Archive

Posts Tagged ‘trustworthy behavior’

Apr
28

This week’s Trust Insights welcomes our Trust Council members who joined us in addressing the following question:

Is the Apple/Google Contact Tracing Plan Worthy of our Trust?

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

 

During these trying times, Apple and Google claim to have temporarily placed their corporate competitiveness on hold to begin collaborating on at least one very large data project. It’s called contact tracing, “the process of tracking down the people with whom infected patients have interacted, and making sure they get tested or go into quarantine’ according to this recent NPR article. The Apple/Google “alliance” will expand the reach of existing contract tracing capabilities. This initiative has raised many questions and multiple collective eyebrows, not only for our trust and ethics subject matter expert community, but also for the general public, and for good reasons. For example:

  • Why should the public now trust the tech giants with their data when these companies have not proven themselves trustworthy in the past?
  • Should all trust concerns be set aside in the interest of global health? 

Who better to ask than Trust Across America’s  Trust Council? Our council is comprised of senior members of our Trust Alliance who are some of the world’s leading trust subject matter experts.

What we already know about trusting the tech giants

Bart Alexander shared a quick retrospective on the state of tech’s visibility into our private lives: 

Providers such as Apple and Google already have comprehensive information about our location.  Even with location services (GPS) off, they have visibility into the relative strength of every wifi signal and cell signal. From years of collection including through  Google’s fleet of Street View cars, they can correlate that triangulated location with GPS.  With other data bases, they can determine if we are at home, at a shop or even a medical facility.  Google recently reached a $13 million settlement on the use of Street View cars for MAC address collection that goes back a decade.  This kind of information is used for target marketing to the public.  To now add a permission marketing app to supplement with Bluetooth technology is a rather minor addition to the existing privacy concerns, and at least has a public health purpose.

Natalie Doyle Oldfield who spent twenty years working in IT before turning her attention to organizational trust, added a bit more historical perspective:

As history has shown, wars vastly expand governments’ powers to regulate, to collect data and introduce new measures.  For example, income tax was introduced as a war time measures act in the interest of public welfare.  At the same time, strict policies to protect personal income data were enacted. Census taking provides another historical example of data collection.

Banks, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants and other professionals must follow established confidentiality rules and codes of ethics to keep our personal data secure and private. For the most part, the regulatory bodies have put safeguards in place to ensure these professions do not abuse our privacy.  And if they do, there are repercussions. Medical professionals can lose their licenses to practice and lawyers can be disbarred. 

The question is will “Big Tech” demonstrate that they too not only can but WILL voluntarily meet the highest ethical standards? Can they provide sound answers to the following questions: Specifically, what data will be collected and who will have access to it?   Are we committing to practicing privacy and security by design? What about HIPAA certification? Will we do what’s ethical and in the public’s best privacy interests,  or only what’s regulated, understanding that tech regulations are lagging far behind other industries like finance and health care.

Personal Trust vs. Societal Health

Charlie Green’s response is one of “Roll the dice trust.”

Personal trust inevitably comes in conflict with tech privacy and security concerns. After all, the height of privacy and security tech models are called “zero trust” for a reason. Because it has nothing to do with personal trust.

I think the trust issue in this case is that we need to trust Apple and Google and each other, adding some clear transparency bumpers, to do something potentially tremendously positive in the face of a pandemic.

Randy Conley sits in the camp of “cautious optimism.”

I think technology can play a tremendously helpful role in public health or disaster management situations like this, AND, we have to be cognizant of the personal privacy issues involved. I believe South Korea has leveraged personal technology to a large degree in their successful management of the COVID-19 virus. The reality is that we live with an illusion of privacy. Despite our safeguards, we don’t have as much privacy as we think we do. If nefarious actors in Big Tech or any skilled hacker wants information on us, they can get it.

