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11 Overcoming Threats to Trust > Anticipating Threats - Pg. 171

O V E R C O M I N G T H R E AT S T O T R U S T 171 My answer was simple: Yes. To me, those discussions were "mental rehearsals" to try to anticipate a problem and look for solutions in advance. Their goal was to talk about "what if." With that in mind, I started to raise trust issues. When I held a lead- ership meeting or dinner in the United States or in another part of the world, I would pose a hypothetical question surrounding, for example, what the team members would do if they discovered someone had done something improper with the financial reporting. Or, in another exam- ple, we would talk through what would be management's actions if someone otherwise behaved inappropriately. At first, the response to these discussions was one of curiosity . . . with a tinge of offense. Those who seemed offended thought I was accusing them of something. But that was far from the truth. The real point to my questions was to ensure that everyone understood that these kinds of topics were important and should be put on the table for discussion. Whether we like it or not, sometimes, somewhere, someone will do something wrong. That is a given. The important question is, How do we respond? My view was direct and straightforward. If trust was a value that was crucial to our success, then we had to talk about it, both what we do to ensure trust and what we would do if it were breached. As unexpected as these discussions were at first, a stake was put in the ground. With time, those open discussions took hold and became a healthy forum for looking at our values and, therefore, our reputation. Anticipating Threats With time, we want to have anticipated situations that could be challeng- ing or those that could threaten our business enterprise. If we didn't, we might lose control, possibly jeopardizing our ability to make the tough decisions needed when it comes to values and reputation. Because they're unexpected--because we didn't anticipate them--we might not have the time or opportunity to clearly think through such situations, and might not keep in mind the importance of the values and insights that should underlie our decisions. American Management Association / www.amanet.org