Posts Tagged ‘trust in business’


Trust Across America’s FACTS® Framework: Fast Facts

(a summary of our 10th anniversary 46-page report “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America 2018” )

Introduction: Developed by a cross-silo multidisciplinary team, and in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, the Framework evolved with the goal of creating a long-term model to reduce corporate risk and maximize profitability by measuring trust. With the assistance of professionals from leadership, compliance and ethics, governance, accounting, finance, HR, consulting, corporate social responsibility, ESG, sustainability, and other disciplines, FACTS® was finalized in 2010.

Methodology: Now in its 9th year, Trust Across America performs an independent annual analysis using its rigorous and unique FACTS® Framework. Companies do not participate, nor do they know they are being analyzed.

How we define trust: A byproduct of strong core values that are practiced and reinforced daily.

The FACTS® Framework:

The Framework incorporates proprietary metrics and measures the trust “worthiness” of public companies based on five equally weighted indicators that form the FACTS® acronym: Financial stability, Accounting Conservativeness, Corporate Integrity, Transparency & Sustainability. Additional screens may include but are not limited to fines and violations, percentage of women on the board, CEO pay ratios and tenure, employee reviews and news. Our analysis has never identified a “perfect” company. In fact, on our 1-100 scale, it is unusual for a company to score above an 80%. In 2018, 103 companies in the Russell 1000 scored a 70% or above. The full list is provided in our research report.

Measuring Outcomes and Impacts: On average, and over the long-term, the “Top 10″ most trustworthy public companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by over 25% since inception. In each of the six full years, the selected group has had a higher return than the S&P 500. (June, 2018)

Sector analysis: FACTS® data is sorted by sector and the following chart represents the sector rankings for the Russell 1000 for 2018. FACTS® uses Zacks Investment Research that divides date into 16 sectors. Others like S&P and Morningstar sometimes place companies in different sectors. For example, Zacks financial sector includes banks, insurance companies, REITS and brokerage firms, to name just a few.

Comparability: FACTS is a unique proprietary model measuring the trustworthiness of America’s largest (2000+) public companies. Other measurements of trust tend to be silo specific and qualitative, while FACTS® is quantitative and objective.

For more information: Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder








Copyright © 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , ,


If this confidential workplace culture survey were administered, how many of the following ten questions would you answer “yes?” 

(Take the survey below)

  1. Do you trust leadership?
  2. Are you very engaged at work?
  3. Do leaders have the “right” skills to build trust?
  4. Do the words of leadership match their actions?
  5. Does high organizational trust keep you at your job?
  6. Does your company behave ethically?
  7. Is the company culture highly aligned?
  8. Is innovation affected by the culture?
  9. Do you think a high trust culture is responsible for elevating the success of your company?
  10. Has leadership committed to elevating organizational trust?

No doubt these are some tough questions. And while most workplace surveys exclude them, imagine the valuable insights if they were included. And in fact, every one of these questions has been addressed in recent studies conducted by many leading organizations. These are just a few of the answers to the ten questions posed above.

  1. According to and Zenger/Folkman, these two competencies were voted the most important for management positions. “Inspires and motivates others, displays high integrity and honesty.”
  2. According to Deloitte’s Millenial Survey 2018 only a minority of millenials believe businesses behave ethically.
  3. Gallup reports that only 46% of disengaged employees trust management.

Are you surprised by these findings? For the most part, trust in business has stagnated since we began tracking it ten years ago. In Trust Across America’s most recent 2018 study of the trustworthiness of America’s largest public companies only 103 companies in the Russell 1000 scored a 70% or above. The rest failed our test.

In celebration of our 10th anniversary helping organizations build trust, we spent the best part of the past three months assembling a research report called “Trust & Integrity in Corporate America 2018.” The (almost) 50-page report answers every question posed above, and many more. Studies from over 20 leading organizations, trust models addressing individuals, teams, leadership and organizations, highlights of our FACTS® Framework research and many other valuable tools are included.

Good measurement informs uncertain decision-making, and when an organization asks the right questions and measures what matters, leaders make better decisions. While corporate culture, core values, good citizenship, ethics, integrity and trust are commonly believed to be immeasurable intangibles or soft skills, research highlighted in our report points in the direction that these are not only false beliefs, but also that the benefits of an ethical culture far outweigh the costs. Yet most leaders continue to hold fast to the “soft skills” argument because neither they nor their Boards of Directors are thinking about them or reviewing the “right” data or inputs. Trust Across America tackled the “Board challenge” topic in the free spring 2018 issue of TRUST! Magazine.

