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Keyword: ‘wells fargo’

Apr
01

Trust Across America has been writing about Wells Fargo and making public suggestions to leadership on how to fix the Bank’s low trust since 2016, apparently to no avail.

The recent “trust building” communications “horse and pony” show was predictably a huge and expensive fail.  Anyone with even a basic understanding of organizational trust knows that trust is internal and must be built from the inside out, not through a PR campaign. So now the sudden resignation of the current CEO comes as no surprise to us, nor does the appointment of the “interim” CEO who “by chance” happens to be a lawyer.

Over the weekend we asked members of our cross functional Trust Council to weigh in on the actions required to right what appears to be a sinking ship. We appreciate the thoughts of our Council members who took the time to weigh in.

Acknowledge trust as a hard asset: Do not assume that trust is a “soft skill” and do not attempt a fix via exclusive input from legal and compliance. Form a cross-silo team to attack low trust with the support of the “right” Board members, possibly necessitating some “reshuffling” at the highest level. In other words, clean house.

Make trust building the first priority: A foundation of trust must be built before culture can be fixed. 

Be accountable: Embrace responsibility and accountability and avoid the deadly Watergate sin of tip-toeing up to the line but not crossing it, perpetuating the sense of cover-up. You’ve got to own it—and then some.

Measure what matters: Assess the current level of stakeholder trust and use this baseline to begin attacking the weaknesses. What can be measured can be managed.

Practice and reinforce values: Saying or printing them is mere cant. You’ve got to propagandize them, talk about them in application to specific instances, hold leaders accountable for a quota of such applications.

Model humility: Place truth-telling ahead of personal or professional gain.

Be transparent: Reject hidden agendas and be transparent wherever and whenever possible.

Hire and fire: Nothing builds trust faster than firing and hiring people. Hire/fire/promote on visible demonstrations of the bank’s values. Cull out the middle managers who still think they can get away with hiding unethical behaviors. 

Erase fear: Drive out fear and ensure every voice is heard and every trust breach is fully investigated. “The absence of fear is the incubator of trust.” Reward moral character and reinforce candor.

Track performance:  Define and scorecard performance against both values and value.

Perhaps the most difficult question came yesterday when someone asked me “Who would want the job of CEO?” That’s a tough one. Hiring another banker may not even be the best solution as finance is not generally considered an industry to exhibit high trust behavior. Regardless, the hope is that whoever the brave soul is who steps in to take the position begins their tenure by first acknowledging that trust is internal and must be elevated from the inside out. Only then can the required culture work begin.

PS- CNN just (attempted to) weigh in on how the bank can end the crisis. They may want to go back to the drawing board and craft a followup article.

For more information and tools to elevate trust, head over to our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019 Next Decade, Inc.

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Dec
04

TAA_R2_EDIT-CS3

 

Measuring the integrity or trustworthiness of public companies is an ongoing research project at  Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. In fact, we now have over 7 years of increasingly “rich” data.

Take a look at this chart:

 

 

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While we are in the business of identifying “best in breed” and not in predicting the next corporate crisis, our FACTS(R) proprietary data is quite capable of doing so. Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo… Did the lack of integrity at Wells Fargo contribute to its recent crisis? Could it have been avoided under different leadership? What do you think?

Would you like more insights like this?

Request our White Paper:  The State of Trust in Corporate America 2016

Trust Data: Public companies can review the level of trust within their organization and compare their performance to their peers.

Order our Trust Inc. book series.

2017 Trust Poster: Weekly Do’s and Don’ts to Foster Organizational Trust

Join our Trust Alliance where share our research with high integrity business leaders.

If you lead an organization, serve on a Board or in any management capacity or work with others, and you continue to ignore trust as a hard asset, you are losing out to your competitors and failing to protect your organization against a Wells Fargo crisis.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 2,000 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara is also the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.

 

Copyright (c)  2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
25

The benefits of high trust are too numerous for leaders to continue to ignore.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

 

 

Study after study confirms that over the long-term, high trust organizations outperform their low trust competitors. These are a few of the benefits:

  • Elevated employee engagement and retention
  • Reduced workplace stress
  • Enhanced decision-making
  • Innovative culture
  • More accountability, transparency and communication
  • Reduced costs

Why do most leaders choose to ignore trust or take it for granted?

