Posts Tagged ‘Deb-Mills Scofield’


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TrustGiving 2014 Logo-Final


Welcome to TRUSTGiving 2014, our first annual weeklong trust awareness campaign.  Join the Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts as our members help our readers navigate the complexities of trust. We will be blogging (several times a day) and posting on Twitter #TrustGiving2014.

Deb Mills-Scofield provides some insight on the intersection of trust and risk taking.

Taking risk requires trust – to discover, try, re-try, be okay with uncertainty, imperfection and even fail.  That’s why learning how to inexpensively and quickly Experiment-Learn-Apply-Iterate is critical to building trust.

Experiment: Identify a market, customer segment or business model that needs shaking up.  Start with the market/customer needs first, not the solution, the product or service.  I call this “Rushing to Discover, Not to Solve.” Create a cross-functional team with air cover so they are free to try things.  Create some prototypes of potential solutions after you’ve discovered!

Learn:  Watch how your customers respond to your prototype.  Remember, this is still an experiment and you’re still testing hypotheses. Watch them use it, touch it, interact with it. Watch how they respond to what it does/doesn’t do, where their eyes go first, where they seem stumped or frustrated, where they seem excited.  Ask questions to clarify and understand, not to advise or judge.

Apply:  Take this learning and change your potential solutions, prototypes, accordingly.  You will be wrong about a lot! Go back to your customers with the changed prototypes and test again.  The purpose is to test your hypotheses so you can create a solution that really meets your customers needs, not your needs.

Iterate:  Repeat Experiment-Learn-Apply until you create a meaningful, valuable solution for your customers or determine you can’t. 

The ELAI model is pretty straightforward.  Don’t overcomplicate it.  Get out and do it! You’ll be surprised at the level of trust and know-how you create!

Deborah Mills-Scofield has her own consultancy on innovation and strategy & is a partner in a Venture Capital firm.  Deb writes for Harvard Business Review, Switch and Shift & other venues, including her blog, & has contributed to several books. Her Bell Labs patent was one of AT&T & Lucent’s highest-revenue generating patents.  She can be reached at @dscofield or

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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August is “Transparency” Month 


according to Trust Across America’s


2014 Calendar


Merriam Webster defines “transparent” as visibility or accessibility of information, especially with business practices. A leader who thinks he or she can still hide behind a veil of secrecy need only spend a few minutes on social media reading what stakeholders are saying.


During the  52 weeks of 2014 you can build trust in your organization by thinking about, discussing and following the advice of the experts. Below are weekly reflections on trust for August 2014.

Week 1: It’s useful to think of trust and its payoffs on a continuum. Elsie Maio, Humanity Inc.

Week 2: Trust is the acceptance of risk, and thus gives the ability to foresee, acknowledge and understand that no one is perfect. Stephen Marsh, PhD, UOIT, Canada

Week 3: Long-term trust trumps short-term profits and public relations gimmicks. Timothy J. McClimon, American Express Foundation

Week 4: Self-organized teams (SOTs) require and reinforce trust. Deb Mills-Scofield, Innovanomics

Please share your comments and suggestions! Email:

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.










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Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World  published the first in a planned series of award-winning books. The book, TRUST INC. Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset brings together the wisdom of 32 experts and is divided into six chapters:

  1. Why Trust Matters- read our blog of July 18 to find out Why Trust Matters
  2. Trust in Practice
  3. Trustworthy Leadership
  4. Building Trustworthy Teams
  5. Restoring Trust
  6. The Future of Trust

Over a six day period, our blog will extract highlights from each chapter. Each one can serve as an excellent resource in helping leaders understand why trust matters, and provide tools for those who choose to implement trust building programs in their organization. In these five stories covering trust building from Apple, Inc. all the way to Africa, you will read how organizations have successfully built trust.

“In Apple We Trust” Cynthia Figge explores trust building under Apple’s new leadership.

