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    The Trust Edge Blog

    Tuesday
    Aug052014

    Anonymity Dilutes Accountability | Trust in Leadership

     

    A major way to increase accountability is to reduce anonymity. There is a reason that crime is less per capita in small towns; people know each other. They know what each other is up to, and they talk. They know who is at the bar and whose car is parked outside of “that person’s” house all night long. While gossip is certainly a negative; small town accountability can promote higher character. If people know they are being watched, they are more likely to act above reproach. This is one of the reasons people do more stupid things in Las Vegas while on a business trip. Anonymity dilutes accountability. This is the reason why some conscientious families move computers into the main living area. By having the computers in a more public space, family members are less likely to go on sites they would be embarrassed to be found searching. And it’s the same reason why offices with open work spaces promote greater productivity than ones with solid doors and walls. Colleagues can see whether each other is napping, tweeting, or working. 

    Five Ways to Build Character

    1. Be humble. It is the beginning of wisdom.

    2. Live out your principles and values. Whether it’s “love others,” or “do the right thing,” living by your principles will make decision making easier and your character more steadfast. Make sure to hire principled people because it is very hard for any of us to learn principles after age 10. 

    3. Be intentional. Integrity does not happen by accident. We are all products of our thoughts and habits. Be intentional about filling your mind with good thoughts. Creating a habit of this internalizes principles and breeds high character. 

    4. Practice self-discipline. Being of high character takes the ability to do what is right over what is easy. As Harry S Truman said, “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first.” 

    5. Be accountable. Surround yourself with people who have high expectations for you. Be responsible to yourself first. Lose the pride. Open yourself up to accountability. To see the questions I get asked every week by my accountability partner, go to www.TheTrustEdge.com.

    Monday
    Jul282014

    Plan Ahead to Stay Ahead | Trust in Leadership

    It’s hard to get a running start on the day without a plan. You don’t want to waste your creative morning time wondering what you should do today. If you want to attack your day instead of having it attack you, use this solid strategy. Take the last 15 minutes of a workday to plan out and prioritize the activities for the next day. This will set you up for success and also keep you from forgetting about important tasks or appointments. “Every minute you spend planning saves you an average of approximately 10 minutes in execution” says Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog!”  When you take time to plan you save time in the end, so why not plan ahead?

    Here are 2 strategies to help you plan tomorrow today:

    1. Run the numbers. Use this effective strategy to prioritize your To Do List. Count the items on your To Do List, and then number them in order from most important to least important. Use the numbers one through seven, for example, giving the most important item the seven. The next most important item gets a six, and so on. After you have finished your first set of numbers, repeat the process, only this time in order of urgency. That is, figure out what must be done soonest and give it a seven, what is second most urgent gets a six, etc. When you are done, add the two numbers together. Those with the highest combined scores are to be done first, and on down through the line. By going through this easy process, you ensure that you’re spending your time on what matters most. For some, this may become part of the daily routine. For others, this method may be a one-week learning experience. Give it a try. It will help you prioritize your tasks in a way that makes sense. 

    2. Put it on paper. Without being overly detailed, write or type your schedule for the day. Documenting your activities will keep you on track toward finishing your work for the day. Crossing finished items off can be very satisfying.

     

    Tuesday
    Jul222014

    Hyper-Personal & Shared Experience Culture | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    Increasingly, Americans desire to be entertained, fulfilled, and transformed, and they want to share these experiences with their friends.


    Americans are stressed-out, staying obese, and becoming more self-focused and unhealthy. They are often distrusting critics, especially younger anti-institutional generations who have been influenced by scandals in hierarchies, and this makes them increasingly informal. As consumers, they are demanding and difficult to please. They trade their money and options for what they want, when they want, and how they want. Increasingly, they desire to be entertained and fulfilled, and they want to share experiences with friends. In 2014, American consumers desire hyper-personal products, services, experiences, shared experiences and transformations.

     

    Stressed & Unhealthy

    Americans are stressed and unhealthy. Professionals’ work hours are rising, more energy drinks are being sold, and America keeps getting fatter. The Associated Journal of Preventative Medicine projects that American obesity and severe obesity rates are projected to rise from around 31% and 5% to 42% and 11% by 2030. They also project increased rates of diabetes.[i] People, especially Americans, are more self-focused than ever. Whereas previous generations only saw themselves in mirrors, the self-shot, picture happy, YouTube era has dramatically increased the amount that people see and think about themselves. The difference may seem small, but it’s not. Gen Y has seen thousands of images and videos of themselves. Couple that with the prevalence of pornography, provocative pop culture, beauty infomercials, and we end up with the runaway train culture of self-focused America. Body modifications, tanning, cosmetic surgeries and product sales are rising, as individuals become more aware and dissatisfied with their conditions.[ii] Americans are become more stressed out and unhealthy.

