Archive

Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Mar
24

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

“Developing trust starts with building a culture that values trust. Sean Flaherty

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be purposefully created. It always starts with the words that the organization’s leaders use, the stories that they tell and the actions that they take. Those words, stories and actions need to be consistent and in alignment. 
Trust is not something that can be promoted from the top down. It needs to be defined, measured and lived – exemplified by the top and measured and discussed all the way down to where your products and services meet your customers every day.
With a clear and shared definition of the word trust and agreement on how we earn it that starts at the top, it will spread throughout the organization.

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

I have seen many organizations boost trust with subtle changes to how they are already doing business. A simple and powerful tactic that I have seen create a sustainable and scalable impact to trust: 
The Minimum Valuable Commitment”
Every time you make a promise and you keep a promise, is an opportunity to boost trust. Commitment is rare and it accelerates trust.
People tend to avoid making commitments because they are risky. We are wired to avoid unnecessary risk. But when you make commitments and keep them, even small promises, it builds trust faster. Being purposeful about the promises and commitments that you make to your customers can transform your business. Building commitment into your culture and empowering your people to make measured and valuable commitments can have a big impact on how you earn trust. Companies often make contractual guarantees and issue warranties because they know how important commitments are, but the small promises can be just as important in helping your people and your firm earn trust from your customers.
Intent is critical here. Your Say/Do ratio has to be really high. In addition, by making commitments, you have to recognize that occasionally, you will miscalculate and you will fail to keep a commitment. This is a good thing — as long as you clean up the mess. It means that you are committed and doing your best. It is difficult to trust wishy-washiness and apathetic commitments. We trust more powerfully when commitments are made with the positive intent to fulfill them.

Here is a basic thought experiment to explain how this works:
At some point in the history, most of us have visited a website that added value to the problem that we were trying to solve, and we decided to sign up for the newsletter when they requested our email address. Now, imagine experiencing these two different scenarios:
Scenario A: Give us your email address and we will send you our newsletter. You enter your email address. They pop-up a message that says thank you.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. Your expectations are met. It’s not memorable. Maybe you will get a newsletter and maybe you will read it. Maybe not.
Scenario B: Give us your email address and we promise to send you the latest and greatest content in <this ecosystem that you care about> on the second business Monday of each month. You enter your email address. They pop-up the last newsletter that they sent (and send it to your inbox immediately) with a message at the top that says: “We promised we would send you the latest and greatest content. Here is what you can look forward to.”
Note how that second scenario made you feel.

The simple act of making a promise and keeping it can powerfully impact trust. Here is a simple checklist for your commitments that will make sure they are worthwhile:
[ ] Use the language of commitment. Saying “We promise to X” or “We commit to Y.” Using this language maximizes the emotional impact because these words have a powerful, shared meaning for people.
[ ] Make sure the commitment is as specific and complete as possible. Without a specific action and a specific timeframe that includes a day and a time, it is meaningless. There is a reason it is called a “dead-line.”
[ ] Verify that the commitment is valuable to your customer. Test it on live customers to see if you are able to improve your ability to earn trust. Your promises must be authentic, and may be more powerful if your customer is not expecting them from you. Be careful that your language does not work against you by sounding like it is scripted.
[ ] Honor the commitment. If you make promises that you do not have the ability to keep, you are much better off not making the commitment in the first place. Make sure you fully intend to keep the promise or are fully willing to make things right if you cannot.
[ ] Use the language of commitment when fulfilling your promise. For example: “We promised X; here we are keeping our promise.”

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

I am an incorrigible optimist. I see the world through rose-colored glasses. We are making huge progress in the sciences of psychology, sociology and human motivation. The work of people like Brene Brown, Ed Deci, Richard Ryan, Daniel Goleman and many, many others is showing us, unequivocally, how important human relationships are to our collective future. While our political climate appears to be extremely polarized of late, I believe that this tide will ebb and we will eventually realize that we are in this together. The technology boom is helping to make the world a more transparent place and improving opportunities for more systemic trust building. Like all innovations, I believe that we are inside of a bubble where these technologies are being used in a negative manner. But history has shown us that we will be able to turn this around and the collective will win in the end.

