Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Board of Directors’

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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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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Feb
18

When trust is low, fear is high, and fear is very costly.

Numerous studies have shown that:

  • High-trust organizations consistently outperform their rivals
  • Trust is the foundation of high performing teams
  • Trust reduces employee turnover and increases engagement
  • Trust increases productivity and innovation
  • High trust leads to long-term business success, beyond just short-term “home runs.”

What is your organization doing to cut the losses of low trust?

The “fix” is relatively easy and inexpensive. And it begins by acknowledging that low trust is costing you money. Like a disease, if low trust is ignored, it continues to spread.

Our newest Trust Tool is based on our Trust Alliance Principles (TAP), the result of the collaborative efforts of dozens of the world’s leading trust scholars and practitioners. Since April, these principles have been accessed over 40,000 times in 16 languages. This tool will provide any team (including the Board of Directors,) or organization of any size in any industry, with a simple roadmap to track and elevate trust.

Want to learn more? Contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and 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.  Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

 

Copyright(c) 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jan
08

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s free

2019 Calendar and Poster

provide ideas to start the trust discussion.

Will 2019 be the year when you become an enlightened leader?

Register to receive these tools via the home page of our website.

 

If you have any questions, comments or ideas, we are here to listen.

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Dec
29

Around this time every year, the news “treats us” to the top leadership failures, and 2018 is certainly no exception. “The trust buck” certainly stopped on the CEO’s desk at Facebook, Uber and Theranos, to name just a few.

While the media may continue to believe that only “bad” sells,  I launched Trust Across America-Trust Around the World more than ten years ago, with one objective of directing attention to the “good” because their stories rarely get told. Perhaps they are just too “good” to get air time, and just maybe the media is ignoring the stories that people want to hear.

This list is not about CEOs taking stands, feel good philanthropy, “check the box sustainability” or CSR projects, but rather about high integrity leaders who believe that a long-term holistically trustworthy strategy will positively impact ALL stakeholders.

Top Ten Stories of 2018

(presented alphabetically)

  • *Chip Bergh runs Levi Strauss and continues his focus on building a long-term culture with great success. (And BTW: Chip and I share the Lafayette College alma mater.
  • Many people like to throw darts at Jeff Bezos at Amazon for “disrupting” retail, yet he also gives back in a big way. This is his newest preschool initiative.
  • Larry Fink Blackrock’s CEO rattled the business world in his letter to CEOs by announcing a new model for corporate governance.
  • David Kleis is St. Cloud Minnesota’s longest serving Mayor, who, over the past 3 years, has been hosting monthly dinners at his house and almost 700 town halls to get to know his constituents, complete with a mobile bus!
  • *Rose Marcario at Patagonia is using the company’s $10 million tax break to help save the planet.
  • *David Reiling is CEO of St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks. Under his leadership, Sunrise became Minnesota’s first bank certified as a community development financial institution, a legal benefit corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance of Banking on Values. As David says “At the end of the day, if the community succeeds, we will be able to thrive along with them.”
  • Physician Kylie Vannaman runs MDPCA (Midwest Direct Primary Care Alliance) a group that is buying back medical bills from those who cannot afford to pay them.
  • Martin Van Trieste, a former Amgen executive is the CEO of Civica RX. Never heard of them? This mission driven company plans to stabilize the soaring costs of prescription drugs.
  • Bob Wilson an 89-year old California business owner just wrote 1085 checks, each for $1000. Find out why.
  • Jeff Yurcisin, a former Amazon executive who recently became president of Zulily, talks about why trust is the #1 leadership imperative.

Let’s celebrate these trustworthy leaders and their organizations. Let’s work together to continue to build organizational trust in 2019.

* Chip Bergh, Rose Marcario and David Reiling also appeared on this list in 2018.

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

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

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

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Dec
22

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, our global Trust Alliance “elves” have spent the year hammering away at new (and free) tools to elevate organizational trust in any organization regardless of size, location or industry.

We are happy to provide our readers with “12 days of organizational trust resources.”

