Posts Tagged ‘Robert Vanourek’




It’s Week #26 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

Robert Vanourek offers this week’s advice. Bob is both a Top Thought Leader in Trust and a member of our Trust Alliance. Bob has a brand new book out called Leadership Wisdom that I highly recommend.

Have the backs of people who act for what is right.

  1. Seek those people out and tell them you appreciate their doing what’s right.
  2. Tell your colleagues you appreciate that person who acted for what’s right.
  3. Defend people who act for what’s right if they are attacked.
  4. Set an example yourself of doing what’s right to encourage others to do so as well.

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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You can develop good judgement as you do the muscles of your body –

by judicious, daily exercise.

-Grenville Kleiser-


Bob Vanourek of Triple Crown Leadership and a member of our Trust Alliance, was kind enough to contribute today’s guest blog post. Since trust is the cornerstone of all relationships, learning to trust our own judgement becomes essential.

Many folks are reluctant to trust their own judgment. They may feel they should not speak up when some alarm bell is going off in their head for a variety of reasons:

  • “It’s not my job to speak up.”
  • “I’m not in a position of leadership or authority.”
  • “I’m not smart enough on this topic.”
  • “I don’t have the experience needed to speak up.”

All these blocks are normal, but we need to learn to trust our own judgment and speak up when it is essential to do so.

Some issues are business related, like pricing or strategy. Indeed, one may need more experience on these subjects before venturing to speak up.

Other issues are values or ethics related, like being honest with a customer, or fudging the numbers in a report at the request of your boss. Here we each must have the courage to speak up, and it helps to have a strong ethical foundation.

Here are four ways to build your ethical foundation so that trusting your judgement becomes second nature.

  1. Write down your personal values. They are your moral compass. Here is a link to a free exercise to develop your own personal values:
  2. Have a small group of trusted advisors with whom you can share ethical dilemmas in confidence and gain their counsel. Under emotional stress, we can easily rationalize our behavior and begin to make ethical mistakes.
  3. Have some sanctuary place where you can reflect in solitude. Your inner voice gets shut down in our frenzied world, so find a place to meditate, hike, bike, or just relax where you can use your inner observer.
  4. Recognize it takes courage to speak up, even as a voice of one. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the willingness to proceed in the face of fear.

Trust your own judgment on ethical issues. You’ll sleep with a clear conscience.

Bob Vanourek is a former CEO of five companies and the co-author of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations. Bob has been one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business in 2013 and 2014. Contact him through his website:

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.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft914Trust front Cover

                                                                                               Coming Soon!

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

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.



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

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

Answer: No role.

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

Question #1:  How is trust in your organization?

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

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

Question #2: How do you know?

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

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

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

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

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

Now let’s take a deeper dive

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

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

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

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

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

The Costs of Low Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Deutsche Bank:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PrintND Trust CEO cvr 140602-ft914Trust front Cover

                                                                                                  Coming Soon!

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

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.



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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 sixteenth essay marks the midpoint in our series and brings advice from Bob Vanourek, the former CEO of five firms from a start-up to a billion dollar NY stock exchange turnaround. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations. He is one of Trust Across America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior and serves on its Steering Committee.  Bob’s website is 


CEO Tip: Trust Your Board as Your Ally

Some CEOs and boards have close, trusting partnerships that serve them and their firms extremely well. They are in my experience the minority.

Most CEOs I have met see the board as a group they need to “manage,” a dinner and meeting they need to prepare for, taking preciously valuable time away from running the business, which is the CEO’s real job. To many CEO’s, the board
is tolerated, professionally and courteously of course, but a group relatively uninformed about how hard it is to really run the business.

The time spent preparing for board meetings is huge. Staff reports prepared; rehearsals of PowerPoint presentations; after-meeting meetings to decipher what the board now wants and what to do to get ready for the next session.

What’s the solution? A change in attitude involving trust.

Boards no longer merely monitor the activities of a CEO and a firm. They can and should lead certain functions for the firm from defining the desired culture to involvement in strategy development. They can be a sounding board for the CEO on the lonely, difficult decisions he or she sometimes faces, especially in a time of crisis.

But this mind-flipping attitude change can only be based on the board and CEO viewing each other as trusted allies.

CEO tip: Trust your board as your ally. By trusting them more, they will trust you more, and performance will improve.


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.

August 12: Three Ways to Build Trust  and organization that are blind to the dialogue.

August 13: Lead from the Front explains why it’s important to remove the filters between leaders and employees.

August 14: Building Trust For Boards & C-Suites and why published scientific evidence is important.

August 15: (Trust) Communication & the Hiring Process discusses engaging employees in the decision.

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

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
  2. Trust in Practice
  3. Trustworthy Leadership
  4. Building Trustworthy Teams
  5. Restoring Trust
  6. The Future of Trust

For the next six days, our blog will extract highlights from each chapter. Each one can serve as an excellent resource in helping leaders understand why trust matters, and provide tools for those who choose to implement trust building programs in their organization. We know our readers love lists. Today’s blog contains five.

