The speed of trust

The SPEED of Trust By Stephen M.R. Covey – Book Summary

Name: The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
Author: Stephen M.R. Covey
Download Audio Book For Free at: Audible
Book available in English at: Flipkart, Amazon
Book size: 384 pages


There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world — one thing which, if removed, 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, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life.

That one thing is trust. The Five Waves of Trust model serves as a metaphor for how trust operates in our lives.

Nothing is as fast as the speed of Trust . Simply put, trust means confidence. The opposite of trust — distrust — is suspicion.

The difference between high- and low-trust relationships is obvious.

Take communication, in a high-trust relationship, you can say the wrong thing and people will still get your meaning. In a low-trust relationship, you can be very measured, even precise, and they’ll still misinterpret you.

You don’t need to look far to realize that, as a global society, we have a crisis of trust on our hands. On the organizational level, trust within companies has sharply declined. But relationships of all kinds are built on and sustained by trust. They can also be broken down and destroyed by a lack of trust.

Truly we are in a crisis of trust. It affects us on all levels – Societal, institutional, organizational, relational and personal.

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the speed of trust
the speed of trust

1. Economics of Trust:

Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost.

When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up.

When trust goes up, speed goes up and cost goes down.

Warren Buffett completed the acquisition of McLane Distribution from Wal-Mart on the basis of a two-hour meeting. Because of high trust between the parties, the merger took less than a month and avoided the usual months and millions for due diligence and attorneys.

Just as the tax created by low trust is real, measurable and extremely high, so the dividends of high trust are also real, quantifiable and incredibly high. Whether it’s high or low, trust is the “hidden variable” in the formula for organizational success.

The traditional business formula is:

(Strategy x Execution = Results).

But there is a hidden variable:

(Strategy x Execution) x Trust = Results.

A company can have an excellent strategy and a strong ability to execute; but the net result can be destroyed by a low-trust tax or multiplied by a high-trust dividend. This makes a powerful business case for trust,

assuring that it is not a soft, “nice to have” quality.

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Let’s take a look at the real scenarios:

Myth vs. Reality

Myth: Trust is soft

Reality: Trust is hard, real and quantifiable. It measurably affects both speed and cost.


Myth: Trust is slow.

Reality: Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.


Myth: Trust is built solely on integrity.

Reality: Trust is a function of both character and competence.


Myth: You either have trust or you don’t.

Reality: Trust can be both created and destroyed


Myth : Once lost, trust cannot be restored.

Reality: Though difficult in most cases, lost trust can be restored.


Myth: You can’t teach trust.

Reality: Trust can be effectively taught and learned, and it can become a leverageable, strategic advantage.


Myth: Trusting people is too risky.

Reality: Not trusting people is a greater risk.


Myth: You establish trust one person at a time.

Reality: Establishing trust with the one establishes trust with the many.

They can also be broken down and destroyed by a lack of trust.

The key is in understanding and learning how to navigate “The Five Waves of Trust.”

Understanding these waves will enable you to see, speak and behave in ways that establish trust, allowing you to become a leader who gets results by inspiring trust in others.

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A. The First Wave: Self-Trust

The good news is that we can increase our credibility, and we can increase it fast, particularly if we understand the four key elements, or four “cores” that are funda- mental. Two of these cores deal with character; two with competence.

Core 1: Integrity

To use the metaphor of the tree, integrity is the root. Even though it’s underground and not even visible most of the time, it is absolutely vital to the nourishment, strength, stability and growth of the entire tree.

On the other hand, to have integrity only and not the other three Cores — is to be a “nice guy,” maybe even a thoroughly honest person, who is basically useless.

To most people, integrity means honesty — telling the truth and leaving the right impression. But there are at least three additional qualities: congruence, humility and courage.

So how do we go about increasing our integrity?

  1. Make and keep commitments to yourself
  2. Stand for something
  3. Be open.
Core 2: Intent

In the dictionary, intent is defined as “plan” or “purpose.” No discussion of intent would be complete without talking about three things: motive, agenda and behavior.

  1. Motive. Motive is your reason for doing something, and it inspires the greatest trust when it shows genuine concern for people, purposes and society as a whole.
  2. Agenda. Agenda grows out of motive. It’s what you intend to do or promote because of your motive. The intent that inspires the greatest trust is seeking mutual benefit, realizing that life is interdependent and seeking solutions that build trust and benefit for all.
  3. Behavior. Typically, behavior is the manifestation of motive and agenda. The behavior that best creates credibility and inspires trust is acting in the best interest of others. This is where the rubber meets the road. It’s easy to say “I care,” and “I want you to win,” but it is our actual behavior that demonstrates whether or not we mean it.

It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes, unfortunately, poor behavior turns out to be bad execution of good intent.

