Posts Tagged ‘Randy Conley’


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Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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

Trust doesn’t “just happen.” Randy Conley





Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

I’ve found that people think trust just sort-of evolves naturally over time, as if through some relationship osmosis. The thinking goes that the longer you know and interact with someone, the more you grow to trust them. That leaves the development of trust to happenstance, and for most people, they don’t think about trust in a relationship until it’s been broken.

A better way is to approach building trust with purpose and intention, and to realize that it’s a skill that can be developed. Trust is based on perceptions, and those perceptions are formed by the behaviors we use. If we behave in trustworthy ways, we’ll build trust with others. If we use behaviors that erode trust with others, then we won’t be trusted. It’s pretty straight-forward in that regard. If trust is based on perceptions, the challenge becomes whose perception is the correct one? That’s why it’s important to have a common definition of trust. Since trust can be so subjective, having a common understanding of what trust is and isn’t, allows organizational team members to be on the same page regarding how they can build trust in their relationships.


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

I worked with the CEO of a mid-western steel manufacturer and his leadership team to define what trust means for their organization. Trust was one of their core values, but they didn’t have a common language or understanding about what that looked like in practice. They adopted our ABCD framework as their definition of trust, which allowed them to communicate to all employees that when they talk about trust, they are referring to team members demonstrating they are Able, Believeable, Connected, and Dependable, and knowing the behaviors that support each of those four elements.


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

In a general sense, the climate of trust seems to be worsening. Society is becoming more polarized over political issues and the pace of change driven by technology is making it difficult for people to adapt. The seeds of distrust are planted when people begin to experience doubt about the intentions of others, which grows into an active suspicion, anxiety, fear, and ultimately self-protection. When people get to a state of self-protection, they are unwilling to take the risk of extending trust.

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

Generally we do have a crisis of trust, but more specifically, we have a crisis of untrustworthy leaders. At its most fundamental level, trust is an interpersonal dynamic, and organizational leaders need to take more responsibility, and hold themselves to a higher level of accountability, to build and maintain trust with their stakeholders.


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

My involvement in the Trust Alliance has benefited me by learning from other experts in the field. Their wisdom has sharpened my thinking about trust and encouraged me to consider viewpoints I may not have considered had I not been part of this community. I, and hopefully other members, have mutually benefited from the support and encouragement we offer each other.


Randy, 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?

Randy Conley is Vice President & Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is Blanchard’s subject matter expert in the field of trust, co-author of Blanchard’s Building Trust training program, and works with organizations around the globe helping them build trust in the workplace. Trust Across America has recognized Randy with a Lifetime Achievement Award as a Top Thought Leader in Trust and he is a founding member of the Trust Alliance. named Randy a Top 100 Leadership Speaker & Thinker and American Management Association included him in their Leaders to Watch in 2015 list. He holds a Masters Degree in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego.


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Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Brand Trust has become a “big deal” for marketers in 2019.

While some define brand trust as building trust with your customers and consumers, not everyone agrees.

A recent article in Adweek called Consumer’s Trust in Brands Has Fallen to a New Low highlights the confusion that often arises when “talking trust” from a brand standpoint, or any point for that matter. This particular article ran the “building trust gamut” from:

  • Elevating trust with consumers
  • Through data privacy 
  • Relationship building
  • To increasing transparency
  • Meeting the needs of millennials and Get Z
  • And even being good corporate citizens.

I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a pretty tall and confusing trust order.

So I asked the members of our Trust Council to read the article and share their professional observations about what brand trust is and what it isn’t. Here’s what five members had to say:

Bart Alexander, a seasoned CSR professional opined that most consumers, including young adults, are still choosing products and services based on functional attributes more than responsibility performance of the parent company. Similarly, most investors still seek to maximize total return rather than focus on long-term sustainability performance. But we may well be on the cusp of a tipping point where the approaches referenced in the article become mainstream. At the same time, we must acknowledge that most of the economy is continuing to operate on far more traditional views about value.

Nadine Hack, a leadership consultant and educator, concurs. All of this activity makes me wonder (hopefully, yet cautiously) if we may have finally reached a tipping point where corporate social responsibility is something businesses must act on, not just talk about.