Linda Fisher Thornton considers the trade offs:

“The challenge we face is balancing the benefits of surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic, which potentially includes saving lives, with the costs in terms of the loss of privacy and autonomy. The surveillance approach puts the safety of the masses ahead of the privacy and autonomy of individuals  For surveillance to be effective, a strong majority will need to allow access to their location and health status data. To convince them to do that, tech companies will need to demonstrate trustworthy intentions, a clear plan, full disclosure, and implementation that includes privacy protections.” 

Bob Whipple adds that with the tech solutions, just remember that anything that is made by people can be hacked by other people.  So the potential of abuse in electronic tracing is immense.

Pandemics Aside, Trust is ALWAYS a Function of Leadership

Bob Vanourek, a former CEO of several large pubic companies reminds us that:

Good leaders go first in extending trust and scale up or down afterwards depending on the behavior of the other. 

This pandemic is a huge Black Swan (or perhaps a “known-unknown”) event that will change much of our world forever. Some would argue that using such tech will help save lives and is, therefore, worthwhile. Others will argue the privacy invasion issues are scary, and we can’t take a step down this potentially slippery slope.

Like many ethical issues, there are legitimate pros and cons on both sides of the argument. Should the government pass a law outlawing this technology and behavior? I think not. Should we blindly accept the tech companies to handle this without close scrutiny? I think not. 

Stephen M.R. Covey’s “smart trust” applies here alongside Jim Kouzes’ “go first” dictum. Let’s extend Google and Apple smart trust and closely monitor what they are doing, adjusting accordingly.

Wrapping up

Getting back to Bart Alexander:

In 1988, Shoshana Zuboff wrote “In the Age of the Smart Machine” that increasing automation can be used to empower or control us at work and beyond.  Even in that pre-internet era, the key moral issue of surveillance had emerged: for whom and for what purpose are we giving up our privacy?

I’ve argued (in the work I did for the U of Denver Institute for Enterprise Ethics) that these moral issues should not and cannot be resolved by engineers.  We need sociologists and ethicist to struggle with what otherwise are just technical problems to be overcome.  I would add that public health officials will always err on the side of protection versus personal freedoms, embodied in the precautionary principle.  They may often be right, but they and the software engineers’ solutions should not be without scrutiny.

Finally, as the Founder of Trust Across America- Trust Around the World, I’ll add my perspective. I do not believe that these two tech giants will receive adequate voluntary public buy-in to reach the scale they had hoped for. They simply haven’t earned the public trust required of such a large initiative. That being said, something tells me that Apple and Google already have all the technology and data they need to go forward, with or without permission, while other competing interests attempt to play catch up.

One member of our Trust Council shared this quote from the often controversial Winston Churchill: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, along with members of its Trust Alliance, offers both online and in-person workshops to help leaders, teams and organizations build their trust competency. These are some samples of recent engagements.

Catch up on our 2020 Trust Insights series at this link.

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. Barbara has consulted with many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, and also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance . She is  the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine.  Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
24

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

“Developing trust starts with building a culture that values trust. Sean Flaherty

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

A culture of trust needs to be purposefully created. It always starts with the words that the organization’s leaders use, the stories that they tell and the actions that they take. Those words, stories and actions need to be consistent and in alignment. 
Trust is not something that can be promoted from the top down. It needs to be defined, measured and lived – exemplified by the top and measured and discussed all the way down to where your products and services meet your customers every day.
With a clear and shared definition of the word trust and agreement on how we earn it that starts at the top, it will spread throughout the organization.

