Posts Tagged ‘trust across america’


Announcing New Programs Designed to Move Trust from Talk to Action


2023 Top Thought Leaders in Trust  Nominations are now open and we look forward to bringing this program back after a one year pandemic hiatus.

More information here.





Trust Academy: Real Cases Real Solutions in Trust & Ethics You are invited to sharpen your pencils and submit your cases. An urgent need exists for a global case study library to enable leaders and organizations to access solutions to trust and ethics challenges. Trust Academy cases will be published in a master library on our website commencing in January 2023. Contact me at for participation instructions.

And in case you missed it new material on our website including:


Results of our 10 year study on trustworthy public companies  Read more here.





A brand new infographic on Trust and Leadership

Special thanks to David Grossman at The Grossman Group. View it here.




An updated timeline of TAA-TAW programs going back almost 15 years!

Read more here.



Did you know that over 170,000 global citizens have now Tapped Into Trust with hundreds taking our 1 minute/1 question quiz.




Thanks for stopping by.

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

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Trust Across America-Trust Around the World announces its

Most Trustworthy Public Companies 2022



Published annually for the past 12 years via our Corporate Integrity Monitor, these are a few highlights from our current rankings of the S&P 500.

  • We use our proprietary model called the FACTS® Framework to create the rankings.
  • Companies do not participate in our research nor do we receive compensation.
  • This year over 200 companies in the S&P 500 received a failing grade below 60%.
  • The average score of our “Top 10” companies this year is a 73%.
  • The 10 companies comprise 6 of 16 business sectors.

For more information contact

Trust Across Across America-Trust Around the World

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I recently published an article titled Twelve Ways to Kill Stakeholder Trust. It explained how “check the box” practices will not fix trust. Why is that? Because trust is interpersonal and starts with your people who do not fit into square boxes. Leaders who are counseled to perform trust work arounds, while calling them trust, should have no expectations of trust improving. In fact, they are elevating organizational risk by failing to commit to being consistently and continuously involved in trust building activities. Said another way, those who choose to delegate expensive box checking activities and treat trust as a soft skill will continue to build on their current trust deficit.

The article concluded with a promise to provide some actionable steps that business leaders can take to elevate trust. I asked some of our Trust Alliance members to provide their suggestions and selected the twelve most actionable responses. They are offered in no particular order. Each action stands alone as a powerful step in elevating trust. Pay careful attention to the words highlighted in bold. Read the actions published on Medium by clicking here.

Find out how you can elevate trust the “right” way.

Start by answering this one question (it will take no more than one minute and your response is 100% anonymous) and compare your response to 700 others.

And then learn more at this link.

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

How many of the following trust substitutes are present in your organization? The larger the organization the more prevalent these work arounds are becoming and the faster they are multiplying, crushing any hopes for long-term sustainable trust.

These days it does not take much to lose stakeholder trust given that most organizations have failed to build that essential trust bank account. Now, facing a low balance, many companies are scrambling to find a quick and easy deposit into their account. That is not how trust is built. There are no quick fixes and work arounds are dangerous, further eroding trust despite what leaders are being told. These trust substitutes fail time after time and then like clockwork a new one takes its place. If history has taught any lessons, they will also fail. And how many times should the same mistake be forgiven? For example, excessive employee turnover currently occurring in some companies tells me that the time has come to stop treating trust like a soft skill that can be taken for granted. The business case for trust has been made. It is time to start paying attention to it.

Are you part of the problem?

In 2010 I approached a colleague, a relatively well known consultant to senior management and boards, who had recently published a new book. In it he highlighted one of his clients as a role model for others in their industry. Our FACTS® Framework data told another story (see chart below.) I approached him in confidence, shared our data, and suggested he present it to his client. His response shocked me. “Why would I bring this “bad” news to my client? It might be the end of my very lucrative consulting contract. I’ve got college bills to pay.” Did I fail to mention that his specialty was/is crisis repair/reputation management? That was over 10 years ago. What has changed?

