“The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything” is a groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting book by Stephen M.R. Covey, son of Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. In this book, Covey articulates that trust is not just a social virtue, but a quantifiable and actionable variable that has the potential to enhance or diminish all aspects of an organization’s or individual’s performance.
The Speed of Trust Summary
Covey starts by stating that trust is like the action of a wave, ripples start small but then move outwards encompassing everything in their path.
He establishes that trust is a key leadership competency and explains his belief that trust is a function of two factors: character (including integrity and intent) and competence (including capabilities and results).
The First Wave: Self Trust
The first wave, Self Trust, focuses on the principle of credibility.
Covey defines credibility as the quality of being believable or worthy of trust. He then outlines the four cores of credibility: Integrity, Intent, Capabilities, and Results, where the first two cores relate to character and the latter two to competence.
The Second Wave: Relationship Trust
Covey expands upon the 13 behaviors that help establish trust in relationships.
These behaviors include talking straight, demonstrating respect, creating transparency, and practicing accountability, among others.
He argues that by consistently demonstrating these behaviors, individuals can increase the trust that others have in them.
The Third Wave: Organizational Trust
Covey discusses how leaders can create a culture of trust within their organizations.
He posits that when organizations operate with high trust, information flows freely, collaboration is more effective, execution is faster, and costs are lower.
The Fourth Wave: Market Trust
This section looks at the reputation of a company, how trust can create a market presence, and influence customers.
Covey explains that brands with high-trust reputations attract customers and increase their market share.
The Fifth Wave: Societal Trust
The final wave deals with the importance of creating value and contribution to society.
Covey suggests that organizations that emphasize societal responsibility, and not just profits, create greater trust with the public and their communities.
Covey acknowledges that trust can be lost, but he also believes it can be restored.
He provides a framework for restoring trust that emphasizes acknowledging the wrongdoing, apologizing, making restitution, and demonstrating that the wrongdoing will not be repeated.
Covey concludes by talking about how leaders can inspire trust. He emphasizes the importance of leading by example and discusses various ways that leaders can demonstrate trust in their actions.
Throughout the book, Covey provides real-life examples, actionable advice, and exercises to help us understand and apply the principles he discusses.
His core message is that trust is a vital and quantifiable metric which, when enhanced, can lead to unprecedented success in every dimension of life.
What can you learn from the book?
1. Trust is the key to accelerating success
Covey’s book posits that trust is not just a social virtue but is a quantifiable variable that affects both speed and cost in relationships and organizations.
Trust operates like a performance multiplier, facilitating and accelerating the hard work we put into our endeavors. When trust is high within an organization, it speeds up processes, saving time and effort, resulting in increased productivity and success.
For instance, imagine an organization where team members don’t trust their leadership.
They may question every directive, leading to slower execution of projects, poor collaboration, and low morale. On the other hand, in a high-trust environment, the team will be more likely to accept and execute decisions quickly, making the organization more efficient and productive.
2. The Five Waves of Trust
Covey describes trust as originating in five concentric waves: self-trust, relationship trust, organizational trust, market trust, and societal trust. (already discussed above)
Understanding these waves is crucial to fostering trust in both personal and professional environments.
For example, self-trust is rooted in one’s credibility and consistent behavior.
If one fails to keep personal commitments, it’s hard to inspire trust in others.
Relationship trust is built on behavior; Covey lists 13 specific behaviors that build trust, including talking straight, demonstrating respect, and creating transparency.
Organizational trust reflects the culture within a company or organization. Market trust is the reputation that your organization has within the market, and societal trust is about your contribution to society.
3. Four Cores of Credibility
According to Covey, credibility is the foundation of trust and is built on four cores: integrity, intent, capabilities, and results.
Integrity includes being honest, walking the talk, and being consistent in your actions.
Intent involves having and communicating a positive motive behind your actions. Capabilities are the skills and competencies that enable you to produce results in a given area.
Finally, results refer to your track record, performance history, and reputation. When these cores are strong, people will naturally trust you.
For example, a business leader who has a consistent record of honoring commitments, transparently communicates intentions, displays relevant competencies, and has a history of achieving results would have high credibility, and thus, the trust of their team.
4. Building, Maintaining, and Rebuilding Trust
Covey’s book provides a comprehensive guide on how to build, maintain, and, when necessary, restore trust. Building trust is a proactive process; it doesn’t just ‘happen’.
It requires conscious effort and consistency. Maintaining trust is about nurturing and protecting it, such as openly addressing issues as they arise and practicing accountability.
When trust is broken, it’s often challenging, but not impossible, to rebuild.
Covey recommends offering sincere apologies, setting right the wrongs, and demonstrating a change in behavior over time. An example might be a company addressing a product fault, apologizing to customers, offering a remedy, and implementing quality checks to avoid future issues.
This process can restore lost trust and, in some cases, even deepen it.
In a world where trust can be swiftly compromised and is often in short supply, The Speed of Trust serves as a useful guide for individuals, leaders, and organizations seeking to understand and harness the power of trust.
Its insights and strategies are as relevant to personal relationships as they are to professional environments, underscoring the universal value and applicability of trust.
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