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

This is an eternal struggle. We will never be done learning how to improve trust. When you look objectively at the world today – it is exponentially better by almost every measure than it was even a decade ago.  If you were to microscopically look at any given problem in the world, it would be easy to say that we have a crisis of trust. But if you were to look at the macro, it would be hard to argue that we are not on a good path.
There is a lot of work to do in all aspects of our society, but I don’t think it helps to promote negativity. I think that is inauthentic and reduces trust.

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

I am a new member, but I am passionate about trust and committed to doing my part. I cant wait to have a better story to tell in a year.

 

Sean, 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?

Sean Flaherty is a partner at ITX Corp. based in Rochester, NY where he oversees business development, partnerships and the innovation practice. ITX is a software product innovation firm with over 250 employees in 7 countries. Sean started building software products at 11 years old on his 8-Bit Commodore Vic-20 and he has never stopped. He studied aviation electronics working on F-14 Tomcats in the Navy, molecular genetics at the University of Rochester, and earned an MBA from the Simon School of Business. ITX has built a passionate team of technologists and artists that inspires him every day with the magic that they produce for their clients. Sean runs Innovation Workshops for his clients and speaks regularly on turning the intangibles in business, like trust, loyalty and advocacy into measurable results.

 

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: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
17

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

“It’s easier to trust someone and for others to trust you if there is genuine care – and that shows in how you listen, and how you act and behave towards others.” Lea Brovedani

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Most organizations will list trust as an important value but to be believed it has to be lived.  What is the track record for doing what they say they will do? In an organization can you draw a direct line between their vision and mission statement and their actions? On a personal level do you believe they are authentic? Caring goes beyond compliance to the rules and speaks to the heart.

I’ve interviewed leaders, middle managers and workers in the field and I hear the same thing from all of them. “If I don’t believe that the person I am dealing with genuinely cares about me, I can’t really trust them.”

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

An example of the affect of caring on trust… My client, Fred Barlow is the Chief Safety Officer for Reliance – a contractor in Colorado. The majority of his staff work on dangerous construction sites. When Fred took over the position he realized there wasn’t a lot of trust between the workers or between the workers and management. It took time to turn that around, and he did it by showing he cared about them as individuals. An example was in a safety class he was teaching. One of the attendees, a big macho construction worker, got a phone call in the middle of the class. When he came back, Fred could see that something was wrong. When he had the opportunity to have a conversation with him, he found out that his brother’s wife had just delivered a baby with severe health problems. Fred took the time to talk and comfort him and in doing so he went a long way in establishing a relationship of trust. This was not an isolated incident, but typical of how Fred chooses to work with his employees. The ripple affect is that the workers now listen to Fred because they know he has their best interests at heart.

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

Overall I believe the global trust climate is worsening.  Social media exacerbates divisions by feeding us information that supports our biases and validates our prejudices and connects us to people who share our beliefs. We can get a skewed view of the world that confirms whatever we believe, regardless of factual information that could change our mind.  We develop trust through the facts, relationships and experiences and many of the opportunities for connection are being thwarted. This isn’t isolated to the USA. Countries around the world are experiencing a division and distrust that is in a downward spiral.

Fortunately we are drawn toward the champions who give us reasons to trust, and those who can help us look for the areas where trust can grow. The “Mr. Rogers” of the world. We can find sites that provide a full spectrum of facts, opinions and beliefs and allow us to make informed decisions. It’s the duality of the internet that gives us truth and lies and so much information that we can end up unable to discern who we can trust.

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

There is a saying that goes “What we resist, persists”.  To me it means we put too much focus on what we don’t want such as fear and uncertainty. If we change our focus to finding and celebrating trust, then perhaps we can start moving people, societies and institutions towards a better future where trust can grow.

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

I believe that Trust Across America brings credibility to all of us who are involved with the organization. You have to adhere to a high standard of ethical behavior and it brings together like-minded individuals from around the world. When I want to find out the latest research I know I can find it within the TAA group. Part of my mission and vision in life is to increase trust within the world, and being involved with this organization gives me a greater platform to do that.

Lea, 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?

