Episode 5: Trust & integrity

How do you start working with ethics? And to what end? Last week, Stine was joined for a special episode by best-selling author and ex- Airbnb GC Rob Chesnut. It went so well that we scheduled another interview with Rob, where we'll be talking about - you guessed it - trust and integrity. That's next week. Leading up to this, Stine today talks about her own experience with trust and safety. Thanks for listening!

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Welcome to Inspiring Legal. I'm your host. My name is Stine, and I'm once again, excited to have you join the podcast. Today, we're going to be talking about trust and integrity. Why?  Because I am so excited about an upcoming guest, Rob Chestnut, former general counsel of Airbnb, head of trust and safety at eBay. Also, having worked with companies like Uber, helping them build their trust and safety programs.

I'm going to be talking with Rob about how you set up trust and safety. How do you start working with ethics? Get it ingrained in your company. So in this episode, let's talk about that. Let's talk about integrity and why it matters. So the listeners to this podcast or general counsels, head of legal, legal counsels, and for many of us, trust and safety, integrity is at core. It is our DNA. It's something we're proud of and is something we're passionate about. 

So first it comes natural. Of course you want to work with ethics. Of course you want to do the right thing when nobody's looking, because that is what ethics is about. That is when you know your employees have integrity. They're doing the right thing when nobody's looking. But that might not be the case for all employees at a company. Millennials today, they care about working at a company that is making a difference, that has a vision that is beyond just earning and making money and making shareholders happy. They want to work for companies that are making the world a better place, that are taking responsibilities.

When you start working with ethics and integrity and incorporating into your company and your values,how do you do that? Because it's often you in the legal teams that are trying to push the agenda. One of the ways that I always recommend starting off is by looking at how it can have a positive impact on the business. It's back to the classic stakeholder management. I think I've said this so many times now that you might be a little sick of me talking about stakeholder management, but it kind of is at core. 

Let's imagine that you can see you're able to attract some of the best talent out there because you have a vision and a mission that is connected directly to integrity, to doing the right thing, to caring. Well, then the majority of all the leaders in your company will mostly be people who will most likely buy in because they also want those talents. But that's not enough. What you will often also see is that when you start working with this, it will have a positive impact on your revenue because people are more motivated. They are more bought into the company's vision and proud. They will most likely also share more posts on LinkedIn. 

Just a little classic example, right? If you're proud of your company, you'll tell your friends, you'll tell your mom and dad, you'll tell your husband or your wife, and you'll share good news with people because you're proud. If you're not proud of the company you work for, you won't be doing that. So that's another item of why you should be working on this. Then there's, of course, in all honesty, it's the right thing to do. 

Then comes the question, who will be driving those efforts? How do you get it to be on management's top radar? Well, you start by talking about how it can have a positive impact.  And you start with the CEO.And if you're not reporting to the CEO, well, talk to your direct report,like the one you're reporting to, and get the buy-in first.

From there on, work around the company. And then you need to create a plan. How are you going to be rolling this out? One of the things that I'm going to be talking to Rob about is, for example, new hires. 

It's the easiest time to get those messages across. Because they're kind of like, and don't get me wrong when I'm saying this, but they're a blank piece of paper.They're coming in pure.They have not had any type of specific interactions when it comes to your company as an employee. Meaning you can now start fresh and tell them, this is how we're doing it. So that's the easy one.Then comes the rest of the organization. And it's not necessarily because they have bad habits,but they have been accustomed to the company running in a specific way. So for those, it's all about change management. 

And I think we've all heard, like, how many times you need to do something before a habit has been changed? I think it's 21? Well, imagine that you need to say the same thing over and over again. In many ways. 21 times. And I think that's a pretty good way of thinking about it. Because you need to start working with your organization. You need to tell them why you're doing it. And many of them will most likely be proud. Because they can see that their company is really making an effort. They're doing the right thing. And doing the right thing for you as an employee. 

But I will look forward to hearing Rob's take on this. Because he knows all about this. He built the entire program for Airbnb. So stay tuned for the episode with Rob, who will definitely be inspiring us.

Thank you so much for listening to Inspiring Legal. Remember to subscribe and if you want more information, you can always go to openli.com/community.