The Speed of Trust:  The One Thing That Changes Everything

The Speed of Trust:  The One Thing That Changes Everything
By: Stephen M.R. Covey

Trust is one thing common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization.  If removed it will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.

On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, trust has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life.

Trust means confidence.  Distrust is suspicion.  When you trust people you have confidence in them – in their integrity and in their abilities.  When you distrust people, you are suspicious of them – in their integrity, their agenda, their capabilities, or their track record.

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 come down.

Trust is a function of two things:  character and competence.  Character includes your integrity, your motive, your intent with people.  Competence includes your capabilities, your skills, your results, your track record.  Both are vital to trust.

The Five Waves

The Five Waves of Trust is a model that defines the five ways to establish trust and flows from the first wave out to the fifth:

  1. 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 our ability to inspire trust in others.  The key principle underlying this wave if credibility. 
  2. Relationship Trust – How to establish and increase the “trust accounts” we have with others.  The key principle underlying this wave is consistent behavior.
  3. Organizational Trust – How leaders can generate trust in all kinds of organizations, including businesses, not-for-profits, government entities, educational institutions, and families, as well as in team and other microunits within organizations.  They key principle underlying this wave is alignment which helps leaders create structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust.
  4. Market Trust – It’s about the company brand as well as your personal brand.  The underlying principle behind this wave is reputation.
  5. Societal Trust – This is about creating value for others and for society at large.  The principle underlying this wave is contribution or giving back.

The 4 Cores of Credibility

There are 4 cores of credibility that make you believable to both yourself and others. 

  1. Integrity – Being honest, walking your talk, being congruent, showing humility, having the courage to act in accordance to your values and beliefs.  The most massive violation of trust are violations of integrity.
  2. Intent – Our motives, agenda, and our resulting behavior.  Trust grows when our motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefit.
  3. Capabilities – The abilities we have that inspire confidence – our talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, and style.  They are the means to produce results.
  4. Results – Our track record, our performance, getting the right things done.  When we achieve the results we promised, we establish a positive reputation for performing.

Core 1:  Integrity

How to increase your integrity:

  1. Make and keep commitments – This is the fastest way to increase integrity.  Make and meet your commitments both big and small.  Don’t over commit yourself, treat commitments you make to yourself with as much respect as you do to commitments you make to others, and don’t make commitments impulsively.
  2. Stand for something – Be value and principle based.  Know what you stand for and live by those standards. 
  3. Be open – Don’t be closed minded or arrogant.  Listen to others, be open to new ideas, and acknowledge that there are things out there you may not be aware of.

Core 2: Intent

Intent matters:

  • It grows out of character.
  • We tend to judge ourselves by our intent, and others by their behavior.
  • We also tend to judge others’ intent based on our own paradigms and experience.
  • Our perception of intent has a huge impact on trust.
  • People often distrust us because of conclusions they draw about what we do.
  • It is important for us to actively influence the conclusions others draw by “declaring our intent.”

How to improve intent:

  1. Examine and refine your motives – Ask soul searching questions like:  Am I focused on a win for the entire team?  Do I genuinely want what’s best for us both?  Am I humble enough to admit if I am wrong?
  2. Declare your intent – It builds trust by signaling your behavior to others and letting them know what to look for so that they can recognize and understand when they see it.
  3. Choose abundance – Adopt an abundance mindset versus one of scarcity by acknowledging there is enough for everyone, and we live in a world of abundance.

Core 3:  Capabilities

Capabilities are vital to creating credibility.  Our capabilities inspire the trust of others, particularly when they are specifically those needed for the task at hand.  Our capabilities also give us the self-confidence that we can do what needs to be done.

To remain credible in today’s world we need to constantly improve our capabilities.

There are five key capabilities (TASKS):

  1. Talents – Our natural gifts and strengths.
  2. Attitudes – Our ways of seeing and our ways being.
  3. Skills – Our proficiencies, the things we do well.
  4. Knowledge – Our learning, insight, understanding, and awareness.
  5. Style – Our unique approach and personality.

Core 4:  Results

Results Matter.  They matter to your credibility.  They matter to your ability to establish and maintain trust with others.  They give you clout.  They classify you as a producer, as a performer.

You always have to ask yourself two critical questions: 

  1. What results am I getting?
  2. How am I getting those results?

To improve results:

  1. Take responsibility for results – Take responsibility and focus on results versus activities.
  2. Expect to win – We tend to get what we expect, both from ourselves and others.  So, to increase results expect to win.
  3. Finish strong – Results are all about finishing.  Beginners are many, finishers are few.  Increasingly, people in society are victims and quitters.  The powerful antidote is finishing.

The 13 Behaviors of High-Trust Leaders:

  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.
  2. Demonstrate Respect – Genuinely care for others.  Show you care.  Treat everyone with respect, especially those who can’t do anything for you.  Show kindness in the little things.  Don’t fake caring.
  3. Create Transparency – Tell the truth in a way that people can verify.  Get real and genuine.  Be open and authentic, erring on the side of disclosure.  Don’t hide information.
  4. Right Wrongs – Make things right when you are wrong. Apologize quickly.  Make restitutions when possible.  Demonstrate personal humility.  Don’t cover things up.
  5. Show Loyalty – Give credit freely.  Acknowledge the contributions of others.  Speak about people as though they are present.  Represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves.  Don’t badmouth others behind their backs.
  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 on budget.  Don’t over promise and underdeliver.
  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.  Don’t assume today’s knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrow’s challenges.
  8. Confront Reality – Take issues head on.  Address the tough stuff directly.  Acknowledge the unsaid.  Lead out courageously in conversation.  Don’t skirt the real issues.
  9. Clarify Expectations – Disclose and reveal expectations.  Discuss them.  Validate them.  Renegotiate them if needed and possible.  Don’t violate expectations.
  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 point fingers.
  11. Listen First – Listen before you speak.  Understand.  Diagnose.  Listen with your ears – and your eyes and your heart.  Find out what the most important behaviors are to the people you’re working with.  Don’t presume you have all the answers.
  12. Keep Commitments – Say what you’re going to do, then do it.  Make commitments carefully and keep them.  Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor.  Don’t break confidences.
  13. Extend Trust – Demonstrate a propensity to trust.  Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust.  Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.  Don’t withhold trust because there is risk involved.

How to Regain Trust

Though it may be difficult, in most cases, lost trust can be restored – and often even enhanced.  To restore trust put into practice the 4 Cores of Creditability and the 13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders, create an action plan, take action, and follow through.

Leave a Reply