Donna Burnette

Creating Transparency

Creating transparency is gaining recognition as a critical behavior in high-trust companies. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the – spirit of transparency – is the first key to restoring public trust.

Is there a business consequence to a lack of transparency? I bet you can think of several examples but here’s a good one:

Eckhard Pfeiffer, the former CEO of Compaq, had two different types of executives on his team. The first was a group of executives whose instinct for self-preservation biased them to consistently reinforce his vision (whether they believed in it or not).  The second was a group of astute observers willing to speak truth to power.  As you might have guessed, Eckhard preferred the first group because they boosted his self-esteem.

There were many on his staff that realized that both Gateway and Dell were dominating Compaq in the marketplace through the use of innovative manufacturing technologies and customer service strategies to build custom computers unique to the needs of each customer. But Pfeiffer was unwilling to receive counsel from the second group on this issue.

As a result, he not only failed to notice that other firms were gaining on his; he also failed to seize the opportunities created by the Internet and these new manufacturing technologies, as others had done.

The consequences for Compaq?

After consistently missing revenue and profit goals, they were acquired by Hewlett Packard for a fraction of what this once mighty company had been valued.

As a leader you might want to ask yourself, “Do people who are not in my inner circle have a way to get information to me?” “How do I react – what do I do – when someone brings me unwelcome news that might undermine my own assumptions or strategy?” “Am I able to reward the messenger even though I don’t like the message?”

Please drop us a line and share your transparency stories with us. We particularly welcome positive examples of the demonstration of this Speed of Trust behavior.

Today, trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services. Attend Blueline’s Building & Restoring Trust Webinar. Click here to learn more.

Reengage Your Employees by Building Cultures of Trust

The worst recession in three generations has wreaked havoc on our markets and the companies that operate within them. And our employees are living with fear and uncertainty about the economy, their jobs and their careers.

More than ever, there is urgency around building and restoring trust – between departments, within teams, across suppliers, with customers, and in the marketplace.

Now the organization looks to you. How are you, as a learning professional, going to help your leaders to rebuild trust in your organization, trust in its leadership, and trust among peers?

On August 24th and Sept 1st, Blueline Simulations will be holding a complimentary webinar on Building and Restoring Trust in the workplace.  Should you be attending? Click here to learn more.

Organizations don’t build trust, people do — one conversation and one behavior at a time.

If you are facing a trust issue, please send us an email or leave a comment in the box below. We will do our best to tailor the webinar to the needs of the participants.

Most importantly, if you have a successful story or tip, please share that, too!

Backfiring Carrots

That’s actually the title of the lead story in The American Society for Training and Development’s (ASTD) 2010 daily conference news; a news flyer that is released during its International Conference. The writer was covering the keynote speaker, Daniel Pink’s message.

According to Pink, author of Drive: What the Science of Motivation Can Teach You About Performance, it isn’t about the ole “carrot and stick.” We don’t need sweeter carrots or sharper sticks. We need a whole new approach that puts stock in intrinsic motivation. Pink identified three elements that comprise a new way of thinking about motivation:

  1. Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery – the desire to get better at something that matters
  3. Purpose – The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

According to Daniel Pink: traditional ideas about management are great if you want compliance; but to drive innovation: engagement through self-direction works best. Put another way, incentives work for tasks that don’t require lots of thought. But incentives are counter productive when the work requires creative thought. Intuitively, this makes sense.  If I am working against the clock, I won’t likely take time to ponder different approaches. Google calls this 20% time. 20% of every Google employee’s week is dedicated to thinking creatively. And according to Daniel Pink, Google credits much of the breakthrough innovation that the company is renown for, to this practice.

Further, Daniel talked about people’s need for feedback — citing that most performance reviews are flawed – they are given annually and the conversations are not authentic. This really hit home for me having done so many performance reviews in my career. Imagine a tennis player or musician getting feedback only once a year!

