Trust can make things easier, and distrust can definitely make things much harder. You already know that. But do you know how to check out where you need to change in order to create more beneficial trust? The Speed of Trust can help those who need a template for such self-examination.
Mr. Stephen M. R. Covey is the son of Dr. Stephen R. Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame. If you've read that famous book, you may remember young Stephen referred to by his father as the seven-year-old son who was asked to keep the yard "clean and green" and did neither at first. Dr. Covey writes the foreword for this book and refers to that example. Ms. Rebecca Merrill helped with the writing of Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book First Things First which was coauthored by Roger Merrill.
Trust is expressed by a paradigm that includes five waves of trust (self trust based on the principle of credibility, relationship trust based on the principle of proper behavior, organizational trust based on the principle of alignment, market trust based on the principle of reputation, and societal trust based on the principle of contribution). Most of the book is taken up with examining those five waves and their underlying principles. The core of the book comes, however, in the 13 behaviors that establish trust (talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust). Each section of the book comes with ways to check on your performance and to create plans for improvement.
This book is by far the best development of the subject of creating and restoring trust that I have read. That makes the book an essential reference. I congratulate and appreciate the authors for tackling this important subject.
I would be remiss, however, in being a trustworthy reviewer if I didn't point out some weaknesses in the approach:
1. Some of the examples of trust and mistrust drawn from Mr. Covey's experiences aren't terribly satisfying to read. Perhaps the most jarring example is one of the early ones in the book that describes the distrust that the Franklin Quest people felt toward him after the company merged with Covey Leadership Center. Mr. Covey comes across as unbelievably naive for not having taken into account how the two cultures should mesh (if at all) in engineering the merger. That's a more fundamental lesson than the lack of trust point. In addition, he doesn't seem to realize that merely being the son of the company's founder would make many people who didn't know him skeptical of his qualifications and his talent. Having read about how naive Mr. Covey was in this situation undercut my confidence in his ability to address the subject of trust. But I did appreciate his willingness to share such a painful experience in his book.
2. Most of the examples that are cited that do not involve Mr. Covey's direct experience are very overused. They same examples have been used to prove excellence in many other dimensions. As a result, the book doesn't come alive as much as it might. The examples conjure up memories of other books and arguments rather than cleanly bringing across the authors' trust-related points.
3. The book's structure and style are pretty pedantic, but without the precision that an academic would bring to the subject. In most areas, the authors rely on your sense of what's right rather than giving you clear lines of what to do and what not to do. That's fine if you already have a well-defined sense of how trust is formed and re-established. But if you don't know the answers already because you haven't lived in that kind of an environment, the book will leave you with too little direction.
4. Ultimately, long sections of the book are very general and boring. The major exceptions are the examples drawn from Mr. Covey's own family. I found those examples to be fresh and interesting.
After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about those who have gained your trust and distrust. What did they do? Examining those personal examples will add a lot of depth to the general ideas presented here.
on December 29, 2007
First off this book has an important and true message about just how vital trust really is to getting anything done. The lack of trust in modern society, and its continuing decline is a major issue not just in business, but socially, politically and in the family. Thus this is a timely book and the 3 star rating is not meant to indicate that it is really wrong or poorly written in any manner.
The reason for the only 3 star rating is that there is a whole lot of padding. The author does a very insightful job of investigating the components of trust, and exploring and explaining the dynamics of how trust can be built (and destroyed) in families, in teams, and in institutions. These explanations make it worth buying the book and at least reading it's . . . table of contents. The only problem is that the book is easily twice as long as it needs to be. I really think there's nothing wrong with a short book, but the author and/or publishers must have been afraid that the sixty page or so treatise these could have been wouldn't have been taken seriously.
A good book you should read and implement, or perhaps read the first few pages of each chapter and skim at will when it starts to sound like it's just filling space on the page.
on January 23, 2008
There is one thing that is common to every individual, organization, nation, and civilization throughout the world--one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, and the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. According to the author, that one thing is trust.
The author says that "The Five Waves of Trust" define the way we establish trust and make it actionable. Understanding these waves will enable you to speak and behave in ways that establish trust, allowing you to become a leader who gets results by inspiring trust in others.
First Wave: Self Trust. The key principle underlying this wave is credibility.
Second Wave: Relationship Trust. The key principle underlying this wave is consistent behavior.
Third Wave: Organizational Trust. The key principle underlying this wave, alignment, helps leaders create organizational trust.
Fourth Wave: Market Trust. The underlying principle behind this wave is reputation.
Fifth Wave: Societal Trust. The principle underlying this wave is contribution.
Here is a list of useful concepts I liked in the book:
Trust is the "hidden variable" in the formula for organizational success. The traditional business formula is: (Strategy x Execution = Results). But there is a hidden variable: (Strategy x Execution) x Trust = Results.
Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up. Consider the time and cost of airport security after 9/11, or costs for Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance in response to Enron, WorldCom and other corporate scandals. When trust goes up, speed goes up and cost goes down. Warren Buffett completed the acquisition of McLane Distribution from Wal-Mart on the basis of a two-hour meeting. Because of high trust between the parties, the merger took less than a month.
In a high-trust relationship, you can say the wrong thing and people will still get your meaning. In a low-trust relationship, you can be very precise, and they'll still misinterpret you.
If we can't trust ourselves, we'll have a hard time trusting others.
Who do you trust? Why do you trust this person? Now consider an even more provocative question: Who trusts you?
To use the metaphor of the tree, integrity is the root. Even though it's underground and not even visible most of the time, it is absolutely vital to the nourishment, strength, stability and growth of the entire tree. We've all seen people with enormous capability, strong results, and good intent who go about what they're doing in a dishonest way. On the other hand, to have integrity only is to be a "nice guy," or a thoroughly honest person, who is basically useless. To most people, integrity means honesty--telling the truth and leaving the right impression.
Results matter to your credibility. They give you clout. Returning once again to the metaphor of the tree, results are the fruits--the tangible, measurable, end purpose and product of the roots, trunk and branches.
Sometimes, poor behavior turns out to be bad execution of good intent.
Communicate clearly so that you cannot be misunderstood. Declare your intent, so you leave no doubt about what you are thinking. Be honest and call things what they are. Don't manipulate people, distort facts, or leave false impressions.
Be real and genuine and tell the truth in a way that people can verify.
Make restitution instead of just apologizing. The opposite is to deny or justify wrongs because of ego and pride, and to cover up mistakes. Apologize quickly, take action to make restitution when possible, and demonstrate personal humility to achieve this behavior.
Give credit to others and speak about people as though they are present. Don't badmouth people behind their backs and don't disclose others' private information.
By establishing a track record, making the right things happen, being on time and on budget, and not making excuses for not delivering, you quickly restore lost trust on the competence side.
Continuously improve by learning, growing and renewing yourself. Others will develop confidence in your ability to succeed. The opposite is the eternal student--always learning, but never producing. Don't be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.
Take the tough issues head-on. It is far better to address the real issues and lead courageously in discussions of uncomfortable topics.
Do both: hold yourself and others accountable.
Genuinely understand another person's thoughts and feelings, before trying to diagnose or advice. The opposite is to speak first and listen last, or not at all, and to pretend to listen while waiting for your own chance to speak. Use your eyes and your gut to listen as well as your ears, and don't presume you know what matters to others.
Keep all commitments the symbol of your honor.
Extending trust leverages it to create reciprocity. Do not extend false trust by giving people responsibility, but no authority or resources to complete a task. Extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust, but extend it abundantly to those who have earned it.
Doing good is no longer an addition to business; it is part of business itself.
Inspire trust by starting with yourself and your own credibility, and then consistently behave in trust building ways with other people.
Restoring trust within an organization may seem difficult; however, the fact that high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations by three times provides a strong incentive to make the effort. In the 1990s, Nike was criticized by activists for not being socially responsible, based on the conditions in some of the plants of their foreign manufacturing partners. However, Nike's behavior over the ensuing years resulted in 2005 with being listed as #13 on the "Best Corporate Citizens" list.
This book was distributed at work like candy at a Halloween party. New buzz words were written on the board and everyone was trust falling one another. The problem still remains: there's more falling than trusting.
I enjoyed the first chapter and agree with the author's sentiments: as trust improves, cost goes down and speed increases. I believe in Covey's see, speak, behave architecture. The problem begins when Covey stretches the first chapter into over three hundred pages based on an analogy that doesn't hold water (intentional pun).
The book reads more like Chicken Soup for the Corporate Soul versus a true introspection into business practice. There are some interesting stories, but beyond that, there's not much to offer. The book seemed more tailored to stroke the egos of Covey's corporate partners versus giving a hardened look at trust improvement.
Covey's stories are full of fluff (back to the Chicken Soup comparison). He incorporates vague intensifiers at every opportunity: totally, apparently, extremely, really, very. "As luck would have it", over-worn clichés are not immune. These stories are used to help us accept a weak analogy on how to build trust.
Some stories were outright ludicrous. For instance, he determines the start of personal trust can be contained in such things as not hitting snooze on the alarm clock, but arising on the first ring, sleep deprived or not. I'm sorry, but this doesn't fly with me. Maybe this is because I buy more into Mitch Albom's The Timekeeper philosophy. I don't believe my life is defined by an alarm clock.