  1. Our special TRUST! Magazine spring issue focused on the intersection of trust and good governance. It’s a gem and should be read by every Board member everywhere!
  2. Several members contributed to our growing case study library called Trustlets.
  3. Dozens of hours of collaboration lead to the publication of TAP (Trust Alliance Principles) 
  4. Our “Million Taps” campaign launched with an inaugural group of fifty signatories. As of this moment 29,544 global professionals have accessed TAP, with thousands joining our movement ever month.
  5. Through our global network, TAP is now available in 16 languages. Our readers can download the translations at no cost.  EnglishArabicChineseDutchFinnishFrenchGermanHebrewHindiItalianJapanese , Portuguese (Brazilian)RomanianRussianSpanish, and Swedish
  6. The July issue of TRUST! Magazine focused on TAP with many Alliance members weighing in. 
  7. Our first annual Country Trust Index was published with the help of our global members. The index was the most popular download on our website in November. Switzerland wins!
  8. The 4th annual Showcase of Service Providers was published in October, featuring the work of some of our members.
  9. This “2 pager”  can be accessed under the Research tab on our website. It is a sample of the material contained in our 10th anniversary report “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America” made possible by the Alliance warriors working collaboratively to elevate trust during the past 10 years.
  10. Our members contributed to the publication of many articles on various organizational trust topics.
  11. With the help and support of our members, our 9th annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust nominations  have been a huge success. Honorees will be announced in the winter issue of TRUST! Magazine at the end of January 2019.
  12. Our 2019 calendar “Building High Trust Teams” is now available simply by registering for our Constant Contact mailing list. It is the beginning of Phase #2 of TAP with monthly discussion questions provided to elevate trust in your team during 2019.
Our website welcomes over 20,000 visitors every month. If you use our resources and would like us to continue to provide more at no cost in the future, please consider making a donation so that our elves can maintain their tools in tip top shape in 2019.
Our plans for 2019? Our Trust Alliance members will be building and benefiting from a new tool every month throughout the year!
May 2019 be the “Year of Trust.”
Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder
Copyright 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Dec
07

Ten years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis, I undertook a study of organizational trust. Ten years later, and with the assistance of hundreds of global experts, I offer the following observations gleaned over the past decade.

Organizational trust is built over time and in incremental steps. There are simply no shortcuts.

Trust facts:

Organizational trust is an “inside out” strategy built through…

  1. A shared purpose and tactical vision acknowledging all stakeholders, not just shareholders
  2. A high integrity/high accountability board and CEO
  3. Long-term and corporate-wide intentional trust building strategies
  4. Daily reinforcement
  5. Hiring (and firing) in accordance with corporate values
  6. Rejection of hidden agendas
  7. Vulnerability and a willingness to admit mistakes
  8. Transparency, truth telling and promises kept
  9. Rewarding moral character
  10. Trust measurement and tracking

Recently my colleagues and I have witnessed some “sloppy” use of the word “trust” via short-term thinking attempts to provide quick and easy illusory measurements and solutions.

Trust Fiction:

Trust is not built through…

  1. Delegation of trust building to middle management or online ethics training modules
  2. Expensive and slick PR or “branding” campaigns
  3. CEO activism unrelated to the business
  4. CSR “one off” projects and ESG “check the box” practices
  5. Self-fulfilling surveys, reports and “best of” awards
  6. Philanthropy
  7. Empty apologies, lots of talk and little action
  8. Social media “strategies” and buzz words
  9. More rules and larger legal departments
  10. Short-term share price action

There are no short-term solutions to building a trustworthy business. Attempting to cut corners not only wastes time and resources but damages reputation.  For those Boards and CEOs who want to learn more, check back next week when we offer 12 free tools to elevate trust in every organization, regardless of size, industry or location.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and 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. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright(c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Nov
23

Trust Across America’s FACTS® Framework: Fast Facts

(a summary of our 10th anniversary 46-page report “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America 2018” )

Introduction: Developed by a cross-silo multidisciplinary team, and in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, the Framework evolved with the goal of creating a long-term model to reduce corporate risk and maximize profitability by measuring trust. With the assistance of professionals from leadership, compliance and ethics, governance, accounting, finance, HR, consulting, corporate social responsibility, ESG, sustainability, and other disciplines, FACTS® was finalized in 2010.

Methodology: Now in its 9th year, Trust Across America performs an independent annual analysis using its rigorous and unique FACTS® Framework. Companies do not participate, nor do they know they are being analyzed.

How we define trust: A byproduct of strong core values that are practiced and reinforced daily.

The FACTS® Framework:

The Framework incorporates proprietary metrics and measures the trust “worthiness” of public companies based on five equally weighted indicators that form the FACTS® acronym: Financial stability, Accounting Conservativeness, Corporate Integrity, Transparency & Sustainability. Additional screens may include but are not limited to fines and violations, percentage of women on the board, CEO pay ratios and tenure, employee reviews and news. Our analysis has never identified a “perfect” company. In fact, on our 1-100 scale, it is unusual for a company to score above an 80%. In 2018, 103 companies in the Russell 1000 scored a 70% or above. The full list is provided in our research report.

