Archive

Posts Tagged ‘corporate reputation’

Aug
04

 

A simple message for the C-Suite…

Rules, regulations and policies are not substitutes for trust, ethics or corporate responsibility.

I would like to pose one question to each of the following five CEOs whose organizations hijacked my time this week:

JP Morgan Chase and Jamie Dimon: Do you think your policy of cancelling a widow’s credit card within two weeks of the death of their spouse, and with no notice, is the “right thing” to do simply because they are not the “primary?” It hasn’t been too long since you lost your parents. What if it was your mother who had been embarrassed at CVS over an $8.00 purchase on her Chase credit card?

Comcast and Brian Roberts: If I must have a landline for Triple Play, might you have an ethical responsibility to find a way to stop the dozens of robocalls that plague me every day? Surely, the expense of doing so would be far less than the “intangible” customer loyalty that could be quickly built.

Wolverine and Blake Krueger: Do you want to build or bust trust with your customers?  Your reps are demanding that I first buy a new pair of Sperrys online, cut the tongues out of my existing loafers, send you a picture, and then your company will reimburse me for YOUR shoes that fell apart 4 weeks after purchasing them. Why would I EVER buy another pair of shoes from you again?

State Farm and Michael Tipsord: When did you decide that cutting corners in hiring and training, (and probably hourly wages) in your claims department was “good” ethics, and do they get a bonus for making stuff up?

Blue Cross of NJ and Kevin Conlin (who recently replaced Robert Marino:) Do you care that your customers are miserable because you get so few things right? The most recent example being when you denied coverage because “another policy was in place” even though a termination letter was provided to you. A simple check of your internal records would have revealed that the “old” policy was also with YOUR company. Now the loyal customer has NO coverage due to your internal snafu.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World and its Trust Alliance has recently published a set of universal Principles called TAP. One of the 12 principles is Purpose:

We engage our stakeholders to build shared purpose – we avoid short term “wins” that undermine future success.

You can read more about TAP in the latest issue of TRUST! Magazine.

After 10+ years of studying organizational trust, one thing is for certain. Trust and ethics are a “top-down” strategy. Without buy-in from the CEO, watch out below and “buyer beware.” The silver lining…not all companies (or their leaders) are created equal. Some have proactively embraced elevating stakeholder trust and ethics, and they are reaping the long-term rewards.

Who do you think will be the first of the five CEOs to publicly respond? Do you have any examples (good or bad) that you would like to add to this list?

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.

Photo Attribution: Alpha Stock Images – alphastockimages.com/

 

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Jul
23

 

By Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Co-founder Trust Across America

 

In the short-term “low trust” public companies can be very profitable. Corporate executives who “legally” cheat, steal, avoiding paying taxes, and stay just to the “right” of compliance may produce the profits that both their “old school” Board and short-term oriented shareholders crave, but these “business as usual” trust violations are not conducive to long-term business success. A growing number of companies are replacing the “stuck in the 80s leadership model” with proactive business executives who acknowledge that long-term success is built by embracing trust as both a strategic advantage and intentional business strategy. This translates to practicing “trust” on a daily basis by building a trustworthy and responsible corporate culture,  treating customers and suppliers “right”, by having superior products, great service, a well-configured Board, low employee turnover, and a high degree of innovation.

Now in its 9th year, our proprietary FACTS® Framework measures the trust “worthiness” of America’s largest public companies (over 2000). The following are some of the “fast facts” drawn from our larger study.

Chart #1 

Since 2012 Trust Across America has selected and publicly published an annual list of “Top Ten” Most Trustworthy Public Companies. Had you invested in those 10 companies on the day of publication, your portfolio would have significantly outperformed the S&P 500.

 Chart #2

FACTS data can be sorted by sector and the following chart represents the sector rankings for the Russell 1000 for 2018. Please keep in mind that the Framework uses a broad 16-sector model provided by Zacks Investment Research. 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. And it’s also important to remember that industry is NOT destiny.

The data can also rank companies within sectors, by market cap and headquarter location, to name just a few. We can also perform company comparisons.