I was most offended in Covey's comparisons of Gandhi and the CEOs on Wall Street. Covey tells us how transparent, honest, and trustworthy these individuals are, but I've been in meetings with these same individuals. I've been there as they plotted around new bankruptcy laws to favor the investor dollar. I've been there as they downsized a significant work force, only to fill those exact positions with expatriates. I've been there as they touted their speeches to the Indian workforce that the Chinese would be taking their place. If this is honesty and trustworthiness, then I've signed up for the wrong book. I'm sure this is not how Gandhi would run a business--if he would at all.
If the title appeals to you, then read the first chapter. The lessons on trust apply to both business and personal life. The rest of the book is weak, contrived, and self-indulgent.
on December 3, 2008
SPEED OF TRUST - I really wanted to like this book more, but ultimately couldn't. COVEY talks about business and personal life as if the principles of trust are interchangeable between the two, and to my liking doesn't pull it off. He makes no mention of the role feelings and intuition play, personally a substantial part in how much trust I place in relationships with people in my private life, and sometimes in business too. While COVEY talks about concepts like judgement, evidence, fact based measurement, results orientated - I'd hate to run my home based around key performance indicators and the profit margin!
Bounded rationality is a recognised phenomenon in business, many decisions, deals and trading is completed successfully using intuition as well, which is often required to complement the amount of information being presented before the opportunity passes. In many non-Western cultures, deals and enduring relationships are made on quite a different normative base than that used in the West. Many of the informal rules in those environments are much more subtle, symbolic, and invisible.
Another opportunity missed by COVEY is the application of Prisoner Dilemma game theory. The Prisoner Dilemma game, where two prisoners choose to either compete or cooperate to minimise negative utility is a well known and widely used concept that powerfully illustrates the divergent consequences of trust/distrust, betrayal, and potential for unconscious relationship punishment. Perception of threats to our survival needs, fear based & predator/prey behaviour play a major role in forming or destroying mutually beneficial relationships. Why COVEY did not refer to this, one can only speculate.
Overall I agree with some of the other reviewers - SPEED OF TRUST could've been shorter - a lot of repetition. The Action Plan and Credibility survey are interesting but don't stand on their own. Opportunities missed, and thankful I purchased SPEED OF TRUST using a 40% discount voucher, otherwise it's overpriced. And also - over recommended - the first 11 pages are endorsements - it's excessive, as if somehow the author doesn't trust in his own marketing ability - ironic that! Recommendation - if you can source it at your local library or borrow it from someone else who has it, save your cash.
on April 9, 2007
Stephen M.R. Covey is the son of the famous Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Not surprisingly, many of his father's themes are interwoven throughout this book.
Covey maintains that "Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust," meaning nothing can accelerate a transaction, a task, or project of any kind like trust. For instance, when there is a high level of trust between parties in a business transaction, deals can be made in minutes with a handshake.
Not only does trust make things faster, it simply makes every aspect of our lives better. To use another business example, a high level of trust between an organization's members promotes innovation, generates productivity, and results in cost savings. Trust "changes everything." It's not just a touchy-feely concept. Covey gives statistics to back it up.
Covey explains that trust is a function of character and competence. He further breaks these components down into "4 Cores of Credibility" - integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. He also outlines 13 Behaviors that generate trust. The Cores and Behaviors "are the tools that establish or maintain trust in every context." Similar to the 7 Habits, it all starts with the individual - i.e. self trust. Trust then can extend or ripple an additional 4 waves - to relationship trust, organizational trust, market trust, and societal trust. Covey gives tips for how to develop trust at each wave, resulting in increasingly remarkable outcomes.
After reading the book, you will believe that, "prioritizing trust - actively seek to establish it, grow it, restore it, and wisely extend it - will bring personal and organizational dividends that far exceed any other path." Although it has value for everyone, this book is especially helpful and important reading for those in leadership positions.
Nick McCormick - Author, Lead Well and Prosper
Do you wonder why we feel everything is chaotic and in the state of decline? Could the `loss of trust' be at the heart of what we are experiencing? It is pervasive today; there is distrust of the media; the public (e.g. IRS, DOJ, SEC, schools) and private sector institutions; corporations and financial institutions (e.g. Wall Street); politicians; physicians; police; unions: and the list continues. Symptoms of the breakdown of trust can be found in political gridlock, increasing regulation of corporate and personal activity, class warfare; the breakdown of the family; increased incarceration; increasing concern about our educational system, and much more.
A reasonable person would conclude that the loss of trust is at the heart of these problems after reading Stephen M. R. Covey's (son of Stephen R. Covey of "Seven Habits" fame) "Speed of Trust." Although published in 2006, "Speed of Trust" is as important and relevant today as it was then. If anything, the book has become even more important and relevant.
The world today is abundant with manipulations, myths (spin to create an alternate reality), half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Deception, hidden agendas, disregarding commitments, blaming others, and trusting none except those in an elite "inner circle" pervades every aspect of our lives.
