There are lots of great reasons to be trustworthy. For one, high trust companies make more money. Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World and their mission is to help organizations build more trust. She created a framework for measuring trust in businesses she calls FACTS. It stands for:
F Financial Stability and Strength
A Accounting Stability
C Corporate Integrity
Using the FACTS framework Trust Across America was able to predict the top ten companies and outperformed Standard & Poor’s. The Framework goes beyond the typical measure of financials and identifies the companies that not only do what is legal but what is right. Trust is the magic that makes success happen.
Trust is established from the top down and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Low trust organizations hide information. One example came to me after I had presented at a conference. One of the participants came up to me afterwards and said to me “I’m told not to tell so your advice won’t work for me.”
It was in response to a suggestion I made about being open and honest with employees and telling them as much as you could. People were being laid off and middle management was told by senior management not to inform anyone until all the layoff notices were handed out. I was curious: What happens if an employee asks a direct question? Do you lie? Then whose reputation is ruined? The companies or yours? I encouraged them to tell the employees what they could tell them. Don’t lie.
The lies and the layoffs were symptomatic of larger problems. High trust companies have a few things in common.
- They have a meaningful vision that engages the employees. For the senior leaders, it’s not just words on a page, it is an emotional document that connects people in the company
- The relationships within the company are nurtured
- There is transparency
- Communication is stellar and there is a consistent message at all levels
- They invest in their people with training and development.
If you want to be one of the top companies in your field, work on trust.