Photo Credit Willie Holdman

Intelligently Brief Insights on The Speed of Trust posted occasionally from the wild wild west of North America.

Stephen R. Covey

July 17th, 2012 by link

What can I say to capture a glimpse of the significance of the life of Stephen R. Covey?  For me his influence came flooding back last summer when I realized the homework I was helping my 6-year-old grandson with was a worksheet to write his personal mission statement.  Yes, I knew he was in a Leadership elementary school modeled after Stephen’s work, but this personal incident drove to my core that the magnitude of Stephen R. Covey’s legacy was in educating future generations.

You can get a hint of a person from their words, but those words are not the person. Actions speak so much louder than words. And Stephen’s actions and his words were congruent; he walked his talk.  I had the privilege in the 25 plus years of working closely with Stephen to see him not just on the stage, but behind the scenes. The sincerity and passion that he communicated to a class or audience was the same respect he showed an individual. I repeatedly saw him treat not just the dignitaries he met with reverence but their staffs as well.  Anyone who has spoken with him privately reports experiencing that the spark in his eye and his glowing smile and countenance verified his sincere concern and empathy for them at a visceral level.  He affirmed them. He always sought to bless not to impress and admonished all to do the same. I echo what our friend Tom Peters just said about Stephen, “I just liked being around the guy.”

Stephen believed we are here to learn and to contribute. As Steve Jobs put it, “We are here to put a dent in the universe.” Stephen R. Covey was a visionary man. This was evidenced in his declaring to the executive team of his publisher, Simon & Schuster New York, that his new book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was destined to sell 10 million copies in its first decade.  I watched the wave of skepticism wash across these seasoned publishers as they rolled their eyes at his naiveté.  While their skepticism may have been justified, so was his vision, as his book, not yet published at the time, has gone on to sell over 20 million copies in 40 languages around the world. Although his pronouncement was bullish, he made it with deep humility, and he was always first to point out that his work was just common sense but would always add that it was also not common practice.

Stephen would not want us to aspire to be him, but many times suggested, as the old adage goes, to:  “Follow not in the footsteps of the masters, but rather seek what they sought.”  Stephen sought what they sought – in his words, “to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.”  And leave a legacy he did—in an extraordinary family and a body of work that includes numerous books and encompasses an enterprise that teaches his work in over 100 countries and, more importantly to him, thousands of schools around the world.

Stephen repeatedly encouraged me to read a book a week and reminded me that knowledge and experience were all that we take with us when we die. I am sure he is joyous that his passing is triggering a renewed reading of his works and hopes it may reach even one more person that will be inspired by it.

One of his favorite quotes was from Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  He inspired and changed my heart to that end.

I conclude with another favorite of his that is relevant at this tender time; the epitaph Benjamin Franklin wrote for himself:

The Body of
B. Franklin
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stripped of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author.


Stephen, I love you buddy, stay close.

Reading great new book by Stedman Graham

April 22nd, 2012 by link

My good friend Stedman is a world class gentleman. He walks his talk. I trust him completely. No one knows more about identity than he does.  With a foreword by John Maxwell and an afterword by Stephen R. Covey Stedman’s new book Identity: Your  Passport to Success is a must read for anyone aspiring to maximize their influence.  Stedman introduces some of the world’s most extraordinary people…and shows how they found values to live by, found passion and purpose, and linked their identities to their lives in the world.

Now more than ever Stedman’s advise is critical to navigating an increasingly uncertain world.  As Stedman says; extraordinary people are simply ordinary people doing extraordinary things that matter to them.  This book helps you clarify your personal brand and reputation and inspires you to find your calling. This one insight is worth the price of the book and can change the trajectory of your life and amplify your success and more importantly your happiness.

Stephen M R Covey Cover Story Linked In and Business Magazine

February 17th, 2012 by link

Smart Trust continues to be the topic of much discussion in social media as evidenced by this cover story in Linked In and Business Magazine featuring Smart Trust and Stephen M R Covey.

The entire foundation of social media relies on trust and the brokering of that trust among friends, colleagues and collaborators.  Just as the economic melt down was rooted in a breach of trust,  smart trust fuels the growth of social media.  A seismic shift in the success of social media was, I believe, somewhat unknowingly implemented by Mark Zuckerberg even before Facebook exploded.  It’s early success was predicated on the requirement of the use of an authentic identity, instead of the pseudonyms prevalent on AOL and others at the time.  The accountability and transparency of using our true identity not only facilitated the ability to transfer trust and reputation, but provided a level of accountability and civility required to become a “high ground” force for social good.

Stephen and I resonate with a concept I first read of in Think and Grow Rich published in the 1930′s, that of signing your work as if it would be published in the newspaper the next morning.  Warren Buffet, in a message to his team at Berkshire Hathaway said it this way as we noted in Smart Trust:

“We can afford to lose money—even a lot of money. We cannot afford to lose reputation—even a shred of reputation. Let’s be sure that everything we do in business can be reported on the front page of a national newspaper in an article written by an unfriendly but intelligent reporter. In many areas, including acquisitions, Berkshire’s results have benefitted from its reputation, and we don’t want to do anything that in any way can tarnish it. Berkshire is ranked by Fortune as the second-most admired company in the world. It took us 43 years to get there, but we could lose it in 43 minutes.”  

In a very real sense social media brings this abstraction to life.  Virtually any thing we say or do can in fact be published in the next moment.  This is a very sobering level of accountability that I feel is potentially an extraordinary force for good and will help restore the civility we have lost of late.

Read this interview with Stephen in Linked In and Business Magazine and it will further  expand your understanding of the  significance of social media, not just the history so far, but more importantly the critical implications going forward.  The more I understand the extraordinary influence of this new media, the more I am humbled by how little we yet understand.  This is just the tip of the iceberg of what can prove to be a medium to restore trust and accountability of global citizens at a scale never before in history, and to do it in real time.  Leveraging our influence at the scale enabled by social media can unleash a ripple effect of positive change we refer to as a global renaissance of trust.  I predict this will spark a positive sea change of trust of historic proportions. (for the record we do understand the possibility of social media fueling the dark side, that’s why we call it Smart Trust not Stupid Trust. More on that later)

Why Trust Matters–Fortune Jan 27, 2012

January 27th, 2012 by link

Today Fortune Magazine highlighted Smart Trust  in Why Trust Matters so Much In Business.  Smart Trust was #7 on Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list and is rapidly spreading through North America’s best led organizations.   Creating cultures of high trust is a growing 2012  focus of progressive companies recovering from the recent downturn.

Smart Trust Telecast Replay Available

January 13th, 2012 by link

If you missed last weeks telecast on Smart Trust or if you want to share it with colleagues or friends (please do) it is available now at  Thanks for all the tremendous feedback and positive reactions as evidenced by the continued strong sales of Smart Trust!  