     

     

    Informality & Anti-Institution

    The pre-1960’s America is gone. An American free-market economy, democracy, and ideals for self liberties and equality have further disintegrated hierarchical structures, and America’s most powerful CEO’s are universally known as just Bill, Steve, Arianna, etc. Billionaires dress in jeans and untucked shirts, and cable news anchors are as much comedians as they are newscasters. Uniforms are for the lower status workers of society, and freedom of dress at work is a sign of privilege. Insights into the Roman Catholic Church have revealed that their own hierarchy covered up scandals. Similar scandals across hierarchies in business and government have elicited responses from groups like Wiki Leaks and consumers have encouraged corporate transparency. Gen Y is the most affected and anti-institutional group the world has seen. Even the Christian church-goers have encouraged movements like the emerging church, and those in dating relationships often prefer cohabitation to marriage. [iii]

     

    Demanding

    Consumers are growing increasingly demanding. Why? Because they can – in this flat world, they have lots of options. This is breeding a non-commitment culture, where companies need data scientists who can keep up with shifting expectations and interests.[iv] With their newly gained power, consumers want what they want, how they want it, when they want it, and they want to know about it.[v] Consumers want to purchase personalized products, and they even want to participate in value creation.[vi] More and more want to know where something is from and how it is made. Documentaries on big farms, big companies, and big media have spawned distrust, and more are being asked to reveal the story of their product before it’s purchased – whether it’s how Chinese factory workers are being treated, the types of fertilizers used on vegetables grown in Iowa, or the quality of life of poultry before it becomes Thanksgiving dinner. Lastly, in what JW Intelligence calls the “Urgency Economy,” consumers want it….. NOW, because they’re in a hurry and used to limited-time deals.[vii]

     

    Hyper-Personal

    Consumers want personal devices and services, and they are receiving them. America’s becoming more mobile reliant, with 45% of adults using smart phones, and 20% of Americans owning tablets. Workplace flexibility is increasing, with employees working from online and owning some control over their schedules. [viii]  Education of all types can be purchased online or in a box, and for those without education budgets, they have access to the world’s best content and courses, from outlets like YouTube, Khan Academy, and even MIT and Stanford. Even medicine is becoming more personalized. Customized drugs can be manufactured using epigenetic insights for population economics and individual gene expression. A combination of synthetic biology and molecular medicine is forming a new wave of medicine, and neuroscience progress is transforming the way we understand and work with the brain.[ix]

     

    Shared Experience

    “If you don’t titillate our senses, we don’t want to buy from you. Oh, and we want to share it with our friends.” This is the sentiment of the new American consumer.  Anything entertaining is destined as a  bullish market. For most purchases, the American mentality is past scraping by on commodities, goods and services. Consumers are seeking experiences and transformations.[x] Whether they are buying or just watching, they want to fill their void of fulfillment and entertainment. Productions and videos get more and more silly and crazy, with such popular content as the Stratosphere Jump, the 1 billion+ YouTube views for Gangnam Style, and Discovery Channels tight rope walk across the Grand Canyon. Geo-driven applications are helping to feed this every day hunger, as geo-services increase. Geo-coding and tagging allow friends to see each other’s locations, new forming apps will begin automatically appearing to give reviews and information on location businesses, Google Glass will move from prototype to mainstream, and predictive GPS will begin planning our lives for us. Predictive GPS can even predict and let friends know where other friends are likely to be on certain days and times. They are so accurate that the average error in preliminary tests by one company was 65 feet for predictions of where someone would be the next day.[xi] Finally, Americans want to share these engaging experiences with their friends. They desire social shopping, shared value, and their mindsets are shifting to “made with me” and “shared with me”. [xii][xiii]  They want experiences and transformation that benefit society rather than possessions.[xiv]

     

    Why this matters

    “All other economic offerings have no lasting consequence beyond their consumption. Even the memories of an experience fade over time. But buyers of transformations seek to be guided toward some specific aim or purpose, and transformations must elicit that intended effect... The individual buyer of the transformation essentially says, ‘Change me.’” – Pine & Gilmore, The Experience Economy[xv] 