It’s not uncommon for the following warning signs to be present in organizations when focus is on the wrong “tangibles” and the “soft skills” are misidentified.

  • The organizational culture is a mystery.
  • No clear “ownership” of ethical or trustworthy business practices or decision-making exists.
  • Discussions/training on ethics and trust rarely occur. When they do, they are lead by either the compliance or legal department and focus on rules, not integrity and trust since these attributes are voluntary and cannot be regulated.
  • Discussions of short-term gains and cost cutting dominate group meetings.
  • The pressure to perform is intense and the language used is very strong.
  • The Legal and Compliance departments are large and growing.
  • Ethical considerations/testing are not part of the hiring process and fear is widespread among employees.

Sound familiar? If so, leaders should be asking themselves a series of questions including the following. (Others are addressed in our recent report.)

SUCCESS: What role does trust play in ensuring a healthy culture ultimately impacting the success of your organization?

PERFORMANCE: How is trust tied to high performance, innovation, and sustainability in your organization?

COSTS: What are the costs/implications of not having a high level of trust in your organization?

BENEFITS: What are the payoffs of a trust-based organization for your stakeholders including your employees, customers, community and shareholders?

CULTURE: What values, principles or beliefs does your organization follow that are essential to building a foundation of trust?

What better time then now to start asking the “right” questions, collecting the “right” data and improving the culture for the benefit of all? Wouldn’t it be great if more organizations, including yours, could pass the test? What’s holding you back?

Take our survey here:

[powr-survey id=cc4e6af7_1539436598009]

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust! For more information contact


, , , , , , , , , ,



Elevating organizational trust becomes simple once leadership acknowledges the business case. That case has been made repeatedly by many organizations, including ours. Last month we introduced our TAP Principles through the Million Taps Campaign. Each of the 12 statements is designed to open the trust discussion among teams of any size in any organization. (TAP is currently available in 5 languages, with more being added.)

And if you are a leader who wants to build trust into your organization’s DNA, it all begins (and ends) with you. How many of these boxes can you check?

Start with an assessment of yourself:

  • Are you trustworthy?
  • Do you possess integrity, character and values?
  • Do you share those values with your family?
  • Do you instill them in your children?
  • Do you take your personal values to work?

Perform an organizational trust audit:

Consider your internal stakeholders:

Consider your external stakeholders:

  • Have you shared your vision and values in building a trustworthy organization?
  • Have you identified the outcome(s) you are seeking?
  • Have you defined your intentions for each of our stakeholder groups?
  • Have you made promises that you will keep?
  • Have you determined the steps you will take to fulfill these promises?

Elevating organizational trust is not difficult. It begins with awareness, acknowledgement of the long-term benefits and a daily commitment to do so.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , , , , , ,


Organizations are being challenged to become more trustworthy. We often hear about trust in the context of rebuilding it after a crisis. But to maintain long-term, positive stakeholder relationships, leaders must make trust an intentional organizational imperative.

According to Barbara Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, “In order to effect change, trust can no longer be taken for granted. It is not a “soft skill” but rather a proactive intentional business strategy. Leaders must become trust “activists.” Those who choose to take a reactive approach are creating unnecessary enterprise risk.

How does the trust dialogue begin?

Prepared in collaboration with the Trust Alliance, the world’s largest group of trust scholars and practitioners, the Trust Alliance Principles (TAP) can be applied and practiced in any organization of any size. By adopting TAP, trust is built one person, team, project and organization at a time.

Take a look at these twelve words. They form the TAP INTO TRUST acronym. Each one of them can stand alone as a starting place to elevate trust in any size group in any organization anywhere.

For more information on TAP and the Principle behind each word, click on the “TAP INTO TRUST” blue button to the right.

Access our press release announcing this new program at this link.