The greatest challenges to elevating trust are the inability to delegate it, and having the right tools to fix it. Trust is a top down imperative that cannot be addressed via regulation and requires its own budget. It is not a Corporate Social Responsibility or “purpose” project, nor a compliance, human resources or marketing function, but rather an intentional business strategy adopted by leadership and practiced and reinforced daily. According to the Business Roundtable, vanishing are the days of low transparency, “short-term” thinking and maximization of shareholder value at the expense of other stakeholders. And as low trust continues to make the headlines across the globe, organizations that choose trust as an intentional strategy will continue to outperform their peers.

Take a look at some of the more recent study results:

  • On average, Trust Across America’s (that’s us) annual “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since 2012 (June, 2018). This study  has also been referenced by Gartner and in the Harvard Business Review.
  • Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.
  • PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey (2018) asked consumers which factors, other than price, influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer. More than one in three (35%) ranked ‘trust in brand’ as among their top three reasons. 

  • Another study looking at workplace trust and the impact on employee wellbeing reveals that more than half (53%) of employees considered it to be a major factor in whether they stayed or left a company. More research on the link between trust and wellness in this recent SmartBrief article.
  • According to Gallup, when employees don’t trust organizational leadership, their chances of being engaged are one in 12. But when that trust is established, the chances of engagement skyrocket to better than one in two. That’s more than a six-fold increase.

These references are bolstered by dozens of others. Short-sighted business leaders may continue to challenge the “return on trust” but the evidence is mounting. There is not only a business case but also a financial case for trust.

How can leaders elevate trust proactively instead of addressing it after a crisis and playing catch up?

It requires moving beyond talk to acknowledgement followed by ownership and action. Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World introduced a quick and simple survey tool called AIM Towards Trust and Workshop opportunities for teams and organizations of all sizes and in any industry to begin a trust discussion and address the challenges that are holding back trust. The survey has been successfully administered in dozens of teams, organizations and in advance of conferences and workshops. Readers interested in reviewing its various applications can learn more at this link.

Making the decision to elevate trust is not easy.  It requires both introspection on the part of leadership and a certain amount of vulnerability. Virtues like trust, the ones that really matter, must be treated as business imperatives for those who are seeking long-term success. Waiting for the inevitable crisis (most are the result of low trust) to make the old and tired PR speech, declaring that trust must be rebuilt may be the most popular choice, but as we have seen, it’s also the most expensive and least effective. Just ask Wells Fargo.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. Now in its eleventh year, the mission is to help organizations build trust. That’s all we do. 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Feb
04

Charlie, thank you for participating in our 2020 Trust Insights series. What is your trust insight?

“Trust” is what happens when a risk-taking trustor meets a virtuous trustee.” Charles H. Green, Trusted Advisor Associates

(The definition is surprisingly important, because it is rarely followed in practice.)

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Much talk about ’trust’ is abstract and not practically useful. Change in trust happens only when either someone becomes more willing to trust, or someone else becomes more trustworthy. 

We intuitively use personal trust as the paradigm – the strongest form of trust. We describe people as being trustworthy or not – a set of personal virtues, if you will. For example, using the Trust Equation, it breaks down into Credibility, Reliability, and Intimacy: all divided by Self-orientation. A trustworthy person exemplifies these virtues in all their interactions.

The trustor, by contrast, is the one who initiates the trust interaction. They, by definition are taking a risk, putting themselves willfully in the way of some kind of harm through the potentially untrustworthy behavior of the trustee. 

The business world is much enamored of ‘measuring’ things; but when it comes to trust, it is largely a fool’s errand. Measuring ’trust’ per se is elusive: most measurements are, and should be, actually metrics of the trustor’s propensity to risk, or of the trustees level of virtuousness. 

 

Can you provide a real life example of a trust “challenge” where your insight has been effectively applied.

One headline from Edelman PR’s annual Trust Barometer is “trust in social media is down.” Substitute ‘brands,’ ‘banking,’ ‘politics,’ and a host of others, and you’ll find similar headlines. But what do such sentences actually mean? Take banking, for example:
  • Does such a headline mean that banking has become less trustworthy? 
  • Or does it mean that people have become less trusting of banks in general?
In the case of Wells Fargo, you can make a good case that the problem was specific to the firm – rampant cases of untrustworthy behavior. Wells Fargo showed itself to be unworthy of trust. 
But take the case of violent crime: it is down, verifiably, over two decades in the US. At the same time, just as verifiably, fear of violent crime is up. That is a problem of perception on the part of would-be trusters. 
If you are interested in improving trust, you must define the problem: does it lie in the trustworthiness of specific would-be trustees? Or does it lie in excessive risk-avoidance on the part of would-be trustors?
Focusing on ’trust’ itself masks the practical question: is it a problem of trusting, or of trustworthiness. 

