Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Let Trust Hang in the Balance: Follow These 5 Principles

This post is by my friend, Larry Checco of Checco Communications.
This photo is from EssG's photostream on Flickr.

A brand screams out TRUST ME!  A good brand quietly-and always-fulfills that pledge.

Unfortunately, the public's trust of institutions and organizations of all kinds-especially with respect to some of our most venerated for-profit, nonprofit, government and dare I say religious institutions-is at an all-time low.

Here are five things can you do to help ensure that trust is part of your organization's core values:

Recruit and hire well, especially your leaders.

How often have you heard, "We need to recruit board members of affluence and influence?" Recent history has affirmed that if the portfolios of your leaders don't include wisdom and integrity, their affluence and influence may come back to bite you in the butt. 
Educate what's at risk.
Ethical lapses are easy to make, especially when the organization's culture gives a wink and a nod to unethical behavior.

Countless organizations have suffered greatly because they failed to understand the risks of their questionable or unethical behavior. We'll refrain from mentioning names here, but if you just glance at the news these days you know who they are.

Be transparent with your finances.

Be sure that you can account to your funders for how your organization spent their money; better yet, how it made a difference in helping you achieve your mission. And poor bookkeeping is no excuse. Hire a certified accountant, if necessary. To learn more about the state of transparency in nonprofits, see this report from Guidestar

Speak truth to power.
Create an organizational culture in which employees feel free to speak truthfully to management.  Pent-up worker frustration often becomes cancerous and ugly, not to mention harmful to the organization's brand.

Legal is not the litmus test.

There's a difference between what's legal and what's ethical. If you're sitting around a conference table trying to split hairs between the two, don't go to your legal department for a resolution to your dilemma. It's being paid to find you a loophole. Rather ask yourself, "What would my mother think if this decision I'm about to make finds itself on the front page of the local newspaper or on the 6 o'clock news?"

Want to hear more from Larry?  Register today for "Don't Be Fooled: The Pitfalls, Myths and Assumptions that Can Fool Executive Communicators a brown bag luncheon hosted by Washington Women in Public Relations on Thursday, April 1 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Creating a Culture of Candor

A new poll by Harris Interactive shows that St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are among the most trusted nonprofits.  The two charities also rank in the top ten for "nonprofits to which people are most likely to donate." 
According to the poll, "one of the most critical elements of a non-profit's brand name is Trust. The trust that the general public places in non-profits is paramount to their success as enduring and powerful brands. Those that deliver well on their promises and missions stand the test of time," noted Justin Greeves, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Harris Interactive. "In the context of this brand evaluation, Trust should be viewed as both a concrete organizational trait and a point of emotional connection with supporters and those in need of help and assistance".
The study also seem to suggest that there is a strong correlation (maybe even causal link) between consumer trust in a nonprofit and likelihood to donate.  Makes sense.  So here's the question. If trust is an essential ingredient in creating a thriving (and profitable) organization, how do you create it?  

According to Transparency, a very interesting set of essays by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman building trust is a long-term process and has to be built into the very fabric of an organization's culture.  Moreover, trust building is an ethical responsibility of both followers and leaders in an organization.

In their first essay, Creating a Culture of Candor, the authors suggest that trust is dependent on the free flow of information in an organization.  They also talk about the role of digital technology, in particular blogs, in forcing organizations to become more transparent.
"Blogs can do far more than reveal secrets.  They are able to spread information virally at stunning speed...Blogs can blindside and cause damage to companies as well as individuals...No leader can  afford to ignore such a force...[In short], blogs are uniquely powerful tools for promoting products, brands, and ideas, but they can also be ruthless and all but unstoppable in punishing what they disapprove of.  And as their numbers soar, blogs will only get more powerful."
Is your organization trustworthy?  Are you open about your triumphs and failures?  Do you share critical information widely and with various stakeholders?  In short, are you on the level and do you keep people in the loop? 

Rather than wait for your secrets to be revealed by the digerati, why not start now and create a culture of candor where both leaders and followers practice the fine art of speaking the truth.  According to Harris Interactive's research, this will build your brand equity.  It may also create a powerful economic incentive for people to give more money to your organization.