Your business model may be sound, your processes may be efficient, and your products may be superior. However, if you don’t have trust, customers will not do business with you and employees will leave the company to work somewhere else. It’s important to note that businesses must not only earn the trust of their customers but also of their employees if they want their business to succeed in the long run. They can do this by following these three steps: 1) ensuring transparency; 2) communicating why; and 3) acting with integrity, courage, and vulnerability.

We need to unite around transparency and trust.

To achieve this, tomorrow’s enterprise leaders ought to embrace values of transparency and integrity. Consumers want companies they can trust—and they want businesses they can trust. A recent poll shows that 66% of consumers say a brand’s values are important in choosing a product or service. An additional 55% said they would switch brands based on corporate ethics. We need to make sure our employees know where we stand and how they can contribute when we act with integrity, courage, and vulnerability.

I make it easier for businesses to connect with their employees and customers. That begins with your values as a company and how you live those values every day. We owe it not only to our customers but also to our colleagues who work hard on our behalf. Let’s build tomorrow’s workplace with better tools for open communication, more trust between management and employees, and more transparency about why we do what we do.

Leaders need to explain the “why” behind big decisions to build trust.

If you haven’t read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, do it now. In his book, Sinek explores why people follow leaders and buy products or services from certain companies and not others. He found that most outstanding leaders explain their decisions by starting with why instead of how. And how can a company create long-lasting trust with its consumers? It comes down to transparency.

A recent Harvard Business Review survey shows that 71% of consumers say they are more likely to trust a company when it puts its mission, goals, and values in writing. Transparency helps build trust between companies and their customers. But what exactly does transparency mean?

Transparency means open communication between a company and its customers. It’s about going above and beyond by sharing information with your consumers, explaining why you make certain decisions, showing how you act in your company’s best interest, and ultimately earning people’s trust through open dialogue.

Leaders must act with integrity, courage, and vulnerability.

When mistakes happen, show what you’re doing to fix them. Don’t hide or paper over problems. Recognize that we all make mistakes and move on with our goals intact. The only thing that matters is how we respond when things go wrong. Be clear about your business strategy: why are you here? Where are you going? What does success look like for your business? Is it creating jobs or driving innovation?

Consumers trust companies that use their power and success for good. Don’t just give back as a way of getting good PR. Give time, talent, or money to support causes that are important to you and your employees. It shows respect for your employees, and it gives them a better understanding of what makes your business tick.

I believe you get out of a relationship what you put into it. The same is true for business, too. Trust isn’t something you give; it’s something you earn. People are hard-wired to be suspicious and fear change. Manage that fear by being authentic and transparent in your communications with employees, customers, and stakeholders. Make decisions that benefit all stakeholders—not just shareholders or owners—to build trust.

Communicating the Why Behind Decisions

When you make a hard decision or take an unpopular stand, communicate your reasoning behind it. Even if you can’t tell everyone what happened, keep those involved in the loop, especially if others might ask them about it. Tell individuals on a one-on-one basis before you tell anyone else, so they have time to process any emotions that arise.

Let people know that you’ve taken a stand and what prompted it. Acknowledge their feelings, but don’t engage in debate or back down from your position. Take a stand for your decision, even if others disagree with it. Own your decision and do not defend it. Just explain why you made it. You might need to say that although you understand why someone disagrees, you still can’t make any changes because they would undermine something important.

Acting with Integrity

Employees, customers, and shareholders alike want businesses that hold themselves accountable for their actions. This means that you shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep or promises you don’t mean to keep. It also means being open about your shortcomings. If something isn’t working, be honest about it with yourself and others so you can find solutions rather than attempting a cover-up.

If you’re a business leader, it’s your job to set the tone for action in your organization. If one of your employees doesn’t keep a promise, call them out on it and clarify that such behavior isn’t acceptable. By holding yourself and others accountable for actions, you let others know that integrity counts—and makes you worthy of trust.

Making Hard Decisions – Do What’s Right (Not Just What’s Easy)

It’s been said that leaders shouldn’t be afraid of making tough decisions. That can only be true if a leader knows when to make them. Leaders who choose hard decisions typically face two common pitfalls: 1) they avoid tough decisions entirely; and 2) they rely on their gut instead of more data-driven, objective decision-making methods.

To avoid these pitfalls, leaders need clarity. Clarity on a decision’s impact—including both positive and negative consequences. And clarity on how that decision relates to your overall mission and vision. But what if you don’t have clarity? How do you achieve it? How do you get better at knowing when tough decisions are right ones?

Here are three steps you possibly can take to enhance your choice making: 1) Understand that no decision is ever easy—even simple ones. Ask yourself, What’s difficult about it? Is it because I don’t have enough information or resources? Or am I uncertain because of internal conflict? If so, how do I resolve it? What happens if I don’t decide now?

Embracing Vulnerability

Being transparent and vulnerable with your company and product or service can instill trust in your organization. Whether it’s through a video, a social media post, or a live broadcast, putting yourself out there helps others feel confident that you’re telling them the truth. The same goes for being honest about when you make mistakes–consumers and employees are much more forgiving when they feel you’re being genuine.

Ways in which you can embrace vulnerability with your business · Embrace transparency. Your consumers, prospects, and clients want to feel like they know what’s going on. This isn’t always easy when there are business and financial considerations involved but doing so will help strengthen trust and drive engagement from followers/customers.

Building A Better Business with Content That Reflects Values

My goal isn’t just to write and deliver exceptional content. It’s also about sharing values with clients that bring them long-term value. This could be a key factor for businesses deciding on their next agency partner. Inbound marketing strategies have proven that customers respond well when you focus on more than conversions and simply put out good content. What better way to build trust than by doing something people like?

With a great deal of information available today, consumers have choices about who they do business with. Writing content that builds trust can change your company into one where people want to work with you and refer to your business. I am ready to help you make that happen.

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