 

Charlie, generally, do you think the global “trust” climate is improving or worsening? What actions are making it better or worse?

There is plenty of data – some flawed, but some very good – that suggest we are in a period of declining trust. It is tempting to ascribe this to political polarization, tribalism, and nationalism. But I think there is a bigger threat. 
The larger problem is that we have come to de-emphasize the inherently personal nature of trust. The strongest form of trust is personal, not institutional. Yet much of the public dialogue is about institutional trust: and much of the discussion about how to improve trust is also about institutional or structural fixes to trust. 
Factors driving down the focus on personal trust include:
  • A deep-seated business preference for metrics and quantification, including on things that are frankly quite non-measurable
  • A fascination with ’scientific’ explanations of trust, including many neuroscientists and Big Data, which have the effect of downgrading traditional, and still valuable, other approaches to the subject 
  • The de-humanization that comes out of most participation in social media
  • The de-humanization that comes out of the very nature of ‘online’ social media participation as a substitute for direct human conduct

 

Many claim we have a crisis of trust. Do you agree?

 

Yes. 

 

Charlie, how has your membership in our Trust Alliance benefitted you professionally?

Invaluable direct contact with other fellow-travelers interested in the exploration of this very rich topic. 

 

Charlie, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

 

Charles H. Green is an author, speaker and world expert on trust-based relationships and sales in complex businesses. Founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, he is author of Trust-based Selling, and co-author of The Trusted Advisor and the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.  He has worked with a wide range of industries and functions globally. Charles spent 20 years in management consulting. He majored in philosophy (Columbia), and has an MBA (Harvard).

A widely sought-after speaker, he has published articles in Harvard Business Review, Directorship Magazine, Management Consulting News, CPA Journal, American Lawyer, Investments and Wealth Monitor, and Commercial Lending Review.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jan
21

Margaret, thank you for participating in our 2020 Trust Insights series. What is your trust insight?

Trust is always and only about what you DO;

nothing else counts. – Margaret Heffernan 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

As soon as the subject of trust comes up, everyone talks about words. But words do not ever build trust. It is what you do that counts. I think there are 4 aspects to trust :
Benevolence: People trust you if they believe you want the best for them. But how do they know that? By the generosity you manifest in the active ways you help, support, advise them and tell them the truth.
Integrity: Everyone watches not what you say but whether you actions are consistent with your words. Saying that you want what is best “for all Americans” as the Business Roundtable did recently, doesn’t mean a thing if you do not act on it. To my mind, the acid test in business is: have you been prepared to forego revenue to stand by your principles? By that test, most companies fail. Wells Fargo sold products to their customers that they didn’t need without telling them – that doesn’t show that they care about stakeholders. J&J heavily and actively over-sold opioids that caused their customers harm; that is not a sign of honoring stakeholders. Integrity has to be active or it is nothing. 
Competence: When you say you will do something, it means nothing if you don’t have the professional ability to do it. This is a nuts-and-bolts, real world aspect of trust people often overlook. You have to be able to deliver.
Consistency: Are your actions and choices visibly consistent with the values you talk about all the time? If your actions express different values from one day to the next, then clearly it is impossible to assume that one action implies a coherent set of values. Consistency can be rather dull but if you are unpredictable, then nobody can trust you to do the right thing each day.

 

Can you provide a real life example of a trust “challenge” where your insight has been effectively applied.

In 2001, after the tech bubble burst, I realized that keeping my company afloat would cost my investors a huge amount of money. Since my investor was a publicly traded company, I did not see how that cost could be justified when there was no confidence that the company could ever become profitable or that the investment could be recouped. I argued with the board – and it was an argument – that the business should be shut down. Eventually I won.

 

Margaret, generally, do you think the global “trust” climate is improving or worsening? What actions are making it better or worse?

I think the trust climate is getting worse for one very obvious reason. We used to believe – I used to imagine – that business was or could be a force for good in the world. But the overall lethargy and passivity in face of the climate change challenge has shown exactly the opposite: the business community has not only not served the world but endangered it and all who live in it. How can they be trusted to do the right thing when they’ve had the chance for 30 years and have done almost nothing? Either they aren’t competent or they don’t care.