  1. Examine and redefine your motives. It’s human tendency to assume we have good — or at least justifiable intent.
  2. Declare your intent.
  3. Choose abundance – Means there is enough for everybody.

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Core 3: Capabilities

Capabilities are the branches that produce the fruits or results.

The conclusion here is to develop our TASKS and to create the best possible alignment between our natural gifts, our passions, our skills, knowledge and style and the opportunity to earn, to contribute, to make a difference.

To enhance credibility by increasing capabilities:

  1. Run with your strengths.
  2. Keep yourself relevant.
  3. Know where you’re going.
Core 4: Results

Results matter! They matter to your credibility.

Returning once again to the metaphor of the tree, results are the fruits — the tangible, measurable, end purpose and product of the roots, trunk and branches.

There are three key indicators by which people evaluate results:

past performance,

present performance and

anticipated future performance.

Given the importance of results in establishing credibility and trust both with ourselves and with others, the question is: How can we improve our results?

  1. Take responsibility for results.
  2. Expect to win
  3. Finish strong

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B. The Second Wave: Relationship Trust

Which is all about is all about behavior … consistent behavior. More specifically, it’s about the 13 Behaviors that are common to high trust leaders and people throughout the world. Remember that each trust account is unique; all deposits and withdrawals are not created equal; and what constitutes a deposit to one person may not to another.

Character Based behavior:

Behavior #1: Talk Straight

Behavior #2: Demonstrate Respect

Behavior #3: Create Transparency

Behavior #4: Right Wrongs

Behavior #5: Show Loyalty

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Competence-Based Behaviors

Behavior #6: Deliver Results

Behavior #7: Get Better

Behavior #8: Confront Reality

Behaviour #9: Clarify Expectations

Behavior #10: Practice Accountability.

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Character & Competence Behaviors

Behavior #11: Listen First.

Behavior #12: Keep Commitments.

Behavior # 13: Extend Trust

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2. Stake Holder Trust:

It focuses on the context in which you can use these tools to increase speed, lower cost, create value, establish trust, and maximize your influence and the influence of your organization.

An organization can be a company, a department or your family, but the Third Wave deals with internal stakeholders.

The Fourth and Fifth Waves deal with external stakeholders.

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A. Third Wave: Organizational Trust

Most people find that their organization has symptoms of low trust — people manipulating facts, withholding information, resisting new ideas and covering up mistakes.

Leaders are missing the solution because they are not looking at the systems, structures, processes and polices that affect day-to-day behaviors. They are focused on the symptoms instead of the principles that promote trust.

This misalignment creates symbols that represent and communicate underlying values to everyone in the organization or family.

A symbol can be either negative or positive; from a 500-page employee handbook, to a newly appointed CEO who refuses to accept a pay raise because it might send the wrong message to workers. If your organizational symbols communicate and cultivate distrust or less trust than you want, return to the Four Cores.

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B. Fourth Wave: Market Trust

Market Trust is all about brand or reputation. It’s all about the feeling you have that makes you want to buy products or services or invest your money or time and recommend such actions to others.

This is the level where most people clearly see the relationship between trust, speed and cost.

In the global marketplace, many brands are now being taxed or receiving dividends based on people’s perception of and trust in the country of origin.

Whether a company is based in China, France, India or the U.S. affects people’s perception of whether the company can be trusted to do what is right.

If you find you do not have the brand you desire, you can measurably increase its value by using the Four Cores as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint the reason why, and where investment will bring the greatest return.

Then use the 13 Behaviors with external stakeholders, customers, suppliers, investors, communities — and you will build trust at the marketplace level.

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C. Fifth Wave: Societal Trust

The overriding principle of high societal trust is a contribution. It’s the intent to create value instead of destroying it; to give back instead of take.

The principles of contribution and responsibility create trust at a societal level through today’s trend toward global citizenship, or corporate social responsibility(CSR).

Intel, Wells Fargo and Procter & Gamble, all in the top 10 of Business Ethics magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens” show that doing good is no longer an addition to business; it is part of the business itself.

Though initially fear of pain might motivate global citizenship, over time, the dividends and abundance created by contribution will become primary drivers for both individuals and organizations. Global citizenship will be demanded as customers support companies that demonstrate the Four Cores.

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3. Inspiring Trust

Trust is a whole life choice, and until you are actually in a front-line situation, you will not even see the full power of the Cores and Behaviors on speed, cost and trust.

Look immediately for ways to apply them and find opportunities to teach them to others.

You will see how the speed of trust; the profits of the economics of trust; the relevance of the pervasive impact of trust; and the dividends of trust can significantly enhance the quality of every relationship on every level of your life.