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

I have seen many organizations boost trust with subtle changes to how they are already doing business. A simple and powerful tactic that I have seen create a sustainable and scalable impact to trust: 
The Minimum Valuable Commitment”
Every time you make a promise and you keep a promise, is an opportunity to boost trust. Commitment is rare and it accelerates trust.
People tend to avoid making commitments because they are risky. We are wired to avoid unnecessary risk. But when you make commitments and keep them, even small promises, it builds trust faster. Being purposeful about the promises and commitments that you make to your customers can transform your business. Building commitment into your culture and empowering your people to make measured and valuable commitments can have a big impact on how you earn trust. Companies often make contractual guarantees and issue warranties because they know how important commitments are, but the small promises can be just as important in helping your people and your firm earn trust from your customers.
Intent is critical here. Your Say/Do ratio has to be really high. In addition, by making commitments, you have to recognize that occasionally, you will miscalculate and you will fail to keep a commitment. This is a good thing — as long as you clean up the mess. It means that you are committed and doing your best. It is difficult to trust wishy-washiness and apathetic commitments. We trust more powerfully when commitments are made with the positive intent to fulfill them.

Here is a basic thought experiment to explain how this works:
At some point in the history, most of us have visited a website that added value to the problem that we were trying to solve, and we decided to sign up for the newsletter when they requested our email address. Now, imagine experiencing these two different scenarios:
Scenario A: Give us your email address and we will send you our newsletter. You enter your email address. They pop-up a message that says thank you.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. Your expectations are met. It’s not memorable. Maybe you will get a newsletter and maybe you will read it. Maybe not.
Scenario B: Give us your email address and we promise to send you the latest and greatest content in <this ecosystem that you care about> on the second business Monday of each month. You enter your email address. They pop-up the last newsletter that they sent (and send it to your inbox immediately) with a message at the top that says: “We promised we would send you the latest and greatest content. Here is what you can look forward to.”
Note how that second scenario made you feel.

The simple act of making a promise and keeping it can powerfully impact trust. Here is a simple checklist for your commitments that will make sure they are worthwhile:
[ ] Use the language of commitment. Saying “We promise to X” or “We commit to Y.” Using this language maximizes the emotional impact because these words have a powerful, shared meaning for people.
[ ] Make sure the commitment is as specific and complete as possible. Without a specific action and a specific timeframe that includes a day and a time, it is meaningless. There is a reason it is called a “dead-line.”
[ ] Verify that the commitment is valuable to your customer. Test it on live customers to see if you are able to improve your ability to earn trust. Your promises must be authentic, and may be more powerful if your customer is not expecting them from you. Be careful that your language does not work against you by sounding like it is scripted.
[ ] Honor the commitment. If you make promises that you do not have the ability to keep, you are much better off not making the commitment in the first place. Make sure you fully intend to keep the promise or are fully willing to make things right if you cannot.
[ ] Use the language of commitment when fulfilling your promise. For example: “We promised X; here we are keeping our promise.”

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

I am an incorrigible optimist. I see the world through rose-colored glasses. We are making huge progress in the sciences of psychology, sociology and human motivation. The work of people like Brene Brown, Ed Deci, Richard Ryan, Daniel Goleman and many, many others is showing us, unequivocally, how important human relationships are to our collective future. While our political climate appears to be extremely polarized of late, I believe that this tide will ebb and we will eventually realize that we are in this together. The technology boom is helping to make the world a more transparent place and improving opportunities for more systemic trust building. Like all innovations, I believe that we are inside of a bubble where these technologies are being used in a negative manner. But history has shown us that we will be able to turn this around and the collective will win in the end.

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

This is an eternal struggle. We will never be done learning how to improve trust. When you look objectively at the world today – it is exponentially better by almost every measure than it was even a decade ago.  If you were to microscopically look at any given problem in the world, it would be easy to say that we have a crisis of trust. But if you were to look at the macro, it would be hard to argue that we are not on a good path.
There is a lot of work to do in all aspects of our society, but I don’t think it helps to promote negativity. I think that is inauthentic and reduces trust.

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

I am a new member, but I am passionate about trust and committed to doing my part. I cant wait to have a better story to tell in a year.