Randy Conley at Ken Blanchard adds that in the digital world, organizations are having to constantly make deposits in the “trust bank” of their customers, because sooner or later, there will be an instance where trust is broken. It’s not a question of if they’ll break trust, but when. The vast majority of consumers are starting to realize that we only live under the illusion of privacy and data security.  At the end of the day, each of us as consumers has to decide our own comfort level of risk in sharing our information with others and trusting those individuals/organizations to keep it safe.

Linda Fisher Thornton, an ethics educator and consultant had this to say… Reputation and brand used to be considered separate things. You built your brand (what you wanted people to believe about your company) and you sought to protect the image of your brand that you had built. That approach is outdated. With social media transparency, reputation and brand have converged to the point that reputation defines and shapes the brand. People believe what they see a company doing rather than any pretty picture it has created to represent itself.The way to build trust is not to pretend to be a trustworthy brand, but to actually live it.

“The Trust Ambassador” Bob Whipple concluded with these thoughts…The thing I was reminded of is that we all need to be cognizant of the reputation of our own brands and the jeopardy we could put people in unwittingly. The real test is how diligent the company is on the front end to design a robust system and how the company reacts if and when something goes wrong. That is the test of their leadership.

Which brings us back to the question in the title of the article. What does Brand Trust mean?

I suppose it depends on one’s personal and professional perspective. If you are a marketer in 2019, apparently it’s a big deal, not unlike “purpose,” another big deal. Sadly, many of these are merely PR “campaigns” designed by those who have no subject matter expertise. The result is not only less trust, but more cynicism and confusion for both customers and consumers. 

Marketers who choose to talk about brand trust, should consider shifting their focus to helping build trustworthy and enduring brands. That’s not accomplished through data security or meeting the needs of a certain generation, and it’s certainly not the sole responsibility of the marketing department. The way trustworthy brands are built is similar to the way people build trust between themselves. It always boils down to principles and values, and either leaders, teams and organizations have them or they don’t. If brands want to be trustworthy and trusted, it’s leadership’s responsibility, along with their Board, to first clean up their own house from the inside out. Building a foundation of trust via principled leadership and trustworthy employees is the only solution to elevating brand trust. And then the marketing team can step in and craft an authentic message, not just a PR campaign.

As Bob Whipple said earlier, the real test is how diligent the company is on the front end.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. For more information on how to build authentic brand trust, contact her at 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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It’s Week #29 of 2016. This latest article is part of a series drawn from our 3rd annual 2016 Trust Poster….now hanging in hundreds of offices around the world. Get yours today!

52 Ideas That You Can Implement to Build Trust

Randy Conley offers this week’s advice. Randy is both a Top Thought Leader in Trust and a member of our Trust Alliance.

Listen with the intent to be influenced.

Listening is one of the most valuable skills a leader can employ to build trust, yet it’s also one of the most under appreciated and least developed leadership competencies.

Most leaders would agree that listening is important and they even understand many of the basics, even if they don’t practice them: don’t interrupt, give the speaker your undivided attention, ask open-ended questions to draw out more information, and paraphrase occasionally to ensure understanding. These are all necessary and valuable skills.

What’s more important, however, is your mindset and attitude about listening. You should listen with the intent of being influenced. Most of us listen with an agenda. We enter a conversation with a preconceived idea of where we want the conversation to go and the desired outcome we’re trying to achieve. That signals to the other party that what they have to say really doesn’t matter much because we’ve already made up our mind about the final decision. That’s demoralizing and erodes trust with the people we lead.

Instead, listen without an agenda. Open yourself to be influenced by what the speaker has to say. Look for opportunities to incorporate their ideas and suggestions into the final outcome. Listening in this way builds trust because it communicates to the speaker that he/she is important and what they have to say is valuable and worthy of consideration. Listening with the intent to be influenced also causes us to speak less, which is the major roadblock to effective listening.

My grandpa was fond of saying that the Lord gave us one mouth and two ears and we should use them in that proportion. Listen with the intent to be influenced and watch trust blossom in your relationships.

Will you choose to implement this valuable advice in your organization this week? If not, ask yourself “why not?”

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

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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TrustGiving 2014 Logo-Final


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

Read what Randy Conley has to say about trust and betrayal.


How Can You Give Trust When You Have Been Betrayed?