 

Sector Rankings

 

Correlation Studies:

Trust Across America continues to run a series of ongoing correlation studies with other organizations and these are a few of our findings:

  • High correlation between our FACTS rankings and percentage of women on boards as reported by Catalyst.
  • High correlation between our FACTS rankings and Governance & Accountability Institute’s companies that voluntarily report on sustainability.
  • Low correlation between our FACTS rankings, Great Places to Work and Forbes Annual Ratings of Most Trustworthy Public Companies. (Forbes data providers employ a narrower “measure” of trust “worthiness” to compile their rankings.)

These studies and many others, confirm that the best companies are more responsible, and they dedicate the necessary resources for continuous improvement.

Our FACTS Framework and rankings are being licensed in a variety of formats. Read more about the Framework at this link.

Email Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com for more information.

Barbara Kimmel, CEO & Co-founder Trust Across America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright© 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jul
18

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

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

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

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

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

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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May
10

 

Elevating organizational trust becomes simple once leadership acknowledges the business case. That case has been made repeatedly by many organizations, including ours. Last month we introduced our TAP Principles through the Million Taps Campaign. Each of the 12 statements is designed to open the trust discussion among teams of any size in any organization. (TAP is currently available in 5 languages, with more being added.)

And if you are a leader who wants to build trust into your organization’s DNA, it all begins (and ends) with you. How many of these boxes can you check?

Start with an assessment of yourself:

  • Are you trustworthy?
  • Do you possess integrity, character and values?
  • Do you share those values with your family?
  • Do you instill them in your children?
  • Do you take your personal values to work?

Perform an organizational trust audit:

Consider your internal stakeholders:

Consider your external stakeholders:

  • Have you shared your vision and values in building a trustworthy organization?
  • Have you identified the outcome(s) you are seeking?
  • Have you defined your intentions for each of our stakeholder groups?
  • Have you made promises that you will keep?
  • Have you determined the steps you will take to fulfill these promises?

Elevating organizational trust is not difficult. It begins with awareness, acknowledgement of the long-term benefits and a daily commitment to do so.

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.

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
07

 

At Trust Across America-Trust Around the World we remain steadfast in our belief that trust is not a soft skill, nor should it be taken for granted. It is a tangible asset that impacts the bottom line.

Many of our colleagues believe that trust is a top down function, starting at the Board and flowing down through the organization. This means that both the Board and C-Suite must be trustworthy in order for their stakeholders to trust them.

We asked our Trust Alliance members and Top Thought Leaders to weigh in and the following are some “best practices” for elevating trust on both the Board and in the C-Suite.

 

To earn trust, an enterprise must have a strong corporate character – the unique differentiating identity that expresses its essence. Boards should be focused on – and demand management accountability for – the factors that contribute to corporate character. They include mission, purpose, values, culture, strategy, business model and brand.

Roger Bolton is the president of the Arthur W. Page Society

 

In order to ensure your corporate viability over time, and to effectively build trust with all stakeholders, it is crucial that strong alignment exists between your business agenda and societal expectations.  As captured in the popular line from Fiddler on the Roof, “on the other hand, there is no other hand” – running your enterprise in the face of societal expectations just won’t cut it.  Not anymore.  

Douglas Conant is the Founder & CEO of Conant Leadership

 

Just handling problems as they arise isn’t enough. The Conference Board calls for being proactive about business integrity and compliance critical for senior management, and even more so for boards of directors. If we manage corporate integrity based on reacting to problems, by the time we react, the problems are usually very difficult to manage. Being proactive about corporate integrity keeps CEOs and Boards focused on prevention and not cleanup.

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC

 

We’ve all seen the press release. It goes something like this:

“We regret that the actions of a single rogue employee, Mr. BadGuy, were contrary to the values of this company. Our long ­established principles of integrity, honesty, truth, motherhood, and apple pie have been offended by the scandalous acts of Mr. BadGuy. We condemn the actions of Mr. BadGuy. Mr. BadGuy has left the building.”

In reality, the Rogue Employee excuse serves as an enabler, allowing Boards and CEOs to avoid asking tough questions like “why did our compliance program fail to detect or prevent this misconduct?” and “what failures in our culture and by our management allowed this problem to develop?”