 

Sean, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Sean Flaherty is a partner at ITX Corp. based in Rochester, NY where he oversees business development, partnerships and the innovation practice. ITX is a software product innovation firm with over 250 employees in 7 countries. Sean started building software products at 11 years old on his 8-Bit Commodore Vic-20 and he has never stopped. He studied aviation electronics working on F-14 Tomcats in the Navy, molecular genetics at the University of Rochester, and earned an MBA from the Simon School of Business. ITX has built a passionate team of technologists and artists that inspires him every day with the magic that they produce for their clients. Sean runs Innovation Workshops for his clients and speaks regularly on turning the intangibles in business, like trust, loyalty and advocacy into measurable results.

 

Before you leave, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an ONLINE webinar today.

Did you miss our previous 2020 Trust Insights? Access them at this link.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
17

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

“It’s easier to trust someone and for others to trust you if there is genuine care – and that shows in how you listen, and how you act and behave towards others.” Lea Brovedani

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Most organizations will list trust as an important value but to be believed it has to be lived.  What is the track record for doing what they say they will do? In an organization can you draw a direct line between their vision and mission statement and their actions? On a personal level do you believe they are authentic? Caring goes beyond compliance to the rules and speaks to the heart.

I’ve interviewed leaders, middle managers and workers in the field and I hear the same thing from all of them. “If I don’t believe that the person I am dealing with genuinely cares about me, I can’t really trust them.”

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

An example of the affect of caring on trust… My client, Fred Barlow is the Chief Safety Officer for Reliance – a contractor in Colorado. The majority of his staff work on dangerous construction sites. When Fred took over the position he realized there wasn’t a lot of trust between the workers or between the workers and management. It took time to turn that around, and he did it by showing he cared about them as individuals. An example was in a safety class he was teaching. One of the attendees, a big macho construction worker, got a phone call in the middle of the class. When he came back, Fred could see that something was wrong. When he had the opportunity to have a conversation with him, he found out that his brother’s wife had just delivered a baby with severe health problems. Fred took the time to talk and comfort him and in doing so he went a long way in establishing a relationship of trust. This was not an isolated incident, but typical of how Fred chooses to work with his employees. The ripple affect is that the workers now listen to Fred because they know he has their best interests at heart.

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

Overall I believe the global trust climate is worsening.  Social media exacerbates divisions by feeding us information that supports our biases and validates our prejudices and connects us to people who share our beliefs. We can get a skewed view of the world that confirms whatever we believe, regardless of factual information that could change our mind.  We develop trust through the facts, relationships and experiences and many of the opportunities for connection are being thwarted. This isn’t isolated to the USA. Countries around the world are experiencing a division and distrust that is in a downward spiral.

Fortunately we are drawn toward the champions who give us reasons to trust, and those who can help us look for the areas where trust can grow. The “Mr. Rogers” of the world. We can find sites that provide a full spectrum of facts, opinions and beliefs and allow us to make informed decisions. It’s the duality of the internet that gives us truth and lies and so much information that we can end up unable to discern who we can trust.

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

There is a saying that goes “What we resist, persists”.  To me it means we put too much focus on what we don’t want such as fear and uncertainty. If we change our focus to finding and celebrating trust, then perhaps we can start moving people, societies and institutions towards a better future where trust can grow.

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

I believe that Trust Across America brings credibility to all of us who are involved with the organization. You have to adhere to a high standard of ethical behavior and it brings together like-minded individuals from around the world. When I want to find out the latest research I know I can find it within the TAA group. Part of my mission and vision in life is to increase trust within the world, and being involved with this organization gives me a greater platform to do that.

Lea, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Lea Brovedani is a professional speaker and trainer who has spoken at conferences and presented her workshops on trust around the world. She is author of TRUST ME – Restore Belief & Confidence in an Uncertain World, and TRUSTED – Secret Lessons From and Inspired Leader.

Before you leave, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others. 

Have you reviewed how our workshops are helping teams and organizations just like yours elevate trust? Schedule an online webinar today.

Did you miss our previous 2020 Trust Insights? Access them at this link.

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
03

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

“The absence of fear is the incubator of trust.”

Bob Whipple, Leadergrow Inc.