In terms of company supremacy, Apple must surely rank near the top. They have maintained one of the largest market values for a public company and Fast Company named Apple as “The World’s Most Innovative Company” in 2012. What could be better? At the end of 2012 in a December 6th Business Week article. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said he would continue the company’s focus on creating great products to enrich people’s lives (“higher cause for the product”) under his leadership. He also noted that Apple would become more transparent to both make a difference and have others follow its leadership. For a company where secrecy has been sacred, was this a signal that transparency is being adopted as a business driver – perhaps ultimately an issue of customer loyalty and trust? Or was the external mounting pressure from Apple stakeholders great enough to change the company’s course? Or both? 


In “Four Lock Box” John Gerzema describes the creation of a savings club in Kenya and how trust played a key role in its success.

The long-term payoff for Kenya could be seen in the rising health and education levels of the farm children who will soon be young adults. With its urban population growing at nearly five percent per year, Kenya will need more jobs in commerce and industry, and these positions require workers with sufficient schooling. However, many of today’s adults in Kenya also need immediate access to work and incomes, and cannot devote years to study. For this segment of the population, one of the world’s oldest aid groups—Catholic Relief Services—promotes a saving and lending scheme that serves people who are so poor that they cannot qualify even for the kind of microfinance loans popular in many parts of the world.


In “Brand Trust is the Foundation to Brand Loyalty” James Gregory discusses trust and brand loyalty using stories from Apple, AIG and BP.

Marketing professionals generally think of brand building as nothing more than a combination of product/service packaging, public relations and advertising. In reality, the effort needed to build a trusted brand touches every aspect of a business. You can’t just claim to be trustworthy; you must act and behave accordingly. Building brand loyalty through trustworthy behavior motivates audiences to continually select your brand over competitors, improving financial performance. Brand loyalty can also bolster your company’s performance through economic shifts, public relations gaffes and even significant management changes. 


In “Trust the Great Economic Game Changer” Robert Porter Lynch provides an eye opening essay on the auto industry. A great read for Mary Barra and GM’s Board of Directors.

One industry that’s dear to everyone is the auto industry – the world’s most visible and best-studied business sector. In 2009, General Motors and Chrysler both filed for bankruptcy and Ford came darned close. Being “too big to fail,” every taxpayer in the United States, through the action of the President, became an investor in GM and Chrysler through a bailout program (as taxpayers also did with the banks that failed).

What is not well known is that in the five year period leading up to the auto crisis, the “Big Three” U.S. automakers collectively had lost over $100 billion in the prior five years running up to the 2008 financial meltdown. The financial cataclysm did not cause their failure; it just put them over the precipice.

How could such large companies, staffed by highly educated management professionals, make such horrific mistakes? What really happened? What can we learn from this debacle?


And finally Deb Mills-Scofield shows how Menasha Packaging Corp proved “You Can’t Take 164 Years of Trust for Granted”.

Menasha Packaging Corp (MPC), a 164 year old, 6th generation family business, has grown from making wooden pails in 1849 to a design-oriented packaging company that today delights customers, employees and their communities with over $1 billion in revenue.  How? By leveraging their culture of entrepreneurship, collaboration, and autonomy based on trust and faith in each other. 

In Menasha’s history, there have been times of great trust and times of wavering trust.  The early 1990s were a time of tension between many corporations and their unions.  During that time, MPC, a strong believer in collaboration, started a formal team-based manufacturing program in their plants between management and plant workers, including union representatives. The output was increased innovation from the employees on the floor that improved productivity and the outcome was increased collaboration and trust.  While this may be common sense to many of us today, it was not the “norm” 20+ years ago.


I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peak into the trust treasures contained in our book. Did I mention that the book has won both a Nautilus Business Book and Eric Hoffer Grand Business Prize Award? Tomorrow I’ll pull some similar gems from Trustworthy Leadership. Check back with us soon.

If you have enjoyed this brief look behind the door, follow this link to order the book online.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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If you would like to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


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How does one say “Thank you” to friends and colleagues who have helped foster trustworthy relationships?

We hope you enjoy our 2014 Weekly Reflections on Organizational Trust, another collaborative effort of the contributors to our new book  Trust Inc., our Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts, and friends of Trust Across America – Trust Around the World. (Listed alphabetically)

If you are receiving this gift, we know that trust is important to you, and we hope you will share it with your audience.

