Posts Tagged ‘Edelman’


What makes trust such a complicated subject?

Could it be the simple fact that most conversations that claim to focus on trust are really about something else?

A few weeks ago I listened to three podcasts with “trust” in the title. Two of the guests (not the hosts) were members of our Trust Alliance, while the third was the host, an individual with expertise in both ethics and trust. What could be better than three subject matter expert podcasts in one week about trust?

Throughout these discussions I found myself questioning whether the word “trust” itself was being misused. I was also confused by how the words trust, trusting, trusted and trustworthy were being used interchangeably when they have very different meanings. Bottom line, the podcasts may have had trust in their titles, but the conversations were not about trust, at least not in the way I have come to understand it.

One focused primarily on customer loyalty (some mistakenly call that brand trust), the second was a reputation conversation (trust and reputation are not the same) and the third was about building ethical products that consumers can rely upon. Again, not trust so much as reliability. Yes, trust has certainly become  a “hot” topic, but using the word as a “sexy” placeholder is not only misleading but also adds to the confusion of what trust is and what it is not.

Before we go further let’s look a bit closer at trust and it’s relationship to trustworthiness:

Trust: I explain it in this five minute video with Shona Elliott as an OUTCOME of principled behavior. It’s ALWAYS interpersonal. I have trust in you because you act in a competent, respectful, transparent and accountable manner. You will find me trustworthy for the same reasons. I don’t have trust in Costco, nor do I have trust in AI. I might be a loyal Costco shopper and I might rely on AI to be ethical, but I cannot trust something that is not a “someone.”

In the words of Charles H. Green, a member of both our Trust Alliance and Trust Council “the right way to think about trust is that it is all driven and experienced at the personal level: the role of the organization is to help those personal experiences become trust-positive.”

Organizations don’t build trust, they can only facilitate or hinder interpersonal trust. It’s up to the people who work for them to build the trust, and to be effective, leadership must carry the flag. A trust-based organization is one in which people behave in a trusting and trustworthy manner towards each other, and towards all stakeholders. At the organizational level if trust is not a function of leadership, any trust-building initiatives will be ineffective. Trust is built over time and in incremental steps through principled behavior that benefits all stakeholders, both internal and external. Organizational trust-building is most effective when it begins with its most valuable stakeholders, the employees.

Trustworthiness: Also an outcome. A person can be called trustworthy if they display principled behavior as described above. Trustworthiness can also apply to companies and brands based on attributes, not behaviors.

  • Trustworthiness at the corporate level: attributes like good governance, ethical accounting practices and financial stability enhance the reputation of the organization.
  • Trustworthiness at the brand level: attributes like quality, price, features, availability and customer service build customer loyalty.

So how can we alleviate the confusion about what trust is and what it is not.

It’s pretty simple. Make sure everyone understands and agrees on the discussion topic up front, and then be very deliberate about using the right words. Every conversation and every article about trust should begin with this question. What’s trust got to do with it? And if we are in fact talking about trust, let’s start the conversation by putting it in context.

A few examples of how to do this:

  • A podcast about the Edelman Trust Barometer findings that “trust in business leaders is up.”

To put this discussion in context the people engaged in it should address the question of “Trust in business leaders to do what?” Treat their employees well, take a stand on social issues, protect their shareholders, care about the environment? Then we can have a conversation about trust within the chosen specific context.

  • An article about recent data showing that less than half of Americans trust pharmaceutical companies.

Again, one must ask “Trust pharmaceutical companies to do what?” Have good customer service, develop products that improve rather than worsen health, pay less fines than last year, or treat their shareholders well? Identify the discussion topics early and then stick with them.

If trust is always put in its proper context the cloud of confusion begins to lift and the discussion becomes much more understandable and worthwhile.

You may also start to notice how often trust is used as a placeholder for something else, usually it’s reputation and often perception of trust, not trust itself. While I was writing this article I came across this “poster child” for a misleading trust statement from a new article on Forbes, written by a Forbes “Council” member. I see examples of poor usage of the word “trust” almost daily.

