Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, “The Speed of Trust,” has taught me the importance of trust in both personal and professional relationships. This is my summary of the Speed Of Trust book. Through the first three chapters, Covey has made a compelling case for why trust matters. He explained how high trust can increase speed and lower costs, which ultimately leads to better outcomes. Trust is not just a nice-to-have; it’s essential for success.
Furthermore, Covey explains that trust is composed of two critical elements: character and competence. In chapters six and seven, he emphasizes the importance of character, which includes integrity and intent. Integrity means knowing the difference between right and wrong and living by those principles. Intent refers to our motives and whether we act in the best interest of others. Competence, on the other hand, includes our knowledge and ability to deliver results through our actions.
Covey outlines the five waves of trust, which I found enlightening.
1. Self Trust [Chapter 5]
The first wave is self-trust, which is fundamental to building trust with others. If we do not trust ourselves, it becomes challenging to trust others. However, I have to admit that other authors have done a superior job of addressing self-image and self-esteem related subjects.
2. Relationship Trust (13 behaviors)
The second wave is relationship trust, which Covey breaks down into 13 behaviors. I learned that character errors are the fastest way to lose trust, while competence strengths are the quickest way to build trust. It’s important to balance these behaviors and not give too much weight to any one of them over the others.
A. Actions that create trust in your Character:
As someone who strives to build trust and maintain strong relationships, I find the concepts discussed in Chapter 9-12 of “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey to be incredibly valuable. These chapters highlight key actions that can help create trust in one’s character, and I aim to incorporate these principles into my own life.
1. Talk Straight [Chapter 9]
The first action is to talk straight. This means being honest, telling the truth, and using clear and simple language. It’s important to note that talking straight is more than just technical accuracy – it’s also about giving the correct impression. I understand that errors such as lying, misleading, beating around the bush, withholding information, double talk, flattery, positioning, posturing, spinning to manipulate, leaving false impressions, and splitting hairs can damage trust. Therefore, I strive to communicate with tact and consideration, balancing my intentions with my capabilities and results.
2. Demonstrate Concern/Respect [Chapter 10]
The second action is to demonstrate concern and respect for others. It’s important to value other people and show them that I care. This means taking the time to listen and understand their needs, concerns, and perspectives. I recognize that errors such as disrespect, failing to show people that I care, faking concern, and showing respect for some but not others (especially those who don’t have power) can also damage trust. Therefore, I strive to balance my concern and respect with accountability and clarity.
3. Create Transparency [Chapter 11]
The third action is to create transparency. This means being upfront and honest about my intentions, priorities, and goals. It’s important to communicate in a way that people can verify and validate, and to avoid hidden agendas or unwillingness to share information. To create transparency, I strive to follow the advice of Stephen M.R. Covey in Chapter 11: “Look, I’m trying to help create something we all can win by. Here’s what’s important to me. What’s important to you?”
4. Right Wrongs [Chapter 11]
The fourth action is to right wrongs. When I make a mistake, I aim to quickly apologize, recover, and make restitution where possible. It’s important to demonstrate humility and not let pride get in the way of doing the right thing. I recognize that errors such as denial, justification, rationalization, failure to admit mistakes until forced to do so, pride, and covering up mistakes to avoid getting caught can damage trust. Therefore, I strive to add a little free benefit to make up for my mistakes and generate good will. This includes practicing humility, integrity, and making restitution where possible.
5. Show Loyalty [Chapter 12]
The fifth action is to show loyalty. This means representing others well, even when they are not present. I aim to give credit, acknowledge, encourage, and protect those who are not present. I recognize that errors such as taking credit due to others, being two-faced, and talking behind others’ backs can damage trust. Therefore, I strive to practice positive actions such as sending thank-you cards, giving compliments, developing legends, celebrating success, publicizing success, and catching people doing things right.
Incorporating these actions into my life has been transformative. I have noticed that people are more willing to trust me, and my relationships have become stronger and more meaningful. By talking straight, demonstrating concern and respect, creating transparency, righting wrongs, and showing loyalty, I have been able to build trust in my character and create a positive impact on those around me. I am committed to continuing to practice these actions and to deepen my relationships through trust.
B. Actions that create trust in your Competence:
As someone who values building trust in my relationships and leadership abilities, I believe that there are several actions I can take to demonstrate my competence and earn the trust of those around me.
6. Deliver Results [Chapter 13]
First and foremost, delivering results is essential. This means taking responsibility for my actions and being accountable for the outcomes of my efforts. It also means striving for high performance and avoiding common errors such as performing poorly, failing to deliver, or focusing on activities rather than results. However, it is important to balance this focus on results with the other actions that build trust, such as showing empathy and building relationships with those around me.
7. Get Better [Chapter 13-14]
Another action that I believe is crucial for building trust is a commitment to constantly improving and getting better. This means being a constant learner, seeking feedback from others, and using that feedback to improve my skills and knowledge. Embracing the benefits of experience, mistakes, and opportunities for change and improvement can help me gain the confidence of those around me, as people tend to have more faith in innovators than in those who remain stagnant. However, it is important to avoid errors such as entropy, resting on my laurels, or being afraid to make mistakes, and instead focus on seeking feedback, learning from my experiences, and continually striving for improvement.
8. Confront Reality [Chapter 14]
Confronting reality is another important action for building trust. This means taking issues head-on, even the tough issues, and not shying away from discussing so-called “undiscussable” topics. It requires courage, awareness, responsibility, and respect. When I confront reality, I can build relationships of productivity, tap into the creativity of others, and work towards effective problem-solving. Avoiding errors such as ignoring facts, pretending reality is different, or engaging in busy work can help me build trust with others by showing that I am willing to tackle the tough issues head-on.