Thank you to all who have assisted Trust Across America – Trust Around the World in building organizational trust.

May we continue to make progress in 2014.

With much gratitude and trust!

Barbara Brooks Kimmel

PS- This poster prints 11×14.




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Barbara Kimmel: Deb – tell us a bit about your background, qualifications and expertise. If you have written a book, please provide the title.

Deb Mills-Scofield: I was raised to challenge and question the status quo. I went to Brown University and helped create the Cognitive Science concentration and went to Bell Labs after graduation where I received a patent for one of AT&T & Lucent’s largest revenue generating products. I have my own strategy and innovation consulting practice, am a partner in an early stage Venture Capital firm, teach a class on business model innovation at Oberlin College. I love spending time at Brown on the Engineering Advisory Council, as a Visiting Scholar mentoring students in entrepreneurship and social ventures, and guest lecturing. I also blog for Harvard Business Review. I’ve done a few startups that failed and succeeded and love working with young entrepreneurs to keep my business acumen nimble and open-minded.

Barbara Kimmel: Trust Across America’s mission is to rebuild trustworthy business behavior across the globe.  How would you generally define trustworthy business behavior? 

Deb Mills-Scofield: The golden rule is a great start – do unto others as you would have them do unto you, no matter what the situation.  This means keeping commitments and promises, being accountable, acting with integrity, being vulnerable and humble, and understanding that having the right doesn’t make it right.  It means always being able to look your customers and employees in the eye because you know you’ve done the right things.

Barbara Kimmel: In your opinion, what are some of the specific components of trustworthy business behavior?

Deb Mills-Scofield: Treating people (customers, employees, etc.) fairly, which isn’t always equally; taking the 2nd, 3rd etc. order consequences of your business’s operations and offerings into account in decision-making (for customers, employees, communities, environment); focusing on profit and money as outputs (means to an end) which enable outcomes (ends) of purpose and meaning; first truly understanding customers’ needs and circumstances before rushing to a solution.  This starts with the people around you, your personal relationships with peers, bosses, those that work for you and goes on from there.

Barbara Kimmel: We all know that the erosion of corporate trust is a big problem. What are companies doing to combat this, and is it enough?

Deb Mills-Scofield: Companies are trying in various ways.  A common way is compliance – which is obedience of the mind, not heart – to the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law.  I think it has to start with leadership making themselves vulnerable, admitting they are wrong, that they need input and don’t know all the answers but know the direction.  Leader need to trust their people: treat them like adults, reward, recognize, give autonomy and permission to try, fail and learn, let them create their own jobs and self-organize.  And this is done in sincerity and authenticity towards the goal of freeing one’s people to delight customers instead of constantly checking to see if it improves the bottom line (outcome vs. output again).

Barbara Kimmel: Is the global “trust” climate improving or worsening? What actions will turn things around?

Deb Mills-Scofield: At a macro level, I think it is worsening.  Even if it is getting better, there is a time lag before people will trust again.  In my practice, admittedly self-selecting, I see a concerted effort to increase genuine trust and integrity within the organization and with customers and suppliers.  The issue is having the tenacity to stick with while you’re building up credibility and a track record.

Barbara Kimmel: Can you provide a few examples of companies that are doing the “right” thing in your opinion? What steps are being taken by these companies that sets them apart?

Deb Mills-Scofield: There are the famous ones you hear about – Whole Foods, Zappos, etc.  I know several ‘unknowns’ that are remarkable.  One is Menasha Packaging, a 164yr old 6th generation family business over $1B that has to be one of the most incredible teams I’ve ever worked with in terms of compassions, integrity, honesty, transparency resulting in terrific profitability and growth. Their president, Mike Waite’s (who is joining me for the Feb 13th  Trust Across America radio show) primary concern is making sure his people, at all levels, can live their dreams at home.  The leadership lives up to their commitments, gives their people autonomy, allows failure, encourages self-organization and keeps a flat organization with a true open-door policy.  The other company is Thogus, a 21st century manufacturing polymer and 3D printing company.  Matt Hlavin, the president, makes sure he owns the culture – keeping it vibrant, open and transparent about his strengths and weaknesses.  It truly does feel like a family.

