Posts Tagged ‘Trust Alliance’





Rahm Emanuel, besieged by angry crowds clamoring for his resignation or recall, now admits, “We have a trust problem.” Well, Duh. We think both Chicago and its Mayor have some strong and graphic lessons in trust to share with CEOs, Boards, C-Suites, CCOs, government officials, and even some of the political candidates for our nation’s highest office.

The authors have a particular interest in trust and culture development, and have carefully followed Chicago’s protests for this reason. In any organization (corporation, government agency, city or nation), trust is a precious and highly valued commodity. Trust, like all other elements comprising an organization’s culture, can’t be bought or “delegated” by its leaders, but evolves organically in direct proportion to individuals’ perception of transparency, honesty, fair play and organizational justice. Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) has offered some guidance for community leaders seeking to build a culture of trust and transparency that provides a good starting point.

Leaders of any organization always find their words and actions carefully scrutinized by their constituents including employees, voters, and others affected by their leadership. Senior leadership of companies would be well advised to think of their organization’s level of trust as the fluctuating result of the “ripple effect” of leadership’s words and actions at any given point in time. When leadership’s actions match its words, positive ripples of trust occur. Similarly, when leadership’s actions do not match its words, or do not reflect consistent values or transparency, negative ripples result. It’s human nature for employees, voters, and other constituencies to have a natural, basic hunger for organizational justice – the sense that the rules of the organization are fully transparent and apply equally to everyone. Every police force needs its citizenry to feel that its actions are moderated by protocols and rules (consistently applied), and every community hungers for leaders who act with transparency, trustworthiness and a sense of organizational justice.

Experts in the field of organizational trust and ethics often point to the value of organizational justice in successful “layoff” programs by companies faced with a business need to reduce the number of certain groups of employees, whether due to a simple “downsizing” or a corporate merger, consolidation or relocation of company offices. Despite the effects on both those employees that are laid off and the remaining “survivors,” fairness and consistency in the procedure to carry out the layoff program has a notable and positive effect on both parties and the organization. Former RAND expert on organizational justice, Jerald Greenberg, says that such recalls go well where:

  • Management is clear and truthful on the reasons for, and process to be used to implement, the layoff program;
  • The terms of the program are explained accurately in employee communications in advance of the event; and
  • Employees have confidence that the rules have been fairly applied to all.

The layoff case studies confirm one enduring principle of organizational justice: Companies can’t guarantee fair results, but they CAN guarantee that the process will be fairly applied to everyone. This principle of procedural fairness is Exhibit A for the value of truth and candor in employee communications – a key element of any successful culture of trust and ethical leadership.

And here are the lessons we think companies and their leadership can take from Chicago and its embattled Mayor:

  • Leaders who match words to action (“walk the talk”) build trust as ethical leaders and role models.
  • Transparency drives trust and an ethical culture.
  • The cover-up is always worse than the original problem.
  • If there’s a problem, tell it early, tell it all, and tell it yourself.

But let’s be real here. The time it takes to build trust is directly proportional to the frequency and number of positive trust – building interactions combined with attributes like character, competence and consistency. TAA-TAW calls this the “VIP Leadership Model (Values, Integrity and Promises kept).” There is no doubt that Chicago has a trust problem, and from all accounts the roots are deeply embedded in the culture, in both the Mayor’s administration and the police department. In a perfect world all Mayors and their respective administrations would choose to act, visibly and transparently, in a way that encourages trust, but the world is far from perfect. Chicago is simply the latest example of misdirected leadership and politically driven decision-making. There is a better way forward for all organizations, but first, leaders must acknowledge when a problem exists.

If Chicago and its embattled Mayor want to move forward and heal the wounds of the recent controversies, he and his administration must actively work to rebuild trust and credibility as a foundation of an ethical culture and organizational justice.

We would like to hear what you think about Chicago and Rahm Emanuel. You can take our confidential  Trust Quest poll at this link.