 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

When leaders know how to build, maintain, and repair trust, a remarkable culture will kindle where problems are reduced and productivity is maximized. The secret is for leaders to learn the art of “reinforcing Candor,” which is another way of saying they make people glad when they bring up issues that may be contrary to what the leader’s preconceived ideas were.

Most leaders cannot do this because they believe they are right in their judgment, so a contrary view by an employee causes the leader to punish the employee. That destroys trust and causes other employees to refrain from sharing their concerns.

The result is a culture of fear where trust cannot kindle.

 

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

I worked with one group where the top leaders (8 people) truly hated each other. It was the worst culture I have ever seen. I had the group do a SWOT analysis and they listed “Trust” as the number one weakness for the entire organization.  I worked with them for a few interfaces, and taught them my theories about how their behaviors could be modified to build rather than destroy trust. Six months later that same management team rated “Trust” as the number one strength for the entire organization. They were a completely different group.

 

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

I believe the global climate is separating. Most areas are actually losing the battle for high trust, but some of them are doing extremely well. The difference lies in the behaviors of the most senior leaders.

 

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

I think there is a crisis in several areas, but at the same time there are pockets of excellence that are heartening.

 

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

Being part of the network is a wonderful advantage because we constantly share ideas and techniques.  Having a society dedicated to this one issue is very powerful, and I am honored to be a part of the group.

 

Bob, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Robert Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow Inc., an organization dedicated to development of leaders. He has authored five books and spoken on leadership topics and the development of trust in numerous venues internationally. His ability to communicate pragmatic approaches to building trust in an entertaining and motivational format has won him top ranking wherever he speaks. Audiences relate to his material enthusiastically because it is simple, yet profound. His work has earned him the popular title of “The TRUST Ambassador”

 

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization or email me directly: barbara@trustacrossamerica.com 

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
04

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

“Trust” is what happens when a risk-taking trustor meets a virtuous trustee.” Charles H. Green, Trusted Advisor Associates

(The definition is surprisingly important, because it is rarely followed in practice.)

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

Much talk about ’trust’ is abstract and not practically useful. Change in trust happens only when either someone becomes more willing to trust, or someone else becomes more trustworthy. 

We intuitively use personal trust as the paradigm – the strongest form of trust. We describe people as being trustworthy or not – a set of personal virtues, if you will. For example, using the Trust Equation, it breaks down into Credibility, Reliability, and Intimacy: all divided by Self-orientation. A trustworthy person exemplifies these virtues in all their interactions.

The trustor, by contrast, is the one who initiates the trust interaction. They, by definition are taking a risk, putting themselves willfully in the way of some kind of harm through the potentially untrustworthy behavior of the trustee. 

The business world is much enamored of ‘measuring’ things; but when it comes to trust, it is largely a fool’s errand. Measuring ’trust’ per se is elusive: most measurements are, and should be, actually metrics of the trustor’s propensity to risk, or of the trustees level of virtuousness. 

 

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

One headline from Edelman PR’s annual Trust Barometer is “trust in social media is down.” Substitute ‘brands,’ ‘banking,’ ‘politics,’ and a host of others, and you’ll find similar headlines. But what do such sentences actually mean? Take banking, for example:
  • Does such a headline mean that banking has become less trustworthy? 
  • Or does it mean that people have become less trusting of banks in general?
In the case of Wells Fargo, you can make a good case that the problem was specific to the firm – rampant cases of untrustworthy behavior. Wells Fargo showed itself to be unworthy of trust. 
But take the case of violent crime: it is down, verifiably, over two decades in the US. At the same time, just as verifiably, fear of violent crime is up. That is a problem of perception on the part of would-be trusters. 
If you are interested in improving trust, you must define the problem: does it lie in the trustworthiness of specific would-be trustees? Or does it lie in excessive risk-avoidance on the part of would-be trustors?
Focusing on ’trust’ itself masks the practical question: is it a problem of trusting, or of trustworthiness. 

