Trust Me!

Stephen M. R. Covey presents a rather persuasive case for the fundamental need of trust in any relationship or organization. That may not sound that profound, but just consider how difficult it is to get things done in families, organizations, businesses, ministries, or government when there is a palpable lack of trust. Nothing gets done. There is conflict, sandbagging, and sabotage. So what do we do to establish and maintain trust?

Covey asserts that there are five “Waves” of trust.

1) Self Trust – this wave is about becoming a person who is worth trusting.

2) Relationship Trust – is the factor that will strengthen and maintain trust that will improve relationships and results.

3) Organizational Trust – is about creating structures, systems, and symbols of organizational trust.

4) Market Trust – is about your reputation or your brand.

5) Societal Trust – creates value for others and for society at large.

From there, Covey identifies four cores of credibility – integrity, intent, capabilities, results – that are key to developing the first wave of trust – self trust. He takes time over several chapters to develop each core. He does the same with 13 behaviors that everyone can learn to help them develop the second wave – relationship trust. These behaviors include: talk straight, demonstrate respect, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, clarify expectations, and 7 more. Each behavior is thoroughly described in thirteen brief chapters.

I found “The Speed of Trust” to be more like a manual for me – something that I will refer to often, re-reading sections and reviewing my progress. It’s just way too easy for people in leadership to assume that everyone is on board with a new idea or direction simply because they took the time to communicate it clearly. The reality is that without trust no amount of communication will bring the team on board. Of particular help was Covey’s description of the taxes and dividends of trust. Without trust you will pay a lot more tax. With trust, you will reap more dividends. Your organization will function more smoothly, effectively, and efficiently. That’s what  the ‘speed’  of trust is all about!

As a secondchair leader I know firsthand how important it is to be trusted by those I report to – and how quickly that trust can be damaged. When trust is damaged it is much more difficult to get things done, to work efficiently, or to influence the organization. And without high levels of trust it becomes very difficult to lead those people who report to you or to motivate those volunteers you depend on to get your work done! I would encourage you – especially if you are experiencing various levels of frustration in your work or ministry – to read Covey’s book and take a self-inventory. Examine those areas in your own life where you could take intentional steps to build trust both up and down the organizational ladder. Once you have done that, perhaps you can mention some of the lessons that you are learning to your entire team and make the reading of this book a joint project.

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