Today more than ever, organizations are being closely scrutinized and analyzed.
In this day and age of instant communication and mass media all organizations have to be extremely cognizant and responsible for the reputation and brand that they communicate. Organizations cannot make assumptions, get complacent and deal haphazardly with issues that may question an organizations trustworthiness and integrity. Leaders have a critical responsibility to develop, build and enhance trust in the organizations which they lead and do as much as possible for all members of the organization to display integrity and trustworthiness.
How do organizations like governments, school districts and hospitals strategically build a trusted brand of integrity and trustworthiness?
Stephen M.R. Covey in The Speed of Trust advocates using a series of key questions to critically examine and assess the organization and its people’s ability to enhance loyalty from their constituents, communities and clientele. Covey centers his questions around the 4 Cores of Credibility; Integrity, Intent, Capabilities, and Results.
Core #1: Integrity
- Does your organization have integrity?
- Does your organization have a reputation for honesty?
- Does your organization have values that people believe in and can trust?
Core #2: Intent
- Does your organization demonstrate good intent?
- Is your organization perceived as genuinely caring for its customers or does it sacrifice caring for profit?
Core #3: Capabilities
- Do people associate your organization with quality and continuous improvement?
- Is your organization recognized as having the ability to accomplish its goals in ways that build trust?
Core #4: Results
- Is your organization associated with obtaining results?
- Do people feel that your organization delivers what it promises?
- Would your customers recommend your organization to others?
By examining and answering these key questions an organization’s reputation and brand can be assessed and strategies and action plans can be planned and implemented to improve an organization’s integrity and trustworthiness. Each member of the organization can also use the questions to assess themselves for as former CEO of Coca-Cola Roberto Goizueta states, “Employees with integrity are the ones who build a company’s reputation.”
Questions for personal assessment include:
- Do I have integrity and a reputation for honesty?
- Do I readily admit my mistakes?
- Do I demonstrate good intent and perceived as someone who genuinely cares for people?
- Do others recognize me as accomplishing goals that build trust?
- Am I associated with delivering good results and having a good track record?
Covey states, “that on every level, in every relationship, your brand, your reputation makes a difference and that difference is quantifiable-and it is directly related to trust, integrity and reputation.”
Taking time to assess your organization’s reputation and your own is well worth the effort. As Warren Buffett points out, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.”
What questions have you used to assess your organization’s reputation? How have you used what you found to enhance and build your brand?