Archive

Posts Tagged ‘CEO’

Jun
05

I remember speaking with Greg Link when he and Stephen M.R. Covey were writing their book Smart Trust.

And as Bill George said in his testimonial… Nothing is more important than building trust in relationships and in organizations. Trust is the glue that binds us together. Everywhere I go I see a remarkable loss of trust in leaders, and once lost, trust is very hard to regain. I feel this loss is tearing at the fabric of society, as so many people love to blame others for their misfortunes but fail to look in the mirror at themselves.

That was 9 years ago

What has changed? In essence accountable leaders who have assumed responsibility for trust continue to reap the rewards. Sadly only the most enlightened have done so over the past decade. The majority of big business leaders have chosen to follow a highly ineffective route via a check the box trust strategy recommended by their highly compensated advisors. Why? It’s fast, easy and can be delegated. Just attach the word “trust” to the flavor of the day, check the box, and voila! Your communications team now has some great talking points. Brand trust, purpose trust, AI trust, and the latest ESG trust. Who benefits from this approach? Primarily the consultants, speakers, academics and some powerful NGOs who have joined forces in monetizing counterfeit trust. Who loses? Business leaders, employees and most external stakeholders. Simply stated, check the box trust is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It will not get you or your stakeholders to a place of trust. Instead, it will prolong the pain of low trust.

The following is a list of commonly used trust statements and approaches

I have personally heard them all. Can you identify which ones are “smart” trust?

  • We are big business and don’t budget for soft stuff like trust since it doesn’t impact our bottom line.
  • The corporate credo written on the lobby wall has trust covered.
  • We are already trustworthy since our quarterly earnings are growing.
  • We are checking all the ESG boxes and have added ESG experts to our Board of Directors, not to mention the women and other minority members. (That was last year’s misdirected trust advice.)
  • We give to charities and have an annual CSR event.
  • Our employee engagement survey has trust covered.
  • We have a great reputation.
  • We are spending “big” on wellness programs.
  • Our company has received every “Best Places” and “ethics” award.
  • Our communications efforts are focusing on diversity and inclusion.
  • Our compliance department “has trust covered.” We stay just on the “right side” of the law.
  • We always talk about trust as a core value after a crisis.
  • Every year we hire a motivational speaker to deliver an entertaining trust program.

If you answered “None of the above” you are correct. These are all popular, easy and ineffective short-term trust workarounds. And every one of them is a box checking opportunity.

In Smart Trust Covey and Link discuss 5 actions.

  • Choose to believe in trust. …
  • Start with self. …
  • Declare your intent and assume positive intent in others. …
  • Do what you say you’re going to do. …
  • Lead out in extending trust to others.

These actions are a great starting point, and there are many excellent and implementable programs and strategies that will result in smart trust. But don’t expect to know about them if you don’t ask the right questions of the right people. Paradoxically, while trust is more important than ever, those who have the power to elevate it continue to ignore not only those with the expertise, but also the steps required to ensure the trust foundation can support the structure. I call that a win/lose approach.

In the words of Covey and Link  There is a direct connection between trust and prosperity because trust always affects two key inputs to prosperity: speed and cost. In low-trust situations, speed goes down and costs go up because of the many extra steps that suspicions generate in a relationship, whereas two parties that trust each other accomplish things much quicker and, consequently, cheaper. The authors call high trust a “performance multiplier.” High trust creates a dividend, while low trust creates a wasted tax.

And don’t forget, the strength of capitalism is also its weakness.

Regardless of whether you choose to be part of the trust problem or the solution, these are a few indisputable facts:

Trust is the outcome of principled behavior.

Trust is always interpersonal.

Trust takes time to build.

Trust is built in incremental steps.

Trust is built from the inside out, not the outside in.

