Posts Tagged ‘ethics’


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

Ethics and compliance officers need to stimulate and assist management to establish a culture of trust.  Geert Vermeulen





Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

If you want to create a culture where people feel free to speak, hold people accountable, managers set a good example, where employees are engaged with the organization and feel that they are treated fairly, you are basically working towards establishing a culture of trust. This means that as management, you should not only focus on satisfying shareholders, but also on your other stakeholders, starting with your employees.

By establishing a culture of trust, where people are not afraid to admit errors and mistakes, are able to challenge decisions, where they openly discuss potential problems as well as new ideas, you will not only have fewer long-lasting problems but you will also stimulate a more innovative culture. As a result, you will have a better reputation as a company.

Therefore, you will be better able to attract high-potentials to come and work for you and clients will be more inclined to buy something from your brand. And as a result of fewer problems, more innovation and a better reputation, you will see that you will have better financial results in the long term. So, in the end, this also benefits your shareholders. It’s a win-win situation in the long term.


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

I was working as an ethics & compliance officer at a multinational and found out that in a certain country people were making corrupt payments. We stopped the payments and asked an outside party to conduct an investigation. Unfortunately, the quality of the investigation was unsatisfactory and in the end, I decided to continue the investigation myself together with a colleague. So, we traveled to this country to interview people, analyze what had gone wrong and submitted a report to the management in which we advised to take a number of corrective and preventive measures, including firing a few people and taking disciplinary measures against others. Virtually all of our recommendations were adopted. As a result, people in the local organizations looked at me as the guy who got their colleagues fired and were frightened to talk with me. But that is not what I wanted, I wanted people to come to me with their challenges and issues, so we can have a discussion and try to find solutions together. We, (the management and I,) basically had to restore trust. But the question was how. We decided to use all the tools that we could think of.

We started by confessing that we (regional/global management and the compliance department) had also dropped the ball and had not been sufficiently involved in this country, despite the fact that it was identified as a high-risk country. Therefore, we invested in the local compliance function and I also visited the country more often. We encouraged everyone to come forward with anything that had happened in the past that they were concerned about, trying to create a culture of openness and transparency. And if they had not been the main driver behind the unethical behavior, they would not get fired or face any negative consequences whatsoever for coming forward. We offered all employees free access to external lawyers for a number of days. They could ask confidential advice and we would pay for that, without knowing who asked what.

Now that the corrupt payments had been stopped, some of our employees received death threats from former clients. After a careful deliberation we decided to step into that discussion, taking away the authority to make payments from the local country office and by communicating that if anyone still had problems with that, they could have a discussion with somebody from the head office (me), herewith exposing ourselves to these threats as well, demonstrating personal commitment. I have to admit that, since I have children, I have become less brave and more careful, so this was quite uncomfortable. Luckily nobody showed up to have that discussion.

We personally visited some of the more problematic locations to actually see with our own eyes what was going on. We organized dilemma sessions with the employees to explore potential solutions and panel sessions with senior management where employees could ask anything. At the same time, we launched a marketing campaign, organized a compliance quiz and handed out rewards. And to conclude the marketing campaign, we organized a party.

We knew that we would lose a number of clients and were prepared to make a loss. Much to our surprise our experience proved that, as we profiled ourselves as the most compliant supplier in the market, we obtained new clients and our annual results in the end actually showed a growth of both revenue and profit. We put a lot of effort into restoring the trust and I think that we managed to succeed. That said, keeping the trust also requires a lot of work and is something that should not be taken for granted.


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

This is a difficult question. If I look at the political climate across the world I am not very positive. I notice that quite a few leaders with a nationalist agenda are elected, taking protective measures. Not trusting other countries. Blaming the opposition. 

