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The Speed of Trust

Stephen MR Covey - croppedI recently had the opportunity to read The Speed of Trust by Steven M.R. Covey. In his book, Covey clearly builds the business case for trust. He states that when trust goes up, speed goes up, and costs go down. If you are in a position where you have the responsibility to increase speed, lower cost, create value, establish trust, and maximize your organization’s influence, then this is a must-read.

As Covey states, trust is built on two things: competence and character. According to the book, there are 13 behaviors that are critical to demonstrating these foundational qualities, and, in turn, building trust:

  1. Talk Straight. Do not lie, tell half-truths, or double-talk.
  2. Demonstrate Respect. Do not show respect for only those who can do something for you; be sincere and let your actions show you care.
  3. Create Transparency. Do not withhold information, keep secrets, or pretend.
  4. Right Wrongs. Admit and repair mistakes; do not cover them up.
  5. Show Loyalty. Do not sell others out or take credit yourself for your employees’ or others’ work.
  6. Deliver Results. Deliver results – not just complete and measure activities.
  7. Get Better. Invest in improvement; look for new solutions to existing problems.
  8. Confront Reality. Do not bury your head in the sand or focus on busywork while skirting the real issues.
  9. Clarify Expectations. Do not create vague or shifting expectations or assume they are understood.
  10. Practice Accountability. Take responsibility; hold others accountable.
  11. Listen First. Listen with understanding, then speak.
  12. Keep Commitments. Do not break or avoid making commitments.
  13. Extend Trust. Do not withhold trust; give responsibility with authority.

The book indicates that the quickest way to erode trust is to violate a behavior of character, and that the quickest way to earn trust is to demonstrate a behavior of competence. If, as Covey states, trust is the one thing that changes everything, then trust this: we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our organizations to ensure we are demonstrating these behaviors and reaping the benefits of the speed of trust.

To learn more about Stephen M.R. Covey and The Speed of Trust, please visit his website.