If leadership isn’t accountable for trust, there is no reason to assume it exists within the organization and you cannot expect it from your stakeholders in return. If you are being counseled on trust make sure those advising you have the expertise to do so. Most are good at the workarounds and smoke screens, but have no knowledge of smart trust. Also, don’t assume that someone who has written a book with the word “trust” in the title is an expert. Again, a few are but most are not.  Don’t buy into the trust “smokescreen.” It will continue to get you nowhere close to a smart trust outcome.

For more information and resources on elevating trust, please visit www.trustacrossamerica.com

Or contact us directly.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Feb
28

The Trust Action Project 2021 (#tap2021) Weekly Action is one of many Trust Alliance resources designed to help leaders, teams and organizations move beyond trust talk to ACTION in 2021.

What behaviors do you think impact trust the most in teams and organizations? Our 1 minute/1 question AIM Workplace Diagnostic compares your response to 600 others.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

How would you like to get involved? Let us know.

 

 

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
23

A few years ago John Baldoni, one of our long-time Trust Alliance members gave me the following advice. He said “Barbara stop trying to change the world. Focus on one person and one organization at a time.”

With that advice in mind, today we celebrate a milestone. In less than three years, over 150,000 global citizens have Tapped Into Trust to access our Trust Alliance Principles (TAP), available at no cost in 16 languages. This would never have been possible without the support of our global Trust Alliance members who continue to work collaboratively to develop and promote these universal principles that can be applied to any organization or team of any size.

From these principles grew a simple one question/one minute ongoing master Workplace Trust survey that has now been taken almost 600 times, followed by our AIM diagnostics and the online and in person workshops designed to start a trust discussion, and directly address the weaknesses that are keeping trust from flourishing.

 

 

Trust is always the outcome of principled leadership. If you are an ethical leader who is unwilling to commit to learning more about the impact trust has on your organization’s culture and ultimate success, you are contributing to long-term enterprise risk. (And hiring a motivational speaker to “talk trust” with your employees is not the solution.)

Thank you to all who made this milestone possible. Your ongoing commitment to building trust is getting it done, one person and one organization at a time. Thanks John!

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

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Nov
10

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.”Warren Bennis

Having counseled leaders across many industries on how to elevate stakeholder trust, I can almost assure you that you won’t come close to passing our 10-question test. Fortunately, the failing grade is usually not due to character or competence flaws, but a lack of understanding of the role of trust as a core value of leadership. Are you willing to take the following test AND the actions required to elevate your results?

*** Warning your degree of honesty and vulnerability may affect your score***

 Give yourself ten points for every “yes” answer.

  1. Do I understand that trust is not a soft skill and that it has tangible value?
  2. Have I thought about what it means to be trustworthy in both my personal and professional life?
  3. Is trust mentioned in my company’s core values and do I practice and reinforce those values daily?
  4. Do I understand that trust is the outcome of principled behavior and have I identified the behavioral weaknesses?
  5. Do I understand that trust cannot be delegated and that low trust is a real risk?
  6. Have I asked my employees and other stakeholders if they think I am trustworthy?
  7. Do I understand that trust is a learned competence, and have I budgeted for trust training for both my leadership team and my staff?
  8. Do I directly engage my employees and my customers in conversations about trust?
  9. Do I catch employees doing something right and reward ethical behavior?
  10. Does trust play a role in my hiring practices?

What was your final  score?

 

Business leaders are constrained by the number of hours in a day, and how they choose to prioritize their time. Many spend it reacting to crises and extinguishing fires caused by low trust. If more leaders not only understood the benefits of high trust, but actually took the steps required to elevate it, their time would be freed up to build a more profitable business much more quickly. Low trust plays a large role in elevating enterprise risk, yet is is widely ignored. Take the questions above and tackle them one at a time. Each 10% improvement will get you closer to high trust.

PS- Don’t fall for expensive trust workarounds that may be offered to you. While they may get you a communications “talking point,” they won’t get you across the enterprise trust finish line. In fact, they won’t even get you close.