 

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

There is plenty of data – some flawed, but some very good – that suggest we are in a period of declining trust. It is tempting to ascribe this to political polarization, tribalism, and nationalism. But I think there is a bigger threat. 
The larger problem is that we have come to de-emphasize the inherently personal nature of trust. The strongest form of trust is personal, not institutional. Yet much of the public dialogue is about institutional trust: and much of the discussion about how to improve trust is also about institutional or structural fixes to trust. 
Factors driving down the focus on personal trust include:
  • A deep-seated business preference for metrics and quantification, including on things that are frankly quite non-measurable
  • A fascination with ’scientific’ explanations of trust, including many neuroscientists and Big Data, which have the effect of downgrading traditional, and still valuable, other approaches to the subject 
  • The de-humanization that comes out of most participation in social media
  • The de-humanization that comes out of the very nature of ‘online’ social media participation as a substitute for direct human conduct

 

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

 

Yes. 

 

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

Invaluable direct contact with other fellow-travelers interested in the exploration of this very rich topic. 

 

Charlie, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

 

Charles H. Green is an author, speaker and world expert on trust-based relationships and sales in complex businesses. Founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates, he is author of Trust-based Selling, and co-author of The Trusted Advisor and the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.  He has worked with a wide range of industries and functions globally. Charles spent 20 years in management consulting. He majored in philosophy (Columbia), and has an MBA (Harvard).

A widely sought-after speaker, he has published articles in Harvard Business Review, Directorship Magazine, Management Consulting News, CPA Journal, American Lawyer, Investments and Wealth Monitor, and Commercial Lending Review.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them at this link.

 

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Jan
21

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

Trust is always and only about what you DO;

nothing else counts. – Margaret Heffernan 

 

 

 

Can you expand a bit on this important insight?

As soon as the subject of trust comes up, everyone talks about words. But words do not ever build trust. It is what you do that counts. I think there are 4 aspects to trust :
Benevolence: People trust you if they believe you want the best for them. But how do they know that? By the generosity you manifest in the active ways you help, support, advise them and tell them the truth.
Integrity: Everyone watches not what you say but whether you actions are consistent with your words. Saying that you want what is best “for all Americans” as the Business Roundtable did recently, doesn’t mean a thing if you do not act on it. To my mind, the acid test in business is: have you been prepared to forego revenue to stand by your principles? By that test, most companies fail. Wells Fargo sold products to their customers that they didn’t need without telling them – that doesn’t show that they care about stakeholders. J&J heavily and actively over-sold opioids that caused their customers harm; that is not a sign of honoring stakeholders. Integrity has to be active or it is nothing. 
Competence: When you say you will do something, it means nothing if you don’t have the professional ability to do it. This is a nuts-and-bolts, real world aspect of trust people often overlook. You have to be able to deliver.
Consistency: Are your actions and choices visibly consistent with the values you talk about all the time? If your actions express different values from one day to the next, then clearly it is impossible to assume that one action implies a coherent set of values. Consistency can be rather dull but if you are unpredictable, then nobody can trust you to do the right thing each day.

 

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

In 2001, after the tech bubble burst, I realized that keeping my company afloat would cost my investors a huge amount of money. Since my investor was a publicly traded company, I did not see how that cost could be justified when there was no confidence that the company could ever become profitable or that the investment could be recouped. I argued with the board – and it was an argument – that the business should be shut down. Eventually I won.

 

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

I think the trust climate is getting worse for one very obvious reason. We used to believe – I used to imagine – that business was or could be a force for good in the world. But the overall lethargy and passivity in face of the climate change challenge has shown exactly the opposite: the business community has not only not served the world but endangered it and all who live in it. How can they be trusted to do the right thing when they’ve had the chance for 30 years and have done almost nothing? Either they aren’t competent or they don’t care.

