speed of trust

Drawn from “Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey. The Collier Companies Fall 2013 Conference of Champions featured a two day “Speed of Trust” seminar by FranklinCovey

Extending Trust is at times an act of courage. No one wants to play the fool or be gullible. There is no doubt that extending trust can involve risk yet the greatest risk of all is to run no risk, to stagnate. It is an illusion that risk can be eliminated, risk can only be managed. 

While extreme trust should never be extended naively, it is usually possible to build trust, act by reciprocated act. Confident people, those most likely to succeed, usually take the initiative in building trust bridges. People tend to trust people that trust them and distrust those who do not trust them. 

As a young man I once received a contract for the sale of real estate from a seller. It clearly laid out all my obligations as buyer and then clearly laid out all the seller’s obligations. It was the fairest contract I’d ever read (and one of the shorter!). Needless to say, the negotiations and sale went rapidly and smoothly.

The episode made a big impact on me; the seller had taken the trust initiative by treating me fairly and in return I was motivated to reciprocate and felt a lesser need to be on guard. By training, I am both a lawyer and an accountant, two professions with a reputation more toward nitpicking than trusting. None the less, I resolved to attempt to emulate that extension of trust in the future.

In general, extending the open hand of trust, taking the first step of faith, has been very successful. However, it has not been an unmitigated success; the character and competency of the persons AND the organization to whom you are extending trust is a major factor. I have trusted folks of character but lost money because they overextended themselves, overestimated their own competence and under estimated the risk they were undertaking. I have done deals with extremely competent people who were so difficult to work with that you vow “never again”- no amount of profit is worth the ongoing strain.

While it definitely takes wisdom to calibrate the proper amount of trust to extend in any situation; I still believe after 40+ years in business and even with a fair number of wounds and scars, I still fervently believe that taking the first step of faith and extending the open hand of trust is by far the best way to go. It is both the right thing to do and the smart thing.

13 Behaviors of Trustworthy People:

#1: Talk Straight 

#2: Demonstrate Respect 

#3: Create Transparency 

#4: Right Wrongs 

#5: Show Loyalty

#6: Deliver Results

#7: Get Better

#8: Confront Reality

#9: Clarify Expectations

#10: Practice Accountability

#11: Listen First 

#12: Keep Commitments 

#13: Extend Trust