Feedback and open authentic conversations are key ingredients if you want to get better. Of course this led me also to think about Stephen M.R. Covey’s Trust Talk Processes. One of Stephen’s 13 behaviors common to high trust is “Get Better.” Getting better requires regular feedback. Stephen encourages open and authentic dialogs (trust talks) as a means for restoring or extending trust, and, in his best selling book: The Speed of Trust, he offers a structure for having these trust talks.

Perhaps we all need to examine our reward structures and feedback systems. When was the last time you encouraged your employees to quietly ponder new ways of doing things or gave them regular and authentic feedback?

Trust in the Marketplace

Isn’t it interesting?

The American Society for Training and Development’s (ASTD) International Conference was packed with sessions on virtual learning, social media, 3D, best practices for webinars and so on. I attended the conference, and while there, I received a press release about Ken Blanchard’s acquisition of the Trustworks Group. Yes, I did receive it on my iphone, and I admit, I read it while listening to the speaker. Seems this is typical behavior for certain generations.

Well, that definitely peeked my interest given that I have been working with Stephen M.R. Covey for the past three years to bring engaging and dynamic learning programs to the market based on his best-selling book, The Speed of Trust.

Obviously, other thought leaders besides Stephen M.R. are catching on to the idea that trust is a key leadership competency, and that there is a great need to develop leaders who inspire trust.

This is certainly no surprise given that in the past decade, both business and government have violated stakeholder trust and demonstrated how its loss erodes reputation. As a result, trust has emerged as a new line of business.

The 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that, to advance reputation, companies need to be everywhere, engaging everyone. That they must build a “mosaic of trust.” In fact, the barometer shows that trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services.

High trust organizations out perform low-trust organizations. Total return to shareholders is almost three times higher than the return in low trust organizations. So we assert that trust is clearly a key competency. A competency or skill that can be learned, taught, and improved, and one talent to screen for.

Leaders need to be transparent and talk straight, instead of creating illusions, having hidden agendas, making things seem different from reality, or spinning the truth. These are two of the key behaviors in Stephen M.R. Covey’s book that came out of his work on trust.

We are glad to hear more buzz about trust in the marketplace. And we hope your trust work is based on trust as an economic driver, and about implementing the behaviors of trust at all levels in your organization – getting people to speak the language of trust and understand how to extend, restore and build it.

There are no trust falls or funny hats in our Speed of Trust simulation and Speed of Trust Meeting in a Box. These dynamic learning solutions are about trust as an economic driver; about making trust your operating system; about learning and applying the behaviors common to high trust. Now there is something to tweet about (or we’ll send a press release if you prefer)!

Trust in the Headlines

Turn on the TV or click to your favorite news website and it won’t take long to find a story about the decline of trust in organizations. Damaged trust is at the heart of economic turmoil, and millions of workers have felt the effects in painful and personal ways.graph

The 2009 annual Edelman Trust Barometer reports that “the world has more reasons than ever before to suspend its trust.”

The report goes on to say: “In no country is trust in a more dismal state than the United States, where government, business, and media are all distrusted by respondents to do what is right.”

Many of us don’t need a news headline to tell us this because we feel the effects of damaged trust every day.

So what do we do about it?

Stephen M. R. Covey, in his best selling book, The Speed of Trust, says “you can’t talk yourself out of a situation you behaved yourself into. You can behave yourself out of a situation you behaved your way into.”

Stephen identifies 13 behaviors that build trust:

  1. Talk Straight
  2. Demonstrate Respect
  3. Create Transparency
  4. Right Wrongs
  5. Show Loyalty
  6. Delivery Results
  7. Get Better
  8. Confront Reality
  9. Clarify Expectations
  10. Practice Accountability
  11. Listen First
  12. Keep Commitments
  13. Extend Trust

People and companies can learn these behaviors.  It’s not a simple process that happens overnight, but is a systemic, cultural process that can happen one leader at a time.

When you find yourself in a situation where trust needs to be restored, practice restoring it using these thirteen behaviors common to high trust individuals.