Posts Tagged ‘trustworthy behavior’


Tracking and addressing the behaviors that build or weaken trust in teams and organizations has the following benefits:

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

Is progress being made?

The growing interest in our Tap Into Trust campaign has brought almost 180,000 people to our universal principles, available in 16 languages. We are also 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 and whether they change over time. The anonymous survey can be taken here and the results of hundreds of respondents viewed upon completion.

Building a trust based team or organization is not one size fits all. It happens in 3 stages. We use AIM as the acronym.

ACKNOWLEDGING that trust (the outcome of principled behavior) is a tangible asset

IDENTIFYING  the behaviors that are weakening and strengthening trust

MENDING the behaviors and tracking them over time

We call this AIM Towards Trust, and the framework is being adopted by enlightened leaders 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.

There is no “one size fits all” or check the box fix.


Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an author, speaker, product developer and global subject matter expert on trust and trustworthiness. Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World she is author of the award-winning Trust Inc., Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset, Trust Inc., 52 Weeks of Activities and Inspirations for Building Workplace Trust and Trust Inc., a Guide for Boards & C-Suites. She majored in International Affairs (Lafayette College), and has an MBA (Baruch- City University of NY). Her expertise on trust has been cited in Harvard Business Review, Investor’s Business Daily, Thomson Reuters, BBC Radio, The Conference Board, Global Finance Magazine, Bank Director and Forbes, among others.

For more information contact me

Copyright 2023, Next Decade, inc.

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

Early in 2020 several members of our Trust Alliance convened around the topic:

Trust Lessons from Working Remotely

At the time many of us had only been working remotely for several weeks, while for others, this had been their norm for years. Dozens of excellent insights were offered during the session and they are divided into three categories. 

The Good

  • Trust is foundational regardless of whether people are working face to face or remotely.
  • Trust is the ultimate collaboration tool.
  • Leaders who invested in learning the language and creating a foundation of trust have a competitive advantage in our current environment. Kudos to them for addressing trust before a crisis.
  • The current pandemic environment represents a rare and unique opportunity for managers to work on trust building behaviors like accountability, openness and respect. It’s also a great time to be relying less on email and more on verbal communication.
  • In all levels of society we are learning that facing challenges and solving problems are simplified when trust is amplified.

The Bad

  • Adding more technology options does not build trust, nor is it a substitute for trust. Trust is interpersonal. It develops over time and builds in incremental steps through principled behavior.
  • If trust was lacking in the office before the pandemic, this deficiency will be amplified with employees working remotely.
  • If people are more productive working remotely, managers MUST ask themselves why.
  • Employees who were disengaged pre-crisis (the majority according to Gallup) will most likely be even more disengaged now.
  • Some people are finding that the 5 day work week has become a 7 day week and don’t know when to end their workday. In other words, work/life balance can suffer in some cases.

The Ugly

  • Nothing busts employee trust faster than a layoff (some countries have laws prohibiting layoffs.) With so many alternatives, leaders who were the earliest to press the downsize button may be last to fill vacancies with qualified employees when they need them again. These companies will be viewed by good talent as too risky and certainly not employee centric. In fact, decline in profitability, employee performance and even bankruptcies are all too common when layoffs are the solution of choice.
  • Many view fear as the opposite of trust and when leaders do nothing to allay the fears of their employees and other stakeholders during a time of crisis, they are setting themselves up for further damage in the future.
  • Fluffy marketing garbage is not working. The public has become way too skeptical to believe most of the “purpose” filled trust messages that brands are attempting to deliver. When a bank tells me they are “here for me during this time of crisis” while simultaneously cutting savings account interest rates but not credit card interest, I would rather not receive their marketing message. In fact they may just lose my business.
  • And speaking of banks, any organization in any industry whose leaders haven’t learned how to bank trust by building a strong foundation, can now expect their own bank balance to continue to decline as distrust increases.

