Archive

Posts Tagged ‘C-Suite’

Mar
25

I recently published an article titled Twelve Ways to Kill Stakeholder Trust. It explained how “check the box” practices will not fix trust. Why is that? Because trust is interpersonal and starts with your people who do not fit into square boxes. Leaders who are counseled to perform trust work arounds, while calling them trust, should have no expectations of trust improving. In fact, they are elevating organizational risk by failing to commit to being consistently and continuously involved in trust building activities. Said another way, those who choose to delegate expensive box checking activities and treat trust as a soft skill will continue to build on their current trust deficit.

The article concluded with a promise to provide some actionable steps that business leaders can take to elevate trust. I asked some of our Trust Alliance members to provide their suggestions and selected the twelve most actionable responses. They are offered in no particular order. Each action stands alone as a powerful step in elevating trust. Pay careful attention to the words highlighted in bold. Read the actions published on Medium by clicking here.

Find out how you can elevate trust the “right” way.

Start by answering this one question (it will take no more than one minute and your response is 100% anonymous) and compare your response to 700 others.

And then learn more at this link.

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Mar
04

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

How many of the following trust substitutes are present in your organization? The larger the organization the more prevalent these work arounds are becoming and the faster they are multiplying, crushing any hopes for long-term sustainable trust.

These days it does not take much to lose stakeholder trust given that most organizations have failed to build that essential trust bank account. Now, facing a low balance, many companies are scrambling to find a quick and easy deposit into their account. That is not how trust is built. There are no quick fixes and work arounds are dangerous, further eroding trust despite what leaders are being told. These trust substitutes fail time after time and then like clockwork a new one takes its place. If history has taught any lessons, they will also fail. And how many times should the same mistake be forgiven? For example, excessive employee turnover currently occurring in some companies tells me that the time has come to stop treating trust like a soft skill that can be taken for granted. The business case for trust has been made. It is time to start paying attention to it.

Are you part of the problem?

In 2010 I approached a colleague, a relatively well known consultant to senior management and boards, who had recently published a new book. In it he highlighted one of his clients as a role model for others in their industry. Our FACTS® Framework data told another story (see chart below.) I approached him in confidence, shared our data, and suggested he present it to his client. His response shocked me. “Why would I bring this “bad” news to my client? It might be the end of my very lucrative consulting contract. I’ve got college bills to pay.” Did I fail to mention that his specialty was/is crisis repair/reputation management? That was over 10 years ago. What has changed?

Expensive Trust “Cures” that Will Kill Any Hope of Trust

The following is a list of some of the most egregious trust violations happening every day under the leadership of those who should know better. If you find this list offensive please think about why you are having that reaction. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

  1. Unwillingness to acknowledge or take ownership of trust. Delegating it to corporate communications or the PR department, or these days maybe compliance or audit.
  2. Excluding freedom of expression and opinions from the “Diversity & Inclusion” program.
  3. Talking about the importance of data privacy while installing the latest surveillance software upgrades on subordinates computers (and referring to them as subordinates.)
  4. Putting customers before employees.
  5. Telling customers how important they are while they wait on hold.
  6. Filling the next Board seat with an ESG “guru” instead of the most competent candidate. And speaking of ESG, checking that box with carbon offsets.
  7. Following massive layoffs with big annual raises and bonuses for those in the C-Suite.
  8. In the interest of profitability, overlooking the long-term supply chain risk of relying on foreign manufacturers while local suppliers are forced out of business. (The current drug supply debacle is an excellent learning opportunity.)
  9. Treating trust like a short-term “soft serve” flavor of the day instead of a long-term business strategy.
  10. Making the compliance budget the largest and hiring more compliance staff.
  11. Taking a “stand” not because of a belief in the cause but because PR thinks it’s a good idea.
  12. Spending big money on a great place award or better yet a motivational speaker, while employees are told there is no budget for salary increases. (And maybe employees completing satisfaction surveys should not be coached on which boxes to check and their responses should remain anonymous.)

Kick Those Trust Busting Recommendations to the Curb

So what should should business leaders do?