The simple truth is that people buy from brands and products they trust, and the ultimate objective of a content strategy is to create a trusted brand or product.

That’s actually not the “simple” truth at all as people often buy brands for reasons like convenience, price and even a coupon, or as an impulse purchase.  And notice how the author uses both the word “trust” and the word “trusted in the same sentence. Which one is it? And, by the way, content strategy doesn’t create a trusted brand, only people can do that. Sorry, this author’s statement, and many others like it, are meaningless and just add to the “noise” and trust confusion.

Trust discussions can be simple or complicated. It all depends on whether time is taken to clarify what, if anything, trust “has to do with it.” Try it next time trust enters your conversation.

Please visit Trust Across America-Trust Around the World to find out more about our work and our growing global community.

Don’t forget to check out our latest (and coolest) tool, The “Art” of Trust.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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Is trust in business up or down? Apparently it depends who does the asking and who is asked.Is trust in business up or down? Apparently it depends who does the asking and who is asked. Click To Tweet

Price Waterhouse (PwC) is again “talking trust” in their 20th Global CEO Survey (2017). At this time last year, I wrote an article called PwC and the World Economic Forum Talk Trust summarizing their 2016 trust “agenda” that hit the mark on many critical issues.

What happened between now and then?

According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer’s survey of global citizens, not only was there a sharp decline in trust in all four major institutions, but most people don’t find CEOs to be credible. Readers can learn more in this recent post on the FCPA Blog.

Turning to the 2017 PwC US Supplement, CEO’s worry least about access to affordable capital (10%) and most about overregulation (56%). “CEO concern” for lack of trust in business during the past year rose from 11% to 19%.  The Supplement does not define “lack of trust in business,” and even though the percentage almost doubled it remains relatively low on the list of CEO concerns. Considering the nuances of the use of the word “trust” one might ask what specific question did PwC pose to elicit this low concern response?

PwC’s survey further states that 78% of US CEOs agree that it’s harder for business to gain and keep trust. And only then does PwC add some clarification to what it means by “lack of trust in business.” According to the survey what CEOs are most concerned about when it boils down to trust is:

  1. Breaches of data privacy and ethics
  2. Cybersecurity
  3. IT outages and disruptions

What can be concluded from these surveys? Do you see the same “disconnect” that I see?

According to Edelman, the public does not find CEOs to be credible, yet PwC concludes that CEOs perceive lack of trust in business as originating primarily from external sources. It’s not from any bad behavior on their part that could ultimately impact stakeholder trust in any of the following ways:

  • Low trust in the brand by consumers
  • Low trust in leadership by employees and vice versa
  • Potential individual and institutional shareholders lacking enough trust to make investments
  • Communities not trusting the company to be “good” corporate citizens
  • CEOs not trusting in themselves to be ethical role models

Unfortunately, when it comes to building trust, most business leaders have yet to start connecting the dots. This represents not only a lost opportunity (read how high trust companies fare better), but endangers the long-term sustainability of the organization. Trust is not on CEO agendas, at least not in the way that will encourage and support organizational change and higher trust. Leaders face too many day-to-day decisions and too many fires that need extinguishing. Who has time left to consider why trust is low? Unfortunately, most CEOs don’t. And there’s a good chance that a year from now, they still won’t.

As I stated last year… leaders must:

  • Take “ownership” for their lack of credibility and the resulting low trust in business.
  • Voluntarily choose, along with their Boards, to adopt organizational trust (which extends far beyond sustainability, environmental awareness, corporate responsibility and “giving back”) as an intentional, proactive and holistic business strategy.
  • Stop thinking “short-term.”
  • Stop relying on their legal department and start doing what is right.
  • Stop “talking trust” and start walking it.

I’m not sure what it will take to reverse this cycle of mistrust in business and leadership. It’s certainly not due to a lack of resources or tools. What are your thoughts on this Tale of Two Surveys?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its eighth year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 1500 US public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.