A few suggestions were offered to elevate trust:

  • Assign a permanent Remote Workforce Manager.
  • If you didn’t already have one, a crisis continuity plan should be created.
  • Have more frequent “touch points” with your team, not only about work related matters but also about personal needs. Also, don’t forget the mental health of your employees during these difficult times.
  • Set up a buddy system for new employees.
  • Get your workforce up to speed with technology, but don’t over invest in it, or view it as a quick and easy trust “fix.”  Set aside some of that budget to learn how to build trust. It may be a little more work, but will produce much great rewards over the long-term.

Finally, Stephen M.R. Covey reminded the group that COVID is redefining our work environments. Once this crisis passes, leaders will need to reevaluate the following:

  1. How work is done: The “new” hybrid combining in-person and remote work will require more trust, not less.
  2. How we learn: Learning may require a different process that also requires more trust.
  3. How we lead: Leading with trust will continue to be a better way.

Now that almost three years have passed, have we made any progress? Not from my perspective. In fact, everything we knew about the benefits of high trust in the past is now further amplified. Often, it takes a crisis to remind us what happens when trust is ignored or taken for granted. Which leaders are emerging the strongest from COVID 19? Could it be those who chose to place trust in the center of their business strategy long before March 2020? Leaders and their organizations who banked trust before COVID 19 are being handsomely rewarded, and should continue to be long into the future.

Trust Alliance members including Lea Brovedani, Stephen M.R. Covey, Natalie Doyle Oldfield,  Charles Feltman, Sean Flaherty, Darshan Kulkarni, Olivia Mathijsen, and Bob Whipple joined me in this very lively discussion. 

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The Trust Action Project 2021 (#tap2021) Weekly Action is one of many Trust Alliance resources designed to help leaders, teams and organizations move from trust talk to ACTION in 2021 and beyond.



What behaviors do you think impact trust the most in teams and organizations? Our 1 minute/1 question AIM Workplace Diagnostic compares your response to 600 others.

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

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our programs.

What trust building ACTION would you suggest? Let us know.


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The Trust Action Project 2021 (#tap2021) Weekly Action is one of many Trust Alliance resources designed to help leaders, teams and organizations move beyond trust talk to ACTION in 2021 and beyond.

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

What’s weakening trust on your team or in your organization? Take our 1 minute/1 question AIM workplace survey.

Join our global Trust Alliance and participate in our many programs.

How would you like to get involved? Let us know.



Copyright 2021, Next Decade, Inc.

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What is trust? 
Find out in this informal 5-minute Zoom discussion with Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World and Shona Elliott.
Access the full 40-minute interview addressing the following questions and many more on our YouTube channel.
  • What is trust and how is it built in teams and organizations?
  • What are the major barriers leaders and teams face in building trust?
  • How can leaders proactively build trust?
  • How can they mend it after a crisis?
Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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Every year Trust Across America-Trust Around the World publishes its popular Annual Top Trust Stories, highlighting leaders who are “intentional” about trust.

This is the link to the 2019 article.


These outstanding leaders are also mentioned in TRUST! Magazine’s  annual Top Thought Leaders issue published every January.

Who should make the list this year? Email your idea to by the end of November with a short explanatory note, or link to an article, and we will consider it when compiling this year’s list. If your “honoree” is selected, your name will be included in the article.

And don’t forget to participate in this year’s Top Thought Leaders in Trust. Nominations opened on October 1.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.



Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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This post is written for my leadership, ethics and Board advisor friends on LinkedIn.

Maybe I’m naive or out of touch. What do you think of this offer?

When I was contacted last week about a position on an advisory board for a new executive education program at a well established university in NJ, the opportunity sounded promising. I would be joining leaders from organizations including Microsoft, Uber and Google, or so I was told in an introductory email. Yesterday I received more details in a phone conversation with the program manager. The call should have ended when the manager could not tell me how she received my name, but I decided to play along for a few more minutes. My one-year “seat” was contingent on two requirements:

  1. A commitment to three ninety-minute on-line evening calls throughout the year, during which Board members would listen to a presentation and give feedback.
  2. An agreement to complete the executive education curriculum itself (16 hours of online learning.) To clarify, I personally didn’t have to be the one to do that. Someone on my staff could be assigned the responsibility. It didn’t really matter as long as the FEE was paid. And what was that fee? For the general public, the program costs $4995 but as a Board member, the fee was discounted 80% to $980. Not only that, but anyone I signed up to complete the program would also be eligible for the same reduced rate.