Lea Brovedani is a professional speaker and trainer who has spoken at conferences and presented her workshops on trust around the world. She is author of TRUST ME – Restore Belief & Confidence in an Uncertain World, and TRUSTED – Secret Lessons From and Inspired Leader.

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: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
10

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

“Building trust doesn’t have to be overwhelming; trust starts with small actions that honor your commitment to others and grows larger and more powerful over time.”  Doug Conant, ConantLeadership

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Many leaders are so beset by the deluge of competing priorities they face on any given day that the idea of creating space for building and maintaining trust is daunting. But the heartening truth is that trust—like anything else—can be built by taking small, manageable steps. Rather than feeling that you must embark on an enormous and momentous trust-building endeavor that could extend across the space of many months or years, you can start to bring trust to life in your leadership today by taking one small action in service to trust.

Remember: Behaviors are what make trust real. Focus on building micro-practices that honor your commitment to others into the way you lead; this allows you to create trustworthy teams and organizations while acknowledging the zany reality of busy, modern life. Each step you take towards trust can and should be in harmony with the pace and complexity of the modern enterprise. You don’t have to choose between honoring your commitments and cultivating trust. With a small-steps approach, you can do both.

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

In 2001, on my first day as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, I arrived to a foreboding sight: a rundown building surrounded by razor wire with guard towers looming in the sky. The grounds were overgrown with weeds and the whole headquarters looked like a prison. Inside was just as bad: the paint was peeling and there were dead plants in the common areas. The drab tableau was a grim visual metaphor for the state of the company overall where market performance had been declining and employee engagement had become abysmally low. There was barely any trust left between the leadership and the employees. It was going to be an uphill battle to rebuild trust and advance performance. But I was determined to make an impact. I knew I couldn’t tackle it all at once; I had to start small.

The first micro-action I took was the simple act of listening, really listening to people. I started soliciting feedback right away. I discovered that many employees felt disrespected, even imprisoned, by their sub-par workplace environment. Some leaders might dismiss this as petty belly-aching. But they were right; the facilities needed help. And I saw a clear and compelling opportunity to start to build trust. Here was a way I could demonstrate that I valued the perceptions of our employees. Relative to other initiatives, it would be a low-investment endeavor that could earn me lots of goodwill.

Almost immediately, physical changes were made; we removed the razor wire, we cleared the overgrowth, we repainted the walls. These improvements quickly contributed to an increase in employee engagement. Performance got better. A virtuous circle began to form. As I heard people and took action in response to that listening, I earned trust, which led to better outcomes, which led to even more trust.

Building trust began with something as tiny and seemingly inconsequential as a fresh coat of paint. But it activated a cycle of continuous improvement across all of our operations and paved the way for more and better facility improvements. Over my decade-long tenure, these upgrades became symbols of my promise to listen to the people who worked there. Bettering the work environment and making people feel heard ultimately led to a modern reimagined world headquarters in Camden that everyone in the company could take pride in. The better facilities were a manifestation of trust-building in action. We started with very small actions like listening, pulling up weeds, and removing some razor wire; it might not seem like much, but these actions grew into something bigger which was inflected throughout all of our initiatives and our improved performance in the marketplace.

Little, incremental steps are the “walk” that demonstrate the “talk,” or language of trust. It’s a powerful lesson to learn. You don’t have to fix everything all at once. To start to build trust, just do something small. Do it earnestly, do it quickly, and you’ll begin to create a positive cycle of elevated trustworthiness and better outcomes.

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

There is an undeniable dearth of trust globally. That said, I do think the global trust climate is modestly improving–at least in the business community (where the baseline is admittedly far too low to begin with). It’s easy to watch the news and feel discouraged—and it is important to have a clear-eyed view of the trust challenges we face as a whole—but it’s important to remember that good news seldom makes headlines.

While I do believe trust is modestly improving, we can’t rest on our laurels. Leaders must lead from in front on this issue, championing the importance of trust from the top, and modeling the behaviors that build trust–with diligence and passion.

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

I don’t believe it is a crisis; however, it simply must get better. When we catastrophize, we let ourselves off the hook; people begin to feel the problem is so big that they absolve themselves of the responsibility of addressing it. This benefits no one. We must be both idealistic and realistic: we have to acknowledge that there is indeed a lack of trust in public institutions and in leadership while simultaneously working to be the change we want to see in the world at large. As leaders, it is our duty to show people the way. We have to rise to the occasion and stand up and be counted. Trust is paramount. Let’s show people how to build it one small action at a time.