Copyright 2018 Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , ,



Special Report December 5, 2017

The Impact of Trust on Financial Returns

(Trust “Beats the Street” Year Over Year)

In 2010 Trust Across America introduced the FACTS® Framework, a comprehensive unbiased barometer of the corporate integrity of America’s largest 2000 US public companies. The Framework identifies companies whose leadership is going beyond doing just what is legal to choosing what is right in meeting all stakeholder needs. The FACTS® Framework is the most comprehensive and data driven ongoing study on this subject. We analyze companies quarterly and rank order showing trends by company, sector and market capitalization. Read more about the Framework at this link.

Every year since 2012 we have announced our “Top Ten Most Trustworthy Public Companies” via the Trust Across America blog. The following table displays the current returns of every annual list vs. the S&P 500 since its publication.

For the past six years, America’s most trustworthy public companies continue to “beat the Street” since we began our annual reporting. Since 2013, every “Top Ten” list selected by Trust Across America has also outperformed the S&P 500 on a one-year basis. Elevating organizational trust improves the long-term wellbeing of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

For more information contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World at




Copyright © Next Decade, Inc. All Rights Reserved. FACTS® is a service mark of Next Decade, Inc. where Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder and CEO. Jordan Kimmel and Barbara Brooks Kimmel are the Cofounders of Trust Across America.


, , , , , , ,



Ever since the financial crisis, it’s not uncommon to read articles and studies about trust in banking and whether trust is “up” or “down.” In the past year alone:

  • Ernst & Young reports consumer trust in banks is diminishing. September 2016
  • International Banker claims that trust is often found wanting in today’s banking relationships. December 2016
  • Edelman reports in their 2017 Trust Barometer that in the United States 60 percent of financial institutions bounded forward (in trust) six percentage points from 2016. March 2017
  • And according to The Hill, almost a decade later, public trust in financial institutions remains stubbornly low. April 2017

So is trust in banking up or down? Some of the confusion stems from a lack of definitional clarity. Without a clear(er) understanding of what “trust in banking” means, the entire sector finds itself painted with one broad brushstroke, the reading public is left in an an ever escalating state of confusion, and elevating organizational trust becomes all the more challenging.

Trust? What are we trusting banks to do, or not do? Safeguard our money, earn a good return for shareholders, protect our personal data, treat employees well, provide good customer service, or all of the aforementioned?

Banking? Can global investment banks, regional banks, and/or a local savings and loans be grouped together when discussing trust in banking? Should they be?

For seven years Trust Across America has been researching the trustworthiness and integrity of America’s largest 1500 public companies via our proprietary FACTS® Framework.



This is, by order of magnitude, the largest ongoing study ever conducted on trustworthiness and integrity at the individual corporate level. Our 2017 data concludes that the finance sector remains among the lowest in trust, with an average score of 58.



But our data also tells a more holistic and detailed story, and one that places us in a unique position to discuss trust in the banking industry. Industry is NOT destiny and those more trustworthy financial institutions suffer at the hands of their less trustworthy colleagues. And the headlines above only serve to reinforce this fact.

It’s important to give credit to companies who have earned the trust of a broad range of stakeholders. Understanding that no company is perfect, the following is a list of some of the “banks” that score a “70” or above (on a scale of 1 to 100) according to our 2017 FACTS ® Framework research. Scores in the finance sector range from 40 to 77.

  • Morgan Stanley
  • Goldman Sachs
  • KeyCorp
  • Commerce Bancshares
  • US Bancorp
  • Bank of America
  • JP Morgan Chase

Headlines don’t always report the “full” story nor do articles and studies regularly or consistently define the meaning of trust. Trust in banking isn’t necessarily “up” or “down.” The level of trustworthiness or integrity of a specific company is determined by how well leadership defines its corporate culture, and understands and embraces the value of trust in meeting the needs of every stakeholder group. Our study continues to point in the direction that trust is not only a measurable business strategy and a business differentiator, but also a direct route to long-term profitability.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017  a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute.

Purchase our books at this link

For updates on our Corporate Integrity Monitor, please join our mailing list. To be among the first to review our research and more fully engage in elevating organizational trust, please consider membership in our vetted Trust Alliance.


Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , ,




Trust is at the heart of all successful relationships, both personal and professional. While business leaders often view it as a “soft skill” in reality, trust is the key driver of profitability and long-term success. Drawing on the insights of twelve high integrity leaders and thinkers, and in our never-ending quest to elevate trust in business, Trust Across America offers these insights to the most important question for 2017:


What do you believe is the most important action a business leader can take to build trust with his/her stakeholders?