Expensive Trust “Cures” that Will Kill Any Hope of Trust

The following is a list of some of the most egregious trust violations happening every day under the leadership of those who should know better. If you find this list offensive please think about why you are having that reaction. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

  1. Unwillingness to acknowledge or take ownership of trust. Delegating it to corporate communications or the PR department, or these days maybe compliance or audit.
  2. Excluding freedom of expression and opinions from the “Diversity & Inclusion” program.
  3. Talking about the importance of data privacy while installing the latest surveillance software upgrades on subordinates computers (and referring to them as subordinates.)
  4. Putting customers before employees.
  5. Telling customers how important they are while they wait on hold.
  6. Filling the next Board seat with an ESG “guru” instead of the most competent candidate. And speaking of ESG, checking that box with carbon offsets.
  7. Following massive layoffs with big annual raises and bonuses for those in the C-Suite.
  8. In the interest of profitability, overlooking the long-term supply chain risk of relying on foreign manufacturers while local suppliers are forced out of business. (The current drug supply debacle is an excellent learning opportunity.)
  9. Treating trust like a short-term “soft serve” flavor of the day instead of a long-term business strategy.
  10. Making the compliance budget the largest and hiring more compliance staff.
  11. Taking a “stand” not because of a belief in the cause but because PR thinks it’s a good idea.
  12. Spending big money on a great place award or better yet a motivational speaker, while employees are told there is no budget for salary increases. (And maybe employees completing satisfaction surveys should not be coached on which boxes to check and their responses should remain anonymous.)

Kick Those Trust Busting Recommendations to the Curb

So what should should business leaders do?

  • Start by refusing to make these trust busting business decisions and challenge the advisors who are recommending them. Remember, they are in the business of creating dependency.
  • Assign an internal team to review the trust violations occurring in your organization and fix them.
  • Make each “fix” your next BIG PR announcement. It will be meaningful and your stakeholders will applaud and reward you. Rinse and repeat.
  • Do not allow anyone to tell you that any of these violations can be ignored.
  • Do not shrug this list off because your peer group is choosing to do so. The longer you do, the less trust you will have. You may have lots of “friends at the top” but your trust bank account will remain low and the next crisis may just be your last.
  • Take this list seriously. Do not toss it until every violation is fixed.

Getting back to the story at the beginning of the article. This is the historical FACTS® data on the referenced company.

Somewhere in the middle of the chart the company paid one of the largest fines in the industry’s history. My guess is the same consultant was called in on the reputation repair team.

Our next article will provide some actionable and workable ideas to build trust. We are gathering the best suggestions from our Trust Alliance members and Top Thought Leaders and will be sharing them soon.

Contact us for more information.

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Introducing the Trust Across America-Trust Around the World 

2022 Playbook for Building Systemic Trust…




These turbulent times have created a unique opportunity for enlightened and ethical leaders to foster an inspiring, inclusive, innovative, engaged, safe and enduring work environment. That means taking trust beyond talk to action, and placing it in the center of the business strategy.

The twelve principles comprising The “Art” of Trust™” were collaboratively created over the course of many years by a group of leading global trust scholars and practitioners who are members of our Trust Alliance. They have been tested and used with dozens of teams and organizations. In fact, these universal principles, known by the acronym Tap Into Trust or TAP, have been accessed over 150,000 times. They provide a common language for discussing the behaviors that build high stakeholder trust, beginning internally and working outwards. Trust can be a learned competence. Understanding its behavioral components takes the emphasis away from arriving at a common definition and towards a common language. Our framework also provides a less threatening, concise and action friendly trust building solution.


Our 2022 playbook is designed to assist both team and organizational leaders in elevating interpersonal trust and then applying those skills to other stakeholders. Each month we will showcase one of our twelve principles, provide our monthly visual cue, a description of the behavior, team discussion questions, and additional resources including case studies. While every team faces unique trust challenges at different times, these twelve behaviors represent the most common ones that build or break trust. Sharing this playbook and having a scheduled team conversation about the monthly principle will bring the group closer to high trust by year end.