At the same time, I also see changes in the business world, like the recent emphasis on ESG, as expressed by BlackRock and other major investors, as well as the declaration from the Business Round Table in the US. Business leaders are realizing that they are losing credit from society and they release statements that they want to balance the interests of the shareholders with the interests of the other stakeholders. But do we see that happening in practice? I guess it is still too early to tell. In The Netherlands we have seen leaders like Paul Polman from Unilever and Feike Sijbesma from DSM making their companies more sustainable and at the same time also delivering better business results. The question is what their successors will do now that they have stepped down. And whether other companies will adopt a similar strategy.

More importantly, I am very optimistic about the younger generations, the millennials, who seem to have another attitude. In the US we have seen employees starting protests against their companies who don’t seem to follow their own value statements. I have not seen that in other countries yet, but I do notice (anecdotally) that also in Europe the young generations are less interested in money, possessions and wealth and more interested in experiences and doing something meaningful with their life.


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

Yes, I do. Countries seem to be less inclined to support each other. Free trade agreements are re-negotiated. The value of international institutions is challenged. We spend less money on development aid. The US and Europe stop refugees who want to enter their countries looking for a better life. We have free movement of goods and capital but not of people. If anything bad happens, foreigners are blamed. In the US the Democrats and republicans are so divided that it is hardly impossible to reach a compromise. This while a good democracy also takes the interests of the minorities into account.

Instead, we see an ‘us against them’ attitude and people hardly seem to be able to listen to each other, feel empathy with other people, trying to understand their situation and line of thinking. And this happens at a time where we are more connected than ever through social media and global supply chains. The reality is that we are all in this together. Trust in vital institutions like journalists and scientific institutes is waning. However, I also see some positive trends, as described above.


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

The Trust Alliance inspires me. I learn from other people and it is always nice to meet likeminded people to exchange thoughts and ideas. I have also used the outcomes of the FACTS(R) Framework to support my theory that ethical/trustworthy organizations achieve better business results in the long term. I use that in my articles, talks and training sessions.

In The Netherlands I have been active in the Association of Dutch Compliance Professionals. I am the former Chairman. I launched and still chair the expert group on Financial Economic Crime and am a member of the expert group on Culture and Behavior, where I lead the internationalization effort. This last group developed a toolbox with some 40 tools that ethics and compliance officers can use to (assist management to) influence the company culture and the behavior of individuals. We are going to include Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s AIM Survey tool in our toolbox this year.


Geert, 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?

My mission is to help organizations conduct business in an ethical and compliant way by reducing risk and stimulating better business. I specialize in establishing and improving ethics and compliance programs in general and anti-corruption programs in specific. In 2016 I founded ECMC: Ethics & Compliance Management & Consulting to provide compliance training, consulting and interim ethics & compliance management. I also speak and write on ethics and compliance.
Most of my experience was obtained in-house as the Chief Compliance Officer Aon EMEA and the Global Head of Compliance of Damco, the freight forwarding arm of Maersk. I have been the President of the Dutch Compliance Officers Association, the founder/chair of the expert group on Financial Economic Crime of the Association, a member of the expert group on Culture and Behavior and a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Law Compliance Minor at The Hague University. I am the recipient of the 2020 National Compliance Award.


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 hundreds of 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.

, , , ,


Ideally, an internal C&E team will have great people skills and the ability to communicate and collaborate with all stakeholder groups. But if the team is ignoring the underlying principles essential to building high trust, the C&E function will be ineffective AND responsible for increasing enterprise risk.

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

The head of Compliance & Ethics at a large global public company recently engaged us to administer our AIM Towards Trust assessment within their 20+ member team. Unlike others who take trust for granted or consider it a soft skill, this one acknowledged that internal team trust was lacking and wanted to find out why. They sought to identify trust weaknesses and strengths, and to begin a trust discussion with the goal of remedying the weaknesses, celebrating strengths and reducing risk.

Our one question/one minute assessment is based on our universal principles called TAP (Tap Into Trust), developed over the course of a year by many of the world’s leading trust scholars and practitioners, accessed almost 65,000 times, and now in use in dozens of teams and organizations.

The survey results are displayed below. Accountability, Transparency and Respect were identified as the principles that needed immediate attention and, armed with this knowledge, the C&E Team leader was provided with additional do-it-yourself tools to address the weaknesses.

