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    The Trust Edge Blog


    Great Leaders Take Responsibility | Trust in Leadership

    I have seen time and again how the committed take responsibility for their actions. In our high-litigation culture, there’s always someone else to blame. It can be easy to point the finger at suppliers, underlings, partners, and managers that just can’t seem to get things right. I have yet to meet this mass of completely incompetent workers, which leads me to think we might be trying to steer some of the fault away from where it belongs–on ourselves. Deflecting blame is no way to build trust. Not only is owning up to our actions the right thing to do, but it can often overcome negative consequences. For an example, we needn’t look any farther than former Navy sub commander Scott Waddle, whose ship collided with a Japanese fishing boat, killing nine civilians. Although an investigation determined that some of his men had made errors, Captain Waddle took responsibility for the incident. While he was reprimanded for the accident, he has been largely regarded as a hero for taking full responsibility for his actions and the actions of his crew, never once diverting any criticism to them.

    Great leaders take responsibility. This lesson is hard for many to learn. Major League Baseball buried itself more deeply under a scandal surrounding the use of illegal steroids. As the media dug in its claws, an interesting trend emerged: The players who have been forthright with their wrongdoings have, by and large, been forgiven. In fact, a few have been praised for their integrity and candor. Imagine that a group of icons, shown to have broken the rules, are vindicated simply by coming clean. On the other hand, some players have been unwavering in their denials, even in the face of overwhelming evidence and testimony. Some may even face criminal and obstruction charges. While everyone has the right to clear his or her name if wrongly accused, being honest in the first place is the right thing to do.


    How to Build Trust Across Cultures and Diversities | Trust in Leadership

    In the 21st century, there's no doubt that each of us will spend considerable time interacting with those of a different culture (or other diversities). Trust-building isn't easy, and it can be especially daunting the more differences that are present. Here're some top tips and discussion questions from chapter 14 of The Trust Edge that can help. Consider printing this post to work on with your team this week.

    • Get to know people individually rather than stereotyping them. 
    • When there are cultural differences, be transparent. Let people get to know the real you. 
    • People are more likely to trust others who are like them, and less likely to trust those who are different.
    • Do the extra work to increase trust with those who are different from you. 
    • As a team leader, find common ground. 
    • Ignoring another culture’s feelings or customs leads to skepticism, not trust. 
    • Show people they can trust you, and most often they will. 
    • Making products overseas can be good business, but not if it costs you your reputation at home. 
    Discussion Questions 
    1. Are you open to learning the customs of your vendor or customer overseas? 
    2. If you had to travel overseas to a client or vendor, what kinds of things would you do or learn about in 
    preparation for the trip? 
    3. What does it look like to be humble across cultures? 
    4. What are the benefits and challenges of globalization? 
    5. How can your organization do more to earn trust internationally? 
    Photo courtesy of: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (

    The Importance of Corporate Vision | Trust in Leadership

    I met an 88-year-old man named Orville at my health club, first noticing him one afternoon while checking in. I saw Orville sort of stumbling along behind me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was no way this man, slowly shuffling along the path to the gym, was going to work out! Orville patiently moved, inch by inch, into the weight-training area, picked up some dumbbells, and with an audible grunt, started his routine. 

    Then one day I happened to see him out of the corner of my eye stepping onto one of the treadmills. I was across the room, and he was already reaching for the start button. Too far away to help him, I just stood there and watched. As the treadmill came to life, Orville took one small step, and then another. The machine picked up speed, but miraculously, so did his legs. Within a minute, he hit full stride, running like a man half his age!

    At this point, the reality of the situation dawned on me. Orville’s problem wasn’t with his legs, it was with his vision. He couldn’t see where he was going. He shuffled along slowly, not because he couldn’t run, but because he was worried that he would knock his knee, shin, or toe on the nearest weight equipment.

    Though Orville did nothing to cause his vision problem, it is a powerful example of how limited we are when we lack clarity and vision. Being capable, but having no vision is poor stewardship. We, as individuals and organizations, can’t afford that. Without clarity, speed and meaningful action are impossible. With clear focus we not only become more efficient and effective, but we also build trust. Helen Keller, the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”

    Few things inspire trust or hope like every member of a team working together towards a shared vision. A clear vision unifies and motivates. We see it in sports all the time. Certain teams, often lacking a big-name super star, seem to “gel” or “come together” at just the right moment. Often, when interviewed after the game, the players will comment on how focused they were on the common goal. When the players understand their role as well as the larger strategy and vision, the ground is fertile for success to grow. 

    If you are a leader in your organization, share your vision consistently. If you are not sharing your vision at least every thirty days, your team doesn’t know it. A clear vision inspires, unifies, and gives powerful focus.

    Photographer Credits to: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,


    5 Tips to Be a Likable Leader | Trust in Leadership


    Sometimes I have the privilege to work with or speak to an organization where I can tell immediately that the people love their leader. Such was the case at the Integrated Supply Chain Leadership Conference for the top leaders of Honeywell’s Aerospace group. From what I could see, why is Mike Owens loved?

    • Self-deprecating humor; didn’t take himself too seriously
    • Humility
    • Willing to give a clear true picture of the state of the organization and their role in the bigger company
    • Willing to take feedback and even change plans based on ideas from below in certain cases
    • Placed value on development and learning

    Conclusion | Trust Trends 2014 Series

    The world is in a trust crisis, and developing the eight-pillar framework of trust is the way out. Top leaders ought to use Trust Trends 2014 as a timely application for developing themselves, their teams, their organizations, and society. The following is a summary of the eight trends, their key embedded opportunities, and the pillar of trust each most corresponds with.



    Key Opportunity

    Pillar Focus

    Volatile & Vulnerable Global Context

    Trusted Leadership


    Growing Pains from Resource Distribution

    ESG Initiatives


    Strategy for Innovative Agility

    Big Data Insights


    Quality & Meaning for People

    Talent Economists


    International Hubbing & Structure

    Intelligent Manufacturing


    Systems Collaboration & Interdependence

    Leader Collaboration


    Hyper-Personal & Shared Experience Culture

    Customized Experiences


    Smarter Proficiency & Precision Results

    Data Visualization



    Organizations that seize the embedded opportunities will decrease volatility and vulnerability and increase productivity and profit. Leaders who actively and consistently develop the 8 Pillars through these suggestions will gain faster results, deeper relationships, and a stronger bottom-line. This ultimate competitive advantage is something that we call The Trust Edge.

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