Barbara Kimmel: Anything else you would like to add as a closing comment?

Deb Mills-Scofield: I’m a bit concerned that trust will become, if it hasn’t already, a buzzword.  The issue and importance is that it has to come from within the person, from the heart.  It should have only one real motive – it’s about ‘the other’, not about you. It shouldn’t be a way to achieve corporate growth, career advancement etc.  It should be because you genuinely want to be trustworthy and that you want the best for your people, your customers, and your stakeholders.  Anything less is not sustainable.

Barbara Kimmel: Deb, I share your concerns that a new industry of “trust-washing” will emerge, if it hasn’t already.  I appreciate your insights and all you do to foster trustworthy business.

Deb Mills-Scofield can be reached at:

Do you have questions or comments? Email


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News Release

For Immediate Release

For Additional Information contact:

Barbara Kimmel

Executive Director

Trust Across America



Trust in Business Essential for 2013:

Global Experts Join Forces to Combat Trust Crisis


Chester, N.J.  January 3, 2013—After a well-documented 10+ years of declining trust in government, business and the media, Trust Across America (TAA) ( and its ambassadors are launching the Campaign for Trust™, a two-year initiative to reverse this cycle.  “As the leaders in information, standards, data and the Who’s Who of trustworthy business, this is the next step in our initiative that began in 2009,” said Barbara Brooks Kimmel, a Co-founder and the Executive Director.

In the fourth quarter of 2012 TAA created The Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts (ATBE) to collaborate in advancing the cause of trustworthy business through the creation of trust tools and communications outreach. Over 100 global thought leaders from Fortune 500 companies; leading academic institutions; global media and consulting have joined since the mid-October launch.

Much of the work of the alliance will be via strategic partnerships with our Founding Members listed alphabetically: Patricia Aburdene (Co-author of Megatrends 2000); William Benner (WW Consulting); Randy Conley (The Ken Blanchard Companies); Stephen M.R. Covey (Franklin Covey-Speed of Trust); Linda Fisher Thornton (Leading in Context); Bahar Gidwani (CSRHub); Charles Green (Trusted Advisor Associates); Nadine Hack (beCause Global Consulting); Michael Hopkins (MHC International); Gary Judd (Franklin Covey-Speed of Trust); Barbara Kimmel (Trust Across America); Jim Kouzes (The Leadership Challenge); Deb Krizmanich (Powernoodle); Mike Krzus (Co-author of One Report); Greg Link (Franklin Covey-Speed of Trust); Linda Locke (Reputare Consulting); Edward Marshall (Author Building Trust at the Speed of Change); Jon Mertz (Thin Difference); Deb Mills-Scofield (Innovanomics™); Robert Vanourek (Triple Crown Leadership); and Bob Whipple (Leadergrow Inc.).

According to Kimmel, “We will be assembling a Trust Toolbox™ in 2013 to assist businesses in building trust with their stakeholders. Collaborative projects in development include the publication of a book- Trust Inc.: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset, a collection of short essays from our global thought leaders; the Trust Directory™ designed for companies who seek advice and counsel; the creation of trust assessments; the development of a Trust Index™; educational Trust Talks™; a monthly publication called the Trust Sheet ™, announcing trust alliance member news from around the world; and the opening of our online Trust Store™, a virtual one-stop shop for trust products.”

Kicking off the campaign will be the January 14 announcement of Trust Across America’s 3rd annual Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business. Our 2013 recognition list will honor the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey, whose professional accomplishments in the field of trust were instrumental to the founding of the Trust Across America initiative four years ago.

According to Amy Lyman co-founder of Great Place to Work Institute and author of The Trustworthy Leader, “The evidence is irrefutable. Cultures of trust, created by leaders who are credible, respectful and fair bring with them significant economic, social, community and environmental benefits. It is what every employee wants and what every business leader should strive for.” Trust Across America, through its new trust alliance, hopes to develop the requisite tools to enhance cultures of trust, and encourages those interested in furthering the cause of trustworthy business to join the alliance.



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