The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey

March 9, 2008 at 9:52 pm 2 comments

The One Thing That Changes Everything

From inspiring trust by beginning with yourself, to utilizing consistent behavior, to creating alignment (a tough one for any organization) this book gives you a 380-page roadmap on building and infusing trust in you and around you (personal relationships, colleagues, teams, families, society). Just like Social Styles allows you to evaluate the particular style of an individual, the Smart Trust(TM) Matrix allows you to determine to what degree one’s present tendencies add to, or reduce, one’s ability to extend trust

How the Results are Determined

Covey begins with how trust is critical to Results. The traditional business formal says that Strategy multiplied by Execution equals Results:

S * E = R.

However, the hidden variable (Trust) in this formula can either discount the output, or greatly increase it:

(S * E)T = R.

But this becomes clear because an organization can have a great Strategy and the ability to Execute, but lack of Trust will kill the Results. Another view is that an organization may be obtaining Results that are meeting benchmarks, but the lack of Trust may not allow their business to:

  • scale as they attempt to grow,
  • introduce new offerings to the marketplace,
  • obtain more business from existing customers,
  • or, reduce the speed at which you wish to grow.

Five Waves of Trust

Covey calls them the 5 Waves of Trust, but honestly the waves model just didn’t work for me and the fourth and fifth aren’t necessary. The fourth is the result of the first three being done properly and the fifth is simply a contribution. But here’s how they are broken down:

  1. Self Trust: It’s about building the 4 Cores of Credibility that make you believable, both to oneself and others.
  2. Relationship Trust: Imbuing the 13 Behaviors to develop consistent behavior.
  3. Organizational Trust: Utilizing the 4 Cores and 13 Behaviors to build alignment in an organization.
  4. Market Trust: It’s all about brand and the principle of reputation.
  5. Societal Trust: Is contribution.

Four Cores of Credibility

The first layer, or Wave is all about the four dimensions of credibility. These are the foundational elements that make people believable to themselves and to others and they are:

  1. Integrity: Being the sames individual inside and out (no gap between intent and behavior).
  2. Intent: Having a good plan, or purpose.
  3. Capabilities: Creating both personal and organizational credibility.
  4. Results: Classify an individual as a producer and performer

Thirteen Behaviors

The second layer is about behaving in thirteen different ways. Covey believe that these behaviors are common to high-trust leaders and individuals worldwide. These can all enhance one’s ability to establish trust in all relationships. One through five flow from character, the second five from competence, and the last three from a combination both. This is a list you will most probably have to come back to time and time again.

  1. Talking Straight
  2. Demonstrating Respect
  3. Creating Transparency
  4. Righting Wrongs
  5. Showing Loyalty
  6. Delivering Results
  7. Getting Better
  8. Confronting Reality
  9. Clarifying Expectations
  10. Practicing Accountability
  11. Listening First
  12. Keeping Commitments
  13. Extending Trust

Smart Trust

Finally, to inspire trust is to create the foundation on which truly successful organization/relationships stand. Now here’s the key part – this ability (the first job of a leader) is the prime differentiator between managing and leading. A vital component is to extend “Smart Trust”.

The grid below shows how to determine to what degree one’s present tendencies add to, or reduce one’s ability to extend Smart Trust. The ideal here is to be in Zone 2 where there is a high level of propensity to trust and a high analysis in order to manage risk wisely.

Smart Trust Matrix


Entry filed under: Leadership.

Designing the Customer-Centric Organization by Jay R. Galbraith

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stan  |  March 17, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Very nice summary of an incredible book. This book is great for leadership, business management or inspiration and motivation.

    The ability for a leader to rapidly build trust between him or her self and team members is vital. What’s equally significant, is a leader’s ability to build trust between members on the team. You must have both levels of trust.

    This book covers both.

    Are you current on leadership trends? You can get the latest postings exploring a variety of leadership trends via e-mail or RSS at

  • 2. paircoaching  |  March 17, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    The author of this book is doing a tour to speak about his book. This is an announcement I made for the belgium talk he will give.


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