     

     

    • Consumers have reached the edge of their spectrum on individualistic personalization. Now, they want to be entertained with friends.
    • A 2013 Deloitte survey revealed that 67% of organization’s top priority for consumer engagement is through social media.
    • Some generations like informality and others prefer formality.
    • People want to be entertained, engaged, and fulfilled. If you can’t meet it as much as your competitor, they’ll just go to the other. Internally, increase trustworthiness with your team – they want to engage with others and collaborate.
    • American’s like options, but not so many options that it creates the paralysis of choice.
    • American’s are unhealthy for a reason, why? How is it a barrier to long-term sustainability and success? And what are potential solutions?
    • American’s often enjoy knowing the back story for how something was developed before they purchase it.

     

     

    How to seize the embedded opportunities

     

    • Emphasize developing the pillars of clarity, commitment, and connection of The Trust Edge.
    • Fancy the American desire for sensory engagement. Find ways to entertain buyers and potential buyers.
    • Find value in good hard work, in and of itself.
    • Be sensitive to formality levels with generations, but err on the side of formality.
    • Help make consumers more intelligent and developed individuals.
    • Contribute to making Americans healthier.
    • Prepare your sales team with miniature staged performances that can be used on demand to engage customers and allow them to interact with products and services.
    • Recognize that people want to be fulfilled. Engage them personally to win friends, and you’ll win customers as well as help bring some fulfillment.
    • Develop trusted memorable experiences for those who engage with your brand.
    • Use the Inclusive Management strategy outlined in the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer and share vision with employees, experts, media, consumers and activist. Then listen for feedback and adapt.
    • Involve consumers in the story of what they are considering buying.
    • Offer more than one version of your offerings so consumers have options. Consider a hyper-personalized version.
    • American’s generally distrust government officials and CEO’s and trust their peers and experts. Leverage peers via social networking and collaborate with experts.[xvi]
    • Key opportunity for competitive advantage: customized experiences.

     


    [i] 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030, CDC study finds. http://www.advisory.com/Daily-Briefing/2012/05/08/42-percent-of-Americans-will-be-obese-by-2030

    [ii] Crouch, Andy. Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade. http://www.qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx

    [iii] Crouch, Andy. Ten Most Significant Cultural Trends of the Last Decade. http://www.qideas.org/blog/ten-most-significant-cultural-trends-of-the-last-decade.aspx

    [iv] http://www.jwtintelligence.com/shop/10-trends-for-2013/#axzz2cMHUA1xp

    [v] 5 Global Trends Unfolding Over the Next Decade. Leadership Now. http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2010/02/5_global_trends_unfolding_over.html

    [vi] A Top Ten for Business Leaders. The Economist. The World in 2013. http://www.economist.com/blogs/theworldin2013/2012/11/global-trends-2013http://www.economist.com/theworldin/2013

    [vii] http://www.jwtintelligence.com/shop/10-trends-for-2013/#axzz2cMHUA1xp

    [viii] TNS Financial Insights Small Business: Top 10 Trends for 2013. http://www.tnsglobal.com/sites/default/files/TNS-Financial-Insights-Top-10-Small-Business-Trends.pdf

    [ix] Dr. James Canton. Global Futures Forecast 2013. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/jcanton

    [x] Pine, Joseph & Gilmorek James. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.  1999. Harvard Business Press.

    [xi] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex. http://access.van.fedex.com/access-20/

    [xii] Access 20: The Big Ideas Defining Global Trade. Fed Ex. http://access.van.fedex.com/access-20/

    [xiii] http://www.jwtintelligence.com/shop/10-trends-for-2013/#axzz2cMHUA1xp

    [xiv] Pine, Joseph & Gilmorek James. The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.  1999. Harvard Business Press.

    [xv] The Experience Economy and Advanced Value Creating Ideas. Retrieved on 19 September 2013 from http://www.accountingweb.com/blogs/ronaldbaker/firms-future/experience-economy-and-advanced-value-creating-ideas

    [xvi] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    Thursday
    Jul032014

    Conflict is Unavoidable | Trust in Relationships

     

    Most conflict occurs because of a lack of clarity in communication, so I feel it is important to address here. Expect conflict. Learn to deal with it. Anytime there’s more than one person, you’re bound to find conflict. It’s only natural. We all have separate backgrounds, different tendencies, and unique perspectives. It’s no surprise we disagree from time to time. I am always amazed at the splits in friendships, churches, and businesses over a little conflict. Who do you agree with 100% of the time? Nobody. I don’t even agree with those I love the most, all of the time.