9. Clarify Expectations [Chapter 15-16]
Clarifying expectations is another critical action for building trust in my relationships. This means taking the time to discuss and negotiate expectations with others, rather than assuming that shared expectations exist or failing to disclose expectations altogether. Clarifying expectations requires clarity, accountability, and responsibility, and it can help prevent misunderstandings down the road. It is important to avoid errors such as failing to define expectations, assuming shared expectations exist, or shifting expectations without clear communication. Both parties must be involved in determining expectations, and expectations cannot be rigid – they must be balanced with the other actions that build trust, such as confronting reality.
10. Practice Accountability [Chapter 15]
Finally, practicing accountability is essential for building trust in all of my relationships. This means holding myself accountable for my actions and results, as well as holding others accountable when necessary. It requires taking responsibility for the outcomes of my efforts and avoiding errors such as blaming others or playing the victim. While accountability can be tough, it is necessary for building trust, and when done properly, it can lead to growth and improvement for everyone involved. Leaders must acknowledge their own performance and apologize for any lack of performance, while encouraging others to account for their actions and results as well. Keeping performance commitments requires a balance of accountability with loyalty, respect, and caring.
In summary, building trust in my relationships requires a combination of actions, including delivering results, getting better, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, and practicing accountability. By taking these actions, I can demonstrate my competence and earn the trust of those around me, ultimately leading to more productive and meaningful relationships.
C. Actions that build trust in both Character and Competence:
As someone who values building trust with others, I believe that there are certain actions that are crucial for establishing trustworthiness. These actions encompass both character and competence, and when done correctly, can lead to stronger relationships and more successful outcomes.
11. Listen First [Chapter 16]
One of the most important actions is to listen first. This means taking the time to understand what is important to others before trying to assert your own agenda. I have found that when I actively listen to others, I gain influence with them and they are more likely to trust me. On the other hand, if I speak before listening or don’t listen at all, I risk losing their trust and respect. It’s also important to solicit input from others, especially when their input might have an impact on the outcome. If I fail to do this, I risk making decisions that don’t take into account all perspectives and ultimately lead to a loss of trust.
12. Keep Commitments [Chapter 17]
Another key action is to keep commitments. This means making promises that I know I can keep and then following through on them. When I break commitments or promises, I damage trust and create a sense of disappointment in others. Conversely, when I make and keep commitments, I build hope and create a sense of reliability that others can count on. It’s important to avoid making vague or elusive commitments that can’t be held accountable for, as this can erode trust even further.
13. Extend Trust [Chapter 17]
Extending trust is another important action for building trust with others. This means being willing to trust others, but doing so conditionally. I believe that trust should be earned, and those who have earned my trust will receive it abundantly. However, those who are still in the process of earning my trust will receive it more cautiously. By extending trust to others, I am able to leverage their help and create a sense of reciprocity. I have found that when I trust others, they are more likely to trust me in return.
It’s important to balance the extension of trust with wisdom. This means knowing who to trust, how to hold them accountable, and what resources they need to get the job done. I have learned that withholding trust can create a sense of distrust and damage relationships, just as being too gullible can lead to being taken advantage of. Additionally, if I am untrustworthy myself, it’s difficult to expect others to trust me. I need to lead by example and be a trustworthy individual if I want others to trust me.
Finally, I have found that it’s important to avoid faking trust and taking over others’ jobs. If I fake trust, others will see through it and trust will be lost. Similarly, if I take over someone’s job, I am sending a message that I don’t trust them to get the job done, which can damage relationships and erode trust. It’s important to give others the resources and authority they need to do their jobs effectively, while also holding them accountable for their actions.
In conclusion, I believe that actions such as listening first, keeping commitments, and extending trust are crucial for building trust with others. When these actions are done correctly, they can lead to stronger relationships and more successful outcomes. However, it’s important to balance these actions with wisdom, know who to trust, how to hold them accountable, and what resources they need to get the job done. Ultimately, building trust is a lifelong process, but by practicing these actions consistently, I believe that it’s possible to become a trustworthy individual who is respected and valued by others.
3. Organizational Trust [Chapter 18-20]
When it comes to organizational trust, I believe that every individual’s behavior plays a significant role in shaping the organization’s culture. The culture of an organization reflects how it values and employs trust behaviors. I have learned that symbols are an essential tool in communicating an organization’s culture. That is why it is essential to ask ourselves how our organization’s symbols and culture reflect each behavior of trust. In my opinion, it is crucial to see, speak, and behave in a way that aligns with the values we want to be valued by our organization.
4. Market Trust (market reputation) [Chapter 21-23]
Regarding market trust, I firmly believe that a brand represents the trust of the market. It applies to all stakeholders, including customers, employees, vendors, and shareholders. As an AI language model, I understand the importance of trust in building and maintaining a brand’s reputation. It requires consistent effort and a commitment to ethical practices to maintain the trust of all stakeholders.
5. Societal Trust [Chapter 24-26]
When it comes to societal trust, I have learned that people often take it for granted until it is absent. I believe that the world cannot function without trust. Open society, law, commerce, and various other aspects require trust. In my view, a high trust society offers more choices and opportunities. That is why it is crucial to contribute positively to society and examine ourselves within different contexts, including family, organization, and society. Only by contributing positively and examining ourselves can we build and maintain a trustworthy society.
Finally, when it comes to smart trust, I believe that it is essential to understand the smart trust matrix. I have learned that trust can be restored if we understand and apply the principles of the smart trust matrix. I believe that we must examine our motives and behavior and seek to understand the motives and behavior of others to build and maintain trust.
In conclusion, I believe that trust is a fundamental aspect of human relationships, be it in an organizational, market, or societal context. It requires constant effort and a commitment to ethical practices to build and maintain trust.