The tax we pay - When there is a lack of trust, we pay dearly. This tax is huge and is impeding our ability to be productive and happy. Things take longer, cost more, and often, never get done. It is manifested in micro-management, second-guessing, regulation, strict operating procedures, bureaucracy, and unnecessary politics.
Covey points out that trust has two components - trust based on character and trust based on competence. We can identify our sense of distrust quickly by asking two questions: 1) Can we trust this person (organization, country) to do the right thing (character)? And, 2) can we trust this person to do things right (competence)? Complete trust requires a yes to both.
Covey notes that trust begins with us and begins his book with a look at self-trust. He includes a questionnaire to assess your credibility to provide direction areas for improvement. . If you cannot trust yourself, no one will trust you, nor will you inspire others to develop and facilitate trust. You can find out what it is in you that inspires trust. It thrives with behaviors such as talking straight, creating transparency, treating others with dignity and love, practicing accountability, and keeping commitments, and extending trust to others. Once self-trust is established, it can spread like a wave and change the world.
"Speed of Trust" is structured on these subsequent waves, which are:
* The first wave: self-trust
* The second wave: relationship trust
* The Third wave: organization trust
* The fourth wave; market trust
* The fifth wave: societal trust (creating value for others and for society)
While there is a tax paid when there is distrust, there is also a trust dividend when there is trust. The trust dividend is a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of life. High trust materially improves communication, collaboration, execution, innovation, strategy, engagement, partnering, and relationships with all stakeholders. There is nothing as fast as the speed of trust. For us, high trust significantly improves excitement, energy, passion, creativity, and joy in relationships.
How do you know if you are in a high trust environment? If you are in one, you will notice:
* Information is shared openly
* Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
* Culture is innovative and creative
* People are loyal to those who are absent
* People talk straight and confront real issues
* There is real communication and real collaboration
* People share credit abundantly
* There are few meetings after meetings
* Transparency is a practiced virtue
* People are candid and authentic
* There is a high degree of accountability
* There is palpable vitality and energy - people can feel the positive momentum
"Speed of Trust" will enable you to see, speak, and behave in ways that establish trust. It will also give you the language to speak about trust, enable you to name the underlying issues involved, and give you the language to describe those issues and to talk about a result. This book will also help you develop behaviors that establish and grow trust, particularly the 13 behaviors of high-trust people and leaders worldwide.
Father James Schall, SJ, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University, noted in his recent essay, "On Lying," "To those who live in untruth, the truth will seem like a "lie." A lie is a statement, presented as fact, which does not conform to a reality that we did not make or legislate into existence. It makes communication between human beings impossible"...Society as a whole is now being invited, or rather coerced, into the double life of the big lie - to pretend that what is, is not and that what is not, is. There is something worse than the disease; there is a denial of its existence. ..A double life, however, leads to a double death." The worst thing, Socrates warned, is the lie in the soul about what is.
Trust affects the trajectory and outcome of lives. We know there is more of everything good when there high trust - more options and opportunities, less friction and cost, and greater productivity. We respond to and thrive on trust.
on January 9, 2007
I have certainly observed the effects of the trust issue in corporate life. I have worked in large professional service corporations where the loss of trust in the administration was a significant cost of doing business. It will remain an issue until the management reads this book and pays attention to it.
on October 24, 2006
There is no one more qualified to write this book that Stephen M.R. Covey. Stephen presided over a company during one of the most tumultuous times it faced, and faced everything he was presented with in precisely the way he advocates in this book.
In this book he lays out the theoretical foundation for a thriving organization and a properous community. He argues persuasively and offers strong evidence--for how trust dramatically affects results of every kind. But he thankfully goes further--from his own experience and his careful study he offers a roadmap for how to create abundant trust in ourselves, our relationships and our workplaces.
I predict that this book will be THE seminal reference on trust for the next century. Read this book and you'll know precisely what you need to do to solve most any chronic problem you face. Follow Stephen's counsel, and you'll find prosperity and happiness unavailable in any other way.
on November 11, 2006
We all read books through our own lens. As a coach and consultant to boards of directors, I see The Speed of Trust as essential reading for any leader on any board. Whatever the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and all the other rules and checklists may hope to impose, the fundamental input for effective boards is TRUST. I call it the "currency of the boardroom".
Stephen has taken what is often passed off as "airy-fairy" and made it both tangible and accessible. His superb examples and illustrations from real life help the reader quickly see the empirical evidence that trust truly speeds up everything. Trust saves time -- Trust saves money. Even more, he has identified, explained, and elaborated on 13 behaviors that enable anyone to establish and enhance trust in any relationship.
Building on the legacy that his father has built, the younger Covey gives us all solid advice and important tools to live lives of character. And while many of us may buy this book with the hopes of helping our professional lives, it will immediately impact our personal lives.
You'll want everyone close to you to read it, too. I've already given out several copies!