    Have you noticed how people will escalate in their friendship as long as they are talking about commonalities? However, when differences are found, the energy and engagement often drops. We may agree on many things, but now that I know you voted for one person and I voted for another, we can hardly be friends. Don’t let it happen. Expect and even appreciate conflict. The old notion rings true that if we are all exactly the same we are not all needed. Conflict can be a source of growth, creativity, and in the end, greater unity. 

    How to Make Conflict Constructive

    • The key to conflict is not avoiding it; it’s dealing with it effectively.

    • Conflict is inevitable and necessary for improvement. We can’t grow if we’re never challenged, so get used to seeing conflict as a way to spur positive change, not an attack on your point of view.

    • Use it as a chance to gather information. Understand that conflict resolution often gives the chance to gather input and clarify expectations.

    • Ask “Why?” Often, the best way out of conflict is to keep asking “Why?” The root of the problem might not be apparent on the surface.

    • Practice empathy. There’s no better remedy for a disagreement than putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Pause and be open to the other’s point of view and reasoning.

    • Stick to the facts. Don’t focus on negative feelings or perceived intentions, but rather, concentrate on what happened, and what you can do about it.

    • Practice using “I” language. Using “You” language like, “You always,” or “I wish you wouldn’t do that” puts the other person on the defensive. “I thought this,” or “I felt this way,” allows you to express yourself more clearly and helps the other person better appreciate your point of view. 

    Tuesday
    Jul012014

    Systems Collaboration and Interdependence | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    In the US, and around the globe, systems are becoming more interdependent, and leaders are teaming up to accomplish shared goals.


    In the US, and around the globe, systems are becoming more interdependent, and leaders are teaming up to accomplish shared goals. This is happening at a time when global citizens trust systems, but distrust the leaders that operate them. Trust in business, government, media, and NGO’s are up slightly from 2012, but 2013 has been deemed the year of the Crisis of Leadership, by the Edelman Trust Barometer.[i] Most Americans feel that the government is having more impact on their businesses and threatening their rights. In the midst of this tension, public-private partnerships and cross-sector collaboration are increasing, as leaders team-up to tackle top challenges like healthcare, social security, and banking.

     

    Low Trust in System Leadership

    Across the globe, Edelman research shows a gap between people’s trust in institutions vs. leadership. In America, 50% of individuals have trust in business, but only 15% trust business leaders to tell the truth.[ii]  Only 17.5% of people around the globe said they trust their business and government leaders to solve social issues, correct issues within industries that are experiencing problems, make ethical and moral decisions, and tell the truth regardless of complexity or unpopularity.[iii] In separate research from the Interaction Associates, 31% of individuals said their organization has effective leadership, down from 50% in 2009.[iv] Why is trust dropping? 50% of people in Edelman’s research said the reasons are corruption, fraud, and wrong incentives driving business decisions. In government, it’s a similar story. Pew Research from January reveals that both democrats, 57%, and republicans, 58%, believe the political system can work fine, and that the members are the problem.[v] 38% of people have trust in government, and a measly 10% trust government leaders to tell the truth.[vi]  Interaction Associates research confirms these findings with only 26% of Americans trusting the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time, and 73% say they can trust the government only some of the time or never.  Edelman’s research reveals that 50% of individuals are less trusting in government leaders because of corruption, fraud, and wrong incentives driving policies. 31% say it’s related to incompetence issues.

     

    Public-Private Partnerships Increase

    85% of people surveyed in a Deloitte study said the government’s role has “greatly increased impact” on their business. This is happening during a time when Americans distrust the government 10 percentage points more than business, and public-private partnerships (PPP’s) are increasing.[vii][viii]  PPP’s are shifting from the last 200 years of primarily focusing on infrastructure projects to other projects that are too risky, daunting and expensive to handle alone. Deloitte’s report rationalizes, “The increasingly complex nature of our national challenges, along with recent shifts in economic and social forces, are creating incentives for government and business to collaborate more frequently and in new ways that go well beyond traditional infrastructure investments, expanding the definition of partnership in the future.”[ix]

     

    Public-private partnerships are forming to tackle pervasive problems in healthcare, social security, Medicare, and welfare programs. Perhaps the greatest opportunity in these partnerships will be the potential for balancing notorious problems: leech-ridden welfare system, sometimes enabling Medicare system, unmotivated TSA, bureaucratic healthcare system, and overly systemized and suffering education. Meanwhile, government could mitigate corporate greed with limits on executive pay, heightened corporate governance, better consumer protection, more regulation and transparency of over the counter derivatives, and restrictions on property investments.