When trouble knocks, compliance-savvy companies should retire the Rogue Employee excuse and instead enquire more deeply within, before others compel them to do so.

Donna Boehme is Principal, Compliance Strategists

 

Kill the “evening-before” executive team or board dinner. Instead, take a small group of front-line or mid-level employees to dinner in an informal setting, without the presence of other corporate executives. People are forthcoming, thoughtful, and engaging (to say nothing of appreciative).

Sign up for those “Google Alerts” or other independent news alerts to keep abreast of what others are saying or hearing or reading about the organization.

See the entity through the eyes of a new employee, be it via sitting quietly through a live new-employee orientation or its online equivalent.

Robert Galford is a Managing Partner of the Center for Leading Organizations

 

A company that wants to build trust should listen to the public dialogue about itself and its industry, identify what drives perceptions, and share information throughout the organization to influence decision-making.

What the organization says about itself: The company’s leaders and spokespeople should articulate (authentically) the positive impact their work has on society. In times of crisis they should express empathy and commitment to resolving the situation.

People expect organizations to be savvy about the conversation going on around it. Organizations that are blind to the dialogue, and only communicate outward are unlikely to build and maintain the trust required to be a respected and trusted business in the modern world.

Linda Locke is a Senior Vice President at Standing Partnership.

 

Boards no longer merely monitor the activities of a CEO and a firm. They can and should lead certain functions for the firm from defining the desired culture to involvement in strategy development. They can be a sounding board for the CEO on the lonely, difficult decisions he or she sometimes faces, especially in a time of crisis. But this mind-flipping attitude change can only be based on the board and CEO viewing each other as trusted allies.

Bob Vanourek is a former public company CEO and the founder of Triple Crown Leadership

 

Best advice: boards must develop their own robust crisis plans prior to any crisis. They must enumerate what kinds of actions will be taken for different issues: their crisis strategies and philosophies, the speed at which they will work, and who on the board will be designated to play first string, even if — especially if — the Chair or CEO is implicated in some way. 

Reputation is becoming one of the top priorities of corporate boards. The best way to protect reputation, and trustworthiness, is to plan before any crisis hits, adjust strategies in real time to fit the specifics of a crisis, and then for the board to execute its plan fearlessly. 

Davia Temin is the CEO of Temin & Company

 

Three prevailing archetypes of board dysfunction: the ego-driven board, the polite surrender board, and the micromanaging board. The protocols for authentic conversation, which require the right conditions for trust to develop, include:

  • Sufficient information and understanding to ask the right question.
  • A safe space that protects privacy and rejects behaviors to intimidate, ridicule, or insult.
  • Enough time to thoroughly explore systemic issues without jumping to conclusions.

The real question is: How long can an organization afford an unproductive board? In a fast changing world, trust is the key to good guidance.

Alain Bolea runs Business Advisors Network

 

Look for the flavor of “we versus they” in the wording of e-mails.  Whenever senior managers are writing to each other about an upcoming BOD meeting or other interface, are the pronouns showing a schism or do they indicate mutual support?  When BOD members interact online, does the evidence show a typical frustration, like if only “we” can get “them” to do thus and so.

If you know how to read in between the lines of e-mails, the signs are easily spotted long before a face-to-face meeting.  That can lead to corrective action before polarized attitudes are entrenched.

 Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow Inc

 

Finally, consider adding some gender diversity to your Board. Our most trustworthy public companies are doing just that, and the results speak for themselves. A closer analysis of our publicly released “Top 10” companies over six years reveals that the average percentage of women on boards is high.

Barbara Kimmel, CEO Trust Across America

Do you have any questions? Please direct them to barbara@trustacrossamerica.com.

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

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
24

According to this recent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, 9 out of 10 consumers want to make purchases that reflect their values. If trust is an important value to you, read on.

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a holistic unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze quarterly and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization. We are particularly interested in tracking individual companies and sector trends over time.

Understanding that brick and mortar retailers face increasing challenges, we took a closer look at how some retailers stack up in our Trust Metrics. These are our findings.

 

This chart reflects 5-year average (2012-2017) scores of corporate trustworthiness. Trust Across America will be completing its 2018 analysis in April. Given this knowledge, I might choose TJX and Target over Dillard’s and Abercrombie. How about you?

