by Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder Trust Across America-Trust Around the World
These days it does not take much to lose stakeholder trust given that most organizations have failed to build that essential trust bank account. Now, facing a low balance, many companies are scrambling to find an easy and quick deposit into their account. That is not how trust is built. There are no quick fixes and work arounds are dangerous, further eroding trust despite what leaders are being told. These trust substitutes fail time after time and then like clockwork a new one takes its place. If history has taught any lessons, they will also fail. And how many times should the same mistake be forgiven? Excessive employee turnover currently occurring in some companies tells me that the time has come to stop treating trust like a soft skill that can be taken for granted. The business case for trust has been made. It is time to start paying attention to it.
In 2010 I approached a colleague, a relatively well known consultant to senior management and boards, who had recently published a new book. In it he highlighted one of his clients as a role model for others in their industry. Our FACTS® Framework data told another story (see chart below.) I approached him in confidence, shared our data, and suggested he present it to his client. His response shocked me. “Why would I bring this “bad” news to my client? It might be the end of my very lucrative consulting contract. I’ve got college bills to pay.” Did I fail to mention that his specialty was/is crisis repair/reputation management? That was over 10 years ago. What has changed?
The following is a list of some of the most egregious trust violations happening every day under the leadership of those who should know better. If you find this list offensive please think about why you are having that reaction. Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
- Unwillingness to acknowledge or take ownership of trust. Delegating it to corporate communications or the PR department, or these days maybe compliance or audit.
- Excluding freedom of expression and opinions from the “Diversity & Inclusion” program.
- Talking about the importance of data privacy while installing the latest surveillance software upgrades on subordinates computers (and referring to them as subordinates.)
- Putting customers before employees.
- Telling customers how…