Please help us spread the word:  Go to the help us spread the word tab on to access numerous free resources, a picture of the book, excerpts  and other digital files you can use to blog, tweet or write newsletters including Smart Trust.  Become an advocate of Smart Trust by forwarding links to friends, colleagues, and other stakeholders.  Together we can start the ripple effect of a global renaissance of trust

Thanks for being an ambassador of Smart Trust

Radio Interview on Smart Trust

January 11th, 2012 by link

 Trust Across America’s Jordan Kimmel interviewed me today on their show on Voice America Radio.  Jordan is a leading expert on quantifying corporate trustworthiness of public companies and is an engaging interviewer.  We discussed our  new book Smart Trust Here are links if you would like to listen: Part 1 and Part 2 

They also announced today their prestigious 2012 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior list that Stephen M. R. Covey and I are honored to be included on for the second year in a row.


Trust Across America Names 2012 Thought Leaders

January 11th, 2012 by link


Trust Across America, the respected international think tank and research firm known for developing pragmatic criteria for identifying the most trusted organizations, today announced their 2012 list of Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behaviors.  Stephen M. R. Covey and I are honored to be included for the second year in a row in this unique and prestigious company.  We join many of our  North American mentors, and peers including Barry Rellaford, one of our business partners,  Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo who wrote the foreword to our new book Smart Trust, Tony  Hsiesh, CEO of Zappos who we interviewed for our book and numerous other long time friends and colleagues.   We are humbled to be included and intend to do our part to follow the lead of Trust Across America to amplify the significance of growing high trust cultures and restoring trusted behavior as a recognized driver to restoring our global economic growth.

Renowned leadership authority Warren Bennis, also on this list, had this to say when he read our new book: “Smart Trust is without doubt one of the most powerful and seminal books of our age. It exposes and helps solve the most dangerous crisis apparent in almost all human institutions: how to trust in a low trust world.”  

We feel that Trust Across America is contributing an important platform to as Steve Jobs said: “put a dent in the universe”  as it relates to transforming our toxic economy as it relates to trust.  We applaud their efforts.


Smart Trust hits #1 bestseller

January 10th, 2012 by link

Smart Trust hit the #1 spot as the bestselling book of all books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on the first day it was released further demonstrating the relevance and importance of trust in these difficult economic times.   In her forward for Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low Trust World, Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PespsiCo said: “ We can indeed convert this crisis of trust into a great opportunity, what Stephen and Greg call a ’renaissance of trust.’ When we do this well, we can minimize risk while maximizing possibilities. To do that, each one of us needs to start with our own behavior.” ( To download a free copy of the foreword and other free resources from the book go to:

Smart Trust teaches how to trust in a low trust world by mastering a skill we call Smart Trust that help you navigate risks and maximize possibilities.



Thanks to all our customers for advocating trust and propelling Smart Trust to bestseller status.  More importantly thank you for leading out and demonstrating that Smart Trust is a better way to live and to lead.

Forbes Interviews Stephen M R Covey Smart Trust

January 9th, 2012 by covey

Forbes’ Dan Schwabel interviewed Stephen M. R. Covey about Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low Trust World in an article he called How to Build a Company People Trust.

Stephen told Dan in part:

“At its core, building trust comes down to your credibility and your behavior. In the book, we identified 5 Smart Trust “actions” that were common to high trust leaders and organizations. For example, the 5th action of Smart Trust is to “lead out in extending trust to others,” highlighting the reality that one of the best ways to create trust is simply to give trust. This is because of the reciprocity of trust—when we give it, people return it; when we withhold it, they withhold it.

Yes, a few may attempt to abuse it: but we shouldn’t allow the few that we can’t trust to define for us the many that we can. Instead, focus on building a high trust culture around the many that will help us weed out the few. And it’s the leader’s job to go first in extending trust. That’s what leaders do. The first job of any leader is to inspire trust; the second job is to extend trust. Leaders need to be smart about it, of course, because there is risk in trusting. But there is also risk in not trusting—in fact, not trusting is often the greater risk. Smart Trust helps us find the sweet spot and develop the judgment of how to wisely extend trust in a low-trust world.”

January 9th, 2012 by link

Join Stephen and me for our first live telecast on our new book Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low Trust World  this Thursday January 12th.  We will candidly share and discuss with you a one hour overview of the book.  Go to to register.  Join us whether  you have had the time to read or even buy the book yet.  We trust you will do both.

Finally for 2012 Smart Trust

January 7th, 2012 by covey

Finally we are on the verge of publishing our new book Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a low Trust World after several years of extensive research, interviews, collabortion and study.  Smart Trust  highlights enlightening principles and anecdotes of people and organizations that are not only achieving unprecendented prosperity from high-trust relationships and cultures but–even more inspiring–also attaining elevated levels of energy and joy. 

The sustainable success these leaders and enterprises are exhibiting is paradoxically being produced in what has proved to be the lowest trust economic climate in years, if not decades.  Smart Trust shows what they are doing and the 5 actions they are commonly taking to prosper, against all odds, in the same economic circumstances causing so many others to fail.

Smart Trust has met the strict scrutiny of business  leaders around the globe and is validated by research from multiple sources that confirms that high-trust organizations outperform low-trust organizations by nearly 3 times.

Find out why trusted people are more likely to get hired or promoted,  make more money,  get the best projects and the bigger budgets, and are typically last to be laid off.  It is our hope and intent that reading Smart Trust will increase your probability of not just thriving, but prospering in this increasingly unpredictable economic marketplace.

Let’s make 2012 our best year yet!

January 1st, 2012 by link

My sweet wife Annie came up with a New Years tree for our young grand kids.  They popped the balloons at what they thought was midnight.  Fortunately we were in  the MDT and could broadcast life new years from EDT New York.

Stephen M R Covey and I do intend to make this year our best year yet as far as our mission to shift global governance  on teams in organizations and hopefully even countries to one of high trust.  We were committed and optimistic when we chose the sub tittle to our first book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.  We actually approached that sub title a little sheepishly at the time.  We felt in 2006 that perhaps it was a little too bold.  Now in hindsight after selling over 1 million copies of The Speed of Trust  and spending the last 2 years researching and writing our new book Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a Low Trust World, that feel if anything we understated the significance of trust.  This year we intend to boldly emphasize the over arching influence that trust has on all aspects of our lives and leadership.  We strongly suggest that high trust is the key to transforming toxic relationships,  toxic teams,  toxic organizations and even toxic countries into extraordinary growth engines that will drive our ailing economy to new heights.

We have discovered and documented in Smart Trust compelling examples and evidence that certain “outliers” of success are producing extraordinary results in the same circumstances causing others to fail. We are thrilled that Smart Trust will be in stores in 10 short days and provide a platform for this important dialogue to make 2012 our best year yet.


