A sea change is underway in how businesses are run.
Are you ready? Will you follow the trendsetters, scrambling to catch up? Or will you run out front in the vanguard?
For decades, the mantra of businesses has been to “maximize shareholder value.” Executives were quick to embrace it. They could focus on a single priority, measured simply by the short-term share price. They made tough decisions about stripping out underperforming assets, laying off personnel, and manipulating revenue recognition and balance sheet reserves to meet Wall Street’s expected earnings levels. They placed shareholder value at the top of the heap. The result was more efficient businesses, but it came at a devastating price: a huge loss of trust among their customers, employees, and the public.
In response, counter-movements have arisen, calling for corporate social responsibility, sustainability, going green, a triple bottom line (people, planet, and profits), and ethical leadership, to name a few. Great concepts. But overloaded executives struggled to reconcile them with the results imperative and intense competitive pressures.
Now, a new word–or rather, a very old word–is gaining traction. It underlies all the movements listed above. That word is trust.
Everyone understands trust: trust with your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We may sometimes get lost in the nuances of morality and ethics, or the challenges of managing a triple bottom line, but we intuitively get trust.
Trust in business enhances loyalty among customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders. Trustworthy businesses build brand loyalty, market share, employee engagement, and innovation. Trustworthy businesses lower costs and increase profitability. Building trust is the hottest, oldest, new big idea in business.
How can you ride the wave of this sea change? Rather than scrambling to keep the ship afloat, how can you harness the power of trustworthy business?
You might begin by picking up the book Trust Inc.: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset. Compiled by Barbara Brooks Kimmel at Trust Across America – Trust Around the World, this compendium of essays gives us the roadmap. It shows strategies for how to build trust in your team or organization and rebuild trust when it is lost. It calls all of us to action.
Named one of the “25 Women Who Are Changing the World” by Good Business International, Kimmel has assembled essays from more than thirty thought leaders—including her own significant contribution—in this book: Patricia Aburdene, Ken Blanchard, Stephen M. R. Covey, Lolly Daskal, Charles Green, Jim Kouzes, Greg Link, Robert Porter Lynch, Tim McClimon, Barry Posner, Deb Mills-Scofield, Jim Spence, Bob Whipple, and more. We were also invited to contribute a short essay, and were honored to do so. We’ve answered the call and are on board for the wave!
Published today, you can purchase Trust Inc. on Amazon. We recommend it.
A sea change in business is underway. Are you ready for it?
We welcome your feedback on Trust Inc. and the movement to build trustworthy businesses. Please spread the word and do all you can to restore trust at work and at home.
Bob and Gregg Vanourek, father and son, are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, winner of the 2013 International Book Awards (Business: General). Twitter: @TripleCrownLead