  • Start by refusing to make these trust busting business decisions and challenge the advisors who are recommending them. Remember, they are in the business of creating dependency.
  • Assign an internal team to review the trust violations occurring in your organization and fix them.
  • Make each “fix” your next BIG PR announcement. It will be meaningful and your stakeholders will applaud and reward you. Rinse and repeat.
  • Do not allow anyone to tell you that any of these violations can be ignored.
  • Do not shrug this list off because your peer group is choosing to do so. The longer you do, the less trust you will have. You may have lots of “friends at the top” but your trust bank account will remain low and the next crisis may just be your last.
  • Take this list seriously. Do not toss it until every violation is fixed.

Getting back to the story at the beginning of the article. This is the historical FACTS® data on the referenced company.

Somewhere in the middle of the chart the company paid one of the largest fines in the industry’s history. My guess is the same consultant was called in on the reputation repair team.

Our next article will provide some actionable and workable ideas to build trust. We are gathering the best suggestions from our Trust Alliance members and Top Thought Leaders and will be sharing them soon.

Contact us for more information.

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Dec
17

Introducing the Trust Across America-Trust Around the World 

2022 Playbook for Building Systemic Trust…

 

 

THE WHY

These turbulent times have created a unique opportunity for enlightened and ethical leaders to foster an inspiring, inclusive, innovative, engaged, safe and enduring work environment. That means taking trust beyond talk to action, and placing it in the center of the business strategy.

The twelve principles comprising The “Art” of Trust™” were collaboratively created over the course of many years by a group of leading global trust scholars and practitioners who are members of our Trust Alliance. They have been tested and used with dozens of teams and organizations. In fact, these universal principles, known by the acronym Tap Into Trust or TAP, have been accessed over 150,000 times. They provide a common language for discussing the behaviors that build high stakeholder trust, beginning internally and working outwards. Trust can be a learned competence. Understanding its behavioral components takes the emphasis away from arriving at a common definition and towards a common language. Our framework also provides a less threatening, concise and action friendly trust building solution.

THE HOW 

Our 2022 playbook is designed to assist both team and organizational leaders in elevating interpersonal trust and then applying those skills to other stakeholders. Each month we will showcase one of our twelve principles, provide our monthly visual cue, a description of the behavior, team discussion questions, and additional resources including case studies. While every team faces unique trust challenges at different times, these twelve behaviors represent the most common ones that build or break trust. Sharing this playbook and having a scheduled team conversation about the monthly principle will bring the group closer to high trust by year end.

That’s our promise and our gift to you for 2022. Visit our website, hit the contact button and send us a note, or email info@trustacrossamerica.com. The playbook is free and will be delivered monthly via Constant Contact.

Let’s get started!

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

 

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Nov
02


Why should business leaders care about trust? This is why:

 

Performance of Trust Across America’s

Most Trustworthy Public Companies vs. the S&P 500 (2014-2019)

 

The chart above is the cumulative “Return on Trust” of America’s annual “Top 10” Most Trustworthy Public Companies over the past six years. Through its FACTS® Framework, Trust Across America has been analyzing, assembling and publicly reporting on this data for ten years.

If you are the CEO of a public company, or any company for that matter, who claims there is no Business Case for Trust, now may be the time to reconsider. Why DO business leaders require proof or ignore trust as their most valuable strategic advantage?

Leaders take trust for granted

Trust doesn’t just “happen.” It is not bestowed upon leaders by virtue of their title.  Trust is a learned competence and an intentional business strategy that must be crafted, practiced, modeled, and reinforced daily.

Leaders focus on the wrong metrics

Growing quarterly earnings, over reliance on sales quotas, focus on “old school” risk and/or “new school” ESG metrics will not satisfy the trust imperative that stakeholders are increasingly demanding. Neither will talking rather than acting on trust.

Leaders treat trust as a “soft skill”

Organizational trustworthiness is a hard currency. The proof is in the chart above.

Leaders are “trust reactive” 

Rarely do we hear proactive leadership discussions about building stakeholder trust. Instead, trust becomes a communications talking point only after a breach. This is both a missed and lost opportunity for leadership.

Leaders delegate trust

Trust is not a function of legal, compliance, HR, communications, or any other department. Boards of Directors and executive leadership teams must spearhead trust, making it central to the organization’s core values, so that all stakeholders can benefit.

 

Note: In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, an EXTERNAL quantitative measurement of the corporate trustworthiness of America’s largest 2000+ US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal and compliant to choosing the right core values that satisfy all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on the trustworthiness of public companies. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.