Rare new book: Touchpoints

June 11th, 2011 by link

Rarely does a leadership book garner as much credibility as does Touch Points by Campbell’s trusted Chief Executive Doug Conant and respected intenational leadership authority Mette Norgaard.  It is a perfect blend of Mette’s hard won and informed perspective consulting leaders of many of the World’s top organizations and Doug’s real time and full time leadership of fortune 500 organizations including as the current CEO of Campbells. Norgaard has consulted such well known organizations as Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, and Finnish Broadcasting and Conant led giant Nabisco prior to taking the helm at Cambells several years ago.

As you know Stephen M R Covey and I read a lot of books.  I have been averaging one per week this year.  That said this is a clear stand out informed by two insiders that really know leadership.  Stephen M R Covey said this remarkable book will forever change the way we view leadership.  I could not agree more.  The practical reality of leading by moment to moment Touchpoints makes so much sense and is so internally validating to real world leaders and practitioners it is hard to imagine it has not been written about before.  Finally a guidebook that actually guides you on how to lead effectively now. Not now. Right now.  I strongly recommend you read it right now. You can get it at Amazon. Enjoy!

Smart Trust Book to be published January 2012

May 27th, 2011 by link

We know things have been quiet on the blogging front for CoveyLink this year but we have been completing research and writing  a new book entitled Smart Trust to be published by Simon & Schuster NY in January 2012.  You can look forward to much more frequent blog posts in the last half of 2011 in anticipation of this new look at Smart Trust around the world co-authored by Stephen M. R. Covey and Greg D. Link.

Following one of his presentations, a man approached Stephen backstage with a question that was obviously troubling him deeply. “Are you really serious about this?”, he asked incredulously. “Are there really people out there who operate with the kind of trust you’ve described?” This man lived and worked in a country where there was ripe corruption, characterized my massive distrust. He was clearly feeling deeply torn. He sincerely wanted to believe what we’d said, but was finding it almost impossible in the context of his environment.

In many variations, this question has been posed to us repeatedly by people around the world–in organizations, businesses, schools and government. In this era of profound distrust, are there really those who succeed and experience the benefits of trust in their personal and professional lives? If so, who are they? What are they doing? And how?

This new book is written in response to these questions. The short answer is, “Yes—absolutely!” There are hundreds of examples of people, companies and countries—individuals, teams, organizations, markets and industries—that have created cultures and relationships of high trust and are enjoying the wonderful benefits demonstrated in this forthcoming book—prosperity, energy and joy. In fact, one of the most exciting dimensions of our work over the past seven years, even predating The Speed of Trust book, has been to both sense and see first-hand the groundswell renaissance of trust that is gaining momentum and transforming lives and leadership around the globe—even in the midst of the “crisis of trust” that fills today’s headlines.

Newsweeks first ever best countries rank

May 13th, 2011 by link

For the first time Newsweek has rank the countries in the world based on well being. NEWSWEEK chose five categories of national well-being—education, health, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and political environment—and compiled metrics within these categories across 100 nations.

Warren Buffet likes to say that anything good that’s ever happened to him can be traced back to the fact that he was born in the right country at the right time.  While trust was not a specific criteria all these indicators correlate with trust.

Brazil, India China trust business more than US

April 27th, 2011 by link

How much do you trust business to do what is right?

The US answered that question  a full 8 points lower than even last year while China, India and Brazil either increased trust in business or in the case of China stayed the same.  More significantly trust in business ranged from 62% to 82% compared to only 46% for US.  Clearly US business suffers from a trust tax that requires attention.  Check out this years global trust study at Edelman.

Great New Book: A Slice of Trust

March 28th, 2011 by link

To be transparent, of course I am biased in my comments about this wonderful book by my colleagues.  That said, seriously, you will be glad you read it.  I do have a somewhat informed judgement of business books by now and this useful parable stands well with the best of business parables,  including the all time greats like,  FISH, One Minute Manager and Who Moved my Cheese. A Slice of Trust: The Leadership Secret with the Hot & Fruity Filling,  highlights in a memorable and meaningful way an important, career critical, management essential insight: Trust matters.

I dare say it is LOL funny in spots. (yes we can use LOL now that it made the Oxford  dictionary).  The humor surprised me.  That is a very tough thing to pull off for a business audience without loosing credibility and sounding trite.  Well done David and Barry!  It is a delightful read that will certainly touch all who read it.  It artfully teaches powerful principles to a surprisingly broad audience:

from the school room to the board room.

Speaking of the board room,  Spencer Johnson,  author of Who Moved my Cheese told Stephen that executives bought his Cheese book in bulk,  by the boxes,  to encourage their entire organizations to embrace change by reading a lighthearted story.  I predict that executives will do the same with A Slice of Trust in order to help all their team members embrace today’s critical competitive advantage of high trust.  Consider what the Chairman of Nissan Americas, Carlos Tavares had to say: “Dazzling…and true! It took me years to discover the power of trust.  With A Slice of Trust, you will understand so much more–and in only a few hours!”

Stephen M R Covey made an equally wise observation in his foreword to this book: “As you join Simon the Pieman on his adventures in trust, I invite you to reflect on how you have extended trust in your organization, your relationships, your family, your world.  After all, the most important story is your story. It’s a story that you create everyday as you explore opportunities for trust.  And it’s a story whose telling is brought to life every time you extend your trust to another, one slice at a time.” Well said Stephen!

Personally,  not so big on the “fruity filling” I prefer coconut cream or pecan, but I digress. Either way this book will leave you hungry for more. Not just pie but trust too.  I can just see author Barry Rellaford at a taster table in Costco serving pie and signing books. (or the Costco equivalent outside the 8 countries that now are lucky enough to have a trusted Costco).  I enjoy the picture conjured up by my close friend and favorite Dane, Mette Norgaard, author of  The Ugly Duckling Goes to Work: “A Slice of Trust is served with warmth and humor.  Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a few bites of wisdom for the workplace.”

A Slice of Trust will soon be available in a language near you as it follows The Speed of Trust’s global success in over 22 languages and counting.  For now buy your Slice of Trust or a box or two in World English at, or your favorite bookseller in your airport or neighborhood.  (it is a fast read so don’t worry about the pile of books on your nightstand you will read A Slice of Trust before it gets to the pile).   Whether to introduce your team or family to Trust or reinforce the principles taught in The Speed of Trust reading A Slice of Trust this month will make you smile.


Pray for Japan

March 12th, 2011 by link

Our sweet friend Terada Kazumi  says it best on Facebook:  Pray for Japan.  Watching the pictures of the devastation in Japan brings me intensely into the present.  ”Power of Now” and all that.  It brings an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the blessings we have in our safety and trusting relationships with family, friends and associates. Gratitude for simple things we take for granted like running water and an internet connection.  Our prayers go out to our friends in Japan, their friends and their friend’s friends.  We are all connected and are reminded of how fragile those connections can be.

To Quote Steve Jobs: “When I was 17 I read a quote that went something like “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”  Steve Jobs

Donate to Japan Relief

8 Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers

March 11th, 2011 by link

Google, in an apparent effort to regain its start up magic, started Project Oxygen to see how to stem the friction of bureaucratic management by studying the management behaviors of googles most highly effective and highly trusted managers.