That’s our promise and our gift to you for 2022. Visit our website, hit the contact button and send us a note, or email The playbook is free and will be delivered monthly via Constant Contact.

Let’s get started!

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


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Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

announces its Most Trustworthy Public Companies 2021


Published annually in June via our Corporate Integrity Monitor, these are a few highlights from our current rankings:

  1. This is our 11th year tracking and publicly reporting on the trustworthiness of the largest public companies.
  2. Our proprietary model called the FACTS® Framework is used to analyze companies and create the rankings.
  3. Companies do not participate in our research nor do we receive compensation.
  4. This year we are reporting on the S&P 500. Microsoft is the highest ranked company to receive recognition.
  5. Since the financial crisis of 2008 FACTS® scores have remained relatively flat. This year 36% of companies in the S&P 500 received a failing grade below 60%.
  6. This year our “Top 10” companies have an average score of 76.4%.
  7. The 10 companies comprise 6 of 16 business sectors.
  8. Five of the 2021 “Top 10” were also honored in 2020.
  9. The “Top 10” companies have an average of 36.7% women on the Board, up from 33% in 2020.
  10. Five of the ten CEOs have MBAs and have been in their current position for 5 years or more.



Our research is, by order of magnitude, the most comprehensive and fact-based ongoing study of the trustworthiness of public companies. We perform a quarterly analysis and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization.

Our 2020 announcement can be accessed at this link. As of June 19, these companies collectively produced a 27.67% return to investors in approximately one year

For more information contact Barbara Kimmel, CEO, Trust Across America-Trust Around the World

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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I remember speaking with Greg Link when he and Stephen M.R. Covey were writing their book Smart Trust.

And as Bill George said in his testimonial… Nothing is more important than building trust in relationships and in organizations. Trust is the glue that binds us together. Everywhere I go I see a remarkable loss of trust in leaders, and once lost, trust is very hard to regain. I feel this loss is tearing at the fabric of society, as so many people love to blame others for their misfortunes but fail to look in the mirror at themselves.

That was 9 years ago

What has changed? In essence accountable leaders who have assumed responsibility for trust continue to reap the rewards. Sadly only the most enlightened have done so over the past decade. The majority of big business leaders have chosen to follow a highly ineffective route via a check the box trust strategy recommended by their highly compensated advisors. Why? It’s fast, easy and can be delegated. Just attach the word “trust” to the flavor of the day, check the box, and voila! Your communications team now has some great talking points. Brand trust, purpose trust, AI trust, and the latest ESG trust. Who benefits from this approach? Primarily the consultants, speakers, academics and some powerful NGOs who have joined forces in monetizing counterfeit trust. Who loses? Business leaders, employees and most external stakeholders. Simply stated, check the box trust is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It will not get you or your stakeholders to a place of trust. Instead, it will prolong the pain of low trust.

The following is a list of commonly used trust statements and approaches

I have personally heard them all. Can you identify which ones are “smart” trust?

  • We are big business and don’t budget for soft stuff like trust since it doesn’t impact our bottom line.
  • The corporate credo written on the lobby wall has trust covered.
  • We are already trustworthy since our quarterly earnings are growing.
  • We are checking all the ESG boxes and have added ESG experts to our Board of Directors, not to mention the women and other minority members. (That was last year’s misdirected trust advice.)
  • We give to charities and have an annual CSR event.
  • Our employee engagement survey has trust covered.
  • We have a great reputation.
  • We are spending “big” on wellness programs.
  • Our company has received every “Best Places” and “ethics” award.
  • Our communications efforts are focusing on diversity and inclusion.
  • Our compliance department “has trust covered.” We stay just on the “right side” of the law.
  • We always talk about trust as a core value after a crisis.
  • Every year we hire a motivational speaker to deliver an entertaining trust program.

