The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey is a excellent companion to Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business. The latter explains why trust matters in business. The former is a handbook which, after anchoring Trust as a function of two things: character and competence, explains how Trust is given and earned on five levels (he calls them waves): self, relationship, organizational, market and societal. It focuses on how we, organizations and society can (must?) extricate ourselves out of situations we find ourselves in by behaving differently.
As a business execution coach I particularly relate to his core idea that the economics of trust is demonstrable. As trust goes up, speed increases and cost goes down. And the inverse is easily seen. As trust goes down, cost goes up and everything slows down. Covey provides a myriad of real examples of this. He refers to them as trust dividends and trust taxes. We have all experienced the trust taxes,- redundancy, bureaucracy, politics, disengagement, turnover, churn among customers, and fraud.
He suggests that it all starts with us. Covey posits four cores of credibility: integrity, intent (what is your agenda?), capabilities and results. He reminds us that we can’t talk ourselves out of situations into which we behaved ourselves. So he documents 13 behaviors of highly credible people and high trust organizations. They are all important, but a few particularly resonate, - Talk Straight, Create Transparency, Deliver Results, Confront Reality, Clarify Expectations, Practice Accountability, and Keep commitments. Do they resonate with you?
Since I work with leaders of businesses I’ll conclude my commentary with the The Third Wave – Organizational Trust. Covey explains that organizational trust is all about alignment. Companies must ensure that all structure and systems reinforce trust. Create a culture of making and keeping commitments. Create a shared vision concerning desired results through a system that includes cascading goals and getting everyone on the same page.
What are you doing in your life, your relationships and in your business to ensure you benefit from the Trust Dividends? If you are not doing these things within your organization, EOS can help.