Donna Boehme is the Principal of Compliance Strategists LLC, Donna has advised a wide spectrum of private, public, governmental, academic and non-profit entities on organizational compliance and ethics. @DonnaCBoehme

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO of Trust Across America – Trust Around the World whose mission is simply to help organizations build trust. @BarbaraKimmel

This article first appeared in:

The winter issue of TRUST! Magazine

The FCPA Blog

Compliance Strategists Blog

Copyright 2016 Next Decade, Inc.

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For Immediate Release:

Barbara Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder
Trust Across America – Trust Around the World
Twitter: @BarbaraKimmel
Trust Across America 2016 Top Thought Leaders Announced


CHESTER, NEW JERSEY, January 25, 2016. Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW), global leaders in organizational trust honors its 2016 Top Thought Leaders. The awards program, now in its 6th year, celebrates professionals who are transforming the way organizations do business.

While there are a growing number of global “top” lists and awards, no others address trust, perhaps because the word itself presents a definitional challenge. For seven+ years TAA-TAW has been working with a team of cross-functional professionals to study, define and quantify organizational trust and trustworthiness.

According to Barbara Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder, “The release of this year’s list coincides with the beginning of the 4th year of the formation of our Trust Alliance, a growing group of global professionals committed to learning about and advancing the cause of organizational trust.

Many of this year’s honorees are well-known CEOs, authors and leadership advisors, while others are quietly working behind the scenes as teachers and researchers. We acknowledge and reward all their efforts in elevating societal trust. This year TAA-TAW is presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to seven professionals who have maintained Top Thought Leader status for five years, and their names are being permanently memorialized. i They inspire organizations to look more closely at their higher purpose…to create greater value for, and trust from all of their stakeholders, and understand trust is a “hard currency” with real returns.

The 2016 Lifetime Honorees can be accessed at this link, while complete details including our methodology, judges, award winners, articles and additional trust resources can be found in the Winter 2016 issue of TRUST! Magazine, sent free of charge to our Trust Alliance members.

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World™ is a program of Next Decade, Inc., an award-winning research and communications firm that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over 20 years. TAA-TAW helps organizations build trust through an abundance of resources and ever expanding tools including award-winning books, a quarterly magazine, an annual poster, workshops, consulting, speaking and media expertise. It also provides a framework called FACTS(R) for organizations to improve trustworthy practices, and showcases individuals and organizations exhibiting high levels of trust and integrity.

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Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.

 —Warren Bennis

In 2013 Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) formed a Trust Alliance that has grown to several hundred global professionals from for-profit and not for-profit organizations of all sizes, as well as leaders from media, government and sports; academics and researchers; leadership, organizational development and culture change to compliance, ethics and trust professionals, consultants and speakers.

We recently asked our members to comment on what the Alliance represents to them and how they benefit from membership:

(The Trust Alliance) is…a collection of like-minded professionals advocating for the importance of, and need for, developing higher levels of trustworthy behavior in leaders and organizations around the world. I belong to the Alliance for two main reasons. One – it allows me to be part of something bigger than myself. It’s a badge of honor, so to speak, to say that I stand along dozens of other professionals who share the same ideals about the importance of trust. We are standard-bearers of what trust could/should look like in personal and organizational relationships. Second – it’s a good network for me to access…

Another member and  former public company CEO summed it up best:

We are a group of leaders who believe that many of our organizational and leadership challenges can be addressed by showing others that building trust is a huge game changer for people and organizations.

And finally….

(The Trust Alliance) has unequivocally deepened and enlivened our company mission, administration, and operations.

TAA-TAW is proud of the work our members are doing and the resources we are creating, both individually and collectively. But perhaps most importantly, we are changing the way organizations think about trust. It’s not a soft skill, but rather a hard asset that when implemented as a business strategy, brings out the best in both leaders and their organizations.

To explore more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO & Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara also serves as 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.

Have you seen our 2016 Trust Poster? It’s changing the way organizations do business.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.

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