If you answered “None of the above” you are correct. These are all popular, easy and ineffective short-term trust workarounds. And every one of them is a box checking opportunity.

In Smart Trust Covey and Link discuss 5 actions.

  • Choose to believe in trust. …
  • Start with self. …
  • Declare your intent and assume positive intent in others. …
  • Do what you say you’re going to do. …
  • Lead out in extending trust to others.

These actions are a great starting point, and there are many excellent and implementable programs and strategies that will result in smart trust. But don’t expect to know about them if you don’t ask the right questions of the right people. Paradoxically, while trust is more important than ever, those who have the power to elevate it continue to ignore not only those with the expertise, but also the steps required to ensure the trust foundation can support the structure. I call that a win/lose approach.

In the words of Covey and Link  There is a direct connection between trust and prosperity because trust always affects two key inputs to prosperity: speed and cost. In low-trust situations, speed goes down and costs go up because of the many extra steps that suspicions generate in a relationship, whereas two parties that trust each other accomplish things much quicker and, consequently, cheaper. The authors call high trust a “performance multiplier.” High trust creates a dividend, while low trust creates a wasted tax.

And don’t forget, the strength of capitalism is also its weakness.

Regardless of whether you choose to be part of the trust problem or the solution, these are a few indisputable facts:

Trust is the outcome of principled behavior.

Trust is always interpersonal.

Trust takes time to build.

Trust is built in incremental steps.

Trust is built from the inside out, not the outside in.

If leadership isn’t accountable for trust, there is no reason to assume it exists within the organization and you cannot expect it from your stakeholders in return. If you are being counseled on trust make sure those advising you have the expertise to do so. Most are good at the workarounds and smoke screens, but have no knowledge of smart trust. Also, don’t assume that someone who has written a book with the word “trust” in the title is an expert. Again, a few are but most are not.  Don’t buy into the trust “smokescreen.” It will continue to get you nowhere close to a smart trust outcome.

For more information and resources on elevating trust, please visit

Or contact us directly.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.


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Are you open minded and ready to learn?

Or do you consider yourself the smartest person in the room?



To date, over 28% of 600+ survey respondents say “Openness” is lacking in their workplace.

Openness is the seventh of *12 behaviors in our Tap Into Trust (TAP) framework having now been accessed over 150,000 times in 16 languages. 




Trust Across America-Trust Around the World created The “Art” of Trust visual “cues” to start a discussion about workplace behaviors that build and weaken stakeholder trust. Together these cues form a “Wall” of Trust to enhance learning and retention.


In building team and stakeholder trust, we describe “Openness” as follows:

We are open and ready to learn – we can be vulnerable and not have all the answers.


Our Trust Alliance members suggest the following discussion questions to elevate notice and build workplace trust.

  1. What are the existing or potential barriers that could prevent open, frank, and necessary conversations?
  2. Do we actively solicit feedback from superiors, peers, and direct reports to be sure we have the whole picture? If not, how can we improve our current feedback solicitation system?


The “Art” of Trust  is one of many resources designed for our Trust Action Project to help leaders, teams and organizations move from trust talk to ACTION in 2021 and beyond.

Would you like to build a Wall of Trust for your team? Take the first step.



Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

*TAP INTO TRUST is an acronym. The 12 behaviors are equally weighted. The weakest behaviors break the trust chain.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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How many of the following are present in your workplace?

Leaders trust their employees

Employees trust their leaders

Team members trust each other

Ethical behavior is rewarded


In most workplaces the answer may be “None.” How do we know that? Our global Survey of Workplace Trust continues to reveal trust gaps that should concern every stakeholder.

Trust is always interpersonal and the outcome of principled behavior. The reasons for low trust vary from relationship to relationship and team to team making “one size fits all” box checking impossible. The good news, trust can be a learned competence and need not be “shelved” until the next crisis, only to be used as a talking point with no followup action to support it. Instead, trust can and should be a proactive business strategy that is practiced by leadership and reinforced daily.

