The Speed of Trust: The one thing that changes everything
by Stephen MR Covey
Publisher Simon & Schuster UK
An inspiring and challenging read that asks readers to think deeply about their relationships with others. Its conversational style makes the content easy-to-understand, while the personal stories and practical tips give readers lots of ideas to try out at work and home.
This book gives a succinct explanation of the behaviours that build trust in relationships both inside and outside work. Readers are able to use the examples, models and tools to assess the way they relate to others and spot practical things they can do to improve trust.
Trust is the one thing common to every person, team, family, organisation that if removed brings failure; and if developed brings unparalleled prosperity, says Stephen Covey in the opening pages.
The tenet behind this book is that trusting relationships are at the heart of all organisations. That trust is a hard-edged economic driver and it can be quantified.
In the first chapter Covey shares some easy-to-use equations that correlate trust to speed, cost, execution and results; then he summarises the impact trust has on organisational culture and on relationships within teams.
He believes every person has the power to build trust in their work and personal relationships, no matter how junior or senior they are.
The remainder of the book explains how to do this using a model Covey calls the Five Waves of Trust. These waves serve as a metaphor for how trust operates in our lives, beginning with us and amplifying out through out networks of contacts.
The first wave – self trust – deals with credibility. It’s about the confidence we have in ourselves as well as our ability to inspire trust in others.
Covey identifies the cores of credibility as our integrity, good intentions, capabilities and track record. Over four chapters he looks at what each is, why they matter, their impact on trust and how to improve in each core.
The second wave – relationship trust – is about behaviour; how we interact with others in ways that increase trust. Covey looks in detail at the 13 behaviours he believes are common to trusted leaders.
He depicts each behaviour on a bell curve; the sweet spot in the middle where the behaviour is in balance, with weakness either side where the behaviour is used too much or too little.
Each behaviour has its own chapter with a detailed explanation and practical tips, as well as its opposite and counterfeit behaviours. For instance the opposite of Talk Straight, the first behaviour, is lying and deceiving. Its counterfeit is beating around the bush, withholding information, double-talk, flattering, posturing and spinning.
At the end of this section Covey encourages readers to create their own action plan changing a couple of their own behaviours in a work and a personal relationship.
The third wave – organisational trust – deals with alignment; how to generate trust with other people in your organisation.
Covey identifies seven hidden costs – he calls them trust taxes – in organisations marred by distrust; and seven benefits – called tax dividends – in high trust companies. All are quantifiable and measurable.
The fourth wave – market trust – is about reputation; building a personal and company brand that inspire trust with customers, clients and suppliers.
The fifth wave – societal trust – is about contribution; creating value for others and for society at large.
These last two waves are covered in a chapter each, before a final section on learning to trust others.
My one criticism of this book is with the referencing. Covey refers to numerous pieces of research, which he lists in the notes and references section at the end of the book. But he doesn’t provide footnotes on each page linking to the references section, making it hard to check out the validity of the research he quotes.