This leader believes that the responsibility to elevate organizational trust lies with their team, and is now expanding the assessment, bringing it into other functional areas within the organization to identify and remediate trust gaps. 

High trust C&E teams are role models, supporting employee and customer wellbeing which, in turn fosters faster company growth and achievement of organizational goals, while minimizing risk. 

What do you think the trust profile of your C&E team would look like, or would you rather not know?

While your colleagues are embracing trust as the NEW currency, are you choosing to ignore it?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust using a proprietary assessment tool called AIM Towards Trust. A former consultant to 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. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc. No part of this document may be reproduced without permission.



, , , , , , ,


In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, our global Trust Alliance “elves” have spent the year hammering away at new (and free) tools to elevate organizational trust in any organization regardless of size, location or industry.

We are happy to provide our readers with “12 days of organizational trust resources.”

  1. Our special TRUST! Magazine spring issue focused on the intersection of trust and good governance. It’s a gem and should be read by every Board member everywhere!
  2. Several members contributed to our growing case study library called Trustlets.
  3. Dozens of hours of collaboration lead to the publication of TAP (Trust Alliance Principles) 
  4. Our “Million Taps” campaign launched with an inaugural group of fifty signatories. As of this moment 29,544 global professionals have accessed TAP, with thousands joining our movement ever month.
  5. Through our global network, TAP is now available in 16 languages. Our readers can download the translations at no cost.  EnglishArabicChineseDutchFinnishFrenchGermanHebrewHindiItalianJapanese , Portuguese (Brazilian)RomanianRussianSpanish, and Swedish
  6. The July issue of TRUST! Magazine focused on TAP with many Alliance members weighing in. 
  7. Our first annual Country Trust Index was published with the help of our global members. The index was the most popular download on our website in November. Switzerland wins!
  8. The 4th annual Showcase of Service Providers was published in October, featuring the work of some of our members.
  9. This “2 pager”  can be accessed under the Research tab on our website. It is a sample of the material contained in our 10th anniversary report “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America” made possible by the Alliance warriors working collaboratively to elevate trust during the past 10 years.
  10. Our members contributed to the publication of many articles on various organizational trust topics.
  11. With the help and support of our members, our 9th annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust nominations  have been a huge success. Honorees will be announced in the winter issue of TRUST! Magazine at the end of January 2019.
  12. Our 2019 calendar “Building High Trust Teams” is now available simply by registering for our Constant Contact mailing list. It is the beginning of Phase #2 of TAP with monthly discussion questions provided to elevate trust in your team during 2019.
Our website welcomes over 20,000 visitors every month. If you use our resources and would like us to continue to provide more at no cost in the future, please consider making a donation so that our elves can maintain their tools in tip top shape in 2019.
Our plans for 2019? Our Trust Alliance members will be building and benefiting from a new tool every month throughout the year!
May 2019 be the “Year of Trust.”
Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder
Copyright 2018, Next Decade, Inc.


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Ten years ago, in the wake of the financial crisis, I undertook a study of organizational trust. Ten years later, and with the assistance of hundreds of global experts, I offer the following observations gleaned over the past decade.

Organizational trust is built over time and in incremental steps. There are simply no shortcuts.

Trust facts:

Organizational trust is an “inside out” strategy built through…

  1. A shared purpose and tactical vision acknowledging all stakeholders, not just shareholders
  2. A high integrity/high accountability board and CEO
  3. Long-term and corporate-wide intentional trust building strategies
  4. Daily reinforcement
  5. Hiring (and firing) in accordance with corporate values
  6. Rejection of hidden agendas
  7. Vulnerability and a willingness to admit mistakes
  8. Transparency, truth telling and promises kept
  9. Rewarding moral character
  10. Trust measurement and tracking

Recently my colleagues and I have witnessed some “sloppy” use of the word “trust” via short-term thinking attempts to provide quick and easy illusory measurements and solutions.

