for the company, especially since the business case for trust continues to be proven.

If you are a Board member, director or CEO interested in elevating trust in your organization, please read the latest issue of TRUST! Magazine.

If you work in any organization of any size and are interested in elevating trust, please read our recently released global TAP principles. They are now available in 5 languages.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Company, 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@trustacrossamerica.com

Follow us on Twitter @BarbaraKimmel and @TapIntoTrust

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Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.




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