You may still be hesitant or fearful when it comes to actually extending trust, but leaders who extend trust become mentors, models and heroes.

Companies that choose to extend trust to their employees become great places to work. Most people respond well to trust and do not abuse it. We are born with a propensity to trust and choosing to retain or restore that propensity is key to our ability to forgive. Trust is reciprocal.

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A. Extending ‘Smart Trust’

Have you ever trusted someone — and gotten “burned?” Have you ever failed to trust someone and missed significant opportunities?

Extending trust can bring great dividends. It also creates the possibility of significant risk.

Zone 1: Blind Trust zone of gullibility – The suckers sure to fall for scams.

Zone 2: Smart Trust zone of judgment – Good business judgment and good people judgment combine to enhance instinct and intuition.

Zone 3: No Trust zone of indecision– Those who don’t even trust themselves and are immobilized by insecurity and protectiveness.

Zone 4: Distrust zone of suspicion – Those who rarely extend trust beyond themselves.

Zone 1 (gullibility) and 3 (indecision) are definitely high risk, but people might think Zone 4 (suspicion) is the lowest risk zone because it is where you analyze and calculate and consider issues by yourself.

Actually, it is high risk, because high suspicion leads you to validate and analyze everything to death, decreasing speed and increasing cost.

Managers in Zone 4 miss opportunities, cut off collaboration and analysis from others. They incur low trust taxes including bureaucracy; politics, disengagement and turnover, and they lose high-trust dividends such as innovation, collaboration, and partnering.

The lowest risk and highest return occur in Smart Trust Zone 2 (judgment), where risk is wisely moderated and managed and you can carefully evaluate and consider issues. Your propensity to trust releases, encourages and generates synergy.

It is not necessary to extend Smart Trust automatically. You can extend limited trust or no trust at all in Zone 2, just as you might do in Zone 4. The decision may be the same, but the different approach and risk management

always builds trust, whether you are a business leader or a parent.

Managers who don’t become leaders don’t know how to extend Smart Trust. They operate in Zone 4. They delegate tasks without parameters or extend fake trust, but they don’t fully entrust people with stewardships that engages genuine ownership and accountability.

Inspire trust by starting with yourself and your own credibility, and then consistently behave in trust-building ways with other people. You should also think about the way your style is perceived, so people do not misunderstand you.

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B. Restoring Lost Trust

The idea that trust cannot be restored once it is lost is a myth. Though it may be difficult, in most cases, lost trust can be restored — and often even enhanced.

Societal Trust: Restoring trust on the societal level means rebuilding trust in countries, institutions, industries, professions and in other people generally. In the Republic of Ireland, leaders over the past 30 years have changed the nation’s focus from inward to outward. They have moved the nation from economic independence to interdependence from overhauling an archaic educational system to making Ireland one of the world’s undisputed education leaders.

Market Trust: In the 1990s, Nike was criticized by activists for not being socially responsible, based on the conditions in some of the plants of their foreign manufacturing partners.

Chairman Phil Knight acknowledged the company’s “bumpy original response” to criticism, however, and Nike’s actions and behavior over the

ensuing years has demonstrated tangible results. In 2005 they were listed as #13 on the “Best Corporate Citizens” list.

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C. Organizational Trust:

Restoring trust within an organization may seem difficult; however, the fact that high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations by three times provides a strong incentive to make the effort.

Relationship Trust: If you’re a customer of a company that violated your trust, you may not give them a chance to restore it, that’s a transactional thing.

But if a family member violates your trust, it’s not transactional.

One area that creates huge trust issues in personal relationships is money.

Money problems are a key cause of divorce. Two people coming into a relationship are often scripted in different ways by family experience — one may come from a background of spenders, while the other comes from a background of thrift.

Even in difficult situations in close, personal relationships, trust can be restored. And the very effort of restoring it can make it even stronger than before.

Self Trust: Often, the most difficult trust to restore is trust in ourselves. When we violate a promise we’ve made to ourselves, our self trust can really take a dive.

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D. Broken Trust — A Beginning

If you’ve broken trust with someone else, it’s an opportunity to get your own act together, to improve your character and competence, to behave in ways that inspire trust.

Hopefully, this will influence the offended party to restore trust in you.

If someone has broken trust with you, it’s an opportunity for you to grow in your ability to forgive, to learn how to extend Smart Trust, and to maximize whatever dividends are possible in the relationship.

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Courtesy to the book publisher and author who worked to spread book’s knowledge. This summary is no way to claim rights but a mere contribution to cultivate habit among youth and motivate them to buy the book.

This summary was taken from Booklet – ‘Make India Read’ app by Amrut Deshmukh.

You can buy the book from the given link at the cheapest price:

Download Audio Book For Free at: Audible
Book available in English at: Flipkart, Amazon

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