Trust Fiction:

Trust is not built through…

  1. Delegation of trust building to middle management or online ethics training modules
  2. Expensive and slick PR or “branding” campaigns
  3. CEO activism unrelated to the business
  4. CSR “one off” projects and ESG “check the box” practices
  5. Self-fulfilling surveys, reports and “best of” awards
  6. Philanthropy
  7. Empty apologies, lots of talk and little action
  8. Social media “strategies” and buzz words
  9. More rules and larger legal departments
  10. Short-term share price action

There are no short-term solutions to building a trustworthy business. Attempting to cut corners not only wastes time and resources but damages reputation.  For those Boards and CEOs who want to learn more, check back next week when we offer 12 free tools to elevate trust in every organization, regardless of size, industry or location.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and 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. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact

Copyright(c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.


, , , , , , ,


(Source: G.Palazzo, F. Krings, Journal of Business Ethics, 2011).


Many models of (un)ethical decision making assume that people decide rationally and are in principle able to evaluate their decisions from a moral point of view. However, people might behave unethically without being aware of it. They are ethically blind.


As organizations are comprised of individuals, Ethical Blindness naturally extends into the workplace. Some business sectors appear to be more ethically blind than others, and this creates enormous enterprise risk. This chart shows the trustworthiness of the major sectors for the Russell 1000 companies based on Trust Across America’s FACTS(R) Framework.


Ethical blindness can be corrected if leaders choose to be “tuned in” to the warning signs described below:

  • The Board of Directors does not have established long-term policies or procedures in place to elevate ethical and trustworthy behavior with their internal and external stakeholders. For more information see the Spring Issue of Trust Magazine.
  • Leaders, unless they are ethically “aware” by nature, are not proactive about elevating trust or ethics as there is no mandate to do so. When a crisis occurs, the “fix” follows a common “external facing” script involving a costly and unnecessary PR campaign. Wells Fargo’s latest “building trust” television commercial provides a timely example. Meanwhile internally, it’s “business as usual.”
  • Discussions of short term gains and cost cutting dominate most group meetings. The pressure to perform is intense and the language used is very strong.
  • The Legal and Compliance departments are large and growing faster than any other function.
  • The organizational culture is a mystery. No clear “ownership” of ethical or trustworthy business practices or decision-making exist. Think “hot potato.”
  • Discussions/training on ethics and trust rarely occur and when they do, they are lead by either the compliance or legal department and focus on rules, not ethics and trust.
  • Ethical considerations/testing are not part of the hiring process and fear is widespread among employees.

Is Ethical Blindness at the organizational level fixable? Absolutely. But the first order of business requires leadership acknowledgement and commitment to elevating organizational trust and ethics.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a group of ethics and trust experts who comprise our Trust Alliance. They should serve as a great starting place for not only a discussion but a clear roadmap to eradicating Ethical Blindness. As a recent TAP commenter said:

An environment /culture that operates within this ethos sounds an awesome place to me , I would work there tomorrow if I knew where to look for it. 

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.




, , , , , , , , , , ,


“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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.


, , , , , , , , ,



If you lead an organization and want to build trust into its 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?

Almost every organizational challenge can be traced back to low trust… and a leader who has not checked the boxes.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build 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, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , , , , , ,




I was recently watching a John Oliver YouTube video about televangelists whose charities are somewhat suspicious, and it got me thinking about experts, “gurus” and “influencers.” Sadly, there are plenty of phony preachers in that space too. In fact, a colleague likes to remind me that not all trust experts are trustworthy. Imagine that!

These are some first-hand examples of phony preachers:

  • The leadership “consultant” who seeks out sound bytes from those with real expertise for an upcoming paid speaking “gig.” After all, why pass up the opportunity to get paid even if it’s for a speech you are not qualified to deliver.
  • The prolific leadership “writer” whose work is never written by them or even original. Quotes lifted from famous philosophers, entire blog entries cut and pasted from the work of others. And when called out, lies about it.
  • The world “renowned” nominee who asks for a vote for “Thinkers 50,” but who freely “borrows” PowerPoint and Slideshare presentations from those with genuine expertise, and when caught redhanded, brushes it off.
  • The “character expert” who writes about plagiarism, but doesn’t bother to check (or care) whether those whose work they themselves reference is original or plagiarized.
  • The “trust guru” who forgets to say “thank you” when a good deed is done for them.