Statisticians inside the Googleplex not typical HR types, gathered data (“just the facts mam” to quote Sgt. Friday).  Faux pas i know.  My reference to Sargent Friday does not cross global or generational boundaries.  Guess you’ll just have to google it.

Googles mission was to devise something far more important to the future of Google Inc. than its next search algorithm or app.

“They wanted to build better bosses.

So, as only a data-mining giant like Google can do, it began analyzing performance reviews, feedback surveys and nominations for top-manager awards. They correlated phrases, words, praise and complaints.

Later that year, the “people analytics” teams at the company produced what might be called the Eight Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers.” (NY Times).  The cynics say they are reinventing the wheel and relearning what leadership experts already knew.  From our perspective their findings validate and reinforce the 13 behaviors of high trust leaders from the Speed of Trust and add reputable credence to their value.  Google has tremendous credibility here as they were #1 on Fortune’s best place to work list in 2008 and have remained in the top 5 ever since.  Google’s study reinforces the evidence that high trust organizations out perform low trust organizations and that high trust is a key to the magic found in start ups.  Magic that still works in large older enterprises like SAS 2011 Fortune #1 best place to work.

Trust Each Other. Vancouver Sun

March 10th, 2011 by link

Insightful article from Canada.  The Vancouver Sun Newspaper and my vote for the most beautiful city in North America.  Article on Trust Each Other.  Research contradicts common beliefs that trust is soft.  ”How do people -and societies -learn to trust?   Working with the ideas of Erikson, a University of B.C. psychologist/anthropologist came up with a groundbreaking new theory last year when he provided evidence that trust increases in societies that are committed to world religions and a functioning market economy.
Many judge free-enterprise markets to be ruthless, but Joe Henrich maintains that working markets have generally been a force for good over the last 10,000 years, helping to drive the evolution of more trusting societies. Given the impressive economic track record of Nordic countries in recent decades, combined with their effective social programs, there appears to be something for Canadians to learn from such studies of trust.
Societies in which citizens have a strong degree of faith in each other appear to have stronger economies and are less likely to promote selfishness. It’s hard to find fault with that kind of society.

Gladwell draws brilliant distinction on trust in social media

January 27th, 2011 by link

Malcolm Gladwell, with his usual piercing insight, debunks false assumptions of the true cause and effect of social media and movements.  His in depth review of this increasingly more influential medium is worth the read in the November 2010 New Yorker.  From our perspective your high trust relationships form what he refers to as “strong ties” while many of our social acquaintances and “friends” in our social networks are “weak ties”.  Both are valuable but it is important to remember the distinction.

Book Recommendation Marci Shimoff

January 10th, 2011 by link

If you are not familiar with the work of our friend Marci Shimoff you need to be.  Marci is the New York Times bestselling author of Chicken Soup for the Women’s soul and Happy for No Reason.  Her work speaks to the source of trusting relationships–love and happiness.  Too soft for you?  You are in for a surprise.  Business people, parents, and organizational leaders alike are all trying to crack the code on the key to productive relationships.  While it may be for different reasons the source is the same.  Marci reveals startling research from brain science that proves what the ancient wisdom literature has told us all along–unconditional love is the key to influence and fulfillment.  I love reading Marci’s work (not quite as fun as being with her authentic radiant self in person).  Her authentic style does come through in her thorough writing and research of the topic including over 100 personal interviews with experts.  Marci,  John Lennon  would be happy with how you provided the evidence for his lyrics “all you need is love”

The more hardened a management cynic you are, the more you will be glad you read this book.  At least buy a copy for your significant relationships, but you may want to read it first. (by the way it is already a top 3 book on Amazon and heading for number one so you better hurry if you want to read it before he or she does).

Job Satisfaction lowest in Decades

January 5th, 2011 by link
  1. U.S. Job Satisfaction at Lowest Level in Two Decades.  Americans of all ages and income brackets continue to grow increasingly unhappy at work-a long-term trend that should be a red flag to employers, according to a report released today by The Conference Board. The report, based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, finds only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year in which the survey was conducted.

Speed of Trust USA Today Bestseller

November 8th, 2010 by link

The Speed of Trust again graced the USA Today bestseller list as clear indication that momentum is building by leaders interested in learning to lead and get results in a way that inspires trust.  We judge others by their behaviors and ourselves by our intents.  The art is to behave in ways that inspire trust.  To walk our talk.  My daily challenge.

Speed of Trust # 1 Bestseller Washington Post

November 7th, 2010 by link

The Speed of Trust topped the non fiction book bestseller list in the Washington Post today.  I would like to think that this is an indication of our leaderships intent to restore trust.  I am confident that the ripple effect of responsibility and accountability felt this month in Washington and around the USA will continue to increase trust.  Leaders must go first and make restoring trust a strategic imperative.  At this time of the lowest trust and confidence levels in history paradoxically we are also seeing tremendous examples of high trust.  Leaders, teams and organizations around the world are prospering and growing by behaving in high trust ways.

2009 most trusted countries

October 27th, 2010 by link

Trust perception varies from country to country throughout the world.  Paul Zak and other researches have even correlated trust levels with GDP.  Countries dealing with similar global conditions have markedly different outcomes.   Transparency International publishes an annual report on the perceived levels of trust in various countries based on 13 surveys and various other criteria.  What is clear is that trust levels are different in different countries.  The 2009 most trusted country was New Zealand, followed by Denmark, Singapore and Sweden.  The US ranked 19th and Japan 17th.  Go to the link above for the complete ranking.  As we have said, trust more that Euros, Yen or Dollars is the currency of the new global economy.  By learning the components and behaviors that make up trust we can all learn to raise the levels of trust in our families, our organizations and even our countries.

The International Anti-Corruption Conference will be held 10 to 13 this November in Bangkok.  The theme is Restoring trust: Global action for transparency. The conference will offer innovative perspectives on the role of anti-corruption in restoring trust.

The Ripple Effect

October 17th, 2010 by link

We often ask the question: who do you trust? to organizational leaders and workers around the globe.  In both the public and the private sectors there is now an uneasy caution about who you can trust.  The more penetrating question is who trusts you?  Imagine if you could grow trust in an environment of ever decreasing trust.  What a competitive advantage that would be.  It is more important than ever for you to give people someone they can trust.  Starting with your self by behaving and leading in ways that inspire trust creates a ripple effect of influence.

Test this for yourself.  Think of the person you trust the most.  What is it like to work with or be with that person?  Do they have influence on you because you trust them?  Does it speed up business to work with them?  What IF?  What if, everyone on your team had that level of trust?  At worst it would be a lot more energizing to work together.  At best trust makes the playing field really fast and becomes a performance multiplier that has a ripple effect on your team and your organization.