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It’s Week #19 of 2016. This latest article is part of a series drawn from our 3rd annual 2016 Trust Poster….now hanging in hundreds of offices around the world. Get yours today!

52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust

Ben Boyd is the President of Global Practices & Sectors and C.E.O. Canada & Latin America at Edelman (he is also a Trust Alliance member) and offers this week’s suggestion:

“Trust must have an active steward within the enterprise who is respected and empowered to challenge assumptions and timelines.”

The value of Trust is clear, with 68% of people saying they chose to buy from trusted companies and 59% willing to recommend companies they trust to friends and colleagues (2016 Edelman Trust Barometer). Building and maintaining trust, however, is becoming increasingly complicated as stakeholder expectations increase and all aspects of company behavior and societal impact are scrutinized and discussed. Edelman sees five fundamental trust-building attributes that must be managed in order to meet those expectations.  These attributes span a broad array of functions within an enterprise; they are: engagement, integrity, purpose, products and operations.

Operationalizing a trust-building effort across these attributes requires an active steward championing the cause and in many trusted organizations, the Chief Communications Officer plays that role.  Convening and collaborating with the executive leadership team to ensure trust is central in every business decision, the CCO supports organizational integrity.  Of course, actively managing the attributes to protect and build trust is everyone’s responsibility with ultimate accountability landing with the CEO. 

Thank you Ben. We hope our readers heed this week’s advice.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 2000 US public companies on five quantitative indicators of trustworthy business behavior. Barbara is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options. David Suzuki

Question: What role does trust play as a business imperative when senior executives are unable to remove their blinders?

Answer: No role.

On two separate occasions, I posed the following questions to two senior executives at Fortune 500 companies:

Question #1:  How is trust in your organization?

1. Answer from Executive #1: We have no trust issues

2. Answer from Executive #2: We have no trust issues

Question #2: How do you know?

1. Answer from Executive #1: Our revenues are exploding and we are expanding globally.

Note: I call this the “shareholder value” answer.

2. Answer from Executive #2: Weren’t you listening during my speech? Our CSR and philanthropy program is one of the best.

Note: I call this the “corporate window dressing” answer.

Ask almost any C-Suite executive these questions and most likely you will get one of these answers.

Now let’s take a deeper dive

Executive #1 works for one of the largest health insurers in the world. Over 500 employees posted the following comments on Overall, the employees rate the company a 3 out of 5.

  • Horrible health benefits (the company is a health insurer)
  • Huge cronyism issues
  • Tons of corporate politics and red tape
  • Poor appraisal process
  • High stress
  • It paid the bills
  • Management by fear
  • High turnover rates

Executive #2 works for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Let’s see what over 200 employees have to say about their work experience. Overall, the employees rate the company a 3 out of 5.

  • We played cards to reduce our workday from 8 to 6 hours
  • Employees not allowed to talk to each other
  • Too many company meetings and policies
  • No decent leadership
  • No morale
  • Leaders are inept
  • Bureaucracy and never ending process

Do these sound like “high trust” companies to you?

The Costs of Low Trust

  • Gallup’s research (2013) places 13% percent of workers as engaged (87% disengaged.)
  • The disengaged workforce (Gallup, August, 2013) is costing the US economy $450-550 billion a year, which is over 15% of payroll costs.

  • According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (2010), 84% of senior leaders say disengaged employees are considered one of the biggest threats facing their business. However, only 12% of them reported doing anything about this problem.
  • According to Edelman globally, 50% of consumers trust businesses, but just 18% trust business leadership.
  • And finally, in the United States, the statistics are similar, but the story is a bit worse for leadership. While 50% of U.S. consumers trust businesses, just 15% trust business leadership.

Building a trustworthy business will improve a company’s profitability and organizational sustainability.

A growing body of evidence shows increasing correlation between trustworthiness and superior financial performance. Over the past decade, a series of qualitative and quantitative studies have built a strong case for senior business leaders to place building trust among ALL stakeholders (not just shareholders) high on their priority list.

