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Build trust with self-reflection and effective communication

Jeffrey Alan Thinnes ( is the founder of JTI Inc., based in Great Falls, Virginia, USA, and advises companies on transnational business strategies, ethics and compliance, and leadership. An American who has lived and worked in Europe for 12 years, Jeff has coached more than 100 executives on four continents on values-based leadership.

Regulators investigating companies for ethics and compliance matters increasingly emphasize the importance of leaders demonstrating through their behavior what is expected of employees. Leaders should, through word and deed, promote ethics and compliance. By doing so with genuine conviction, they will build trust—the indispensable nutrient that sustains a culture of integrity.

In recent years I have had the privilege of coaching more than 100 board members and executives around the world on the topic of values-based leadership. While discussions are tailored to each executive’s unique circumstances, we inevitably touch on self-reflection and effective communications: two ingredients key to building trust.

In a world of constant disruption, leaders are expected to anticipate the future and set the vectors to steer their companies there. That’s an exciting—and equally daunting—task. What appears stable today can crumble tomorrow. It takes a well-balanced recipe of experience, intuition, and hard and soft skills—sprinkled with a bit of good luck—to anticipate where the market and competition are heading and craft a viable strategy for the company to succeed. But even the best strategies will fail if not supported by a productive and engaged workforce that trusts its leadership.

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