#1 Hot new release on Amazon today by Alan Fine

October 11th, 2010 by link

I enjoyed this book very much.  Alan gave me a chance to read a pre publication draft last month.  It is already #1 bestseller on Amazon 2 days before its official publication date.  The story about bounce and hit is worth the cover price alone. Read this insightful new book  You Already Know How To Be Great.  Alan Fine is a world-renowned personal coach for star athletes of tennis, golf, and other sports.  In this book, Alan applies his secret sauce of coaching to break-through business success.

Stephen R. Covey had this to say in his foreword:  ”Over the years, one of the most important ideas I’ve learned about and taught is the power of a “paradigm shift”— of seeing something in a new and different way that creates a huge change in thinking and behavior.

In You Already Know How to Be Great, Alan Fine creates a paradigm shift of major proportion. Most often, he says, dramatic performance improvement does not come from gaining new knowledge; it comes from getting rid of the “interference” that gets in the way of using the knowledge and capacity we already have. That one idea has phenomenal implications and applications. It literally transforms the way we approach improving our own performance and also the way we approach helping others improve theirs.”

What’s next for Oprah

October 7th, 2010 by link

This months Fortune cover story on Oprah is worth the read.  Several interesting threads and insights into what is next for one of my favorite influencers. Early last year Zaslav hired Peter Liguori, a former programming chief at Fox Broadcasting, to be Discovery’s COO and the overseer of OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). Liguori finds working with Oprah to be a little different from working with the big boss at Fox, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch:

“Rupert uses a bit more fear and intimidation,” Liguori says. “Oprah barters in hope and expectation. Both get results, but one is a lot better to experience than the other.” This is a great example of our definition of leadership: getting results today in a way that inspires trust the next time.  And there is always going to be a next time!  In addition to results trusted leadership should deliver energy and joy.

Religious understanding grows trust.

October 4th, 2010 by link

Atheists, agnostics and other non believers outscored believers on Pew Nationwide survey of U.S. religious literacy.  Non believers averaged 66% of questions right to only 50% for believers. In a thought provoking editorial in today’s USA Today, Stephen Prothero confirms that the U.S. is a nation of religious illiterates. A couple of questions that jumped out at me were that only 47% knew the Dali Lama was Budhist  and only 27% knew that most of the population of the Southeast Asian country of Indonesia are Muslims. No wonder we don’t trust each other–we don’t understand each other.    Listening to and understanding our differences can go along way toward growing trust.   The 3 million people living in Mauritius for example have 3 dominant religions, Christian, Muslim and Hindu and one of the lowest crime rates in the world.  The police do not carry guns and the people celebrate each others religious holidays. Just sayin understanding grows trust.

September 25th, 2010 by link

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Online Trust & Cyber Security Forum at George Town University in Washington DC last week.  The 5th annual conference was put on by the Online Trust Alliance whose mission is to create and promote business practices and technologies to enhance online trust and the vitality of ecommerce and online services.  Through its member companies, governmental organizations and  affiliates, OTA represents over one million businesses and 750 million users worldwide with regional chapters in Asia Pacific, Canada and Europe.  In other words members like eTrust, Verisign, Microsoft, Symantec and  other web leaders send wicked smart people to work together to make the web safe for commerce.  Also to take responsibility to self regulate as a business community and influence regulators to help stop fraud without destroying the benefits of web commerce.  I spoke shortly after U.S. Secretary of Commerce made the case that the U.S. government understands the value of self regulation by the industry.  Let’s hope they are sincere.  OTA is doing a great job influencing the regulators that in spite of security breaches the business community is motivated and capable of self regulation.   As evidenced by China and other governments the web is best left to be governed by trusted transparency.

As Emile Durkhiem so elequently put it: “When mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable.”

Trust is the coin of the realm.

July 10th, 2010 by link

“Trust is the coin of the realm.” So said then Secretary of State George Shultz in his memorable testimony before the Congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, on the importance of trust for credible and effective leadership. More recently, as President Obama dramatically declared in his State of the Union address, our nation’s well-being and security are hindered not only by a burdensome financial deficit, but also a crippling trust deficit.  Read this Harvard Blog post

You see it differently that’s good!

June 10th, 2010 by link

I just had an interesting interchange with one of my associates who was shocked that I was not offended by her expression of an opinion that was the polar opposite of mine.  I was shocked that she did not realize that it was safe and healthy to respectfully express your true perspective with out sugar coating it.  A difference of opinion can be a great starting point for growing trust NOT the end of it.  Respectful straight talk confronting a different perspective adds to trust while walking on eggshells and concealing your true feelings while purporting to have a candid discussion is a counterfeit behavior that actually destroys trust.  Hidden agendas undermine authentic communication.  Listening to the opposing opinions with the intent to understand and empathize builds trust.  Remember empathy is not sympathy or agreement–simply understanding their perspective.  Test this from you own experience.  You trust people that authentically express their true opinions more than those that hide them and tell you what they think you want to hear. Your greatest high trust relationships are based on open communication.  It’s good to work with those that see things differently as that fuels innovation and invention.

It pays to trust your customers.

June 7th, 2010 by link

Great example of trusting customers.  United airlines I am sure wishes they would have trusted their customer and honored his claim for a damaged guitar.  An LA times article tells the story of David Carroll’s difficulty  in getting United to replace his damaged guitar.  Dave took matters into his own hands and produced a  You Tube video that has been viewed nearly 10 million times.  Trust and accountability take on new levels in this new age of transparency enabled by the web.

Trust in neighbors top 10

May 9th, 2010 by link

Top 10 States, Trust in NeighborThese findings, encompassing more than 170,000 interviews from the first six months of 2009 reveal that nationwide, 70% of Americans express trust in their neighbors, but this varies within a range of 25 percentage points across states.

Stephen M R Covey learns to use his new iPad

April 9th, 2010 by admin

Stephen M R Covey learns to use his iPad watch this short You Tube video as Covey learns the basics.  Stephen and I are getting better at technology but even apple is less intuitive than we need.  I know I used this clip a couple of years ago but it still makes me laugh.  Enjoy

Correction Dr. Covey!

March 30th, 2010 by link

In the foreword of his game changing new book for education,  The Leader In Me my good friend Dr. Stephen R. Covey misspoke.  Rare for him.  With this the 20th anniversary year of his landmark book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People it’s about time I tell one on him.  My dear Dr. C, the comment in the foreword that I take such exception to is your reference to the 7 Habits that “the book caught a wave that even I had no way of anticipating”.  Not only did you anticipate it, you willed it into being.  You epitomize Jim Collins level 5 leader that he refers to in Good to Great as having a perfect blend of deep personal humility and intense professional will.