According to Fortune’s  “100 Best Companies to Work For”, based on Great Place to Work Employee Surveys, best companies experience as much as 50% less turnover and Great Workplaces perform more than 2X better than the general market (Source: Russell Investment Group)

Forbes and GMI Ratings have produced the “Most Trustworthy Companies” list for the past six years. They examine over 8,000 firms traded on U.S. stock exchanges using forensic accounting measures, a more limited definition of trustworthy companies than Trust Across America’s FACTS Framework but still somewhat revealing. The conclusions they draw are:

  • “… the cost of capital of the most trustworthy companies is lower …”
  • “… outperform their peers over the long run …”
  • “… their risk of negative events is minimized …”

From Deutsche Bank:

  • 85% concurrence on Greater Performance on Accounting –Based Standards (“… studies reveal these types of company’s consistently outperform their rivals on accounting-based criteria.”)

From Global Alliance for Banking on Values, which compared values-based and sustainable banks to their big-bank rivals and found:

  • 7% higher Return on Equity for values-based banks (7.1% ROE compared to 6.6% for big banks).
  •  51% higher Return On Assets for sustainable banks (.50% average ROA for sustainable banks compared to big bank earning 0.33%)

These studies are bolstered by analyses from dozens of other respected sources including the American Association of Individual Investors, the Dutch University of Maastricht, Erasmus University, and Harvard Business Review.

Do you think the two companies cited about have trust issues? How can we help them remove their blinders? How can we help them move beyond quarterly numbers and corporate window dressing?

As my friend Bob Vanourek likes to say. “Leaders must place trust on their daily docket.”

Business leaders may choose to ignore the business case for trust but the evidence is mounting, not only for the business case but also the financial one.  Trust works.

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.

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft914Trust front Cover

                                                                                                  Coming Soon!

Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.



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Recently I saw an ad for a men’s wristwatch. The company had substituted the “5” on the watch face for a picture of a martini. Apparently this reminds the wearer of the watch that it’s time to leave work and head for the bar!  It got me thinking about “humpday” and TGIF, the “grind” as some call it, and all the expressions workers use to show their disdain for their jobs.

Gallup released a poll in 2013 showing that a shocking 63 percent of employees are disengaged and another 24 percent are actively disengaged. Those disengaged workers cost business over $300 billion per year.

We know that happy workers are productive workers, so apparently the majority are pretty unhappy nowadays. Can you blame them? Overwork, underpay, job insecurity, and many less tangible reasons. And the root cause… organizations with leaders who place little to no value on their employees. Inflated egos, inattention, inability to say “thank you,” and perhaps worst of all, lack of transparency. This is how business is done, and  trust is busted. In a recent blog post  called “In Building Trust Actions Speak Louder than Words,” I offered some very simple suggestions for leaders who want to give trust a try. Pick  just one or two from this list today and watch engagement grow immediately.

Not convinced?  Look what happens at companies like Zappos when employee engagement is placed very high on the “to do” list. And as my friends at Edelman like to say, “If you want your employees to trust you, try engaging with them.” You may find less of them checking their watches for that 5 o’clock reminder to head to the bar.

Thank goodness today is Monday! I love my job and occasionally I even pat myself on the back.

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.

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


Have a question? Feel free to contact me:






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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- read our blog of July 18 for Trust in Practice from Apple to Africa
  3. Trustworthy Leadership- read our blog of July 19 for Secrets of Trustworthy Leadership
  4. Building Trustworthy Teams- read our blog of July 20 for five great strategies
  5. Restoring Trust- read our blog of July 21
  6. A New Paradigm for Organizational Trust (today’s post)

Over a six day period, our blog has highlighted each chapter. Every strategy stands alone as an excellent resource in helping leaders understand why trust matters, and provides tools for those who choose to implement trust building programs in their organization. Today we complete our six day review.