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 & Co., 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.

Join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Contact me for more information.

Copyright 2018 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Feb
06

“Professors are reacting to the news, but they are also responding to calls from students for classes that deal with ethics. In recent years, students have said ethical issues, not finances, are a business’s most important responsibility, according to a survey of business school students worldwide conducted by a United Nations group and Macquarie University in Australia.”

This is a quote from a December NY Times article addressing the growing demand for teaching ethics in business schools.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is pleased to announce the launch of a free case study library offering examples of “real life” business trust & ethics challenges and successes. The one-page “Trustlets” are designed to encourage discussion in both an academic and business setting and include instructions for facilitators. Written by members of the Trust Alliance, our Top Thought Leaders in Trust and academics from around the world, Trustlets will provide free and easy access to content that will be regularly updated as new cases are submitted. Each case will focus on a specific business challenge and covering a broad range of trust and ethics related topics. Both schools and businesses can feel free to access the library to meet the growing interest recently highlighted in the NY Times.

This latest initiative closely aligns with Trust Across America’s mission of helping organizations build trust. Trustlets provide a new tool that future business leaders can utilize to gain a “real life” understanding of how elevating trust & ethics are both a necessary (and expected) component of good business practices.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. We welcome all our readers to join in our celebration as we roll out many new programs during the year ahead.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is a program of Next Decade, Inc., an award-winning communications firm that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over 20 years. TAA-TAW helps organizations build trust through an abundance of resources and ever expanding tools, many offered at no cost. It also provides its proprietary FACTS(R) Framework to help public companies improve their trustworthy practices, and showcases individuals and organizations exhibiting high levels of trust and integrity.

For more information contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Dec
21

 

Winter has officially arrived and many of us will be traveling. We tend to blindly trust the various companies that we book to get us from point A to point B, and who host us once we arrive. What do the Trust Across America FACTS ® Framework rankings have to tell us about those in whom we place our trust this holiday season?

The following data compares the Trust scores for ten well-known travel and holiday-related companies, from the highest to the lowest. *See below the rankings for a detailed explanation of the displayed data.

Book with companies that work hard to ensure they are meeting the needs of not only their shareholders, but also their customers and see how your experience compares with your family, friends and business colleagues.

Have a happy holiday season!

 

*The chart above displays only companies in the Russell 1000 Index that have “above average rankings in their industry. Companies that are below “average” have been omitted. Scores are updated annually.
**No company is perfect. It is unusual for any company to score about an 80% in our rankings.

 

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a comprehensive unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.

 

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.

Purchase our books at this link

 

Copyright © 2017 Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec
17

Photo above courtesy of www.ceotoceo.com

Every year about this time, the news “treats us” to the top corporate reputation failures, and 2017 is certainly no exception. I think it’s safe to say that the “buck stopped” on the CEO’s desk at Wells Fargo, United Airlines and Equifax, to name just a few leadership fails this year.

While bad news continues to sell, not all is gloom and doom. When I launched Trust Across America-Trust Around the World almost ten years ago, one of our objectives was to redirect attention to the “good.” Great corporate leaders are plentiful, but their stories often get buried amongst all the bad news.

The list below is not about philanthropy or CSR, but rather a long-term holistic embrace of trustworthy leadership and the resulting impact on ALL stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Ten Great CEO “Trust” Stories for 2017

(not in any rank order)

#1 David Reiling, CEO at Sunrise Banks talks about community enrichment, innovation and its impact on underserved consumers in banking.

#2 Basecamp CEO Jason Fried limits both meetings and work hours to ensure his employees lead well-balanced lives.

#3 Amy Hanson, CEO of Hanson Consulting encourages both teamwork and corporate transparency.

#4 Rose Marcario runs Patagonia and for her, conscious leadership has resulted in the quadrupling of profits.

#5 Fifty-year old Earth Friendly Products CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks pays her employees a minimum of $17.00 per hour.

#6 In an industry fraught with reputation disasters, Gary Kelly at Southwest Airlines not only puts customers first but insists on making flying enjoyable.