Suffering a betrayal of trust can be one of the most difficult and challenging times in your life. Depending on the severity of the offense, some people choose not to pursue recovery of the relationship. For those that do, the process of restoration can take days, weeks, months, or even years. If you choose to invest the time and energy to rebuild a relationship with someone who has broken your trust, you have to begin with forgiveness. 

As you consider forgiving someone who has betrayed your trust, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Forgiveness is a choice – It’s not a feeling or an attitude. Forgiving someone is a mental decision, a choice that you have complete control over. You don’t have to wait until you “feel” like forgiving someone.
  • Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting – You don’t have to forget the betrayal in order to forgive. You may never forget what happened, and those memories will creep in occasionally, but you can choose to forgive and move on.
  • Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate consequences – Some people are reticent to give forgiveness because somehow they think it lets the other person off-the-hook from what they did wrong. Not true. Consequences should still be enforced even if you grant forgiveness.
  • Forgiving doesn’t make you a weakling or a doormat – Forgiveness shows maturity and depth of character. If you allow repeated violations of your trust then you’re a doormat. But forgiving others while adhering to healthy boundaries is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • Don’t forgive just to avoid pain – It can be easy to quickly grant forgiveness in order to avoid conflict and pain in the relationship. This usually is an attempt at conflict avoidance rather than true forgiveness. Take the appropriate amount of time to think through the situation and what will be involved in repairing the relationship before you grant forgiveness.
  • Don’t use forgiveness as a weapon – If you truly forgive someone, you won’t use their past behavior as a tool to harm them whenever you feel the need to get a little revenge.
  • Forgiveness isn’t dependent on the other person showing remorse – Whether or not the person who violated your trust apologizes or shows remorse for their behavior, the decision to forgive rests solely with you. Withholding forgiveness doesn’t hurt the other person, it only hurts you, and it’s not going to change anything that happened in the past. Forgiveness is up to you.
  • Forgiveness is freedom – Holding on to pain and bitterness drains your energy and negatively colors your outlook on life. Granting forgiveness allows you to let go of the negative emotions that hold you back and gives you the ability to move forward with freedom and optimism.

Forgiveness is the first step in rebuilding a relationship with someone who has betrayed your trust.  As we head into the holiday season, TRUSTGiving2014 is an ideal time to take action to repair those low-trust relationships you’ve been tolerating. The choice is yours. Will you choose to forgive?


Randy Conley is the Vice President of Client Services & Trust Practice Leader for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He works with clients around the globe helping them design & deliver training and consulting solutions that build trust in the workplace and oversees Blanchard’s client delivery operations. He has been named a Top 100 Thought Leader in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Randy holds a Masters Degree in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego. You can follow Randy on Twitter @RandyConley where he shares thoughts on leadership and trust.

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.

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 (today’s post)
  4. Building Trustworthy Teams
  5. Restoring Trust
  6. The Future of Trust

Over a six day period, our blog will extract highlights from these chapters. Each one 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 Trustworthy Leadership via the alphabet and other great strategies.

Randy Conley teaches us “The ABCDs of Leading with Trust”

Able—Being Able is about demonstrating competence. One-way leaders demonstrate their competence is by having the expertise needed to do their jobs. 

Believable—A Believable leader acts with integrity. Dealing with people in an honest fashion by keeping promises, not lying or stretching the truth, and not gossiping are ways to demonstrate integrity. Believable leaders also have a clear set of values that have been articulated to their direct reports and they behave consistently with those values—they walk the talk. 

Connected—Connected leaders show care and concern for people, which builds trust and helps to create an engaging work environment. Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies® has identified “connectedness with leader” and “connectedness with colleague” as 2 of the 12 key factors involved in creating employee work passion, and trust is a necessary ingredient in those relationships. 

Dependable—Being Dependable and maintaining reliability is the fourth element of trust. One of the quickest ways to erode trust is by not following through on commitments. 


Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link show us how to “Lead Out in Extending Trust”

When managers don’t extend trust, people often tend to perpetuate vicious, collusive downward cycles of distrust and suspicion. As a result, they become trapped in a world where people don’t trust each other— where management doesn’t trust employees and employees don’t trust management; where suppliers don’t trust partners and partners don’t trust suppliers; where companies don’t trust customers and customers don’t trust companies; where marriage partners don’t trust each other; and where parents don’t trust their children and children don’t trust their parents. 


In Leading with Trust: Learning from Mistakes Amy Lyman looks inside two companies.