I remember it clearly, I had only worked with Dr. Covey for a couple of years and we were having a meeting with our publisher Simon & Schuster in thier headquarters in Rockafeller Center in New York City.  Their entire team met with us around the big round marble table on the executive floor.   I considered myself an optimist even then but Dr. C exceeded my expectations.  This was 1989 and we were trying to convince the S&S brain-trust that they should do a first print run of 100,000 copies for The 7 Habits, which for a first time business author was unheard of.  I can still see the S&S executives rolling their eyes as we suggested such an absurd proposal. (You S&S folks know who you are).  It gets better.  As support for his request Dr. C proceeded to inform them that he predicted that 7 Habits would sell 10 million copies by the end of it’s first decade. You could have heard a pin drop as the S&S executives looked at each other like whose gonna be the one that tells this guy he is out of his ever loving mind and is as naive as a country bumpkin (from Utah no less).  Well, you know the rest of the story, 7 Habits did sell over 10 million copies the first decade and darn near an additional 10 million in the second decade and is still a top 100 book of all books on Amazon as we speak.

Tough Times Test our Propensity to Trust

February 27th, 2010 by link

Are you more suspicious?  Who can you count on?

We all are sitting straight up right now and have a high level of suspicion of others especially as it comes to our money.  I was just listening to Tom Brokaw’s commencement address to Emory University from 2005.  He said this about money to these graduating seniors as they started their new life: “In this new life you will also have to think about money in a new way, life after all is not an ATM, now you have to earn the money.  Think about how you can hang on to some of it, and if you are fortunate, use the money that is beyond what you need, to save a life, to save a neighborhood, to save the world. You may be surprised to learn that it is that use of money, that is the most satisfying and gratifying.  In our family where we began with no money, we like to say that we have  discovered that God invented money so those that have it can help others.  More over while money helps, it is discounted somehow if it does not carry your full personal value and commitment.  A few years ago in a ceremony similar to this one, I declared: ‘it is easy to make a buck but it is tough to make a difference.’  A father of one of the graduates, a Wall Street success wrote to me suggesting a rewrite of that line, he said it’s tough to make a buck but if you make a lot of bucks you can make a hell of a difference. A or B because there is no wrong answer.” Tom went on to tell this, “Class of 9/11″ as he called them (because they entered college the month of 9/11) that they had a responsibility to rise to the occasion to right the global ship of state.

Now is the time to have a propensity to trust each other and risk again.  Now is the time to give to others and have an abundance mentality, when everything in us and around us, screams for us to have a fear based scarcity mentality.  Now is the time to use our time, not for worry, but for lifting others with our time and our treasure as history tells us we have again and again. Trust that the ripple effect of extending trust will create a tide that will raise all of us–again.

This brings to mind a quote from George Bernard Shaw that my wife Annie and I love so much.  We first heard it from Werner Erhard in the 70′s and Annie shared it with Stephen R. Covey who quoted it in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It sums up my feeling today as it has these last three decades.  We invite you to join us in sparking a global renaissance of trust.

George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy in life–that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.  That being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it what ever I can.  I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.  For the harder I work the more I live.  I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no brief candle to me. It’s sort of a splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

May we all be a force of nature.

Feared Thing First

February 17th, 2010 by link

Fear and uncertainty can freeze and immobilize even the strong.  Confronting your resistance by taking on your “feared thing first” everyday is the secret to navigating perilous times.  This habit has allowed me to regain my sense of purpose for 2009.

We all can take advantage of the current economic uncertainty by contacting our most important stakeholders and looking for opportunities to grow our trust account with them.  Many people are frozen and afraid to call their customers and other key stakeholders for fear of hearing bad news.  Guess what? The bad news is there whether or not you hear it.  Much better to confront reality and give your customer a listening outlet to discuss challenges and feel understood than to abandon the relationship during difficult times. Now is the time to over communicate with your customers and other key stakeholders. Give them someone they can trust by behaving in ways that inspire trust.

Regain your momentum by doubling your contacts.  Call the ones you are afraid to call first.  Ask for business.  Ask for referrals.  Ask for favors.  They are as afraid and starved for meaningful dialog as you are. Go for it.  Then have the courage and monomaniacal discipline to follow up relentlessly.  Don’t take non responsiveness personally.  Others are frozen and need your consistent concern to unthaw them.  Stay with this relentless follow-up and you will be very glad you did.  One of two things will happen: 1. You will have the happy surprise of good news and will grow your business immediately or 2. You will be the first one they think of when things improve, as you were likely one of the very few that communicated with them during tough times. Make doing business at the Speed of Trust your unique competitive advantage this year.  Increase your credibility by doing your “feared thing first.” Everyday.

Economic Uncertainty tests the very core of Self Trust

September 10th, 2009 by link

Scared and stressed out about the economy?  Start with yourself.

In times of crisis we tend to panic and question everything.  Avoid freezing like a deer in the headlights, and do not wait for some grand strategy from senior management to turn the tide. The organizations and individuals that will thrive in this chaotic market environment know that leadership is a choice, not a position, and will immediately foster hundreds of moments of trust with their customers and other key stakeholders.  These moments of trust will be led by both formal and informal leaders throughout the organization behaving in ways that inspire trust.

I started by checking my trust account with my self. I reflected on my expereince in previous times of stress. I noticed that I have overcome tremendous adversity several times in the past and that I rebounded every time.  We need to keep the faith and know we are resilient and will prevail again by behaving in ways that inspire trust in ourselves and others.

Did you Know? Paradigm shifting YouTube

August 18th, 2009 by link

There is a compelling YouTube video called Did You Know? (you may want to turn down your speakers a little) that will stretch your thinking.  Over 4 million views.  At the end it asks: So what does it all mean?  To us it means Trust matters more than ever.  It reminds us why sparking a global renaissance of trust is such a critical imperative.

Transformation vs. Change

June 3rd, 2009 by link

So much talk about change.  Seems like change is like re arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Changing the contents rather than the context.  Change re arranges the contents of the BOX while true transformation takes place outside the box and expands the box.  The edge of what you don’t know you don’t know.  The Speed of Trust is a transformative influence not a intellectual one.  Your credibility is based on your behavior–your walk not just your talk.  Transformation is experiential and is a change of heart and behavior not just a change in thought.  Ultimately you transform your track record by behaving your way out of problems,  not talking your way out.  As with Susan Boyle’s dramatic example–RESULTS convert the cynics!

Carrot Principle: New study shows 65% never praised by boss

May 14th, 2009 by link

Showing loyalty by giving credit where credit is due is a way to make massive deposits in people’s trust account.  As Robert Townsend former CEO of Avis said: “It’s been my experience that the people who gain trust, loyalty, excitement, and energy fast are the ones who pass on the credit to the people who have really done the work.  A leader doesn’t need the credit…they get more credit than they deserve anyway.” As our friend and associate Dottie Gandy emphasizes: ” it is not only important to give credit to people for what they do it is also important to acknowledge people for who they are.”

In the new edition of The Carrot Principle:How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton found that 79% of talent that left organizations did so for lack of appreciation and 65% in North America report they were not recognized in the least bit in the last year.  These two statistics alone are worth the price of this book but they have interviewed over 200,000 workers and the results will shock you.  I know it did me. This one is a must read for anyone who manages people regardless of the setting including parents and teachers!  Lack of giving credit is clearly one of the high costs of low trust.