 

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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Oct
11

Every year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World publishes its popular Annual Top Trust Stories, highlighting leaders who are “intentional” about trust.

This is the link to the 2019 article.

 

These outstanding leaders are also mentioned in TRUST! Magazine’s  annual Top Thought Leaders issue published every January.

Who should make the list this year? Email your idea to barbara@trustacrossamerica.com by the end of November with a short explanatory note, or link to an article, and we will consider it when compiling this year’s list. If your “honoree” is selected, your name will be included in the article.

And don’t forget to participate in this year’s Top Thought Leaders in Trust. Nominations opened on October 1.

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.

 

 

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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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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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
18

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

Three trust questions are the best way to deal with the ethical dilemmas we face.”

Bob Vanourek, Triple Crown Leadership and former CEO

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Every one of us has will face ethical dilemmas. They can’t be avoided. They are the terrible moral quandaries thrust on us by bosses, people in authority, peers, or the unrelenting circumstances of life. The great philosophers have given us ethical frameworks to solve these grim choices. They range from Utilitarianism to Virtue Ethics, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and more. Not surprisingly, most of us are clueless about how to use these principles.

Answering three trust questions can give us more practical solutions. When you face a difficult ethical choice, where all the alternatives seem terrible, ask these questions:

  1. Which course of action will build the most trust with those impacted?
  2. How can I best implement this course of action to build trust with those impacted?
  3. If some trust is broken because of this choice, how can I minimize that impact to help rebuild trust?

 

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

I came in as CEO to rescue a very troubled public company. The prior CEO and EVP had been indicted for bribery. Shareholder class action suits had been filed; SEC and IRS investigations were underway; the best employees and customers were panicked; and cash to meet payroll was running critically short. Unfortunately, massive layoffs were necessary. 

Realizing the crisis in the company was not due to the employees who would now face the repercussions, we decided to handle the cutbacks differently. People being laid off were not going to be immediately escorted to the door by security guards with boxes of their belongings in their hands because they could not be trusted. They would be treated respectfully with fair severance and references. With their agreement, they would stay in place for weeks to train others who would assume their duties. We would hold farewell gatherings for each to acknowledge their past work and to wish them well.

Right before the announcements to all employees, I met with a very capable, long-term, and popular senior executive, John, to inform him that his job was being eliminated. He understood, and I invited him, if he wished attend, to join the all-hands meeting starting then.

Naturally, there was shock among the employees as I announced the dire circumstances we were in and what we were forced to do to survive. I assured them that fair treatment for those being separated was involved. But I sensed the anger and skepticism in the audience.

Then, I saw John standing near the stage. As I looked him in the eyes, I intuitively felt I could trust him to do what was right. I told the employees that John was one of those being laid-off. I thanked him for his years of service. Then I invited him onto the stage to say a few words if he wished to do so. I heard an audible gasp from my officer corps. They must have been thinking, “What will John say after being told he was being laid-off?”

John stepped to the mic with tears in his eyes and his throat catching with emotion. He thanked his colleagues for their work together over the years, said he would be “just fine,” and encouraged the audience to “hold the course.” The company would survive these tough times, and he was proud to have worked there.

We survived, and with much hard work, we successfully rebuilt. I chose a course of action that, while risky, was one I felt would build trust, or at least help rebuild any trust that was broken.

 

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

The global trust climate is both worsening and improving.

In this age of instant communication with 24/7 cable news, social media posts, tweets, and cell phone videos, virtually no information remains confidential. Many of the old guard, who have been exploiting others and the world for decades, are being “outed.” Outrage is high. It often seems we are enmeshed in an age of lies, cover-ups, cronyism, and scandals with a trust crisis. For many, therefore, trust levels are low.

But at the same time,  there is a growing body of leaders who have had enough of the old ways. They are ethical, values-based, transparent, humble, and intent on  building organizations with great cultures where trust is paramount. These organizations will not make the “can-you-top-this-outrage-headlines,” but they are the vanguard of the new movement that is growing steadily. These organizations are the winners, who will be talent magnets for the best people. Their influence and exemplary examples will shine through as the role models for all to see. For them, thankfully, trust levels are high.