Measuring Outcomes and Impacts: On average, and over the long-term, the “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since inception. In each of the six full years, the selected group has had a higher return than the S&P 500. (June, 2018)

Sector analysis: FACTS® data is sorted by sector and the following chart represents the sector rankings for the Russell 1000 for 2018. FACTS® uses Zacks Investment Research that divides date into 16 sectors. Others like S&P and Morningstar sometimes place companies in different sectors. For example, Zacks financial sector includes banks, insurance companies, REITS and brokerage firms, to name just a few.

Comparability: FACTS is a unique proprietary model measuring the trustworthiness of America’s largest (2000+) public companies. Other measurements of trust tend to be silo specific and qualitative, while FACTS® is quantitative and objective.

For more information: Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

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Oct
13

If this confidential workplace culture survey were administered, how many of the following ten questions would you answer “yes?” 

(Take the survey below)

  1. Do you trust leadership?
  2. Are you very engaged at work?
  3. Do leaders have the “right” skills to build trust?
  4. Do the words of leadership match their actions?
  5. Does high organizational trust keep you at your job?
  6. Does your company behave ethically?
  7. Is the company culture highly aligned?
  8. Is innovation affected by the culture?
  9. Do you think a high trust culture is responsible for elevating the success of your company?
  10. Has leadership committed to elevating organizational trust?

No doubt these are some tough questions. And while most workplace surveys exclude them, imagine the valuable insights if they were included. And in fact, every one of these questions has been addressed in recent studies conducted by many leading organizations. These are just a few of the answers to the ten questions posed above.

  1. According to HBR.org and Zenger/Folkman, these two competencies were voted the most important for management positions. “Inspires and motivates others, displays high integrity and honesty.”
  2. According to Deloitte’s Millenial Survey 2018 only a minority of millenials believe businesses behave ethically.
  3. Gallup reports that only 46% of disengaged employees trust management.

Are you surprised by these findings? For the most part, trust in business has stagnated since we began tracking it ten years ago. In Trust Across America’s most recent 2018 study of the trustworthiness of America’s largest public companies only 103 companies in the Russell 1000 scored a 70% or above. The rest failed our test.

In celebration of our 10th anniversary helping organizations build trust, we spent the best part of the past three months assembling a research report called “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America 2018.” The (almost) 50-page report answers every question posed above, and many more. Studies from over 20 leading organizations, trust models addressing individuals, teams, leadership and organizations, highlights of our FACTS® Framework research and many other valuable tools are included.

Good measurement informs uncertain decision-making, and when an organization asks the right questions and measures what matters, leaders make better decisions. While corporate culture, core values, good citizenship, ethics, integrity and trust are commonly believed to be immeasurable intangibles or soft skills, research highlighted in our report points in the direction that these are not only false beliefs, but also that the benefits of an ethical culture far outweigh the costs. Yet most leaders continue to hold fast to the “soft skills” argument because neither they nor their Boards of Directors are thinking about them or reviewing the “right” data or inputs. Trust Across America tackled the “Board challenge” topic in the free spring 2018 issue of TRUST! Magazine.

It’s not uncommon for the following warning signs to be present in organizations when focus is on the wrong “tangibles” and the “soft skills” are misidentified.

  • The organizational culture is a mystery.
  • No clear “ownership” of ethical or trustworthy business practices or decision-making exists.
  • Discussions/training on ethics and trust rarely occur. When they do, they are lead by either the compliance or legal department and focus on rules, not integrity and trust since these attributes are voluntary and cannot be regulated.
  • Discussions of short-term gains and cost cutting dominate group meetings.
  • The pressure to perform is intense and the language used is very strong.
  • The Legal and Compliance departments are large and growing.
  • Ethical considerations/testing are not part of the hiring process and fear is widespread among employees.

Sound familiar? If so, leaders should be asking themselves a series of questions including the following. (Others are addressed in our recent report.)

SUCCESS: What role does trust play in ensuring a healthy culture ultimately impacting the success of your organization?

PERFORMANCE: How is trust tied to high performance, innovation, and sustainability in your organization?

COSTS: What are the costs/implications of not having a high level of trust in your organization?

BENEFITS: What are the payoffs of a trust-based organization for your stakeholders including your employees, customers, community and shareholders?

CULTURE: What values, principles or beliefs does your organization follow that are essential to building a foundation of trust?

What better time then now to start asking the “right” questions, collecting the “right” data and improving the culture for the benefit of all? Wouldn’t it be great if more organizations, including yours, could pass the test? What’s holding you back?

Take our survey here:

[powr-survey id=cc4e6af7_1539436598009]

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and 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. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust! For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

 

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Aug
12

Why should Boards and their CEOs focus on building stakeholder trust? Our FACTS® Framework calculates the trustworthiness of US based public companies, and we have issued an annual report of our findings since 2012.

On average, the “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 30% annually. 

That’s why.

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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