Resident's book looks at trust, leadership in business world
By Betsy Levinson / Staff Writer
Thursday, February 6, 2003
This article first appeared in The
Even before the horrors of Sept. 11, followed by the fallout
from the Enron executive scandal, Concord's Rob Galford was
working on a book about trust in the marketplace.
Called "The Trusted Leader," Galford's new book,
co-authored with Anne Seibold Drapeau, just hit bookstores
and is doing well, he said. He is managing partner of the
Center for Executive Development in Boston, and a former teacher
and author of "The Trusted Advisor." Drapeau works
at Digitas in Boston and has had management positions at Pepsi,
J. P. Morgan and FTD, the floral delivery business.
Galford said the new book is an outgrowth of "The Trusted
"The topic of trust within all levels of a corporation
developed as we researched trust among those at the top level,"
said Galford from his Concord office.
"It was very much on our plate" in the weeks and
months after Sept. 11 and the ensuing spotlight on CEO greed
demonstrated at corporations including Enron and Tyco.
"We wanted to look at trust inside an organization at
all levels rather than among top executives," he said.
Galford said he was struck by the widespread lack of trust
inside the corporate world.
"There was less trust among business partners than we
would have hoped," he said, "and that sense permeated
down through the lower layers of the organization."
Galford and Drapeau set out to define how business leaders
can develop trust between their peers and within their organizations.
Their research took them to board rooms and businesses in
major U.S. cities where, while talking to CEOs, they discovered
what made a trusted leader.
He found out, to his relief, that trusted leaders are made,
"There is a set of formulae that we developed that can
be analyzed," said Galford.
The authors use anecdotes throughout the book that illustrate
the elements that define a trusted person, including two examples
One example he used in a chapter about cultivating organizational
trust is about the sexton and curator at the First Parish
Church in Concord, Doug Baker.
Baker is a jack-of-all-trades with a graduate degree in art
history, in addition to his ability to fix any building problem
with the perfect tool. Baker knows about bonsai, herb gardening
and Buddhism, "but if the historic clock in the steeple
is broken, Doug is the one to call to figure out that if you
just bend that little piece of wire that much, it will work
Galford said every company needs "its Doug Baker,"
and the worthy CEO will discover him or her. "Doug Baker,
in other words, allows First Parish to do its work uninterrupted
and unencumbered by the challenges and digressions of day-to-day
He said Concord is "rich with people in the business
world" who provide examples of trusted leaders.
Another example, according to Galford's book, is embodied
by Maynard Forbes, owner of the West Concord 5 & 10. Galford
said Forbes can suggest the perfect tool for any job, not
necessarily the one a customer comes in asking for.
"If you go in to buy something and you explain to Maynard
Forbes, the owner, what it is you're trying to do, he won't
hesitate to talk you out of your intended purchase to say,
'you don't need that, but you will need this.'"
Galford said trusted leaders are not clinical about their
management skills, and not self-conscious or cynical to achieve
an end. According to Galford and Drapeau, there are three
kinds of trust: strategic, organizational and personal.
Galford is surprised at "how resonant a topic trust
is." He heard over and over that companies felt there
"wasn't enough trust" within organizations. He said
it was pure luck, not smarts, that enabled him to write the
book at a time when Americans are so hungry for trust in their
"But I never felt depressed," he said. "There
are good people out there. Not as many as we would like to
see, but in the ebb and flow of time, they are there."
He said trusted leaders are not clumped in one profession
or echelon, but "as broad as humanity itself, which is
what you want."
Interestingly, Galford's research showed that while American
workers he surveyed did not like the idea of the CEO, they
were less critical of their own company head.
"The American CEO is the least envied person of all,
yet at the same time, people don't feel that way about their
own," He said the same thing is true of Congress. His
respondents seemed to be critical of Congress as a body, but
the reelection rate for incumbents is approximately 95 percent.
Up next for Galford? He is already working on a third book
tentatively titled "The Leadership Legacy," which,
not surprisingly, grew out of "The Trusted Leader."
In the new book, Galford is finding out that one's core attributes,
or set of principles, need to be shared with close family
and associates, so that one's legacy isn't first mentioned
in the obituary.
"Every time you leave a job, you leave a legacy, or
reputation," said Galford. "It's not enough just
to lead a worthwhile life, you need to talk about your principles
and be conscious of what you are leaving behind."