“Brave Leadership Builds Trust in the New World” according to Ben Boyd at Edelman.

Organizations must change the way in which they engage stakeholders; they must commit to inclusive management. This management style is not a linear process, but rather dynamic, continual and evolutionary in nature. Leaders need to do more than just pay attention; they must engage all of their stakeholders 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in an authentic way. Only then can they succeed in such a transparent environment. To reach this goal, leaders must embrace inclusive management by committing to four actions: vision + share, enlist, adapt and act.


Eric Lowitt tells us “Why Trust is Our Future’s Most Vital Resource”

Can we reasonably expect that the public sector will provide global, let alone federal, leadership to address our global challenges: water, energy, food, infrastructure, healthcare, or climate change? In the U.S. there’s this belief that we as citizens pay 40 percent of our income and deserve 100 percent return on investment from our government. We believe our taxes will provide blanket services to all our needs. It doesn’t work this way.


Philip Mirvis envisions a shift “From CSR to Corporate Social Innovation”

Companies can continue to move forward incrementally, dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s”, and the practices of CSR will become more or less “routinized” into business.  However, this routinization process has been studied by many scholars who conclude that it is a recipe for decay. Don Sull, in his investigations of “Why Good Businesses Go Bad,” attributes their decline to “active inertia.”  In other words, they just “keep on keeping on,” insensitive to changes in the business context.  And Jim Collins, in his new book How the Mighty Fall describes the implications as a “capitulation to irrelevance.”  Is this where CSR is headed?


Steven Pyser shares his views on “Capitalism and High Trust: Leveraging Social Worlds as Intangible Assets”

We teetered on the abyss of financial collapse during the economic crisis of 2008. Transforming capitalism and global economies currently operating in default non-trusting communication modes to ones driven by trustworthy business dialogue and behavior will not happen overnight. It will likely take time for the pendulum of greed and untrustworthy misdeeds to swing toward positive and sustainable change. Until then, moneyed interests will continue to seek short-term gains. Building a culture of high trust by leveraging the “right” conversations as intangible assets is the antiseptic and new structure global capitalism requires.


And finally, my friend Robert Easton at Accenture has some concluding thoughts on “Creating a Positive Deviance of Trust.”

What if we were to think more constructively than mere functionality of trust and trustworthiness – in other words, positive trust? This concept does not simply connote the absence of distrust, or merely the presence of a normal state of trust; rather, it focuses on creating a positive deviance of trust- a force for helping people, corporations and societies to thrive.  Yes, where distrust is prevalent we have to return to normal functioning- to a state where people feel safe at home, at work and in their communities.  But in a paradigm of positive trust, a mere normal level of functioning is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for trust to catalyze social change.  We must encourage leaders to view trust as more than just an instrument to improve corporate profit and organizational accomplishments to one of fundamentally increasing the total positivity of the organization. What will it take?


I hope you have enjoyed this six day 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 Prize Award for Best Business Book? If this brief look behind the door has been helpful, 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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Every year at this time I start feeling like a kid in a candy shop!

Why? Not only is Spring right around the corner, but so is the release of our annual Most Trustworthy Public Companies, a list we have been publishing for the past three years.

It’s time to starting poring over massive Excel spread sheets to identify those companies rising to the top of our FACTS Framework, or said another way, those companies that crush their competitors on all indicators of trustworthy business behavior. Who will these companies be for 2013? We’ll let you know on April 15th!

What if I told you that trustworthy companies “beat the Street” by over 100%? 

This picture tells its own story. FACTS is represented by the green line on top and the vertical axis is the percentage change in stock price. From August 2012 through February 2014, the S&P 500 is up 34.8% not including dividends, and our FACTS Model returns are 72.9% not including our dividends. That’s slightly more than 2X the market.


FACTS (an acronym) selects companies on the basis of their Financial stability, Accounting quality, Corporate integrity, Transparency, and Sustainability. See link

But why take our word for the Business Case for Trust? Here’s some additional expert input from Gallup, The Washington Post, Edelman, Harvard, The Economist, Fortune and Forbes.