The stories of mistakes made, lessons learned and the success that followed, along with the humor of the pink erasers, has deepened the process of learning from mistakes that has helped EILEEN FISHER to be so successful.

The story from Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder illustrates the powerful impact that a brief encounter can have on our lives and of our ability to learn from the mistakes of others long past the time of the incident. It is also a powerful reminder to leaders that any encounter can be an opportunity to build up, or tear down, trust.

Leaders who learn from their mistakes and share their stories will develop committed rather than compliant followers. When they ask for more from people they will have a green light rather than dragging feet. Leading with trust works.


In Ethical Leader as Ethics Coach Chris Macdonald lays out a plan for becoming an ethics coach:

1) Learn the basic vocabulary of ethics; educate yourself on the terminology that experts in the field have found useful in making key distinctions and expressing important values. You can’t coach others on ethics if you don’t know how to talk about the topic.

2) Learn what you can about the known barriers to effective ethical conversations about ethics. Many people find it hard to talk about ethics. Find out why, and do what you can to start breaking down those barriers.

3) Think about what you do – and what you can do – to make your workplace a place where employees are empowered to make ethical decisions. Is your organization one where ethics is on the table? Do employees feel trusted to make decisions and to take a range of ethical factors into consideration?

4) Reflect frequently not just on the substance of the choices you make, but also on the underlying values and principles and how you would explain them to others. Even when the right thing seems obvious to you, it might not seem obvious to others.

5) Practice talking about ethics. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That means doing more than reading up on the topic. 



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

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft

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

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.


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

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

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

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

May we continue to make progress in 2014.

With much gratitude and trust!

Barbara Brooks Kimmel

PS- This poster prints 11×14.




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

Randy Conley: I’ve been a part of The Ken Blanchard companies for nearly seventeen years, where I hold two roles: Director of Client Services and Trust Practice Leader. I think my dual role allows me to have a “real world” perspective when I work with clients to help them improve their abilities to build trust in their leadership practices. I have a Master’s Degree in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego, and although I haven’t written a book (yet!), I do quite a bit of writing on my blog ( On the personal side, my wife and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year and our relationship has definitely been a living laboratory on the importance of trust in relationships!

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

Randy Conley: I would define trustworthy business behavior as “doing the right thing” regardless of the circumstances. This applies to individual leaders as well as organizations as a whole. Of course there are many different components that fall under the umbrella of “doing the right thing” and that’s the beauty of the trust alliance Trust Across America has put together. All of us have strengths and passions in the different aspects of trustworthy business behavior and together we can make a big difference in organizations around the world.

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

Randy Conley: My specific focus is the component of interpersonal trust. I believe that trustworthy business practices start at the individual level. How do you and I build trust as leaders and members of an organization? Once you’re clear on that, then I think you can apply the same principles and practices to the other areas of your business such as organizational governance, sustainability, public relations, brand management, etc.

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

Randy Conley: Some companies, not enough, but some are starting to “get it” when it comes to understanding the value of being trustworthy organizations. They are realizing that being trustworthy is not just the right thing to do in terms of ethical business practices, but there are bottom-line economic benefits to being trustworthy.

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

Randy Conley: When you look at the various surveys and reports it appears that the climate of trust isn’t improving. It’s been at historic lows and is continuing to stay there. Leaders have to take specific, proactive steps to build and maintain trust with their stakeholders. Trust doesn’t “just happen” over time. It takes intentional effort over an extended period of time.

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

Randy Conley: I think Whole Foods is a good example. Their CEO, John Mackey, is a proponent of trustworthy business behavior and puts specific focus on it as part of how he runs his company. I also work with a range of companies, from those in the Fortune 500 to small businesses that understand the importance of trust and are implementing training and development programs to create cultures of trust.

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

Randy Conley: The last thing that I would add is that I don’t see a more important leadership competency than that of building trust. Trust is the foundation of any successful and healthy relationship and the most successful leaders in the 21st century are going to be those that have the ability to create trustworthy relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Barbara Kimmel: Randy, it’s always a pleasure hearing your insights on building cultures of trustworthy business. Thank you for your time.

Randy Conley can be reached at

and more information about The Ken Blanchard Companies can be found at:

Do you have questions or comments? Email

Barbara Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America, global leaders in information, standards, data and Who’s Who in trustworthy business.






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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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