Stephen M. R. Covey is the son of Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Today he is the cofounder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide and is following in his father's footsteps in speaking, writing and consulting about trust, leadership, ethics and high performance.
In The Speed of Trust, Covey focuses on trust as "the one thing that changes everything."
He makes a business case for trust - with high trust, businesses execute with speed and their costs go down; with low trust, business execution slows down and costs go up.
For example, Warren Buffett completed the acquisition of McLane Distribution (a $23 billion company) from Wal-Mart. Normally, an acquisition like this would take months of due diligence with the related expenses. In this case, the deal was made with one two-hour meeting and a handshake, and it was completed in less than a month.
He makes a leadership case for trust - high trust increases the energy and joy in organizations and in relationships.
Covey also explains that trust is learnable. Individuals and organizations can work on developing their credibility through their behavior. Character can be developed through integrity and intent. Competence can be developed through capabilities and results.
He tells his own side of the "green and clean" story used by his father in 7 Habits. As a seven year old boy, he initially failed to meet his father's expectations to keep the yard "green and clean." His father supported him with some help getting it that way and learning to keep it that way. In the process, Stephen Jr. learned the motivating power of being trusted.
The best thing that leaders can do to build trust in their organizations and relationships is to extend trust. People tend to return trust to those who extend it to them. Leaders do it first and you still have to be practical. As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."
The way to restore trust after it is lost is through consistent behavior. "You can't talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into."
As Stephen M. R. Covey points out, our world can be a better place with more trust exhibited individually and through our organizations and governments. The Speed of Trust is an excellent guidebook for understanding the benefits of trust and building trust.
Buy it on Amazon: The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.
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