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The Speed of Book Summaries...and Trust

Posted on June 15, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

One of the key components of BeTuitive Publishing's culture is continuous learning.  There's nothing we like more than sinking our teeth into new ideas.  Trouble is, we just don't have the time to curl up in front of the proverbial fire with the latest business books.  Lucky for us, Executive Book Summaries hits the high points for us. 

This week, we read the summary of "The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything" by Stephen M.R. Covey with Rebecca Merrill.  And here are the responses:

Kathryn Regina:

“The Speed of Trust” book summary has a few helpful points amidst a cloud of vagaries and one unfortunate tree metaphor (integrity is the root, capabilities are the branches, results are the fruits…). The bright side is that instead of reading a 200+ page book to glean a handful of insights, you can get the same thing accomplished in eight pages. Here are the points I found most useful:

1. “Trust always affects two outcomes: speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up.” An employer’s lack of trust in his or her workforce also affects morale, turnover and motivation, all of which have a measurable impact on profitability.

2. How do you get your employer and/or clients to trust you? A few of the most relevant tips are to behave consistently, apologize quickly and be clear up front on how your performance will be measured. Then deliver results.

3. How can an employer create a relationship of trust with his/her employees? “Extending trust leverages it to create reciprocity…Based on the situation, extend conditionally to those who are earning your trust but extend it abundantly to those who have earned it.”

Vinnie Lacey:

“The Speed of Trust” lays out principles that we learned in kindergarten but forgot along the way up the corporate ladder.  The author gives fancy names and puts methodologies around basic concepts like sharing, caring, and doing what you say you are going to do. I really didn’t get much concretely out of the summary until I got to “Relationship Trust” portion, which outlines 13 behaviors that apparently are “common to high trust leaders and people throughout the world.” 

I’m not sure how the author quantified behaviors to reach his conclusions, but the advice is pretty intuitive. Just not acted on much, as human beings tend to do.  This is an excellent book if your philosophy of humanity has been crafted by the likes of David Hume and Thomas Hobbes—and you are looking for something to offset their characteristically gloomy interpretations of human behavior.

Jeff Sanchez:

Trust is vital for organizations and relationships…that I was aware of before this summary. However, to break it down to know how we seek it and how we can gain it is insightful as well as overwhelming.

These “waves” of trust that Covey describes do make reasonable sense--but don’t most people have a level of subconscious that leads to trust? I do not always see gaining trust as a strategic and meticulous process. In both personal and professional situations, it is often obtained merely by vibes or first impressions of other individuals.

I definitely see Covey’s waves of trust as more applicable in the workplace, especially between an employer and employee relationship. That relationship or similar would require steps to be taken to establish a trustful dependence on the employer being able to follow through on promises of employment and the employee fulfilling their roles and qualifications. If trust is obtained and lost it is a much more step-by-step process to gain it back…because as mentioned, trust is confidence and that is always appreciated in the workplace.

Brian Pinkley:

I completely agree with the authors’ perception of the great power trust has in just about every aspect of everyday life.  The authors explained how trust has two outcomes, which are speed and cost.  One example:  Before 9/11, flying around the country was a cakewalk compared to the slow process of expensive security protocols in airports today. 

One section I found particularly interesting was on relationship trust.  In this section there were behavior points that help aid in building trust.  My favorite point was “Listen First.”  By genuinely making an effort to really listen another person before giving feedback, you can build trust in a relationship.  This is not just waiting for the other person to stop talking before your agenda can begin.  The process involves really listening, analyzing, and understanding what the other person is saying. 

Once you’ve taken time to really listen to the other people, they will begin to notice that you’re actually taking account into what they are saying.

Kevin Grant:

Many times we think of trust as a nebulous gauge that influences our approach towards our various relationships.  Stephen Covey seems to see it a little differently.  I liked how the notion of trust was conceptualized as “hard, real, and quantifiable.”  By articulating a level of substance behind trust, it made the reader more willing to accept a model consisting of Five Waves, Four Cores of credibility and 13 Behaviors of high-trust leaders.  It made trust more exciting to explore and apply.

Beyond acting loyal, respectful and transparent in our various relationships, I like how Covey made sure to communicate how trust is not attained, but cultivated.  We need to practice it to maintain and grow it.  This also helps in developing “smart trust,” or trusting someone or something for the right reasons and not blindly. 

Lastly, examples of how trust can be rebuilt through different relationships were a nice encouragement to the notion that rebuilding trust is a difficult thing to do.

See? We got a lot out of just a little.  If you're interested in checking out Executive Book Summaries for yourself, do so here.

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