On The Speed of Trust

I recently read The Speed of Trust – The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey with Rebecca R. Merrill.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “In fact, both my personal life and my work as a business practitioner over the past 20 years have convinced me that there is a lot we can do about it. We can increase trust—much faster than we might think—and doing so will have a huge impact, both in the quality of our lives and in the results we’re able to achieve.”

2- “Simply put, trust means confidence. The opposite of trust—distrust— is suspicion. When you trust people, you have confidence in them. When you distrust people, you are suspicious of them—of their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities, or their track record. It We have all had experiences that validate the difference between relationships that are built on trust and those that are not. These experiences clearly tell us the difference is not small; it is dramatic.”

3- “Here’s a simple formula that will enable you to take trust from an intangible and unquantifiable variable to an indispensable factor that is both tangible and quantifiable. The formula is based on this critical insight: Trust always affects two outcomes—speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up. When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down.”

4- “Whether it’s high or low, trust is the “hidden variable” in the formula for organizational success. The traditional business formula says that strategy times execution equals results: But there is a hidden variable to this formula. Trust—either the low trust tax, which discounts the output, or the high-trust dividend which multiplies it.”

5- “THE 5 WAVES OF TRUST: The first wave, Self Trust, deals with, the confidence we have in ourselves—in our ability to set and achieve goals, to keep commitments, to walk our talk—and also with our ability to inspire trust in others…The second wave, Relationship Trust, is about how to establish and increase the “trust accounts” we have with others. The key principle underlying this wave is consistent behavior…The third wave, Organizational Trust, deals with how leaders can generate trust in all kinds of organizations, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, government entities, educational institutions, and families, as well as in teams and other microunits within organizations…The fourth wave. Market Trust, is the level at which almost everyone clearly understands the impact of trust. The underlying principle behind this wave is reputation…The fifth wave. Societal Trust, is about creating value for others and for society at large. The principle underlying this wave is contribution.”

6- “The purpose of this book is to enable you to see, speak, and behave in ways that establish trust, and all three dimensions are vital…Clearly, these three dimensions are interdependent, and whenever you effect a change in one dimension, you effect a change in all three.”

7- “As my lawyer friends affirm, it basically boils down to these four issues; your integrity, your intent, your capabilities, and your results. You credibility—as an expert witness, as a person, as a leader, as a family, as an organization—depends on these four factors.”

8- “For most people, integrity means honesty. Though some don’t consciously realize it, honesty includes not only telling the truth, but also leaving the right impression. It’s possible to tell the truth, but leave the wrong impression, and that’s not being honest.”

9- “HOW TO INCREASE YOUR INTEGRITY…1. Make and Keep Commitments to Yourself…2. Stand for Something…3. Be Open”

10- “WHAT IS “INTENT”? In the dictionary, intent is defined as “plan” or “purpose.” I am convinced that no discussion of intent would be complete without talking about three things: motive, agenda, and behavior.”

11- “HOW TO IMPROVE INTENT…1. Examine and Refine Your Motives…2. Declare Your Intent…3. Choose Abundance.”

12- “One way to think about the various dimensions of capabilities is to use the acronym “TASKS.” Talents Attitudes Skills Knowledge Style.”

13- “HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CAPABILITIES…1. Run with Your Strengths (and with Your Purpose)…2. Keep Yourself Relevant…3. Know Where You’re Going.”

14- “HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR RESULTS…1. Take Responsibility for Results…2. Expect to Win…3. Finish Strong.”

15- “BEHAVIOR #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.”

16- “BEHAVIOR #2— DEMONSTRATE RESPECT: Genuinely care for others. Show you care. Respect the dignity of every person and every role. Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you. Show kindness in the little things. Don’t fake caring. Don’t attempt to be “efficient” with people.”

17- “BEHAVIOR #3— CREATE TRANSPARENCY: Tell the truth in a way people can verify. Get real and genuine. Be open and authentic. Err on the side of disclosure. Operate on the premise of “What you see is what you get.” Don’t have hidden agendas. Don’t hide information.”

18- “BEHAVIOR #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. Don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing.”

19- “BEHAVIOR #5—SHOW LOYALTY: Give credit freely. Acknowledge the contributions of others. Speak about people as if they were present. Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves. Don’t bad-mouth others behind their backs. Don’t disclose others’ private information.”

20- “BEHAVIOR #6— DELIVER RESULTS: Establish a track record of results. Get the right things done. Make things happen. Accomplish what you’re hired to do. Be on time and within budget. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t make excuses for not delivering.”

21- “BEHAVIOR #7—GET BETTER: Continuously improve. Increase your Capabilities. Be a constant learner. Develop feedback systems both formal and informal. Act on the feedback you receive. Thank people for feedback. Don’t consider yourself above feedback. Don’t assume today’s knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrow’s challenges.”

22- “BEHAVIOR #8— CONFRONT REALITY: Address the tough stuff directly. Acknowledge the unsaid. Lead out courageously in conversation. Remove the “sword from their hands.” Don’t skirt the real issues. Don’t bury your head in the sand.”

23- “BEHAVIOR #9— CLARIFY EXPECTATIONS: Disclose and reveal expectations. Discuss them. Validate them. Renegotiate them if needed and possible. Don’t violate expectations. Don’t assume that expectations are clear or shared.”

24- “BEHAVIOR #10— PRACTICE ACCOUNTABILITY: Hold yourself accountable. Hold others accountable. Take responsibility for results. Be clear on how you’ll communicate how you’re doing—and how others are doing. Don’t avoid or shirk responsibility. Don’t blame others or point fingers when things go wrong.”

25- “BEHAVIOR #11—LISTEN FIRST: Listen before you speak. Understand. Diagnose. Listen with your ears—and your eyes and heart. Find out what the most important behaviors are to the people you’re working with. Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Don’t presume you have all the answers—or all the questions.”

26- “BEHAVIOR #12— KEEP COMMITMENTS: Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say you’re going to do. Make commitments carefully and keep them. Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor. Don’t break confidences. Don’t attempt to “PR” your way out of a commitment you’ve broken.”

27- “BEHAVIOR #13—EXTEND TRUST: Demonstrate a propensity to trust. Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust. Learn how to appropriately extend trust to others based on the situation, risk, and credibility (character and competence) of the people involved. But have a propensity to trust. Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.”

28- “Throughout this book, I have said that “leadership” is getting results in a way that inspires trust. Many trusted managers—credible people who lave high character and technical competence—never become “leaders” because they don’t know how to extend Smart Trust. They essentially operate in Zone 4, the zone of suspicion. They may delegate, or assign tasks to others with parameters for their accomplishment. They may extend fake trust—in other words, give “lip service” to extending trust, but micromanage the activities. But they don’t fully entrust. They don’t give to others the stewardships (responsibilities with a trust) that engage genuine ownership and accountability, bring out people’s greatest resourcefulness, and create the environment that generates high-trust dividends.”


Omar Halabieh

The Speed of Trust


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