 

Many claim we have a crisis of trust. Do you agree?

If we don’t have a crisis of trust, we should – as leaders in every walk of life seem unreliable and unrepentant. We have leaders all over the world whom everyone knows to be liars and cheats – which implies that being trustworthy is now an option not a requirement. Today I think leaders need to recognize that their trustworthiness is being assessed by everyone daily. It’s hard to point to those who do well under scrutiny.

 

Margaret, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Dr. Margaret Heffernan produced programs for the BBC for 13 years.  She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard & Poors. The author of six books, her most recent, Uncharted: How to map the Future Together comes out in 2020. Her TED talks have been seen by over ten million people. Through Merryck & Co., she advises CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations. She sits on several private boards, is a frequent broadcaster and writes occasionally for the Financial Times.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them below.

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey

Trust Insights Week #2: David Reiling

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Oct
02

Once again, the scandal plagued banking industry has a new CEO vowing to rebuild trust. This time the headline is out of Copenhagen… 

 

Trust in Danske Bank has collapsed, says its new chief executive

How many times have we heard these words before? “As reported by Reuters, Trust in Danske Bank has collapsed amid its involvement in a damaging money laundering scandal said the bank’s Chief Executive Chris Vogelzang, as he vowed to strengthen the bank’s defense.”

Fresh out of ABN Amro, another scandal plagued bank, the newly elected Danske CEO cites the primary cause for the loss of trust: “The high level of trust in Denmark, which enjoys a reputation as being one of the least corrupt nations, mean(ing) that there had been fewer incentives to control risks.” And his solution… As a result, he said, nine out of 10 people in the top compliance team are now from outside Denmark.

And also… “There was also some “bad” product in the mix. Trust in the bank has been further dented after a scandal, in which it failed to inform customers that it expected a poor performance from an investment product called Flexinvest Fri and continued to sell the product after raising fees associated with it.”

Once again I asked the members of our Trust Council to read the article and share some advice for Chris Vogelzang.

Donna Boehme, our “Lion” of compliance weighed in first, offering the following observations: 

To rebuild trust and establish a culture of ethical leadership is a huge undertaking that takes years, not days, and requires the advice and coaching of experts, not just PR Wizards of Smart.  One area the experts would focus this company on would be the entire system of “incentives” which has an outsized effect on culture and business decisions, as demonstrated so vividly by Wells Fargo and its fake accounts scandal. Danske might want to look at the leading edge examples being set by a number of companies In this arena.

It is also encouraging that the CEO has brought a compliance team together that has AML and other compliance SME. But if he wants that team to be successful, he must ensure that it has independence, empowerment, line  of sight, seat at the table and resources adequate to do the job well. Gone are the days when reputation and brand can be entrusted to an in-house legal team with no legitimate compliance SME (earned in the trenches) and lacking the positioning and authority to do the job. 

 

Stephen M.R. Covey  shared the following thoughts:

First, “you can’t talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into.”  In other words, the only way to restore trust here will be through actions—behaviors—not merely words (although words can be helpful to signal what you’re going to do).  Key behaviors to restore trust here include:  Confront Reality (acknowledge it), Practice Accountability (own it), Right Wrongs (make it right as best you can), Clarify Expectations (tell people what you’re going to do to re-earn their trust), and Keep Commitments (do what you say you’re going to do).

Second, trust in the marketplace is an extension of trust in the workplace.  It’s inside out.  So in order to restore trust with customers, it will be vital to also restore trust with your own people.  Too often organizations who have lost trust in the marketplace focus primarily (sometimes almost exclusively) on the customer/market trust and don’t recognize that they also need to be rebuilding internal workplace trust.  Without the workplace trust, it’s hard to sustain market trust.  Indeed, it’s incongruent.

Third, while building/rebuilding trust is definitely an inside-out process, starting with each leader and with the leadership team, it’s also vital that the process move out to the organizational level where they can better and more appropriately align systems and structures to ensure they build trust the right way.  Some of these systems/structures may have been misaligned in the past and may have contributed to the challenge.

There’s a lot more they need to do but those are just a couple of thoughts.

 

I’ll add a few more observations to the sage advice provided by Donna and Stephen. 