 

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

If we don’t have a crisis of trust, we should – as leaders in every walk of life seem unreliable and unrepentant. We have leaders all over the world whom everyone knows to be liars and cheats – which implies that being trustworthy is now an option not a requirement. Today I think leaders need to recognize that their trustworthiness is being assessed by everyone daily. It’s hard to point to those who do well under scrutiny.

 

Margaret, thank you so much for your time and more importantly for your commitment to elevating organizational trust. What would you like our audience to know about you?

Dr. Margaret Heffernan produced programs for the BBC for 13 years.  She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard & Poors. The author of six books, her most recent, Uncharted: How to map the Future Together comes out in 2020. Her TED talks have been seen by over ten million people. Through Merryck & Co., she advises CEOs and senior executives of major global organizations. She sits on several private boards, is a frequent broadcaster and writes occasionally for the Financial Times.

And while you are here, Tap Into Trust and complete our 1 minute/1 question quiz. Find out how the level of trust in your workplace compares to hundreds of others.

Did you miss our previous 2020 insights? Access them below.

Trust Insights Week #1: Stephen M.R. Covey

Trust Insights Week #2: David Reiling

Contact us for more information on elevating trust on your team or in your organization.

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Nov
23

Tracking trust in teams and organizations and addressing trust weaknesses has the following benefits:

  • Elevating employee engagement & retention
  • Reducing workplace stress
  • Enhancing decision making
  • Increasing innovation
  • Better communication
  • Reducing costs and increasing profits

How many readers work on teams and in organizations with these attributes? 

The growing interest in our Tap Into Trust campaign has brought over 75,000 global professionals to our universal principles, available in 16 languages, since spring 2018. We are now running the largest global (one minute/one question) anonymous survey on workplace trust, with the goal of determining which of our 12 principles of trust are the WEAKEST in teams and organizations. The anonymous survey can be taken here and the results viewed upon completion.

Building a trust based team or organization first requires leadership ACKNOWLEDGEMENT that trust is a tangible asset, not to be taken for granted, and acknowledgement remains the greatest obstacle as it requires vulnerability. If that hurdle can be overcome, then it’s simply a matter of ensuring that the right personal and interpersonal principles of trust are being, IDENTIFIED, discussed, MENDED and tracked. We call this AIM Towards Trust, and the framework is being adopted by enlightened leaders of teams and in organizations of all sizes and across industries, providing a path forward to high trust.

Elevating trust in teams and organizations requires specific personal and interpersonal principles and skills.

The weakest principles break the chain.

If you are still at the point of talking trust, it might be time to start acting on it. Dress down Fridays, four day work weeks, ice cream socials and “purpose” are merely work arounds. 

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

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, inc.

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Oct
12

 

Is it just me?

Most people I’ve met in business are honest, while a handful can’t stop their bulls–t.

How many BS excuses have you heard? What’s your favorite? These are a few of mine:

 

 

 

  • I’m VERY busy
  • I’m traveling nonstop
  • Check back with me in a month
  • I never saw your email
  • Let me run it by my team

Instead, why not just say “I’m not interested?”

People on the receiving end of BS excuses know they are just that, because they have heard them all before.

In my book, excuse givers get two strikes (the first might be legit), and then they are out! And I’ll share my experience with any colleague who asks.

I’ll take honesty over crappy excuses any day, because honesty builds trust. And if you can’t trust someone to initially tell you the truth, you probably don’t want to do business with them.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World. 

 

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Oct
08

A story of a toxic industry and how a soccer game might just offer some guidance…

This week HSBC announced the layoff of 10,000 employees, just months after ousting its Chief Executive, and bringing in an interim. According to the Financial Times, in 2014 the company employed 24,300 risk and compliance officers, and in their 2018 annual report the word “compliance” appeared 129 times. Yet since 2014, billions of dollars in fines have been levied against HSBC ranging from bank violations, fraud, money laundering, wage and hour violations and toxic securities abuses. Even with a very significant compliance presence, something still isn’t quite right at HSBC, and hasn’t been for years. Could it be that it’s not a compliance issue?