I tried to stop choking on my coffee long enough to say that I would check with our Council members for some feedback. Before I had a chance to do that, and within 30 minutes, I received a followup email telling me I had been “approved” with a DocuSign term-sheet attached.

Well, I did a sanity check with one of my Council members who suggested I contact the university to discuss the ethics of their “pay to play” Board program. I may just do that. What would you do?

PS- Why the picture of the dog? I lost my buddy of 13 years on Monday. I’d like to think that the week can only get better from here. Let’s see what today brings.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

Copyright © 2020, Next Decade, Inc.





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Having studied and observed trust building and trust busting behavior for over ten years, what’s crystal clear is that when people trust you, their confidence in you will increase, and they will be more inclined to do business with you.



LinkedIn claims to have more than 700 million users in 200 countries, and the platform can be a very powerful business tool, IF your goal is to build trust with your connections. The following are ten tips on how to do this.

  1. Begin with a clearly defined “ethics based” LinkedIn strategy, with the focus being your connections not you.
  2. Communicate authentically. Your values, beliefs and principles must align with your actions.
  3. Become the “go to” person in your area of expertise by publishing well-written original thought leadership pieces rather than announcing your next podcast or speaking engagement.
  4. Every post should represent added value to your readers or be solutions based.
  5. Share relevant, high quality content, even if it is from a competitor. Shine a spotlight on valuable material, regardless of who wrote it.
  6. Remain humble. Don’t tell your audience how “honored” or “humbled” you are while promoting your upcoming gig or your most recent award. That’s just insincere self-interest.
  7. Before publishing your next post answer this question: “Who cares (other than you and your mother)?”
  8. Engage your audience by asking them for input and feedback, and be sure to acknowledge every response.
  9. In this age of rapidly evolving social “activism” pick your photo captions carefully. For example, does your photo show a room full of men with no female presence? Does it just show you?
  10. You are the company you keep. Make sure the posts you are “liking” reflect positively on your values. (And instead of simply “liking” a post, leave a thoughtful comment.)

And now for a few surefire ways to bust trust really fast…

  1. Connecting with the sole purpose of selling something to your “prospect”
  2. Pretending in your initial connection request that you have something (undefined) in common.
  3. Immediately upon connecting, filling the recipient’s inbox with all sorts of “stuff” about how great you are.
  4. Having a profile that screams “amateur”: Words and phrases like guru, influencer, disruptor, rebel, world-renowned, life coach, Lion, Forbes and Inc. contributor… and best-selling author.
  5. Same goes for credentials- fake PhD’s and questionable experience are easy to spot and even easier to verify.
  6. Being a bragger about your latest upcoming “gig” and then having all your friends say “Congrats!”
  7. Ignoring comments, or better yet, deleting them if you disagree or think they might take the attention away from you.
  8. Trolling LinkedIn and inciting controversy.
  9. Showing zero interest in getting to know your new connections, even when they message you.
  10. Adding your LI connections to your mailing list without permission.

Having been an active LinkedIn member for many years, the balance is shifting away from thought leadership towards billboard advertising. If this is accurate, LinkedIn will surely (and quickly) lose its stature as a valuable business tool. In fact, I’ve spent the past several months deleting hundreds of self-promoting LinkedIn connections.

In summary, if the focus is simply “You,” maybe it’s time to rethink your LinkedIn strategy. Start by making “trust building” your core focus.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Leave your comments.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the founder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its 12th year, the program has developed two proprietary trust-evaluation tools, the latest is AIM Towards Trust. She also runs the world largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series. Kimmel is a former consultant to McKinsey who has worked across multiple industries and with senior leadership. She holds a bachelor’s in international affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch.

Copyright 2020 Next Decade, Inc.

PS- Don’t forget to TAP into Trust!

For more information contact

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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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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:

Copyright 2020, Next Decade, Inc.

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