Stephen M.R. Covey, one of America’s most well known thought leaders on trust urges leaders to…

Lead out in extending trust. @StephenMRCovey In building trust with ALL stakeholders, lead out in extending trust. Click To Tweet

Why?  Because extending trust generates a reciprocity of trust.  When we give it, people receive it—and then they return it.  When we withhold it, they withhold it.  


Marshall Goldsmith a top American leadership coach seconds Stephen’s advice…

Lead by example. @CoachGoldsmith In building trust with ALL stakeholders, lead by example. Click To Tweet

What we do speaks far more loudly than what we say.


Bob Vanourek of Triple Crown Leadership and a former CEO of five companies, urges leaders to…

Put trust on the agenda. @BobVanourek In building trust with ALL stakeholders, put trust on the agenda. Click To Tweet

By constantly putting trust questions on the agenda, like “Are we building trust with what we are doing here?” everyone will begin to understand and take action on building trust.


David Reiling, Sunrise Bank’s CEO suggest that leaders…

Walk the talk. @ReilingDavid In building trust with ALL stakeholders, walk the talk. Click To Tweet

Day-in and day-out, night-in and night-out, weekends and holidays. Being authentic and living with integrity builds trust in business and everywhere else. 


 Linda Fisher Thornton who runs Leading in Context and is on a mission to unleash the positive power of ethical leadership urges leaders to…

Show genuine interest. @leadingincontxt In building trust with ALL stakeholders, show genuine interest. Click To Tweet

Initiate conversations and find ways to add value. Think about the impact of every decision on every stakeholder, and act in their best interests as well as your own. 


Tim Erblich, CEO of Ethisphere believes the most important action a leader can take to build trust is to…

Measure the culture @TimErblich In building trust with ALL stakeholders, measure the culture. Click To Tweet

of his/her business, and openly share the findings with employees, stakeholders and more.  


Dave Ulrich, a professor at the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) and co-founder of the RBL Group, found it hard to pick one thing so we picked it for him!

Be transparent. @Dave_Ulrich  In building trust with ALL stakeholders, be transparent. Click To Tweet

Avoid leadership hypocrisy…do what you say. Share personal feelings.


Evan Harvey who directs Corporate Responsibility at NASDAQ seconded the theme of transparency with his answer…

Act transparently. @EvanHarvey99 In building trust will ALL stakeholders, act transparently. Click To Tweet

Tell your stakeholders what you are trying to accomplish and why; then demonstrate progress towards a goal. That involves others in the process, widens the circle of influence and interaction, and builds lasting trust.


Jim Lukaszewski, an author, speaker and crisis management consultant urges leaders to…

Be candid. @JimLukaszewski In building trust with ALL stakeholders, be candid. Click To Tweet

Find the truth, tell that truth, act on it promptly in an environment where values matter at least as much as profits and gain. Candor: truth with an attitude told right now is the basic building block of Trust.


Doug Conant, former CEO Campbell Soup who heads Conant Leadership, believes the most important action a business leader can take to build trust is…

Do what you say you are going to do. @DougConant In building trust with ALL stakeholders, do what you say you are going to do. Click To Tweet

And do it well. How can people trust a leader who says one thing but does another? They can’t and won’t.”


Jason Lunday Principal Consultant Integrity Factor quotes another one of my favorite trust thought leaders, Frank Navran “Trust is the result of promises fulfilled.”

Keep your promises. @Jason_Lunday In building trust with ALL stakeholders, keep your promises. Click To Tweet

Establish full-cycle mechanisms to ensure that the organizations’ promises will be met, including communicating success.


And as the 12th recommendation Barbara Kimmel (that’s me) offers leaders the following:

The leader sets the tone for the organization. @BarbaraKimmel In building trust with ALL stakeholders, the leader sets the tone for the organization. Click To Tweet

Building stakeholder trust first begins with leadership recognition that trust is critical to long-term organizational success. This means making trust a leading business focus in both the Board & C-Suite, reinforcing the trust imperative, and always leading by example.


Thank you to all our contributors.  May 2017 bring increasing stakeholder trust to your organization!

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 2,000 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara is also the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.

Copyright (c)  2016, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , ,




Measuring the integrity or trustworthiness of public companies is an ongoing research project at  Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. In fact, we now have over 7 years of increasingly “rich” data.