 

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

To paraphrase Dickens in “A Tale of Two Cities,” it is the best of times and the worst of times. Ultimately, trust will win over fear. Paradoxically, the trust crisis will create a trust transformation, elevating trust to be an organizational imperative.

 

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

TAA-TAW: Trust Across America—Trust Around the World has led me to connect with some wise and extraordinary colleagues. We have spoken, worked, created, and written together. It is a professional cadre of which I am proud to be a member.

 

Bob, 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?

 

Bob Vanourek is the former CEO of five companies, a Lifetime Achievement Winner at TAA-TAW, and the author of “Triple Crown Leadership; Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations” and “Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse,” both international award winners.

 

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
23

It may be no coincidence that three trust surveys were published just when the annual World Economic Forum Davos event kicked off in Switzerland.  Let’s take a quick look at them:

 

 

Edelman Trust Barometer: The annual Edelman survey polls the public on the four major societal groups: government, business, NGOs and the media.  The results are not so much about trust, but rather PERCEPTION of trust by members of the public who participate in the survey.

YPO Global Pulse Survey on Trust: Another global survey, this time of business leaders. Again, a measure of perception of trust, this time by business leaders.

Morning Consult: Survey of the Building Blocks of Consumer Trust in Brands: Explores the factors that are important to consumers when considering whether to trust a company. The results of this survey are quite different from the first two. I suppose it depends who you ask and how you ask your questions about trust. This survey also measures perception of trust, this time on the part of consumers.

These surveys, and others like them provide Davos attendees with some common language to talk about trust, and in many ways, that’s important, especially in a gathering of world leaders who may be thinking about “trust” for the first time. But it’s only a start.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is, and has been for over a decade, that perception of trust surveys provide no action plan for moving the needle on trust in any societal group. All they do is provide something to talk about.

And what is the solution?

If you lead any team or organization, please consider the following statements when planning an ACTIONABLE trust strategy:

 

  • In every organization, trust is an outcome of ethical leadership, nothing else will build it. If the leader is unwilling to acknowledge that trust starts and stops with them, there is no reason to read any further.
  • To elevate trust, only the leader can CHOOSE it as a business priority.
  • Leaders should not confuse PURPOSE with PRINCIPLED BEHAVIOR. Principles must be addressed if purpose is to have any meaning or impact. Putting purpose before principles has the same effect as a clean shirt on a dirty body.
  • Trust is built through actions not words. Modeling trust is an intentional business strategy that must be practiced and reinforced daily, and driven by leadership.
  • Trust is not a marketing tool, and it can’t be delegated to compliance, HR or any other function. The leader owns it along with the Board.
  • A leader cannot expect anyone in their organization to care about trust if they don’t. And if you think low trust is not a tangible risk, consider its impact on Boeing and many others who chose to ignore it.
  • Trust is interpersonal, and a trustworthy culture is built from the inside out. Brand trust, data trust, AI trust and every other “buzzy” trust of the day, including “Purpose” will be natural outcomes.
  • When presented with an expensive trust “solution,” by an organization that offers “trust” as one of many options, a closer look is probably in order, since its chances for long-term success are slim. Trust subject matter experts may be more difficult to identify, but locating them will be well worth the price. Don’t follow the crowd.
  • Waiting until after the crisis to build trust will be very costly and in most cases, completely ineffective.
  • Many leaders are proactively embracing trust as an intentional business strategy. They currently have an advantage over those who are still at the “talking” stage.

Making the decision to move beyond trust talk to trust action is a hard one. It requires not only introspection but a certain amount of vulnerability. Virtues like trust, the ones that really matter, may not be easy, but they are certainly worth exploring for those who are seeking long-term success.. Who is up for the challenge once Davos ends?

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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