This past November I wrote an article for SHRM Executive Network Blog called Hiring for Trust.

Many of our Trust Alliance members including Charles H. Green, Lea Brovedani, Olivia Mathijsen and David Belden were quoted, all subject matter experts in their own right.

As I mentioned in the article… Sadly, most leadership teams and their HR professional staff have never considered the role trust plays in organizational success, beginning with hiring practices. Even sadder, working from home has now further compounded the glaring lack of trust that exists between employees and employers, making hiring even more challenging.

Hiring for trust does not just “happen” and when leadership fails to consider the role trust plays in organizational success, let alone adopt it as a core value of the organization, hiring for trust makes little to no sense. Given this all too common scenario, leaders should be prepared for new employees quickly to become disengaged and to jump ship once they realize that their personal values and those of the organization do not align.

Since the publication of this article, I have been asked numerous times for some “pointers” on the kinds of questions interviewers might ask if trust were, in fact, a core value of their organization. The list of questions provided below are drawn from some of the behaviors in our TAP Framework, the basis for our Workplace Trust Survey, that strengthen or weaken trust in a team.

Thirteen questions to consider asking if hiring for trust

  • How do you feel about telling “white” lies?
  • If you failed at achieving a goal, would you openly and candidly acknowledge it?
  • Do you feel that your values are aligned with the values of this organization? 
  • Can you provide an example of how you have recently acted with integrity in either your personal or professional life?
  • Do you consider yourself a good listener and why? 
  • Are you more competitive or more collaborative?
  • If someone on your team disagrees with you, how do you react?
  • What do you consider your top three character strengths?
  • What would keep you from having open and frank conversations?
  • Is transparency the best option if it compromises kindness?
  • Could you respect a teammate you didn’t trust?
  • Should employees feel safe to fail?
  • What ethical behavioral goals have you set for yourself?

These questions are meant to address specific trust-building behaviors like truth, accountability, purpose and respect, among others. If you are in a hiring role and can’t personally answer them or don’t know the “right” answer, Tap Into Trust for more free resources. Rest assured, if you start incorporating some of these questions into your practices you will be not only be hiring for competence but also for those character traits that build interpersonal trust.

Join over 150,000 global citizens who have accessed our behavioral principles to not only hire for trust, but to strengthen both team and organizational success.

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

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

Have you heard about The “Art” of Trust? It’s our newest tool!

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What is Integrity? 

It is choosing to do what is right not just what’s regulated or legal.

Integrity is the fourth of *12 behaviors in our Tap Into Trust (TAP) framework having now been accessed over 150,000 times in 16 languages. 

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World created The “Art” of Trust visual “cues” to start a discussion about workplace behaviors that build and weaken stakeholder trust. Together these cues form a “Wall” of Trust, telling a story to enhance learning and retention.


In the context of building team and stakeholder trust, we define “Integrity” as follows:

We do what we say – our everyday actions and talk are consistent.


To date, over 26% of our 600+ survey respondents identified “integrity” as lacking in their workplace.

Here are two discussion questions our Trust Alliance members suggest to elevate integrity and build workplace trust.

  1. Do we have and post our company’s values?  If so, do we have a system in place whereby employees are invited annually to evaluate leadership’s adherence to its posted company values? 
  2. What are some examples of our failure to act in the best interests of our customers, stakeholders and the public?


The “Art” of Trust  is one of many resources designed for our Trust Action Project to help leaders, teams and organizations move from trust talk to ACTION in 2021 and beyond.

Would you like to build a Wall of Trust for your team? Take the first step.



Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

Learn more about the Trust Action Project 2021 at this link.

*TAP INTO TRUST is an acronym. The 12 behaviors are equally weighted. The weakest behaviors break the trust chain.

Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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