Covey: 5 Actions to Build Trust in Your Business (Audio)

Making the business case for trust in high-performance organizations.

Enron. Tyco. Bernie Madoff. News of the World. They are just a few of the reasons why the world faces a crisis of trust. In their new book, "Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low-Trust World," Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link argue that despite growing distrust of many public and private institutions, trust is an essential ingredient of a well-functioning society and of high-performing organizations.

There is an important economic case to be made for trust, they write. It increases speed in business and lowers costs. It streamlines transactions and decisions, and helps with innovation, engagement and the attraction and retention of talent. Distrust, they argue, leads to remedies such as Sarbanes-Oxley that greatly increase the cost of doing business.

Given so much deception in the world, Covey and Link propose that people employ the concept of Smart Trust. This combines a propensity to trust with analysis of the risks in doing so.

To increase trust, Covey and Link write, individuals, teams and organizations should follow these five actions of Smart Trust:

1. Choose to believe in trust. High-trust people/organizations create the foundational paradigm out of which all other trust-building behaviors flow.

2. Start with self. High-trust people/organizations focus first on developing the character and competence -- the credibility -- that enable them to trust themselves and to also give others a person -- or a team, organization or country -- they can trust.

3. Declare your intent and assume positive intent in others. High-trust people/organizations signal goals and intended actions - both what and why -- clearly in advance and generally assume that others also have good intent and want to be worthy of trust.

4. Do what you say youre going to do. High-trust people/organizations follow through and act to carry out their declared intent; they walk their talk.

5. Lead out in extending trust to others. High-trust people/organizations are the first to extend trust and initiate the upward virtuous cycle that leads to prosperity, energy and joy.

Listen to Stephen M.R. Covey

Why is trust a performance multiplier? What is the most common mistake that corporate leaders make with regard to trust? What one thing can leaders do to increase trust in their organizations? Stephen M.R. Covey explains in this interview with IW Executive Editor Steve Minter.
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