Is it any wonder that trust continues to decline across all major institutions? After all, if the advisors, coaches, thought leaders, experts and influencers are not living that which they preach (and that’s being polite,) what other outcome could possibly be expected?

But every story has a silver lining. It’s called a bell curve and like any business, even in “trust” there are some real deals. I am honored to know many of them who have been named to our annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust over the past seven years.

In the early years of this annual recognition, someone suggested that there need not be a requirement that the honorees walk their talk. Imagine that suggestion! The “real deals” are not those who are the most active on social media or who claim a (t00) long laundry list of accomplishments. Instead, they are often the voice you may not hear, and whose name you may not recognize… researchers, scholars, consultants and leaders who have put in their time, paid their dues, and have earned the privilege to speak, consult and guide others. People with real credentials who know what trust is and act accordingly.

When I was a kid, my dad liked to remind me not to allow anyone to “pull a snow job.” If you’ve never heard that expression, Merriam-Webster offers the following definition: “a strong effort to make someone believe something by saying things that are not true or sincere.

Anyone can call themselves an expert. It’s up to the “buyer” to determine if they’ve earned the right to use that title.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build 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 Barbara was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she was named a “Fellow” of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

, , , , ,




When a baby decides it is time to be born…”the show must go on.”

Such was the case on January 23, 2016 when approximately 103 million people were affected by a blizzard that hit the east coast of the US, requiring eleven states to declare emergencies, including New Jersey.

Assisted by local EMTs, the healthy baby was delivered at home on the living room couch, the second child of a couple with a fully paid health insurance policy. But the extreme weather conditions and treacherous roads required both the healthy mother and her new baby to be transported to the closest hospital, not one designated by the family’s insurance plan, and certainly not through any special requests on the family’s part. In less than 24 hours, both mother and child were released from the “unaffiliated” hospital, returning home to celebrate their new arrival.

But the biggest surprise for this family was yet to arrive.

The following week a hospital bill was delivered for $53,000. And in case you are not totally shocked by that number, it didn’t include subsequent invoices from the EMTs, emergency room doctors, nor the $39.00 adult diaper that was “sold” to the mother following delivery, to name just a few “incidentals” that brought the total “hit” to over $60,000.

Now this family, who should be bonding and celebrating the birth of their healthy second child, is instead:

1) Faced with a daunting bill that no insured young middle class family could ever possibly pay, and mounds of paperwork and invoice totals that change with every postal delivery.

2) Spending countless hours away from their children and professional obligations listening to prerecorded messages claiming “our menus have changed,” “your call is important to us” and “we are experiencing unusually high call volume.”

The following are some not so simple questions for insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, miscellaneous health services providers and any other parties who would like to weigh in on this story:

What responsibility, if any, do organizations have to ensure their customers are treated fairly, ethically and in a trustworthy manner?

Has corporate greed and the “maximization of shareholder value” permanently replaced doing what’s right?

If this child had been born to a family with no health insurance what would their bill be?

How can this family, who believed they had done everything “right” except better timing the birth of their baby, expeditiously resolve this and “get on” with what matters and their daily lives?”

I suppose the moral of the story is “buyer beware:” 

Even under the most extreme circumstances caused by acts of nature, thousands of dollars in monthly health insurance premiums don’t “cut it” once companies are asked to honor their obligations and do the right thing. Why is this so?

Please send any suggestions or advice to

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.


, ,



Today marks the release of a new book (UK & Canada, US in early April) by Peter Cook called “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise” with Bloomsbury books. I met Peter through my friend and colleague Nadine Hack, and was fortunate to have Peter include our FACTS Framework in his new book. Nadine, Peter and I are firm believers in the power of collaboration. I asked Peter for some insights into the book, the 11th he has written or contributed to over 21 years in business.

