Broken Trust . . .

Sign_America is not broken fix Congress

I have just finished the first draft of my new business book, LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture.  One of the more interesting challenges has been trying to determine the characteristics of a high-performance culture.  There seem to be as many theories as there are culture change consultants, so separating the wheat from the chaff has proven to be hard work, but interesting.

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.  –Yogi Berra

One of the more interesting and thought provoking, and I believe relevant, work has come out of the Great Place to Work® Institute and the original work done by Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz. Their fascination with what makes a great workplace began when, as business journalists, they were asked in 1981 by an editor to write a book called The 100 Greatest Places to Work in America.  Not knowing anything about culture or much about business performance, they went around to numerous companies asking employees, “Is this a great place to work? Why or why not?” The replies, as you would expect,  were varied, but over time tended to reveal some surprising consistency.

Great place to workBasically, a great place to work is one where employees trust the people they work for, take pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with.  And they have amassed, over the past 25 years, considerable data on the relationship between a Great Place to Work (Trust, Pride & Camaraderie) and business financial performance. And in 1997, Fortune Magazine began its annual 100 Best Companies to Work For survey based on the data from the Great Place to Work Institute.

To me this all makes a great deal of sense, especially when I look at what is happening at this moment in the US Congress.  The blatant and petty infighting, name calling, and brinkmanship for the sake of ego and power trips is literally making the American voting public sick, and angry!

Trust in government and elected officials is at an all time, rock bottom low. Pride in our country is being replaced by factions who would rather fight than work together. And the camaraderie of “true statesmen” is nowhere to be found.

Here’s an example of the American voter no longer trusts Congress.  The current government shutdown over the budget ceiling means hundreds of thousands of government employees are going without pay for an indefinite period.  However, guess what? You guessed it! Congress is exempt.  They still get paid!

In Government Shutdown, Congress Members Still Get Paid While Federal Workers Wait In Limbo

The people who shut down the government because they refuse to work together for the higher good, who put government employees in financial jeopardy, are exempt from the hardship and the rules.

It’s the Golden Rule gone crazy:  Those who make the rules keep the gold!

Trust and Pride?  It’s going to take some real courageous leadership to pull America out of the trash heap and towards respectability.  The rest of the world is looking in disbelief and wondering: “What happened to the greatest democracy in the world?” And when major countries are starting to stockpile Renminbi instead of Dollars, you know trust is at an all time low.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
This entry was posted in corporate culture, John R Childress, John's views on the world, leadership, Organization Behavior, the business of business and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Broken Trust . . .

  1. Steve Borek says:

    I’m a fan of Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge. Over the last 25 years they surveyed over 75,000 participants. “Honesty” is always the number one characteristic leadership trait they most admired in their leaders.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s