“Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time.”– Arthur Ashe
Performing a quick review of recent news headlines on trust repair and restoration returns the following results:
Restore Trust in Science
Pittsburgh Diocese to do More to Restore Trust
Can a Blockchain Timestamp Help Rebuild Trust
Fair and Unbiased Reporting Will Restore Trust in Media
Mayor Peter Gets Hired by Notre Dame to Restore Trust in Politics
Zuckerberg Has a Lot of Work To do To Restore Public Trust in Facebook
These headlines might lead the average reader to believe that, at one point, the referenced societal institutions had built trust and have now lost it. For others including me, they are a naive attention grabbing media tool, serving no purpose and misleading most readers. It’s simply not possible to rebuild or restore something that was ignored during the organizational construction phase.
Building trust should never be used as a crisis response or news headline following a reputation hit.
Trust doesn’t work that way. It is always proactive, intentional and deliberate and trust is built:
- Through ethical and principled behavior modeled by leadership
- From the inside out
- Over time
- In incremental steps
A strong foundation of trust supports an even stronger “trust bank account” and ensures that reputation hits will be minimized and repair will be easy and inexpensive. It also brings many collateral benefits including:
- Elevated employee engagement and retention
- Reduced workplace stress
- Improved stakeholder relationships
- More innovation
- Better accountability, transparency and communication
- Reduced costs and elevated profits
Unfortunately the current global crisis has revealed the level to which most leaders across all societal institutions from science to business, have ignored the organizational risks that their low trust environments have created. Many are now faced with the monumental task of climbing their way out of the “trust repair trap.” While it’s never too late to start building trust, it must begin with leadership acknowledgement that the crisis response strategy to trust does not work. It never did.
Those interested in proactively elevating trust can choose to:
- Join our global Trust Alliance
- Tap into Trust and join almost 150,000 global professionals who have already done so
- Use our AIM assessment tools to start a trust discussion
- Host a virtual trust building workshop
- Or drop a note to Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com
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.
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