Take a look at this chart:




While we are in the business of identifying “best in breed” and not in predicting the next corporate crisis, our FACTS(R) proprietary data is quite capable of doing so. Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo… Did the lack of integrity at Wells Fargo contribute to its recent crisis? Could it have been avoided under different leadership? What do you think?

Would you like more insights like this?

Request our White Paper:  The State of Trust in Corporate America 2016

Trust Data: Public companies can review the level of trust within their organization and compare their performance to their peers.

Order our Trust Inc. book series.

2017 Trust Poster: Weekly Do’s and Don’ts to Foster Organizational Trust

Join our Trust Alliance where share our research with high integrity business leaders.

If you lead an organization, serve on a Board or in any management capacity or work with others, and you continue to ignore trust as a hard asset, you are losing out to your competitors and failing to protect your organization against a Wells Fargo crisis.

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 2,000 U.S. public companies on five quantitative indicators of trust. Barbara is also the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a New Jersey registered investment advisor.


Copyright (c)  2016, Next Decade, Inc.

, , , , , , , ,





What do low integrity and trust cost an organization and the economy? The research studies cited below should give our readers some insight:

  • Gallup reports that employee engagement was more or less stagnant in 2015, (over 17% actively disengaged.) In 2014 less than one-third of US workers were engaged in their jobs, with millenials the least engaged, and this is costing the US economy $450-550 billion a year, which is over 15% of payroll costs. (Gallup, 2015)
  • The Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s survey participants estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues to fraud each year. Applied to the 2011 Gross World Product, this figure translates to a potential projected annual fraud loss of more than $3.5 trillion. 2012 Global Fraud Study
  • 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.
  • The cost of Federal Regulations is approaching $2 trillion annually according to a study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
  • According to a recent report by PwC the U.S. held its position as the top location for innovation, with in-country R&D spending of $145 billion in 2015. However, other countries (i.e., China) increased their R&D spending by greater proportions than the U.S. which caused it to lose some of its relative advantage.
  • Volkswagen lost 20% of its stock value after the emissions scandal and Target’s profits fell 34.3% after it’s data breach.
  • A study by Murphy, Shrieves and Tibbs called “Determinants of the Stock Price Reaction to Allegations of Corporate Misconduct” finds that allegations of misconduct are accompanied by statistically significant control-firm adjusted declines in reported earnings, increases in stock return variability, and a decline in concordance among analysts’ earnings estimates.”
  • In a 2008 study by Karpoff, Lee and Martin called “The Cost to Firm’s of Cooking the Books,” the authors find The penalties imposed on firms through the legal system average only $23.5 million per firm. The penalties imposed by the market, in contrast, are huge.
  • The PR firm Edelman finds in their 2016 “Trust Barometer” that nearly one in three employees don’t trust their employer. And more than two thirds feel that CEOs are too focused on short-term performance. As a result, employees are far less likely to say positive things about the company they work for.

The trust gap not only negatively impacts a company’s revenue, market share, brand reputation, employee engagement and turnover, stock price, and bottom line profitability, but every facet of society.

What happens when integrity & trust increase?

Find out in our new white paper: The State of Trust in Corporate America 2016. Request it here.

Copyright (c) 2016 Next Decade, Inc.


, , , , , , , ,




It’s Week #20 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

Bob Whipple is a Trust Alliance member and a Trust Across America Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. He offers this week’s idea:

The absence of fear is the incubator of trust. The leadership behavior that reduces fear the most is reinforcing candor.

Fear at work is often a very rational emotion based on experience and the observed behaviors of the managers. That kind of toxic environment eliminates the possibility of growing real trust. Faced with enduring hypocrisy many will flee to greener pastures. But those employees who continually seek a better environment may find themselves moving to a different job only to find the conditions there are even worse than what they left.

I believe trust can kindle spontaneously in an environment where fear is low.

If your organization runs on a steady diet of fear because people are afraid of the consequences of speaking their truth, you are likely to have a toxic, low trust culture. That is a signal that there is an amazing level of productivity increase available if the leaders can change their behaviors to reduce the fear. Using candor may just be the fastest means to that end. I recall # 8 of Deming’s famous 14 points was “drive out fear.” I believe the famous quality guru was right. 

Thank you Bob. We hope our readers heed this week’s advice.

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.

, , , , ,