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

As a leader, I always benefit from the learnings and insights from a community of my peers. The Trust Alliance helps me engage with a like-minded cadre of trust-focused leaders, buoys my dedication to continuous improvement, and empowers me to remain steadfast in my commitment to workplace trust.

Doug, 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?

Doug Conant is an internationally renowned business leader and New York Times bestselling author with over 45 years of experience at world-class global companies. He is Founder of ConantLeadership, a boutique leadership firm committed to championing leadership that works in the 21st century. For the past 20 years of his leadership journey, Doug has honed his craft as a C-suite executive – first as President of the Nabisco Foods Company, then as CEO of Campbell Soup Company (2001-2011), and finally as Chairman of Avon Products. Doug’s new book, The Blueprint: 6 Powerful Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights is now available wherever books are sold.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours to elevate trust?

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
03

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

“The absence of fear is the incubator of trust.”

Bob Whipple, Leadergrow Inc.

 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

When leaders know how to build, maintain, and repair trust, a remarkable culture will kindle where problems are reduced and productivity is maximized. The secret is for leaders to learn the art of “reinforcing Candor,” which is another way of saying they make people glad when they bring up issues that may be contrary to what the leader’s preconceived ideas were.

Most leaders cannot do this because they believe they are right in their judgment, so a contrary view by an employee causes the leader to punish the employee. That destroys trust and causes other employees to refrain from sharing their concerns.

The result is a culture of fear where trust cannot kindle.

 

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

I worked with one group where the top leaders (8 people) truly hated each other. It was the worst culture I have ever seen. I had the group do a SWOT analysis and they listed “Trust” as the number one weakness for the entire organization.  I worked with them for a few interfaces, and taught them my theories about how their behaviors could be modified to build rather than destroy trust. Six months later that same management team rated “Trust” as the number one strength for the entire organization. They were a completely different group.

 

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

I believe the global climate is separating. Most areas are actually losing the battle for high trust, but some of them are doing extremely well. The difference lies in the behaviors of the most senior leaders.

 

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

I think there is a crisis in several areas, but at the same time there are pockets of excellence that are heartening.

 

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

Being part of the network is a wonderful advantage because we constantly share ideas and techniques.  Having a society dedicated to this one issue is very powerful, and I am honored to be a part of the group.

 

Bob, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Robert Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow Inc., an organization dedicated to development of leaders. He has authored five books and spoken on leadership topics and the development of trust in numerous venues internationally. His ability to communicate pragmatic approaches to building trust in an entertaining and motivational format has won him top ranking wherever he speaks. Audiences relate to his material enthusiastically because it is simple, yet profound. His work has earned him the popular title of “The TRUST Ambassador”

 

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
25

The benefits of high trust are too numerous for leaders to continue to ignore.

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

 

 

Study after study confirms that over the long-term, high trust organizations outperform their low trust competitors. These are a few of the benefits:

  • Elevated employee engagement and retention
  • Reduced workplace stress
  • Enhanced decision-making
  • Innovative culture
  • More accountability, transparency and communication
  • Reduced costs

Why do most leaders choose to ignore trust or take it for granted?

The greatest challenges to elevating trust are the inability to delegate it, and having the right tools to fix it. Trust is a top down imperative that cannot be addressed via regulation and requires its own budget. It is not a Corporate Social Responsibility or “purpose” project, nor a compliance, human resources or marketing function, but rather an intentional business strategy adopted by leadership and practiced and reinforced daily. According to the Business Roundtable, vanishing are the days of low transparency, “short-term” thinking and maximization of shareholder value at the expense of other stakeholders. And as low trust continues to make the headlines across the globe, organizations that choose trust as an intentional strategy will continue to outperform their peers.

Take a look at some of the more recent study results:

  • On average, Trust Across America’s (that’s us) annual “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since 2012 (June, 2018). This study  has also been referenced by Gartner and in the Harvard Business Review.
  • Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.
  • PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey (2018) asked consumers which factors, other than price, influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer. More than one in three (35%) ranked ‘trust in brand’ as among their top three reasons. 

  • Another study looking at workplace trust and the impact on employee wellbeing reveals that more than half (53%) of employees considered it to be a major factor in whether they stayed or left a company. More research on the link between trust and wellness in this recent SmartBrief article.
  • According to Gallup, when employees don’t trust organizational leadership, their chances of being engaged are one in 12. But when that trust is established, the chances of engagement skyrocket to better than one in two. That’s more than a six-fold increase.

These references are bolstered by dozens of others. Short-sighted business leaders may continue to challenge the “return on trust” but the evidence is mounting. There is not only a business case but also a financial case for trust.

How can leaders elevate trust proactively instead of addressing it after a crisis and playing catch up?

It requires moving beyond talk to acknowledgement followed by ownership and action. Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World introduced a quick and simple survey tool called AIM Towards Trust and Workshop opportunities for teams and organizations of all sizes and in any industry to begin a trust discussion and address the challenges that are holding back trust. The survey has been successfully administered in dozens of teams, organizations and in advance of conferences and workshops. Readers interested in reviewing its various applications can learn more at this link.

Making the decision to elevate trust is not easy.  It requires both introspection on the part of leadership and a certain amount of vulnerability. Virtues like trust, the ones that really matter, must be treated as business imperatives for those who are seeking long-term success. Waiting for the inevitable crisis (most are the result of low trust) to make the old and tired PR speech, declaring that trust must be rebuilt may be the most popular choice, but as we have seen, it’s also the most expensive and least effective. Just ask Wells Fargo.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. Now in its eleventh year, the mission is to help organizations build trust. That’s all we do. 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

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Feb
18

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

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

Bob Vanourek, Triple Crown Leadership and former CEO

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The global trust climate is both worsening and improving.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Bob, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

 

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

 

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Feb
11

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

Real leadership starts by building trust; without trust, you have no platform from which to build positive influence with others. Walt Rakowich

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

The best leaders influence others to do great things. Trust isn’t the only factor involved in building that type of influence, but it is an essential factor – perhaps the most essential. You can achieve short-term successes and positive results without trust. But you can’t do great things for yourself or for others over the long haul unless you trust yourself, trust others, and earn the trust of those you lead. If trust is lacking, success will be fleeting. When you have genuine trust, on the other hand, people willingly follow you and collaborate with you on a shared purpose. Things like commitment, risk-taking, accountability, productivity, and excellence fall more naturally into place.

You earn that trust over time by opening a window into your soul and showing yourself to be someone worth following. I learned in the heat of battle while turning around a Fortune 500 company that three virtues are essential to earning trust – humility, honesty, and heart. Humility comes when we look inward at who we really are. Heart comes when we look outward and value people for who they are, not just what they can do. And honesty requires that our actions align with what we say and with our values. When people see those virtues in the actions of a leader, they know their trust is well-placed. Combine that with a purpose and a passion for serving others, and great things aren’t just likely, they are inevitable.

 

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

I was named CEO of Prologis in the middle of the Great Recession and when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. As we began to rebuild, we knew there were problems involving trust. One of the first things we did as a leadership team was commit to owning our mistakes and to learning from them. We were open with our employees and our investors about those mistakes and the challenges we faced moving forward. But here’s what we didn’t do. We didn’t ask our employees or our investors to trust us. In fact, during a meeting in New York with more than a thousand investors and stakeholders, we outlined our mistakes and committed to some specific ways we planned to restore the company to health. Then we told them this: “Don’t trust us. Watch us.” Trust has to be earned, not assumed. We embraced that idea. If we couldn’t earn it, we didn’t deserve it. We made that very clear to each other, our employees, and our investors. I believe because we set that as a standard, we settled for nothing less and achieved it over time.

Walt, generally, do you think the global “trust” climate is improving or worsening? What actions are making it better or worse?
I don’t know if it’s getting better or worse, but one thing is for sure: It’s more important than ever. We live in a world of glass houses. Everything we do is seen by everybody. Because of that, it’s easier than ever for people to see things they don’t like and don’t trust in leaders. You can’t hide. And because people see more about us, they raise their level of expectations. With expectations rising and transparency now the norm, it’s even more essential for leaders to consistently demonstrate trustworthiness in all they do.

 

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

There are plenty of reasons to be discouraged about the condition of the world, but also plenty of reasons to have hope for the future. You can look at the environment of politics, sports, business, entertainment—whatever—and find examples of leaders who have abused trust and created cultures devoid of trust. Where was trust in the Volkswagen emissions scandal? Or pick any other scandal going back to the beginning of time. On the other hand, many emerging leaders have shown a great desire to work together and to make their work about something that’s bigger than themselves. The bad stuff draws the headlines and the Internet memes, but you don’t have to look far to find leaders who are transparent and honest and humble and who truly want to do the right things for people and society. I choose to trust that these are the leaders who will win the day.

 

Walt, 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?

Walt Rakowich is an author, speaker and the former CEO of Prologis, one of the top global real estate companies in the S&P 500. He was named CEO in 2008 during the economic downturn when the company was near bankruptcy. He implemented a change in culture through transparency, orchestrating a dramatic turnaround and restoring its position in the industry. Walt has a BS in accounting from Penn State and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In addition to speaking to audiences on a range of leadership topics, he serves on a number of corporate and philanthropic boards. He and his wife Sue have two children and reside in Colorado.

And 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.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jan
23

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

So what’s the problem?

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

And what is the solution?

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

 

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

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

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. Now in its eleventh year, the mission is to help organizations build trust. That’s all we do. 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

 

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Jan
14

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

Developing trust starts in the C-suite. 

David Reiling, CEO Sunrise Banks

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be established by organizational leaders and promoted from the top down. The executive team should set the tone for the rest of the organization, and exhibit trustworthiness and integrity as role models for the organization.

Without trust at the top, it will be impossible to spread throughout the rest of the organization.

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

Years ago I saw some management behavior that was not acceptable as defined by the organization’s values. When something like this happens, trust slowly erodes and the organization started to break. With time, I saw the management team rebuild itself embracing the organization’s values, leading to a trusted leadership team.  This resulted in a ripple effect of trust and transparency throughout the organization.

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

I think it depends on who you ask. Our political climate is extremely polarized of late and this has caused trust issues for certain people. We’re also experiencing a boom technology and artificial intelligence; data breaches and mishandling of personal information has created a lack of trust in data collection and big tech.

It’s too speculative to say the climate is improving or worsening. However, I do think there would be strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

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

I wouldn’t call it a crisis of trust, but rather a healthy dose of skepticism in regards to certain developments. In particular, technology and personal data collection have been a point of contention for some. We’ve yet to reconcile our desire for the convenience of technology and the risks that can come with it.

We’re comfortable quickly signing privacy policies – likely without reading them – but we become frustrated when we learn our actions have been used for marketing purposes or our information compromised. As new technology continues to emerge, tech companies need to be as transparent as possible and consumers need to become more self-aware of their actions and the potential consequences connected with providing personal information.

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

The Trust Alliance has set the bar for years now.  As a member, the value I have received, as well as the value my organization has received, has been more than significant.  The concepts that the Trust Alliance presents have been great fire-starter conversations within the organization at all levels.

David, 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?

David Reiling is a social entrepreneur, who is an innovator in community development finance and financial inclusion. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Banks and has been in the community development banking industry for more than 25 years. Under David’s leadership, Sunrise Banks became a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a certified B-Corp, a legal Benefit Corporation, and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them below.

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jan
07

Stephen, thank you for kicking off our 2020 Trust Insights series. What is your trust insight?

Trust is both earned and given—therefore to build trust, it’s not enough to be trustworthy; you also have to be trusting.  Stephen M.R. Covey

 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

We earn trust through our character and competence—our credibility—along with our behavior.  This makes a leader trustworthy.  But consider this:  you could have two trustworthy people working together, and no trust between them . . . if neither person is willing to extend trust to the other. 

While I believe most leaders today recognize the need to be trustworthy, I’m not sure if most recognize the equally vital need to be trusting.  And that’s where I think we’re got to put special focus in our leadership work by learning to lead out in extending trust (smartly) to others.

And it’s the leader’s job to go first.  Someone needs to go first; that’s what leaders do—leaders go first.  Yes, there’s risk in trusting people.  But there’s also risk in not trusting people.  And in today’s collaborative world, filled with multiple generations and characterized by disruption, not trusting people is quite often the greater risk.

Extending trust to others not only improves performance, it also generates a reciprocity of trust: when we give trust, people receive it and return it.  When we withhold it, they withhold it. 

Indeed, the act of extending trust to others is the defining act of leadership.  It’s a game-changer, both for the leader extending the trust and for the person being trusted.  Indeed, to be trusted is the most inspiring form of human motivation. 

That’s why the first job of a leader is to inspire trust, and the second job is to extend it.

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

I recently presented at the University of Missouri with David Novak, former CEO of Yum! Brands for over 16 years.  David validated the impact of applying this approach of leading out in extending trust to others as he shared with me his experience of when he first took the job as President of KFC and inherited a situation where there was massive distrust, and even hostility, between the corporation and the franchisees.

In his own words, he said:  “My first official act as president was to get together with my executive team and let them know things had to change…. I said, ‘I want you to know something.  I love working with franchisees.  And from now on we’re going to trust our franchisees.”

From this decision to extend trust, new ideas, collaboration and innovation began to emerge from the franchisees and new products resulted from it.  The business experienced a dramatic turnaround in both results and culture. 

Novak continues: “If you ask the finance people what ignited the business, they will tell you it was the new products, but my answer would be that it was the triumph of the human spirit.  It all started with one simple decision: to trust franchisees.  That opened the way for them to trust me and the corporation in return, and together we unleashed the power of our people to succeed.”

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

On balance, given the current state of our society and politics, I believe it’s worsening.  And the internet, social media, and 24/7 connectivity immediately highlights untrustworthy behavior and often exacerbates the challenges we face.  The danger of a low-trust world is that it tends to perpetuate itself.  When we see scandals, corruption, self-serving and untrustworthy behavior, we tend to become more careful, guarded and suspicious because none of us want to get burned.  Distrust and suspicion tend to create more distrust and suspicion, and we can find ourselves perpetuating a vicious downward cycle.  Distrust is contagious.

But thankfully, trust is also contagious.  And there are increasing actions by leaders and organizations and movements that are seeking to counteract this decline in trust.  Both because it’s the right thing to do, and also because it’s the economic thing to do.  In other words, there’s a compelling business case for trust. 

And the internet, social media and 24/7 connectivity can also immediately highlight the numerous positive actions being taken by leaders and organizations everywhere to model trust, trustworthiness, transparency, integrity, service and contribution—ranging from ethics initiatives to good governance frameworks to effective leadership development in establishing high-trust cultures within organizations, among countless efforts.

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

Yes, I do believe with all the changes and challenges going on in our world and in society that there is, in many ways, a crisis of trust.  There’s a lot of data that would back that up. 

But I also believe that simultaneously, and paradoxically, there is also a “renaissance of trust” taking place.  A renaissance of trust in the sense of having people, leaders, organizations, and movements that are saying, in effect, “there is a better way to lead, a better way to operate.”  And they’re modeling the way, and pointing out to others a better way.  I believe Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is one of many such organizations.

So the paradox is that in the midst of the crisis of trust, there’s simultaneously a renaissance of trust taking place.

I hope to be a co-catalyst, with countless others, in helping to bring about this renaissance of trust.

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

I like to think that Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is part of the renaissance of trust.  It brings together like minded leaders, practitioners, thought leaders, and organizations to focus their best thinking and energies on how to bring attention to this critical currency of trust—and how to increase trust in our lives, our relationships, our organizations, and our society.

I like being part of and aligned with such an effort that’s so vital to my personal and professional mission to help increase trust in the world.

Stephen, 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?

Stephen M. R. Covey is The New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, which has been translated into 22 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.  He is co-author of the #1 Amazon bestseller Smart Trust.

Stephen is the former President & CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which became, at the time, the largest leadership development company in the world.  A Harvard MBA, Stephen co-founded and currently leads FranklinCovey’s Trust Practice. 

Stephen has taught trust in 55 countries to leaders and organizations, spanning business, government, education, healthcare, and NGO sectors.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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