Sustaining Trust Through Difficult Decisions

…We went back and used our strategic plan to see if our decision represented our mission, vision, beliefs and values. We knew what we were going to communicate and why we made the best decision for our district.

– Jodi Gunning, Superintendent of Litchfield Elementary School District

We’ve often been told that we can’t please everyone every time, but how do we manage disappointment and prevent it from damaging our trusting relationships with stakeholders? In this roundtable, Dr. Kathy Oropallo shared tips and practical examples of how to sustain your stakeholders’ confidence and commitment, even through hard decisions.

In the roundtable and the discussion groups, Kathy challenged leaders to think about processes in their organization that they’re currently trying to make tough decisions on. She also asked leaders to reflect on whether or not the decisions they’re making are aligned to their organizational beliefs and values:

  • What are some ways you make your organization’s values part of the decision-making process?

  • What routines for decision making do you have in your organization? How does having these routines improve your decision making?

  • How can understanding stakeholders’ needs help you become a more empathetic leader? What practices have you hardwired in your organization to build trust?


Roundtable Resources

Accelerate Your Performance Podcast Cover Art

EP 76: Make Decisions that Sustain People and Build Relationships | Accelerate Your Performance Podcast

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented change for schools all over the country. Education was forced to transform before our eyes. Our schools are rising to the challenge, serving as a model for change and transition, despite the obstacles. Casey Blochowiak shares how leaders in her district made decisions that prioritized service and learning to support their quick and successful transition to virtual learning and work. 

Listen to the episode >> 

Why Do Values Matter? | 9P

An organization’s core values are the beliefs that guide the actions and words of individuals within the organization. When organizations successfully live out their values, alignment of strategy, action and mindset is obvious to internal and external stakeholders.

Read the article on 9P >> 

Communication that Increases Support of Decisions

People have an easier time trusting and supporting decisions when communication about them is clear and transparent. The use of key words to communicate our decision-making process builds trust and confidence in our ability to lead a tough situation. This clear communication also deepens our relationships and access to information that supports our next round of decision-making.


Toolkits are developed by our experts to guide leaders with a framework for complex solutions. View and download our interactive toolkits on communicating using the Execution Triangle, results rollout, execution and improvement, crisis communication and more.

Future Roundtable Sessions

Each week, our coaches lead a discussion with a community of leaders who are facing similar challenges. These 60-minute sessions are free and allow opportunities to learn from expert leadership coaches and have candid conversations with other leaders about barriers, share successful practices and re-center on what works.

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