THE HISTORY OF TRUST ACROSS AMERICA
Why is it important to identify the most trustworthy companies?
In the early 1980s, many people lost faith in Corporate America and believed that America was “broken” and could not effectively compete with Japan. Malcolm Baldrige, Secretary of Commerce, had a vision –– to canvass companies across America and identify “best in breed” practices. President Ronald Reagan and Congress named the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in his honor. The awards remain an important annual event thirty years later.
Today, our society is plagued by a similar breakdown in trust. Many people believe America’s best days are behind her, and that companies across the entire country, and perhaps the world, cannot be trusted. There are deep-seated and valid reasons for these concerns and changes need to be made –– in business practices and in our institutions. Trust is an inherent element of optimism that buoys any economy. By identifying and showcasing the most trustworthy organizations, learning from them through benchmarking and creating opportunities to emulate best practices, Trust Across America™ can contribute to that sense of optimism. Furthermore, by creating a framework for building a higher level of trust in business and society, we continue to influence the world in a beneficial and altruistic manner.
Trust Across America™ is a program of Next Decade, Inc., a firm that has been unraveling and simplifying complex subjects for over twenty years. We have incubated authors and published and marketed books and programs that have made a difference in people’s lives. We have addressed women’s and general health issues, retirement, aging, finance and immigration. We’ve taken the complexity out of these topics and made them easy to understand and talk about. We have selectively promoted authors and business leaders who we believe can make a positive difference in the world in which we live.
Trust Across America is a collaborative initiative. Our team shares one common goal, to rebuild trust in business across America. We have identified a series of events and shifts in corporate culture that have led to a breakdown in trustworthy behavior in public companies:
And yet our research has led us to conclude that:
- In the “quest for performance,” the evolution of Wall Street’s quantitative measures has created a focus on short-term performance rather than on sustainability (quarterly earnings acceleration vs. long-term stability).
- The infatuation with earnings “surprises” has contributed to several instances of high profile bad behavior that later resulted in the breakdown of corporate trust.
- A lack of holistic oversight has created a 'one-silo-at-a-time' focus.
- Stakeholders can be better served by embracing a new integrated paradigm –– companies measured by criteria that go beyond quarterly earnings, combining financial and non-financial performance metrics into a single report –– the FACTS® Framework.
- There is a direct correlation between “good behavior,” as measured by FACTS®, and long-term corporate durability.
- Rebuilding trust starts by identifying exceptional corporate role models and offering to share their best practices within the business community.