What should readers expect to gain from this book?

Bloomsbury commissioned the book due to the unique synthesis of theory and practice in the art and discipline of creating great ideas and converting them into even greater innovations in business, society and the world. Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise draws upon durable concepts and research from academia, rather than the latest management fads. 

 The book includes many case studies and deals with questions such as:

  • What are the roots of creativity and imagination?
  • How can we create the physiological and mental states under which creativity happens naturally rather than having to rely on creative thinking tools like some kind of mental crutch?
  • How can you lead Brain Based Enterprises?
  • What is the role of technique in engendering creativity within teams?  What are the most effective and reliable recipes for team based creativity?
  • How do culture, leadership style and values support or limit innovation and creativity?
  • Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise is informed by academia but not stuffy in its writing style. An unusually good fusion, which I call ‘pracademic’.

How did you get Sir Richard Branson and Sir James Dyson’s involvement?  

The headline answer to your question is through networking. I’d won a prize for my work in leadership from Richard Branson. This led to gaining a job as an author for and delivering events that blend music and business for Virgin. By the time I asked for the interview I was almost a family member! Although this seems simple, I observe almost daily that people expect to gain similar results without the investment of time and care that often goes into a relationship based on trust. (Amen, Peter!)

I know trust matters in your work. How do you think about it?

Although it is very difficult to quantify, we all know someone who is trustworthy when we see it. A case in point arose recently in my dealings with Marcus Ryle, CEO of Line 6, who make guitar effects units. I had a problem with my Line 6 HD POD500X, as used by the likes of Elbow, Avril Lavigne and session musicians who work with Eric Clapton, Pink and Van Morrison. I could not be more impressed with the turnaround that Marcus performed. Moreover, because he handled the issue personally as well when I’m sure he had better things to do. If more companies were able to act in this way, their reputations would soar and their repeat business with it.

Your own work in terms of demonstrating the “net present value of trust” is a vital contribution to the debate. It seems that corporations need proof for such things to “move the dial” in terms of behaviour. Although I’m in no doubt as to the value of trust at a personal level in my own dealings with people as I m sure you are as well, we do need the data to help people place a value on doing the right things in corporate life these days.

What do you see as the future in terms of ethical leadership?

The 1970’s was a tipping point for business ethics when Milton Friedman wrote his article in The New York Times, where he stated that the primary role of a business was to make money for its shareholders. This was followed by Agency Theory in 1976 which completed the volte face from the more humanistic outlook on the purpose of businesses. Managerialism has probably informed the last 40 years of corporate development in leading business schools. Charles Handy, Tom Peters and I are united in our complete disagreement with Milton Friedman et al. If you look after the people, the profits look after themselves. Great leaders do the right things for their customers, their employees, society and their stakeholders.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What prompted you to write this book?

Creativity has been at the heart of the three passions that have fueled my life – science, business and music.  When I was four years old I wanted to be in The Beatles. By nine, I wanted to be a brain scientist. At 18, I joined a pharmaceutical company as a chemist and traveled the world, fixing factories and scaling up life-saving drugs, including the world’s first treatment for HIV / AIDS. By 29 I became fascinated with management and started working in a Business School alongside my day job. At 34, I started my own business and some 5 years later I began the synthesis of science, business and music via The Academy of Rock. Creativity has been a constant in my three “Shumpeterian” 18-year long cycles of innovation in my life. The book has therefore been maturing for nearly 20 years, having written my first book on creativity and innovation in 1996. This represents tens of thousands of hours of diverse experience, working as a business practitioner across a wide range of sectors and fueling my thinking via my work as an MBA academic and adventurer. Crossing the chasm from science to art has informed my writing as a business consultant much more than traditional MBA driven textbooks.

Thank you for granting this interview and for including us in your book.  Best of luck Peter and “Rock on.”

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust and integrity. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as 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.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , , ,