Posts Tagged ‘Linda Locke’




A spate of corporate crises in 2015 have only served to fuel the long-term fire of low organizational trust. Under the theory that trust starts at the top and trickles down, we asked our Alliance Members and Top Thought Leaders how Boards of Directors can be the catalyst to drive organizational trust in the right direction in 2016.

Our readers will find twelve suggestions below:


Boards must replace fear with trust:

A trust-based culture increases morale, productivity, innovation, speed, agility, pride in the workplace, value to the customer and sustained high performance.

Edward Marshall, The Marshall Group


Boards must widen the scope of their membership:

Diverse boards bring different and new types of expertise and perspectives, increasing the range of topics discussed, and most important, encouraging open, candid and provocative discussions.

Nadine Hack, beCause Global Consulting


Boards and CEOs must be proactive:

Boards can and should lead certain functions for the firm from defining the desired culture to involvement in strategy development. They should not be passive monitors.

Bob Vanourek, Triple Crown Leadership


Board members must have authentic conversations:

They must be provided with sufficient information; a safe space that protects privacy and rejects behaviors to intimidate, ridicule or insult; and enough time to explore systemic issues without jumping to conclusions.

Alain Bolea, Business Advisors Network


Boards must avoid entrenching polarized attitudes:

Boards must have synergy. Look for warning signs in communications including “we versus they” or “if only we can get them to do this.”

Bob Whipple, Leadergrow


Board members must ask the tough (ethical) questions…and act on the answers:

Tie compensation and bonuses to ethical leadership metrics as well as financial performance.

Donna C. Boehme, Compliance Strategists


Boards must demand management accountability:

Mission, purpose, values, culture, strategy, business model and brand must be thoughtfully defined, activated and aligned to create a coherent whole.

Roger Bolton, Arthur Page Society


Boards must align their business agenda with societal expectations:

Board members must have an unmistakable sensitivity to the societal issues of the day. Capabilities must be aligned to build a better world AND a better company.

Doug Conant, Conant Leadership


Boards must speak with candor:

The canned, compliance-approved double-talk and corporate window dressing must be replaced. It is, at best, a short-term unsustainable business strategy, and hiding behind philanthropic efforts simply doesn’t work. Boards must build cultures of authentic long-term trust, practice it holistically, and regularly communicate it to all stakeholders.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Trust Across America


Boards must kill the evening before dinner:

Instead take a small group of front-line or mid-level employees to dinner in an informal setting without the presence of other corporate executives.

Robert Galford, Center for Leading Organizations


Board must understand their organization’s relationship with their stakeholders:

Take surveys, monitor social and legacy media, and share information across the organization; track the emotions of issues, events and topics, follow changes in the environment; engage and address concerns.

Linda Locke, Standing Partnership


Boards must develop their own crisis plan:

Enumerate what kinds of actions will be taken for different issues, their crisis strategy and who will be designated to play “first string.”

Davia Temin, Temin and Company


What would you add to these recommendations? Drop me a note at

Dozens more suggestions like this can be found in Trust, Inc: A Guide for Boards and C-Suites and in our brand new 2016 annual poster Weekly Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust



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According to newly released data from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer the world has witnessed “an alarming evaporation of trust across all institutions, reaching the lows of the Great Recession in 2009. Trust in government, business, media and NGOs in the general population is below 50 percent in two-thirds of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan. Informed public respondents are nearly as distrustful, registering trust levels below 50 percent in half of the countries surveyed.”

“There has been a startling decrease in trust across all institutions driven by the unpredictable and unimaginable events of 2014,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman

Many global experts claim that “trust” is the issue of the decade and they may be right. Our society continues to be plagued by breaches of trust in business, government, academia, medicine, sports and the media, to name just a few.  But behind every trust violation is an individual or a team that has allowed it to occur. There is no doubt that low trust comes with hard costs to society and its citizens.



Is There a Silver Lining? Yes indeed. Many thought leaders are placing trust on their daily docket and teaching others through their actions and words.  On January 26 via TRUST! Magazine winter issue, Trust Across America – Trust Around the World will be releasing its 5th annual Top Thought Leaders in Trust, recognizing approximately 100 global trust researchers, consultants, writers and/or business leaders. Today we announce 15 honorees that have been continuously recognized by our program for their thought leadership over the past five years, and are receiving our Lifetime Achievement Award.


Please join us in congratulating the following outstanding individuals:

Patricia Aburdene

Hank Boerner

Stephen M.R. Covey

Jed Emerson

Leslie Gaines Ross

Robert Galford

Mary Gentile

Bill George

Charles H. Green

Jim Kouzes

Linda Locke

Edward Marshall

Jeffrey Seglin

Frank Sonnenberg

Robert Whipple

Well done ladies and gentlemen!

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

Our 2015 Poster, 52 Weeks of Activities to Increase Organizational Trust is available to those who would like to support our work by making a small donation.

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.


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Late last year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World  published the first in a planned series of award-winning books.  TRUST INC., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset brings together the wisdom of 32 experts. Six months later we released our second book, Trust Inc. A Guide for Boards & C-SuitesIn this book, sixty experts have joined forces to offer 100 strategies.

Throughout the month of August, we will be featuring 31 essays from our second book. Each stands alone as an excellent resource in guiding Boards and C-Suites on driving a trust agenda at the highest level in the organization, and provides tools for those who choose to implement trust-building programs in their organization.

This twelfth essay in our series brings advice from  Linda Locke, a corporate reputation management expert and Senior Vice President at Standing PartnershipLocke previously served as the group head and senior vice president for Reputation and Issues Management for MasterCard Worldwide. Linda is a 2014 Top Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business and a member of the Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts.


Three Ways to Build Trust

Trust-building is not a one-way road. I wish I had a dollar bill – okay a $50 bill – for every organization that asked me to improve perceptions by changing its name, buying advertising, or writing checks to charities.

Trust is the currency of organizational success. Strong trust enables organizations to achieve their goals; lack of trust can make it impossible. Trust can be built or destroyed several ways.

Direct experiences: Examine the experiences people have with your organization. Is customer service satisfying? Do you embrace every touch point as an opportunity to build trust through engagement? Or, are customer service calls an irritant? At the end of each engagement would the customer agree that his or her perspective was important?

What others say: In a connected world we are influenced by strangers. We actively seek input from people we think share our perspective or needs – including from legacy media, on networks and forums, and in conversations with our friends. A company that wants to build trust should listen to the public dialogue about itself and its industry, identify what drives perceptions, and share information throughout the organization to influence decision-making.

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

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

I hope you have enjoyed this next sneak peak into our second book. If this brief look behind the door has been helpful, follow this link to order both of our books online.

And for those who want to catch up on the series, a quick reference on what’s been covered so far this month:

August 1: There’s a Reason Why We Call Them Trustees explains why being an “absentee landlord” doesn’t work.

August 2: Kill the Evening Before Dinner and take a small group of front line employees to dinner instead.

August 3: In Head of Business- Hope for the World we introduce the Winston “V” Model.

August 4: Reputation vs. Trust and why leaders should care more about the latter.

August 5: C-Suite Must Speak With a V.O.I.C.E. of Trust, a new communications model.

August 6: It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way You Do It) discusses an organization’s core values and traits.

August 7: Superficial CEOs and Their Boards talks about the fiduciary responsibility of board members.

August 8: Headline: Be the Leaders Others Will Follow we learn about consistency between actions and words.

August 9: Towards a Mindset for Corporate Responsibility requiring a shift in mindset on the part of boards.

August 10: Warning: Don’t Drown in the Slogan Swamp explores the (mis)use of slogans in corporate America.

August 11: Trust in the Boardroom in creating competitive advantage.

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

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

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


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

  1. Why Trust Matters- read our blog of July 18 to find out Why Trust Matters
  2. Trust in Practice- read our blog of July 18 for Trust in Practice from Apple to Africa
  3. Trustworthy Leadership- read our blog of July 19 for Secrets of Trustworthy Leadership
  4. Building Trustworthy Teams- read our blog of July 20 for five great strategies
  5. Restoring Trust (today’s blog post)
  6. The Future of Trust

Over a six day period, our blog will extract highlights from these chapters. Each strategy stands alone as an excellent resource in helping leaders understand why trust matters, and provides tools for those who choose to implement trust building programs in their organization. Today we take a closer look at 4 strategies for Restoring Trust including one for the financial industry.

Join Patricia Aburdene as she outlines “Five Strategies to Maximize The Power of Trust”

Today, people are starting to see that restoring trust is vital to the healthy economic growth on which humanity depends for economic security, innovation, wellbeing, a clean environment, and the freedom to pursue happiness and self-expression. The question is: how does business anchor trust into daily operations? I propose five strategies, with examples and case studies to illustrate each. They are:

  1. Fully Recognize the Economic Power of Trust  
  2. Build Trust into the Business Model
  3. Cultivate Trust by Deepening the Conversation
  4. Restore Consumer Trust
  5. Profit from the Power of Trust 


Linda Locke discussed the roles of “Trust, Emotion and Corporate Reputation”

A reputational crisis is one in which trust in the organization is undermined. Reputation may be an organization’s most valuable asset, but its inherent intangibility may make it the most difficult asset to manage. This explains why CEOs and Boards of Directors consider it a perplexing challenge that keeps them up at night. (4)

Key to that challenge is understanding the emotions that drive stakeholders’ expectations. Leaders often mismanage trust and reputation because they fail to think and communicate in emotional terms. 


In his essay James Lukaszewski addresses “Building Trust is Tougher than Ever: A Trust Manifesto for Leaders”

 So far in the 21st Century, the role of top management and leadership has changed in seven remarkable ways: (the first 3 are listed below)

  1. The growing global pressure for financial performance continues to distort leadership decision-making.
  2. More people and organizations are looking over a boss’ or leader’s shoulder than ever before providing more pressure and less cover for management mistakes and bad decisions.
  3. More critics from more quarters, including an increasing chorus of non-government organizations, special interest groups, and tougher government oversight, keep leaders in the stressful target zone.


And finally, in “Rebuilding Trust in the Financial Markets” Davia Temin outlines the steps required to do so.

So, despite a broad stock market rally since the financial crisis officially ended, public animosity towards banks and investment banks has not abated. In fact, if anything, it has deepened. And non-banks such as Wal-Mart and Facebook – in which consumers have far greater trust – have begun to fill in the void. Is this the death knell of the financial services industry? Have we gone from “Too Big to Fail,” to “Failure is Inevitable?”

What can be done?  And, even if banks have the will, is it possible to rebuild trust in financial institutions today?


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

If this brief look behind the door has been helpful, follow this link to order the book online.

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

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

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


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News Release

For Immediate Release

For Additional Information contact:

Barbara Kimmel

Executive Director

Trust Across America



Trust in Business Essential for 2013:

Global Experts Join Forces to Combat Trust Crisis


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

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

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

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

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

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



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This week Linda Locke from Reputare Consulting shared some thoughts and observations from the Reputation Institute’s Annual Conference in Rio. We thought our readers would be interested in Linda’s insights.

Notes from the Reputation Institute’s Annual International Conference on Corporate Reputation, Brand Identity and Competitiveness

Linda Locke

Linda Locke is the principal of Reputare (rep-u-ta-re) Consulting, a corporate reputation consulting practice. She began the firm after a 14-year career at MasterCard International where she oversaw global reputation management as SVP and group head. She is a regular speaker on corporate reputation and recently spoke at the Reputation Institute’s 14th annual international conference on Corporate Reputation, Brand, Identity, and Competitiveness. Its theme was:
The Sustainability Imperative: A strategic role for reputation management.

Q. Why did you go to Rio?
A. I thought the theme was very timely given the current business environment. I think the notion of sustainability as a core organizing focus for rebuilding trust is a relevant one, but the definition varies widely.

Q. Do you think sustainability should be the key focus for a business wishing to rebuild trust?
A. Americans often define sustainability differently than other parts of the world. We tend to think of nature and the environment, whereas many others define it as connected to social justice. But as we coalesce around the idea of sustainability as a broader topic, I think it offers relevant framing for the intersection where what is good for business is also good for society. Outside the US, though, I think many people view the notion of sustainability as a challenge to free market capitalism.

Q. Give me an example of the definitions of sustainability
A. One speaker referred to sustainability as another name for democracy, and social and economic justice. One drew a venn diagram showing the intersection of humanism and capitalism.

Q. What are the implications of a sustainability strategy for a company wishing to build trust?
A. Charles Fombrun, the founder of RI, talked about how corporations wishing to build trust need to think about not what they want to say to the world but what the world wants to hear from us. Also a number of speakers talked about how making money is not an impediment to building trust – and the notion that stakeholders want companies to do both is a key issues.

Q. The Reputation Institute collects some interesting data on reputation and trust. Anything new at the conference?
A. For the first time RI created a global reputation Pulse report that identifies companies with the same global footprint, and then ranked the reputation of those companies. The study released showed that Google and Sony have the best reputations among the 25 or so companies rated.

Q. What are the obstacles to a company wishing to build trust?
A, One of the interesting ideas was from Professor Cees van Riel (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University) who talked about the need to reduce fear. He called “corporate silence” an impediment as managers are often afraid they will lose face if they don’t know all the answers, and people lack courage to raise dissenting voices. Rebuilding trust will require companies to do the right thing, but also to do things right, according to Charles Fombrun, and that’s why internal alignment is a key issue.

Q. You have spent much of your career focused on financial services. That is an industry with severe trust issues. What do you think that industry needs to do to rebuild trust?

A. When I was in financial services I commissioned quite a bit of research on industry perception studies and what became clear in the US, and clear in many countries around the world is that banks should focus on two primary issues: ethics and fairness, as defined by the end users of banking services.

Linda Locke, Principal
Reputare Consulting

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