Charles H. Green & Barbara Brooks Kimmel discuss “Trustworthiness in Action” and offer a “Top Ten List” of how companies can increase trustworthiness.

#1 Trustworthy leadership – Very simply, a culture of trust cannot exist with an untrustworthy leader. 

#2 Transformation – Productivity and execution begin when the CEO creates a set of values and goals that are shared, accepted and adopted by all stakeholders. 

#3Tools – There are many trust tools CEOs can use to build trust with their internal and external stakeholders. These run the gamut from metrics and assessments to online surveys. 

#4 Treatment– The Golden Rule says to “treat others the way you want to be treated.” This certainly holds true for trust. 

#5 Teamwork – Teamwork leads to better decisions and better outcomes. Teams create trust, and trust creates teams.

#6 Talk – Your stakeholders need to know what steps you are taking to build a trustworthy organization. Quarterly numbers are no longer the be all and end all. 

#7 Truth – Truth-telling is at the core of trust. Any CEO who wants to build a trustworthy organization must have an extremely comfortable relationship with the truth. 

#8 Time – Building a culture of trustworthy business does not happen overnight. It takes time, maybe even years – but not decades. 

#9 Transparency – Merriam Webster defines “transparent” as visibility or accessibility of information, especially with business practices. Any CEO who thinks he or she can still hide behind a veil of secrecy need only spend a few minutes on social media reading what their stakeholders are saying. 

#10 Thoughtful – Not all stakeholders need to know the company’s trade secrets, or what the CEO had for dinner. But if your company is serious about increasing trustworthiness, consider engaging all your stakeholders in rich, thoughtful conversations. 


In “What Does a Trustworthy Company Look Like” Peter Firestein addresses how you know a trustworthy company when you see one.

By far the best assessment of whether a company is worthy of trust lies in an answer to the question: “Who trusts it?”

  • A trusted company’s shares trade at a premium to its competitors’ based on investors’ expectations of strong performance in the future. This expectation, itself, is a matter of belief in customers’ trust in its products, lenders’ trust in its judgment, and regulators’ trust in its practices.
  • When unwanted events occur, a trusted company receives the benefit of the doubt until the facts can be established. It is not assumed to be in the wrong.
  • A trusted company attracts the best available employees, helping to ensure that it will continue to hold the trust of stakeholders into the next generation.
  • A trusted company’s practices and strategies are adopted by other companies wishing to emulate its success. Those strategies enter the curricula of business schools to be studied and adapted.
  • Concentration on the continued worthiness of a trusted company is spread evenly across all levels of the company’s hierarchy. Maintaining and strengthening trust in the company is a career-long preoccupation of virtually everyone who works there.


In “Making Your Values Real to Enable Trust” Jeffrey Thomson discusses two ways to make trust tangible:

How do you make your organizational values real and foundational to building trust, organizational health, and creating great business outcomes? Two very simple suggestions:

  1. The CEO, not a committee or consultant, must set the core values.  Why? Tone at the top.  Genuine, authentic and sustained exemplary behaviors are required and should be expected from the leader and the leadership team. 
  2. Make the effort to inculcate the core values into on-going performance reviews and appraisal processes to drive regular, often tough, conversations about the behaviors (the “how”) that lead to the accomplishments (the “what”).  


In “Choosing Candor the Language of Trust” Laura Rittenhouse discusses three levels of CEO Candor.

Just Talk:  AMD 2011 Shareholder Letter Introduction

AMD enters 2012 firmly focused on becoming a solid execution engine, while positioning ourselves to take advantage of growth opportunities driven by a fundamental shift in the computing ecosystem. 

Real Talk:  Lockheed Martin 2011 Shareholder Letter Introduction

This is a milestone year for Lockheed Martin: our 100th anniversary. Our company’s success over the past century is due to the exceptional character and ingenuity of the hundreds of thousands of people who have walked through the doors of our heritage companies. As this remarkable enterprise begins its second century, we and our customers face unprecedented global security challenges and an uncertain economic environment.

Transforming Talk:  Eaton Corporation 2011 Shareholder Letter Introduction

In 1911, young entrepreneur Joseph Oriel Eaton staked his future on a transformational axle for the fledgling U.S. trucking industry. He bet upon a megatrend — that the transportation industry would become a hallmark of American industry and our economy. And he was right.


And finally Robert & Gregg Vanourek address how “Stewards Build Trust” and  provide a partial list of trust busters.

Trust is complex. Many behaviors can undermine trust. Below is a partial list of “trust busters”:

  1. Abusive behavior
  2. Accountability lacking
  3. Appreciation lacking
  4. Arbitrary use of power
  5. Blaming
  6. Commitments not met
  7. Communication poor or secretive
  8. Compensation plans encourage inappropriate behavior
  9. Controls/processes lacking or excessive
  10. Corner cutting to get results

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

If you have enjoyed this brief look behind the door, 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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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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