Twitter’s Speed of Trust ripple of influence

April 21st, 2009 by link

Twitter is remarkable. Follow us.  I ignored it too long thinking it was not scalable or professionally relevant.  My strategic business thinking is obviously sometimes my biggest handicap.  I was wrong, it scales the entire globe. It is both personal, i keep up with kids and grandkids, and professional,  I connect and communicate with like minded thinkers around the world.  Short story first.  A new friend on twitter Dinesh connected me to some wonderful TV footage on the Economist of an interview with Jaya Kumar, the Chief Marketing Officer of one of our clients, FritoLay, and Tony Hsieh,  CEO of talking about trust, transparency, high trust culture and specifically the Speed of Trust.  This is something that in the “old days” in the late 80′s early 90′s when we launched the 7 Habits book would have slipped through our fingers and not been shared with as broad and committed of an audience.  This conversation would not have been transparent to me so that I could engage it, leverage it and share it.  I also now have the opportunity and intend to acknowledge and thank Jaya for it.

Another new friend in Denmark gave me tips on what to see on my upcoming trip to Amsterdam.   Another did the same in London.

The longer story that comes to mind is the significance of the realization of the transcendent potential of the world wide web so eloquently described by Christopher Locke at the turn of the century (the 21st century that is) in 2000 in his book the cluetrain manifesto:

“More important, all of us are finding our voices once again.  Learning how to talk to one another.  Slowly recovering from a near fatal brush with zombification after watching Night of the Living Sponsor reruns all of our lives.  Inside, Outside, there’s a conversation going on today that wasn’t happening at all 5 years ago (95) and hasn’t been very much in evidence since the Industrial Revolution began.  Now, spanning the planet via Internet and World Wide Web, this conversation is so vast, so multifaceted, that trying to figure what it is about is futile.  It’s about a billion years of pent-up hopes and fears and dreams coded in serpentine double helixes, the collective flashback deja vu of our strange perplexing species.  Something ancient, elemental, sacred, something very very funny that’s broken loose in the pipes and wires of the 21st century. There are millions of threads in this conversation, but at the beginning and end of each one is a human being… This fervid desire for the Web bespeaks a longing so intense that it can only be understood as spiritual.  A longing indicates something is missing in our lives.  What is missing is the sound of the human voice.  The spiritual lure of the Web is the promise of the return of voice.

Twitter is clearly a giant leap forward in that direction.

Speed of Trust in Globe and Mail, Canada’s Largest Paper

April 13th, 2009 by link

The Globe and Mail is considered Canada’s national paper with over 1 million readers.  Stephen was interviewed by Sarah Boesveld last week and his remarks appeared in today’s Globe and Mail in an article entitled Ambiguity Anxiety.   Stephen had this to say about the pressure on trust in the current crisis when managers are secretive: ”They tend to be done without very much openness, without very much transparency – people in rooms all day long behind closed doors. And when they emerge, managers dish out spin and don’t give employees the straight goods,” he says.

Amazon Kindle

April 5th, 2009 by link

I finally got an Amazon Kindle 2 and must say so far it has exceeded my expectations.  The ability to word search all your books alone is worth the ride.  The Speed of Trust is available in a Kindle version and searching that on the fly has proved very useful.  It holds 1500 books which beats the 500 or so that crowd my office.  You can take notes but it definitely is not as intuitive as a pen and highlighter but I am getting used to it.  It feels miraculous to not carry the 3 to 4 books I usually end up traveling with and you can easily read several at a time as it picks up where you left off so it is simple to read several books simultaneously.  The digital paper is also surprisingly easy to read even in sunlight.  While off, the Kindle displays delightful pencil sketches of authors.  It rotates randomly and one day it displayed the definition of Kindle: light or set fire, arouse or inspire (an emotion or feeling), become impassioned or exited.  I can not yet say that my Kindle has impassioned me but you can say it has re-kindled my goal to meet the challenge that Dr. Stephen R. Covey gave to me years ago: to read a book a week.   Most years I have not hit that goal but I have a couple of years past and I will say that his challenge has dramatically increased the number of books I have read in the last 22 years and that is a HABIT worth having.  Maybe it is The 9th Habit!

How do you get over being intimidated by somebody?

March 29th, 2009 by link

Arnold Palmer was asked:  How do you get over being intimidated by somebody?  Answer:  Beat them at golf. 

War in the Boardroom

March 27th, 2009 by link

Al Ries and his daughter Laura’s new book War in the Boardroom: Why Left-Brain Management and Right-Brain Marketing Don’t See Eye-to-Eye–and What to Do About It is dead on insightful.  Of course I am biased, I’m a serial marketeer.  We built this city (read business) on rock n’ roll (read marketing). As Al and Laura point out “Perception always trumps reality.” I could not agree more.  The first chapter is worth the price of the book.  Al has been behind the scenes advising executives for years and supports his conclusions with plentiful evidence. This example is priceless.  “We can visualize what happened in the boardroom.  Grown men, with decades of experience in the automobile field, sat around a conference table and decided to launch a Volkswagen vehicle with a price tag reaching 6 digits. (we don’t know any right brain marketer who would have thought that was a good idea.)” As the adage goes visionary entrepreneurs can not manage scale but with out their vision there will be no scale to manage.

Kellogg Financial Trust Index

March 22nd, 2009 by link

Our friend Matt Hutcheson, a global authority on 401k regulation who regularly testifies for congress, sent us this link today to a blog entry on Brightscope showing trust in organizations is only 12% as of December 2008.  They call 2009 the year of Transparency in an articulate call for more light in financial regulation.

” . . . something important was destroyed in the last few months. It is an asset crucial to production, even if it is not made of bricks and mortar. This asset is TRUST. While trust is fundamental to all trade and investment, it is particularly important in financial markets, where people depart with their money in exchange for promises. To study how recent events have undermined Americans’ trust in the stock markets and institutions in general, we have launched the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index.”

The Kellogg Financial Trust Index called trust:

The Missing Link 

“Something important was destroyed in the last few months. It is an asset crucial to production, even if it is not made of bricks and mortar. While this asset does not enter standard national account statistics or standard economic models, it is so crucial to development that its absence — according to Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow — is the cause of much of the economic backwardness in the world. This asset is TRUST. As stressed by Arrow: “Virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust, certainly any transaction conducted over a period of time.” Without trust, cooperation breaks down, financing breaks down and investment stops. One can bomb a country back to the Stone Age, destroy much of its human capital, and eliminate its political institution. But, if trust persists, the country may be able to right itself in just a few years, as in Germany and Japan after World War II. Conversely, you can endow a country with all the greatest natural resources but, if there is no trust, there is no progress.”

We could not agree more.  We must all step up and behave in ways that inspire trust if we are to hope to turn the tide any time soon.  The tide will turn and this dramatic correction will shock us into taking trust more seriously much like 9/11 sparked a national sense of patriotism.  Let’s hope our paradigm shift of awareness sparks a behavior shift that is sustainable.