HSBC isn’t alone. Others in the industry are taking similar steps, with banking leaders continuing to cite “external” factors driving their decisions. Rarely, if ever do we hear “I screwed up” or better yet, “Our culture remains toxic and the expensive 1980s fixes are no longer working.” What if instead, leaders chose an all together different strategy, one that began with some introspection and ended with an outcome other than mass layoffs?

And now for the soccer part…

Any parent who has sat on the sidelines of a high school soccer game knows that the referee serves in a “leadership” capacity, “controlling” both the technical and behavioral components of the game. Some might think of the referee as the “Chief Compliance Officer.” Usually the “calls” are accurate, but not always. When they aren’t, coaches, parents and players pile in, and the yellow cards fly.  Sometimes these “stakeholders” are even removed from the field.

But what happens when the referee doesn’t to show up? That scenario recently played out in a game between two teams- one a big inner city group, and the other a “smaller” suburban group. From the sideline, it looked like trouble. Who could imagine these two groups facing off on a field with no one in charge? But since it was an “add on” to the schedule, and didn’t “count”, the coaches made the decision to play the game without a “leader.”

The parents and coaches held their collective breath as the game began, and for the next hour, we waited for “trouble.” It never came. In fact, the two teams got along just fine, better than in most games. Good sportsmanship was displayed and members of both teams were communicating and laughing with each other throughout the hour. It ended in a 2-1 victory for the urban team, the boys shook hands, and we all went home. What a pleasant surprise. Nobody got “carded.”

What can we learn from this story?

Perhaps the person in charge only thinks they have the power. After all, they can make the “obvious” short-term calls, collect their fee and leave the field. They have completed the “task” they were hired to do. Yet when no one is in charge or the leader chooses to relinquish some control, team members are empowered and collaboration replaces command and control. The obvious calls are mutually agreed upon, and the not so obvious are talked through until a consensus is reached. This is a healthy culture where trust replaces fear. Maybe there is a lesson for everyone to take away from this story.

What are your thoughts? Drop me an email at barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

If you want to learn more, join over 70,000 global professionals who have Tapped Into Trust, participate in our global 1 minute/ 1 question global workplace study and access our survey tools.

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
28

When leaders bust trust, employees play all sorts of games, and I don’t mean the video or tennis variety.

In my first post-college job, the “leaders” were intolerable jerks.

They defaulted into leadership by being company founders. One couldn’t keep his eyes (or his hands) to himself, while the other was insecure, abusive and lazy. Both thought nothing of lying to employees or clients. They also believed that if they threw enough money at their employees, they would earn their loyalty and respect. These two were a good match until one outsmarted the other and the partnership dissolved.

The office manager (also the head of HR and everything else) took care of all the “soft stuff.”

The problem was she also lacked leadership skills. She played favorites, made dumb rules and ultimately had no say in the owner’s decisions.

“Game playing” became the office norm. Among the games:

  1. Four day weekends
  2. The hour-long lunch break was always taken, plus a few more
  3. The water cooler was the most popular gathering spot
  4. Friday couldn’t come fast enough
  5. 9AM turned into 9:30 and 4:30 became the new 5PM
  6. Minimal effort was exerted. Through observation, I once calculated that the average employee spent less than 3 hours each day productively working.
  7. Many employees treated their clients the same way they were treated
  8. Turnover was very high and people quit without notice
  9. Employees spent hours on personal phone calls
  10. Loyalty was nonexistent, and employees often left their jobs to work for clients (including me.)

Any of the above sound familiar? What, other than more regulation, has changed in workplaces over the past 20 years?

Employees take their cues from their leader. Leaders who want to avoid game playing in their organization must not only be trustworthy but also make elevating internal trust their first priority.

For more information on elevating trust in your team or organization please visit our website and read more about our diagnostic AIM Towards Trust, now being used in companies worldwide.

For inquiries contact:

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2019, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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