#7 Love, trust and commitment to excellence are how Mark Stefanski, CEO (for 30 years) of Third Federal Savings and Loan describes his values, while eighty percent of his associates are women.

#8 Mark Benioff at Salesforce is trying to close the gender and racial pay gap.

#9 Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte’s CEO has a 94% employee approval rating and still manages to balance work and family. (After all, family is certainly a stakeholder in the life of a CEO.)

#10 Chip Bergh, who took the helm at Levi Strauss in 2011, has created a long-term focused culture where employees feel safe to experiment… and it’s worked.

(And BTW: Chip and I share the same (Lafayette College alma mater.)

Whether male or female (count them on this list) trustworthy CEOs know that philanthropy and CSR only go so far in building high trust companies. Trustworthy CEOs practice what we call VIP Leadership (Values, Integrity & Promises kept). The CEOs mentioned on our 2017 list don’t just “talk” about stakeholder trust, they walk it. Community enrichment, focus on employees, conscious leadership, treatment of customers, protecting the environment. These are what make a great CEO.

Let’s celebrate these trustworthy leaders and the companies they run. Let’s work together to continue to build organizational trust 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.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Aug
12

A customer service representative at a major health insurance company recently told me that HIPAA prevented him from disclosing whether an application submitted for one of my children had been received by the company. I sensed he had misinterpreted HIPAA whose purpose is to safeguard medical information, but as he insisted, he was just “following the rules.” I thanked him for his time, hung up, and called back to the same department. The second customer service rep gave me the information I needed without hesitation.

Whether an employee or a customer, I’ll bet you’ve heard these statements (excuses) or used them yourself more than once.

  • I need to get approval to do (or say) that.
  • I need to clear this through compliance.
  • I need permission before you can quote me.
  • I can’t help you without approval.
  • I’m just following the rules.
  • I apologize for your frustration.

Perhaps it’s time for business leaders to take a few minutes to understand the relationship between trust and approval.

Merriam-Webster provides the following definitions of approval:

Definition #1: The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

Definition #2:  Permission to do something: acceptance of an idea, action, plan, etc.

Focusing now on Definition #2, how many employees are constrained by “permission” in your organization? Have you considered how this impacts:

  • Speed of innovation
  • Decision-making
  • Employee engagement
  • Cost

Every time an employee needs approval to say or do something, the “approval” process impedes the outcome. In fact, the process may be so daunting, that employees choose to take the “easy” road, never creating anything new or suggesting a novel idea;  or as in the story above, checking with someone else when they clearly do not understand the company’s daunting “rules.”

As a business leader, have you considered how your customers are impacted by the “approval process” in your organization, or how the company’s actions:

  • Waste customer AND employee time
  • Create hard feelings
  • Lower customer retention
  • Damage reputation and elevate risk
  • Raise costs

As a business leader, what if your focus shifted from “approval” or rule enforcement to elevating stakeholder trust?

The most progressive and successful CEOs and their Boards have redirected their attention to crafting long-term vision and values statements and/or Codes of Conduct, not driven by legal and compliance, but by their two most important stakeholders, their employees and their customers. (The “credo” etched into the wall at corporate headquarters does not even begin to satisfy this requirement.) The entire staff, beginning with the Board and CEO, must vow to live their values every day, and ensure that employees understand that any “values violation” will result in immediate termination. Just imagine the innovation, speed of decision-making and empowerment that would result from this cultural transformation, not to mention the ultimate cost savings and impact on profitability.

During the editing process of our book Trust Inc. I reviewed the websites of many large public companies with the goal of including an Appendix brimming over with examples of well-crafted vision statements. This became a difficult and disappointing task as the handful identified could not be included in the book without “approval” from the respective company’s legal department, which would have meant a lengthy delay of the book’s publication. Instead, I created a “work around” by eliminating the company name. What a lost opportunity for all!

If organizations spent more time building values instead of layers of legal teams and compliance departments, the word “approval” would start to look more like Merriam-Webster’s first definition:

The belief that something or someone is good or acceptable: a good opinion of someone or something. 

And “approval” would be replaced with trust.

The most progressive business leaders have joined our Trust Alliance to ensure that they never miss an opportunity to learn about elevating organizational trust.

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.

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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