The concept of rebuilding something implies that it was built before.There is one question that the new CEO must answer before a trust-building strategy can be developed. What exactly did we trust our bank to do in the past that we are currently failing to do? 

While compliance plays a role in elevating trust, it must first come as a directive from the top. If the Board of Directors doesn’t understand or support the importance of creating a long-term strategy to elevate trust, the leadership team will be ineffective. The Danske Board currently consists of five committees: audit, compliance, nomination, remuneration and risk. I would suggest adding a sixth called “trust” and immediately calling in some trust subject matter experts to assist in outlining this critical trust-building strategy.

And speaking of strategy, whether post crisis or proactive, trust can never be delegated, yet this is what we see time and time again. It is not a legal or PR “tactic,” but rather an outcome of an intentional trust “plan” that leadership executes, practices and reinforces daily. In other words, trust “talk” must be followed up with action.

I hope someone at Danske reads this and passes the article up the chain. Perhaps Danske will someday become the industry role model in building trust. After all Denmark, with its high level of trust, should demand nothing less.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. For more information on how to build authentic trust, contact her at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

This is the link to the original Reuters article.

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May
29

Trust weaknesses perhaps represent the greatest risk in today’s competitive business environment. Recent news confirms this.

A costly trust “fix” can wreak havoc on a company for years to come. Consider the long-term impact on all stakeholders as a result of Wells Fargo’s trust breach. The fact is, almost every trust “event” can be avoided or “softened” when Boards acknowledge that trust is tangible, and choose to proactively build their trust bank account.  Placing trust in the center of the business strategy, and practicing and reinforcing it daily is no longer a nicety, it’s an imperative.

Trust is internal and ALWAYS built from the top down and the inside out.

Trust cannot be delegated to PR, communications or any “silo” per se. Purpose, reputation, sustainability and data privacy are also not substitutes for trust. They are simply placeholders or misguided “perception” of trust. A Board that chooses to ignore trust as a stand alone tangible asset, does so at its own risk, and cannot  manage it by taking it for granted. Higher organizational trust produces the following outcomes:

  • Higher employee engagement and retention and lower fear
  • Expeditious decision making
  • Innovative mindsets
  • Elevated accountability, transparency and communication
  • More profitable

Speaking in 2016 at an annual conference of the Arthur W. Page Society, Paul Polman, CEO at Unilever noted that without trust in companies, there can be no genuine prosperity. Seventy-five percent of U.S. graduates, he said, do not want to work for big companies anymore. 

Given that trust is always a top down imperative, could the Board of Directors gain valuable insights into the importance of elevating trust if they surveyed their own members based upon universal principles of trust? What would the results reveal? Would the Board find respect to be high or low? How about integrity or understanding?

And what if upon completion of the survey and creation of a plan to address the weaknesses, the Board expanded their trust-building efforts by administering the same anonymous survey to Legal, Ethics & Compliance, HR, Finance and Marketing? Would this provide the Board with any actionable insights? Could reputation risk be reduced? And what would each team’s results look like? How quickly could trust, and the resulting long-term benefits, be elevated by correcting the deficiencies?

In fact, what if a Board member assumed the role of Chief Trust Officer for the entire organization? Sounds like a fairytale? It’s not. This exact exercise is already being implemented in several progressive Boardrooms in both domestic and international organizations.

What are Boards finding?

After completing the survey, one Board determined that the Principles of accountability, transparency and tracking were sorely lacking among their members. These weaknesses are now being addressed, while successes such as “truth” and “respect” are being celebrated. This Board plans to roll the diagnostic out firm wide.

A Simple Solution

In 2017, Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s global Trust Alliance set out to create universal trust-building Principles that could be applied in any team or organization of any size. The plan was to develop a non-threatening mechanism to start the “trust discussion.” The Alliance itself (now in its 6th year) is comprised of cross functional professionals including Board and C-Suite members, compliance & ethics, risk, HR, marketing, finance, accounting, CSR professionals, etc.

Beginning with almost ninety ideas, and over the course of a full year, members weighed in through a powerful decision-making software tool, and honed the ideas to twelve Principles that form the acronym, “TAP INTO TRUST.”

TAP (Trust Alliance Principles) was first published in April 2018 and is currently available as a free PDF download in 16 languages. In just one year, over 50,000 global professionals have “tapped in” and the trust “movement” shows no sign of slowing.

In March 2019, Phase II was introduced. AIM Towards Trust is an anonymous one question, one minute survey that allows teams and organizations to obtain their trust baseline metrics and address weaknesses. AIM is an acronym for Acknowledge, Identify, Mend.

Building trust-based principles into the DNA of an organization lowers fear and elevates security among all stakeholder groups. For example:

  • Employees stop looking over their shoulders and instead start engaging, innovating, collaborating and working for the “greater good.”
  • Customers no longer question whether the “brand” can be trusted.
  • Shareholders trust that their investment is less risky.

The most enlightened Boards (we have written extensively about this subject in TRUST! Magazine) have an enormous business advantage when they choose to become the catalyst that turns around low trust in their respective companies, and in the broader business landscape. The tools are available for those who want to do more than “talk” and to actually make “Trust the New Currency” instead of just the latest buzz.  And remember, trust always starts at the top.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World , now in its 11th year, and 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. She holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. 

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Jul
18

Papa John’s is the latest to call for trust “reconstruction” from the inside out. A quick review of recent news headlines also mentions the EPA after Pruitt, Michigan State’s new athletic director, the Charlottesville police department, Samsung, and Wells Fargo, among others, all calling for trust rebuilding.

At first glance, the obvious recipients of that “first” phone call might be: PR firms and ad agencies, crisis management firms, risk experts, monitors or watchdogs, lawyers or compliance consultants. Yet every one of those choices will result in a “Band-Aid” fix, at best.

For an organization to rebuild trust, the first decision is not who gets the phone call, but who makes it. That first call must originate from the top, and be made to a professional firm with expertise in organizational trust. When that call is delegated to communications, legal or compliance, the chances of obtaining a long-term desired outcome are greatly reduced.

Trust building (and rebuilding) is an intentional holistic exercise. It can’t be pushed down the chain of command and it can only be fixed by the “right” people. Trust can’t be rebuilt with a press conference or an ad campaign, and it does take time.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a global group of ethics and trust professionals who comprise our Trust Alliance. They are currently available in 14 languages as free PDF downloads and serve as a great starting place and a clear roadmap to building and rebuilding trust. A variety of complimentary tools are also available on our website at trustacrossamerica.com and our Trust Alliance members may also be in a position to help.

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 and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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May
30

(Source: G.Palazzo, F. Krings, Journal of Business Ethics, 2011).

 

Many models of (un)ethical decision making assume that people decide rationally and are in principle able to evaluate their decisions from a moral point of view. However, people might behave unethically without being aware of it. They are ethically blind.

 

As organizations are comprised of individuals, Ethical Blindness naturally extends into the workplace. Some business sectors appear to be more ethically blind than others, and this creates enormous enterprise risk. This chart shows the trustworthiness of the major sectors for the Russell 1000 companies based on Trust Across America’s FACTS(R) Framework.

 

Ethical blindness can be corrected if leaders choose to be “tuned in” to the warning signs described below:

  • The Board of Directors does not have established long-term policies or procedures in place to elevate ethical and trustworthy behavior with their internal and external stakeholders. For more information see the Spring Issue of Trust Magazine.
  • Leaders, unless they are ethically “aware” by nature, are not proactive about elevating trust or ethics as there is no mandate to do so. When a crisis occurs, the “fix” follows a common “external facing” script involving a costly and unnecessary PR campaign. Wells Fargo’s latest “building trust” television commercial provides a timely example. Meanwhile internally, it’s “business as usual.”
  • Discussions of short term gains and cost cutting dominate most group meetings. The pressure to perform is intense and the language used is very strong.
  • The Legal and Compliance departments are large and growing faster than any other function.
  • The organizational culture is a mystery. No clear “ownership” of ethical or trustworthy business practices or decision-making exist. Think “hot potato.”
  • Discussions/training on ethics and trust rarely occur and when they do, they are lead by either the compliance or legal department and focus on rules, not ethics and trust.
  • Ethical considerations/testing are not part of the hiring process and fear is widespread among employees.

Is Ethical Blindness at the organizational level fixable? Absolutely. But the first order of business requires leadership acknowledgement and commitment to elevating organizational trust and ethics.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a group of ethics and trust experts who comprise our Trust Alliance. They should serve as a great starting place for not only a discussion but a clear roadmap to eradicating Ethical Blindness. As a recent TAP commenter said:

An environment /culture that operates within this ethos sounds an awesome place to me , I would work there tomorrow if I knew where to look for it. 

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 and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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May
01

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

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.