In 2018 Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s Trust Alliance, a group of global trust scholars and practitioners, introduced its Trust Alliance Principles (TAP), and in 2019 our AIM Survey tool was created to guide leaders and teams in building trust INTERNALLY. It is based on universal behaviors that strengthen and weaken trust. To date, almost 150,000 global professionals have tapped into trust, and dozens of teams and organizations have used our simple survey tool to start a trust discussion.

 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact us.

 

 

Purchase our books at this link

 

Copyright © 2020 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Jun
30

Today we conclude our 2020 Trust Insights series. Should you ever choose to think about the role trust plays on your team or in your organization, start by answering the question “Trust to do what?” and then consider the following:

 

 

 

  • All leaders and their team members must take ownership and be proactive about trust. Trust must first be well defined, never taken for granted or only talked about after a crisis. More on this subject at this link.
  • Trust is an outcome of principled behavior on the part of all leaders and team members. Access our Trust Alliance Principles to learn more. The weakest behaviors break the trust chain.
  • Leadership effectiveness should be evaluated by the internal environment of trust that has been created and maintained. Learn how you can evaluate it.
  • Trust cannot be regulated or delegated to a “department.” Without shared values that foster a culture of trust, leaders defer to legal and compliance to enforce rules. Read “Trust: Going Beyond Compliance & Ethics.”
  • No organization is sustainable without a foundation of trust, and there are no shortcuts.
  • Trust in leadership and among teams cannot be measured by public opinion polls. Don’t confuse external “perception of trust” surveys with internal surveys of trust.
  • A company cannot create authentic brand trust without first building trust internally.
  • If you are a leader who is not willing to personally do the work to build trust, don’t talk about it as if you are. Read “Ten One Liners for the Low Trust Leader.”
  • The only way to build trust is to behave your way into it. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to trust, and there are many work arounds.
  • Ignoring trust as an intentional business strategy presents enormous enterprise risk. The benefits of high trust are too numerous to ignore.

I hope you have enjoyed our 26-week Trust Insights series.

Before you leave, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to over 500 others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an ONLINE webinar today.

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

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly:

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Jun
16

Given the right tools, trust can be measured. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

For decades, the external advisors to senior business leaders have counseled them to measure and evaluate every action according to return on investment. In recent years, box checking has become increasingly popular as well. Have you met your quota for women on boards? Are you decreasing your carbon footprint? Diversity and inclusion? Check. Advisory firms love to build new boxes to keep themselves in business. Last year’s box was “Purpose” and this year it is ESG. Imagine the year that the “trust” box becomes the box of choice. If you need proof that a business case for trust exists, please request it by sending an email to: info@trustacrossamerica.com

The following is a simple starting point to measure whether your employees trust you and trust each other. Ask them to count the behaviors below that are present in your organization.

  • High energy, motivation and engagement
  • Easy to hire and onboard new employees
  • Fun and laughter
  • High confidence, creativity and risk taking
  • Thriving innovation and productivity
  • Team alignment, sharing of information and credit, and quick forgiveness
  • Accountability and transparency as the norm
  • Willingness to be vulnerable and open, speak freely, and to listen
  • Positive team-building behaviors including gratitude, empathy and candor
  • A strong sense of “community” and shared values

Now ask them to identify how many of the following are present.  

  • Low energy, low productivity and burnout
  • High employee turnover and excessive use of sick days
  • Difficulty recruiting new employees
  • Too much focus on risk, rules and regulations 
  • Low innovation
  • No sharing of information and resistance to ideas
  • Lack of respect and passive/aggressive behavior
  • Resignation and cynicism
  • Finger-pointing, water cooler talk and lots of judgment
  • Cordial hypocrisy

Subtract the second number from the first to arrive at your trust baseline score.

Let’s say hypothetically your employees identify 5 positive trust behaviors and 5 negative. (5-5=0). Your trust score is zero. Don’t expect much employee engagement, innovation or risk taking.

Or your employees identify 8 positive behaviors from the first list and 2 negative from the second (8-2=6). Six is better than zero.

Or 2 posItive and 8 negative (2-8= -6). Not a place ANYONE wants to work. (And that “trust” box certainly can’t be checked.)

Our AIM Towards Trust survey tool has been used in dozens of teams and organizations to measure trust, start the trust discussion and fix what’s broken. The proactive and ethical business leaders who have adopted these tools can now check that trust box with confidence.

Before you leave, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to 500 others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an ONLINE webinar today.

