The Speed of Trust

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The Speed of Trust

In Stephen M. R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, he gives some great tips on how to gain, keep, and rebuild the trust of others, whether they be coworkers, family members, customers, or complete strangers. He emphasizes the importance of trust in every relationship, purporting that relationships are built on and sustained by trust. And even the best relationships can be broken and destroyed by lack of trust. Without trust, actions are misinterpreted and motives are questioned. Covey contends that trust always affects two outcomes – speed and cost. When trust increases, speed increases and costs decrease. Conversely, when trust decreases, speed decreases and costs increase. The Speed of Trust makes it clear that trust is not just a social virtue. It is also a measurable economic driver that impacts both speed and cost. Furthermore, trust is essential to an open society. Covey uses the example that terrorists work to destroy our open society by destroying trust – by making us fearful of the things we do every day. As trust has begun to disappear, we are finally recognizing how vital it is to our survival.

The good news is that, according to Covey, trust can be built (and rebuilt) faster than most of us think! Building trust takes time and effort up front, but it pays off enormously in the end. Covey divides trust into four separate “waves”: Self trust, relationship trust, organizational trust, market trust, and societal trust.. Self trust includes the four cores of credibility: integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. Integrity consists of four virtues: congruency, humility, and courage. Making and keeping commitments to yourself increases integrity. Something as small as getting up in the morning when you tell yourself you will (when you set your alarm), builds enormous self trust. And when you are able to trust yourself, you are more open to trust others. Intent is also important, because most of the time our behavior is the manifestation of our intent. Therefore, according to Covey, the agenda that inspires the greatest trust is seeking mutual benefit. In addition, capabilities are vital to creating credibility. And unless we are constantly improving our capabilities, we are quickly becoming irrelevant. While all of these cores are vital to credibility, without results you are “all hat, no cattle.” The simple fact is that people don’t trust people who don’t deliver results. However, it is important to note that “even top results will not offset a lack of integrity. But strength in integrity will not offset an absence of results.” Therefore we must strive to get results using our integrity, good intent, and capabilities.

The second wave, relationship trust, is all about consistent behavior. While intent is important, people judge us on our behavior, not our intent. And if our behavior is not aligned with what we say we will do, we come across as insincere. According to Cover there are thirteen behaviors we must exhibit if we want to build trust. Talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust.

The third, fourth, and fifth waves

Inspiring trust

Covey also points out the Sarbanes-Oxley act that was implemented in the low trust wake of scandals like Enron and WorldCom. Compliance regulations have become a prosthesis for lack of trust. “When you break the big laws… You get the small laws.” G. K. Chesterton. The passage of Sarbanes-Oxley is a perfect example of this. Strenghts of the book – The best part about this book were the practical suggestions on how to build trust with yourself and with others. For example… Begin with self trust.

Weaknesses –
The One Thing That Changes Everything
How to gain, keep, and rebuild trust
The decision maker is forced to project how...
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