Trust can make things easier, and distrust can definitely make things much harder. You already know that. But do you know how to check out where you need to change in order to create more beneficial trust? The Speed of Trust can help those who need a template for such self-examination.
Mr. Stephen M. R. Covey is the son of Dr. Stephen R. Covey of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame. If you've read that famous book, you may remember young Stephen referred to by his father as the seven-year-old son who was asked to keep the yard "clean and green" and did neither at first. Dr. Covey writes the foreword for this book and refers to that example. Ms. Rebecca Merrill helped with the writing of Dr. Stephen R. Covey's book First Things First which was coauthored by Roger Merrill.
Trust is expressed by a paradigm that includes five waves of trust (self trust based on the principle of credibility, relationship trust based on the principle of proper behavior, organizational trust based on the principle of alignment, market trust based on the principle of reputation, and societal trust based on the principle of contribution). Most of the book is taken up with examining those five waves and their underlying principles. The core of the book comes, however, in the 13 behaviors that establish trust (talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust). Each section of the book comes with ways to check on your performance and to create plans for improvement.
This book is by far the best development of the subject of creating and restoring trust that I have read. That makes the book an essential reference. I congratulate and appreciate the authors for tackling this important subject.
I would be remiss, however, in being a trustworthy reviewer if I didn't point out some weaknesses in the approach:
1. Some of the examples of trust and mistrust drawn from Mr. Covey's experiences aren't terribly satisfying to read. Perhaps the most jarring example is one of the early ones in the book that describes the distrust that the Franklin Quest people felt toward him after the company merged with Covey Leadership Center. Mr. Covey comes across as unbelievably naive for not having taken into account how the two cultures should mesh (if at all) in engineering the merger. That's a more fundamental lesson than the lack of trust point. In addition, he doesn't seem to realize that merely being the son of the company's founder would make many people who didn't know him skeptical of his qualifications and his talent. Having read about how naive Mr. Covey was in this situation undercut my confidence in his ability to address the subject of trust. But I did appreciate his willingness to share such a painful experience in his book.
2. Most of the examples that are cited that do not involve Mr. Covey's direct experience are very overused. They same examples have been used to prove excellence in many other dimensions. As a result, the book doesn't come alive as much as it might. The examples conjure up memories of other books and arguments rather than cleanly bringing across the authors' trust-related points.
3. The book's structure and style are pretty pedantic, but without the precision that an academic would bring to the subject. In most areas, the authors rely on your sense of what's right rather than giving you clear lines of what to do and what not to do. That's fine if you already have a well-defined sense of how trust is formed and re-established. But if you don't know the answers already because you haven't lived in that kind of an environment, the book will leave you with too little direction.
4. Ultimately, long sections of the book are very general and boring. The major exceptions are the examples drawn from Mr. Covey's own family. I found those examples to be fresh and interesting.
After you finish this book, I suggest that you think about those who have gained your trust and distrust. What did they do? Examining those personal examples will add a lot of depth to the general ideas presented here.
on July 25, 2009
I recently heard Mr. Covey speak on the subject and I was really impressed with his presentation, so I thought it would be a good idea to pick up the book and get a more in depth understanding of the subject. Really good read. He presents the ideas clearly and the ideas are also laid out in a logical, readable and organized manner. Great stories, personal illustrations and anecdotes give flavor to the main content. My only complaint is that some of the chapters feel a little redundant and the entire subject probably should be properly explained in about 200 pages. The book is just around 300 pages. Still worth the read.
on December 10, 2009
A few months ago, I read both the "The 7 habits of Highly effective people" and then "The 8th habit, from effectiveness to greatness", from Stephen R. Covey, Stephen M.R. Covey's father. I worried that the son got published because of his father's success. I was wrong.
I was very pleased with this book. It is so clear, so easy to read, so useful, so well structured, it seemed too good to be true. I really enjoyed how he simplified very hard concepts into tips that are easy to instantly put into action!
Loved it. It is a great book, a must read!
on November 11, 2006
We all read books through our own lens. As a coach and consultant to boards of directors, I see The Speed of Trust as essential reading for any leader on any board. Whatever the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and all the other rules and checklists may hope to impose, the fundamental input for effective boards is TRUST. I call it the "currency of the boardroom".
Stephen has taken what is often passed off as "airy-fairy" and made it both tangible and accessible. His superb examples and illustrations from real life help the reader quickly see the empirical evidence that trust truly speeds up everything. Trust saves time -- Trust saves money. Even more, he has identified, explained, and elaborated on 13 behaviors that enable anyone to establish and enhance trust in any relationship.
Building on the legacy that his father has built, the younger Covey gives us all solid advice and important tools to live lives of character. And while many of us may buy this book with the hopes of helping our professional lives, it will immediately impact our personal lives.
You'll want everyone close to you to read it, too. I've already given out several copies!