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

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly:

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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May
19

If you don’t own trust, don’t expect others to own it either. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

 

 

 

 

I was recently asked to lend a bit of trust subject matter expertise at a webinar hosted by Navex Global. Several polls were conducted during the program. In the chart below, 420 respondents selected who they thought had primary responsibility for organizational trust.

Do you agree?

 

 

If you would like to learn more about who owns trust, please click on this recent Human Synergistics/ Culture University article, Creating a High Trust Culture: Who is Responsible?

Please stop by our website for additional resources, or schedule a call to learn how we can help elevate trust in your leadership team and among employees in your organization.

Did you know that over 136,000 global professionals have Tapped into Trust? Have you?

 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Jan
14

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

Developing trust starts in the C-suite. 

David Reiling, CEO Sunrise Banks

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be established by organizational leaders and promoted from the top down. The executive team should set the tone for the rest of the organization, and exhibit trustworthiness and integrity as role models for the organization.

Without trust at the top, it will be impossible to spread throughout the rest of the organization.

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

Years ago I saw some management behavior that was not acceptable as defined by the organization’s values. When something like this happens, trust slowly erodes and the organization started to break. With time, I saw the management team rebuild itself embracing the organization’s values, leading to a trusted leadership team.  This resulted in a ripple effect of trust and transparency throughout the organization.

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

I think it depends on who you ask. Our political climate is extremely polarized of late and this has caused trust issues for certain people. We’re also experiencing a boom technology and artificial intelligence; data breaches and mishandling of personal information has created a lack of trust in data collection and big tech.

It’s too speculative to say the climate is improving or worsening. However, I do think there would be strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

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

I wouldn’t call it a crisis of trust, but rather a healthy dose of skepticism in regards to certain developments. In particular, technology and personal data collection have been a point of contention for some. We’ve yet to reconcile our desire for the convenience of technology and the risks that can come with it.

We’re comfortable quickly signing privacy policies – likely without reading them – but we become frustrated when we learn our actions have been used for marketing purposes or our information compromised. As new technology continues to emerge, tech companies need to be as transparent as possible and consumers need to become more self-aware of their actions and the potential consequences connected with providing personal information.

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

The Trust Alliance has set the bar for years now.  As a member, the value I have received, as well as the value my organization has received, has been more than significant.  The concepts that the Trust Alliance presents have been great fire-starter conversations within the organization at all levels.

David, 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?

David Reiling is a social entrepreneur, who is an innovator in community development finance and financial inclusion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a certified B-Corp, a legal Benefit Corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

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

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

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Nov
16

James E. Lukaszewski is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He offers the following timely advice about reputation and trust and the role each play in ensuring organizational success.

I’ve always thought that the whole notion of reputation was more a Public Relations construct than a management concern. Leaders care about trust.

During my nearly 40 years in reputation, leadership and organizational recovery I can’t recall a serious discussion of reputation in a management circumstance by those running the business until just before they were about to lose or see their reputation seriously damaged. Public Relations advisors rather than business operators raised the issues.

Trust is a powerful management term. I define trust as the absence of fear. I interpret fear to mean the absence of trust. Trust is a management word; trust is a powerful cultural word. Trust is a word that has its counterparts in virtually every culture on the planet; and trust is understood clearly and immediately by just about everybody. Generally it’s mom who taught us about trust, so we remember.

Chief Executives of troubled organizations don’t lose their jobs because there’s a reputation problem. They lose their jobs because there is a trust problem, a failure to provide the assurance that prevents the fear of serious adverse circumstances. If we’re talking seriously about our relationship with constituents, stakeholders, employees, the public, anyone who has a stake in our organization for whatever reason, we’re talking about trust.

Reputation? We’ll need to call the PR department for the latest definition.

This is an excerpt from the second of our three book Trust, Inc series.

James E. Lukaszewski (loo-ka-SHEV-skee) is widely known as America’s Crisis Guru. He is a speaker, author (12 books and hundreds of articles and monographs), lecturer and ethicist (co-chair of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards). 

For more information about our programs and how your organization can elevate trust, visit www.trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Oct
27

How often has the word “trust” been mentioned in the news this past week?

Trust in Google, Facebook, the Supreme Court, science and even the MLB. It seems that by the day, trust “talk” gains in popularity. There is no arguing that trust is a hot topic from the mountains of Davos all the way down to Wall Street.

