Trust: Does It Exist In Corporate America?

7 12 2012

I sat at lunch today with my mentor Valerie Coffin.  She was a leader of people and possessed the unique set of skills required to move our company forward as its President, the position she served for the final five years of her 33-year tenure employment with my company, Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

We caught up, talked about our families and reflected on our past.  We always had such a fantastic time working together and our periodic lunches are very special to me.   Valerie and I spoke of the company, identified what remains the same as well as how it has changed.

Then we spoke of trust.

Throughout her lifetime with the company, Valerie built relationships that transcended the typical employee-employer status.  She shared a genuine love for the people she worked with and created an atmosphere that fostered trust and loyalty.

She spoke of her boss Stan, my father and one of the founders of the company.  He earned her trust while she, in turn earned his. Valerie trusted him with her corporate life.  All of his employees felt the same way.

The culture of trust, loyalty and appreciation did not come from Stan alone.  It was he and his partner/co-founder John Schmitt who solidified the original culture of PFP.  Folks who worked with them at the time reflect on it as a true “family” within a family business.  I have interviewed many of PFP’s top executives who are still with the company to this day and were part of that original team.  They knew they had been part of something unique and special.

One of the greatest challenges facing successful Eye-Cubed companies is in maintaining one’s culture during growth, succession and over time.  Instead of a tight group of 20-30 in a few states, PFP has blossomed into a powerhouse of 300 employees throughout 17 states.  We discuss “corporate culture” and trust (among many other qualities) is a tremendous quality that we must preserve.

  • How can an atmosphere of “trust” be fostered in an environment peppered with litigious individuals?
  • How can an atmosphere of “trust” be fostered in a society where corporate deception has been making headlines over the past decade?
  • How can we foster trust when our company has been faced with tough business decisions over the past five years, which resulted in layoffs?

Eye-Cubed companies and executives are meeting this challenge every day. Ask yourself the following to determine if “trust” is likely to exist as part of your culture.

  1. Is your executive team trustworthy as individuals?
  2. Are your corporate motives towards your employees and customers genuine?
  3. Are your messages to your employees consistent?
  4. Are your top executives truly connected to the people throughout every level of your organization?
  5. Is there transparency for employees to hear, see and understand the reality of situations that drive decisions?
  6. Is there consistency in behavior, messages and actions that foster predictability and stability?

Trust is clearly not something one can buy or turn on like a light-switch.  It is created and built over time.  Trust can be shaken and repaired.  It can be challenged and proven.  It is not lost.  It is not gone.

In fact, you cannot be an Eye-Cubed executive without it.  It must exist within your organization to graduate from Eye-Cubed University.

Perhaps Trust Is A Journey, Not A Destination!

If you, your company, your industry conference or team is in need of the best keynote speaker, motivational management consultant, or inspirational presenter for your conference, strategic planning meeting or for professional development, click on these words and see how Eye-Cubed-U is prepared to help you. 

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3 responses

7 12 2012
markkolier

Very good and timely post David. Particularly important for leaders to keep in mind at all times. A friend of mine told me this a long time ago – ‘The fish stinks from the head down’. Words I’ve always kept in mind when managing my team.

7 12 2012
David Sussman

Great comment. So true

18 12 2012
Glenn Ames

Trust is one of the few factors that are critical for a leader to be successful. Leading by example, even when no one is looking also helps set the tone for a highly effective work environment.

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