The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

Trust is the one thing that changes everything.Speed of Trust - Book Review by Clive Jones, Business & Executive Coach Newcastle NSW

Here is a great and simple book by the younger of the Coveys, all about building, managing and repairing trust. We all need to work on it, in both personal and business lives, whether an employee, team leader, manager, or business owner. Covey shares with us the relationship between speed and cost when measured against trust and says that nothing is as fast as the speed of leadership. The number one job of any leader is to inspire trust, as trust always affects two outcomes-speed and cost. When trust is low, speed goes down and cost goes up. When trust is high, speed goes up and cost goes down. Trust is a function of both character and competence…when you build trust with one, you build trust with many

The good thing is you can do something about this. Trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration. People want to be trusted and Covey explains five waves of trust:

  1. Self-trust: the key principle underlying this wave is credibility (four cores of credibility)
  2. Relationship trust: the key principle is consistent behaviour (13 trust building behaviours)
  3. Organizational trust (inside the organization): the key principle is alignment (creating structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust)
  4. Market trust (outside the organization): the underlying principle is reputation (your organizational brand)
  5. Societal trust: the key principle is contribution

The First Wave – Self Trust is Credibility

Trust is about credibility. Credibility boils down into four core issues: your integrity, your intent, your capabilities, and your results

1: Integrity – Are you congruent?

Integrity includes honesty (telling the truth and leaving the right impression), congruence (walking your talk), humility, and the courage to do what is right

The most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity

2: Intent – What is your agenda?

Intent is about motive, agenda, and behaviour…your reason for doing something. The motive that inspires the greatest trust is genuine caring, and agenda grows out of your motive. The agenda that generally inspires the greatest trust is seeking mutual benefit(you want others to win)

The behaviour that best creates credibility and inspires trust is acting in the best interest of others, so when we believe people truly are acting in our best interest, we tend to trust them

3: Capabilities – Are you relevant?

Capabilities are the talents, skills, knowledge, capacities, and abilities we have that enable us to perform with excellence One way to accelerate the rate of learning, both individually and organizationally, is to learn with the intent to teach others what you learn (you learn most when you teach)

4: Results – What’s your track record?

Take responsibility for results, not activities. Expect to win as we often get what we expect, both from ourselves and from others. When we expect more, we tend to get more; when we expect less, we tend to get less.

The Second Wave – Relationship Trust is Consistent Behaviour

Covey shares here some great tips on the 13 Behaviours affecting trust. , the quickest way to decrease trust is to violate a behaviour of character, while the quickest way to increase trust is to demonstrate a behaviour of competence.

1: Talk Straight

Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Use simple language. Call things what they are. Demonstrate integrity. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.

2: Demonstrate Respect

Treat everyone with respect. Show kindness in the little things. Behave in ways that demonstrate caring and concern. Take nothing for granted and recognize the contributions made by everyone.

Call people. Write thank you notes. Give acknowledgement. Send e-mails of concern. Try to do something each day to put a smile on someone’s face. Never take existing relationships for granted

3: Create Transparency

Transparency is about being open, real, and genuine and telling the truth in a way that people can verify

Disclose relationships, interests, and conflicts ahead of time so that everything is always out in the open

4: Right Wrongs

Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Practice service recoveries. Demonstrate personal humility. Don’t cover things up.

5: Show Loyalty

Give credit to others and speak about people as though they were present and go out of your way to give credit freely.

6: Deliver Results

Clarify “results” up front. Make sure you thoroughly understand the expectation

Establish a track record of results. Get the right things done. Make things happen. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering

7: Get Better

Seek feedback, and learn from mistakes or experiences. Aim to continuously improve and increase your capabilities. Always act on the feedback you receive.

8: Confront Reality

Take the tough issues head on. Share bad news as well as good, naming the “elephant in the room,” addressing the “sacred cows,” and discussing the “un-discussables.”

9: Clarify Expectations

Create shared vision and agreement about what is to be done up front. Disclose and reveal all expectations for discussion and renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t assume expectations are clear or shared.

10: Practice Accountability

Hold yourself accountable as it encourages others to do the same, and hold others accountable as they want to be held accountable.

11: Listen First

Listen before you speak. Listen to understand fully. Diagnose and don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all the answers – or all the questions

12: Keep Commitments

Make commitments carefully and then keep them, and don’t break confidences

13: Extend Trust

Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust.

The Third, Fourth, and Firth Waves-Stakeholder Trust

The Third Wave – Organizational Trust is Alignment

Ensure that all structures and systems within the organization are in harmony with the cores and the behaviours. Work on creating a culture of making and keeping commitments within the organization.

Ensure that your mission and values reflect motives and principles that build trust. Ensure that structures and systems in your organization are designed to attract and retain the talent you need to be competitive. Help people create a shared vision concerning desired results through a system that includes cascading goals and getting everyone on the same page. Create a culture in which people have the opportunity to account for results-not activities-on a regular basis.

An important thing to highlight too is the 7 low trust white ants:redundancy, bureaucracy, politics, disengagement, turnover, churn among customers, fraud… be aware of them.

The Fourth Wave – Market Trust is Reputation

This section focusses on applying a similar approach to the earlier chapters, relating it to the external marketplace.

The Fifth Wave – Societal Trust is Contribution

Contribution is the intent to create value instead of destroy it, to give back instead of take

In wrapping the book up, Covey also talks about Extending Smart Trust. says this involves good people judgment (having a high propensity to trust) and good business judgment (doing the analysis properly). In doing the analysis, ask “What is the opportunity?” “What is the risk involved?” and “What is the credibility (character/competence) of the people involved?”

Finally we need to look at Restoring Trust When It Has Been Lost. path to restoration is to increase your personal credibility and behave in ways that inspire trust. Generally speaking, a loss of trust created by a violation of character (integrity or intent) is far more difficult to restore than a loss of trust created by a violation of competence (capabilities or results). If others have lost your trust, don’t be too quick to judge. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Don’t automatically assume that a failure of competence is a failure of character. Also, whether or not we choose to trust in the future, we always need to forgive.

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