And finally, for those of you who still aren’t convinced, you can read a heartwarming story about Warren Buffet, friendship and trust. This is a link to the book referenced in the article.

Please send me a note at if you have any questions or comments about this post.

If not, see you on April 15th when our 2013 Most Trustworthy Public Companies is released.

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2013 represented a pivotal year for our program.

Perhaps we have finally pushed the proverbial trust “boulder” to the top of the hill!

Highlights from the first year of our Campaign for Trust included:

Changing our name to Trust Across America – Trust Around the World, reflecting our global membership and presence.

Initiating the following programs:

What’s coming up in January?

We started the year with a great writeup in Investor’s Daily

We will announce our 2014  4th Annual Top 1oo Thought Leaders on Jan 14

We will be holding a planning retreat on Jan 17 (more info following meeting)


Let’s make 2014 the Year of Convening and Collaborating!

Suggestions, comments or questions?

Please contact me, Barbara Kimmel, Executive Director


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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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Ask any C-Suite executive about organizational trust and most will tell you that the “soft stuff” belongs to another department. Soft stuff? How many business executives do you know who could pass this “trust” test?

The Hard Cost of Low Trust

Question: Gallup’s research (2011) places ________ % of U.S. workers as either not engaged or actively disengaged.

Answer: A startling 71%

Question: The price tag of disengagement (Gallup) is $________

Answer: $350 billion a year. That roughly approximates the annual combined revenue of Apple, General Motors and General Electric.

Question: The Washington Post reported that “the federal government imposed an estimated $_________ in regulatory costs on the economy (in 2012).”

Answer: $216 billion in 2012, nearly double its previous record.

Question: The cost of the tort litigation system alone in the United States is over $________.

Answer: $250 billion. – or 2% of GDP, Forbes, January 2012

Question: The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $___________ in legal costs since the financial crisis.

Answer: $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years. Bloomberg, August 2013

Question: According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (2010), __________ % of senior leaders say disengaged employees are considered one of the biggest threats facing their business. However, only ____________ % of them reported doing anything about this problem.

Answer: 84%, 12%

Question: In 2011 , WIQ calculated that mistrust is costing companies between ______% to ______% revenue loss, and _____% to _______% loss of profitability. WIQ is a team sourcing technology company

Answer: 14-18% revenue loss and 17-24% loss of profitability.

Question: In the 1960’s, if you introduced a new product______% of the people who viewed it for the first time believed the corporate promise. Forty years later, if you performed the same exercise less than _______% believed it was true. Howard Schultz, Founder & CEO Starbucks

Answer: 90% believed the corporate promise, now less than 10% believe it to be true.

Question: According to Edelman globally, _____% of consumers trust businesses, but just ______% trust business leadership.

Answer: 50% of consumers trust business, while 18% trust business leadership.

Question: In the United States, Edelman’s statistics are similar, but the story is a bit worse for leadership. While _____% of U.S. consumers trust businesses, just ____% trust business leadership.

Answer: 50% of consumers trust business while just 15% trust business leadership.

The Low Cost of Hard Trust

Unfortunately, it’s easier to find data on the cost associated with low trust. But here are a few test questions addressing the cost savings of hard trust.

Question: A study by the Russell Investment Group finds the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America (In which trust represents 60 percent of the overall criteria) earned over _______ times the returns of the market at large.

Answer: See for yourself.

Question: The Towers Watson 2011-2012 “Change and Communication ROI Study Report” shows that companies that have highly-effective communications practices are _________ times more likely to outperform their peers financially.

Answer: 1.7 times

And finally, Trust Across America – Trust Around the World continues to track the performance of America’s Most Trustworthy Companies agains the S&P 500 and the findings are nothing less than remarkable.




The next time a business executive tells you “trust is soft”, suggest he take the “Test” and maybe (even) buy our new book:

Trust Inc., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset.


Trust Inc.

Trust Inc.




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