     

    Overbearing Government

    A 2013 study by PEW Research Center found that 53% of American’s view the government as a threat to their personal rights and freedoms.[x] Slicing the data further, 76% of conservative Republicans say it’s a threat, and 54% call it a major threat, up from 62% and 47% in 2010. 38% of democrats say it poses a threat, and 16% say it poses a major threat. Lastly, 62% of gun-owning households compared to 45% in non-gunned households say the government is a threat. All of this data was gathered in January, prior to the Edward Snowden leaks about NSA spying programs that gather public data from companies like Verizon and Google.

     

    Why this matters

    “In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin[xi]

     

    • HPO’s employees, according to Building Trust in Business, are more trusting than non-HPO’s employees that individuals in their organizations will work diligently to accomplish shared goals. Trust is pivotal to performance.
    • American PPP’s can improve and become less political and bureaucratic.
    • American’s are feeling increasingly threatened by government influence in their businesses and lives.
    • Complaining about business, government, or media roles in getting outcomes is generally a waste of time. Many still do it.
    • Down 9% points from 2009, only 32% see their organization as collaborative.[xii]
    • Only 17.5% of people around the globe said they trust their business and government leaders to solve social issues, correct issues within industries that are experiencing problems, make ethical and moral decisions, and tell the truth regardless of complexity or unpopularity.[xiii]

     

     

    How to seize the embedded opportunities

    • Emphasize developing the clarity, connection, and competency pillars of The Trust Edge.
    • Increase collaboration internally in your organization.
    • Find ways for your leaders to collaborate with others.
    • Recognize future institutional partnerships and develop competence to be able to hit the ground running.
    • Provide feedback or solutions to decision-makers to give ideas for tackling major challenges.
    • Encourage congressional leaders to work diligently toward shared goals. Consider funding an organization like No Labels, who is working to pass bills through congress that incentivize leaders to collaborate.
    • Select tools and technology that could be helpful to collaboration.
    • 77% of global society trusts in the technology industry. Leverage this.
    • How can you or your team/organization collaborate better? What tools could help?
    • Follow these HPO collaboration strengths: shared responsibility for success, holding each other accountable, people have the interpersonal and group skills needed for collaboration, openness to ideas and suggestions, understanding for how perspectives link together, access to tools and technology, and share information and resources. [xiv]
    • Avoid these key HPO barriers to collaboration: inefficient communication, botched timelines, unclear objectives, changed objectives, and poor leadership.
    • Key opportunity for competitive advantage: leader collaboration.



    [i] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [ii] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [iii] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [iv] Building Trust in Business 2012. Interaction Associates & Human Capital Institute. Retrieved on 20 April 2012 from http://interactionassociates.com/sites/default/files/2012%20IA%20Building%20Trust_Report.pdf

    [v] Majority Says Federal Government Threatens Their Personal Rights. January 2013. http://www.people-press.org/2013/01/31/majority-says-the-federal-government-threatens-their-personal-rights/

    [vi] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [vii] Business Trends 2013. Deloitte. http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/consulting/Strategy-Operations/business-trends/index.htm

    [viii] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [ix] Business Trends 2013. Deloitte. http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_US/us/Services/consulting/Strategy-Operations/business-trends/index.htm

    [x] Majority Says Federal Government Threatens Their Personal Rights. January 2013. http://www.people-press.org/2013/01/31/majority-says-the-federal-government-threatens-their-personal-rights/

    [xi] Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. http://naspatumbles.tumblr.com/post/16071479919/in-the-long-history-of-humankind-those-who

    [xii] Building Trust in Business 2012. Interaction Associates & Human Capital Institute. Retrieved on 20 April 2012 from http://interactionassociates.com/sites/default/files/2012%20IA%20Building%20Trust_Report.pdf

    [xiii] Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer. Edelman Research at Edelman Public Relations. Retrieved on 5 May 2013 from http://trust.edelman.com/

    [xiv] Building Trust in Business 2012. Interaction Associates & Human Capital Institute. Retrieved on 20 April 2012 from http://interactionassociates.com/sites/default/files/2012%20IA%20Building%20Trust_Report.pdf

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