Unfortunately, most news articles ignore the interpersonal and internal nature of trust in organizations (the ones that are difficult to monetize), instead focusing on trust “talk” and “work arounds.” We read about trust and data security, trust and sustainability, brand trust, and one of my favorites, Natural Language Processing (NLP) measures of trust. This not only adds  to the public’s misperception of what trust is, and what it is not, but it also dilutes the importance of the role trust plays in building principled and healthy organizations; the ones where people want to work.

This past week the global communications firm Edelman turned the discussion of trust to who owns it within the corporate structure. Their conclusion? The CIO. “The CIO in Focus study by Edelman reveals that CIOs are under increasing pressure to help safeguard not only a company’s data but also its corporate reputation and trust.”

What better opportunity to engage the members of our Trust Council  and ask them the same question: “Who owns trust?”

According to Bart Alexander of Alexander & Associates, it’s certainly not the CIO, although that person does play a role.

Chief Information Officers certainly do not “own” trust, nor are they the sole “guardians of trust.”  All C-suite members play significant roles in setting corporate culture including the norms and behaviors that foster trust.  In that respect, CIOs share the same responsibility as their C-suite peers.

At the same time, CIOs do play at least two unique and key roles in building and guarding trust., First, CIOs determine data strategy that determines the level of respect for privacy and security. And additionally, CIOs are business partners across the enterprise in both ongoing operations and innovation, giving them a direct view of the and influence on the value being placed on integrity and respect now and down the road.

Randy Conley of Ken Blanchard supported Bart’s position, taking the response one step further:

The person at the top (CEO, President, etc.) has a greater obligation to be the guardian of organizational trust.

Delegating responsibility to the CIO, “Chief Trust Officer,” or any other person or team, signals that trust is just another corporate duty that can be compartmentalized and managed in a silo. Saying the CIO is the guardian of organizational trust is a myopic view on the scope and importance of organizational trust. Corporate governance, brand reputation, customer experience, financial integrity, environmental responsibility, and community stewardship are among many key areas that impact stakeholder trust in an organization. Everyone needs to shoulder responsibility for building trust if an organization wants to achieve the quadruple bottom-line (employer of choice, provider of choice, investment of choice, environmental steward).

Bob Vanourek a former Fortune 500 CEO agreed:

Glad to see CIOs need to “safeguard” and “play a crucial role,” or even be the “Guardians” of trust. But trust-building among all stakeholders is so critical that it must not be delegated. Enlist the CIO, CHO, CFO, and more. But only the CEO should “own” trust.

Bob Whipple of Leadergrow also agrees that the ownership of trust is the responsibility of everyone in the organization:

The short answer is “everyone,” since trust can be created or destroyed by anyone in an organization.  In reality, the mandate to create, maintain, enhance, and repair trust gets more important as you go upward in an organization.  The most senior leaders have the responsibility for setting the tone for everything that happens in their organization.  If the level of trust throughout the layers is inadequate, the senior-most leader needs to take a good long look in the mirror to see the culprit.

Apparently, engaging subject matter experts who know trust best also provides the most coherent answers to questions like “Who owns trust?”

In summary, trust ownership cannot be delegated to a CIO or anyone else, and it will only be effective when: 

  1. Leaders acknowledge that trust starts with them, and is always constructed from the inside out
  2. The right tools are used to identify trust weaknesses and strengths
  3. Team members are free to discuss trust through open dialogue
  4. Trust weaknesses are mended and strengths are celebrated

We call this process AIM Towards Trust... Acknowledge, Identify, Mend and it’s been used successfully in teams and organizations of all sizes, shapes and colors; but only when leaders intentionally choose to build trust into their corporate culture AND don’t attempt to delegate it. 

Falling prey to quick fix solutions for elevating trust should be avoided. So should news coverage that misdefines and misplaces trust including discussions of brand trust, data trust, NLP trust, and check-the-box trust. Trust is always internal and interpersonal. These “perception of trust” work arounds may be money-makers for those who promote them, but as far as ensuring sustainable trust within an organization, there is only one route, and it’s not by having the CIO “own it.”

Thanks Trust Council members for your contributions to this article. Would you like to serve on our Council? The place to begin is by joining our Trust Alliance.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder 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.

 

Click here to read Edelman’s Press Release. www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cios-emerge-as-new-guardians-of-corporate-trust-300942787.html

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