Trust Trumps Fear

March 15th, 2009 by link

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Sunday in a rare television interview that fear is one of the biggest challenges remaining to restart the US. Economy.  Duh!  This interview is a conscious effort on the part of the US Fed to become more transparent and restore trust.  Restoring trust again is seen as the recipe to hope.  Restoring trust on the corporate or individual level requires the same deliberate effort.  The good news is confidence is building and will continue to grow slowly as leaders continue to behave in ways to restore trust as Bernanke did by just taking this interview.

What equivalent gesture might you make to restore trust in your team, organization or relationship?

Radical Transparency

March 11th, 2009 by link

Emile Durkheim once said, “when mores are sufficient laws are unnecessary,  when mores are insufficient laws are unenforceable.” Our financial regulators could learn from this premise. The transparency of the web creates the possibility of self regulation Durkheim envisioned.  Ebay pioneered this self regualation that enabled as, founder Peter Omidyar said “that the miracle of Ebay was that 135 million strangers could trust each other”. A brilliant article in Wired Magazine Road Map for Financial Recovery: Radical Transparency Now! By Daniel Roth Email 02.23.09 lays out a very doable solution for our financial train wreck:

“That’s why it’s not enough to simply give the SEC—or any of its sister regulators—more authority; we need to rethink our entire philosophy of regulation. Instead of assigning oversight responsibility to a finite group of bureaucrats, we should enable every investor to act as a citizen-regulator. We should tap into the massive parallel processing power of people around the world by giving everyone the tools to track, analyze, and publicize financial machinations. The result would be a wave of decentralized innovation that can keep pace with Wall Street and allow the market to regulate itself—naturally punishing companies and investments that don’t measure up—more efficiently than the regulators ever could.

The revolution will be powered by data, which should be unshackled from the pages of regulatory filings and made more flexible and useful. We must require public companies and all financial firms to report more granular data online—and in real time, not just quarterly—uniformly tagged and exportable into any spreadsheet, database, widget, or Web page. The era of sunlight has to give way to the era of pixelization; only when we give everyone the tools to see each point of data will the picture become clear. Just as epidemiologists crunch massive data sets to predict disease outbreaks, so will investors parse the trove of publicly available financial information to foresee the next economic disasters and opportunities.”

This is an idea whose time has come.  The sunlight of transparency is the ultimate accountability.  What information in your team or organization would improve accountability?

“By virtue of its immensity, the global effort to restore trust will …

February 27th, 2009 by link

“By virtue of its immensity, the global effort to restore trust will… almost certainly succeed.” Business WeekJames C. Cooper, Senior Editor and Economist, for BusinessWeek actually said this in an article in BusinessWeek last October but it rings with new hope in light of the unprecedented stimulus package signed in my home town of Denver today. The Stimulus package violates my sense of the free market principles but may be better than the alternative of letting market forces bankrupt miss guided companies as it would in a normal market. It is a slippery slope, however.  The medicine may prove to be worse than the illness.  Not holding organizations and individuals accountable for their actions is a clear violation of market trust.   James Cooper clearly described the problem:  “Individual governments are rapidly filling in the details as they move unilaterally to address their own needs, but with the common purpose of attacking the broader problem of eroding confidence in the financial system. Modern finance, in which a relatively small base of capital supports a much larger volume of credit, depends on three things: sufficient capital among banks, liquidity to keep funds flowing, and trust that everyone will get paid. The problem with this financial trinity is that trust is not only dependent on the first two, but also turns on human emotion. Too much fear can bring down the house. By virtue of its immensity, the global effort to restore trust will almost certainly succeed.”

I remain optimistic that keeping a cool head and having a propensity to trust the free market system will ultimately right the global economy.  We each have to do our part to restore confidence by behaving in ways that inspire trust.  We also must spend and invest and act as if we believe in the system.  I have confidence that just like the savings and loan crisis, the dot com bubble, 9/11, and numerous other market disruptions in recent history, that the economy will recover more quickly than the press would have us believe but only if we each step up in our own circle of influence and restore trust and confidence.

Career Critical

February 23rd, 2009 by link

Gave my nephew,  a 20 something, a ride to the airport from his uncle’s funeral today.  He asked me to name  the most important principle to have a successful career.  His generation asks great questions.  My #1 advise to him was to work so that his reputation and credibility precede him.  A tall order.  Get a senior mentor in the organization and perform so that he or she will gladly give you a job reference for the rest of your life.  Do not suck up–perform honorably! That’s it.  The cumulative effect of having a reputation as a go to guy is the essence of The Speed of Trust.

Jeff Jarvis on Trust in What Would Google Do?

February 17th, 2009 by link

Previously I mentioned that I was reading Jeff Jarvis’ new book What Would Google Do? I was just struck by his comments on market trust: “Leaders in government, news media, corporations, and universities think they and their institutions can own trust when, of course, trust is given to them.  Trust is earned with difficulty and lost with ease….Trust is an act of opening up; it’s a mutual relationship of transparency and sharing.  The more ways you find to reveal yourself and listen to others, the more you will build trust, which is your brand.” We of course, agree whole heartedly.  Jeff does an excellent job of giving us a glimpse of the implications of violating trust in a post google transparent world.  His experience with Dell is worth the price of the book alone. How we behave in this financial crisis will effect our credibility, reputation and brand for years to come.  Are you behaving in ways that inspire the trust of your stakeholders, especially your customers?

I will resist the almost overwhelming temptation to quote Jeff further and will instead, again, strongly urge you to read this book right away.  In times of trouble we need to challenge ourselves to get better and to reframe our thinking.  Jeff provokes new thinking that I believe, regardless of your profession or industry, will either excite you about the possibilities of the future or scare you enough to confront reality and change your expectations.  You know I read a lot of business books so I have a somewhat informed judgement.  I predict that this is another Tipping Point and as such will top the business lists for years to come.

What Would Google Do?

February 7th, 2009 by link

Jeff Jarvis explores that question as a window on the future market reality in his very compelling new book of the same name.  What Would Google Do? is thought provoking on many levels.  As our friend Seth Godin says “Five years from now, many people are going to regret the fact that they didn’t read this book today, when they had the chance.”  I feel the same way.  I can’t put it down.  Read it before your competition does.

Tribute to an Influencer–Dr. Blaine Lee

January 31st, 2009 by link

One of the world’s great business influencers graduated this week. With honors! It is with great love and profound sadness that I report the passing of a great soul, friend and author last Saturday, January 24th, a few months shy of his 63rd birthday–Dr. Blaine Lee.

Blaine was a beloved friend and mentor of 26 years to me and countless customers and associates of FranklinCovey.  His big heart and tremendous passion endeared him to all who worked with him.  His ability to bring executives to the real issues of their personal responsibility, first surprised and then delighted them.  But it certainly endeared him to them for life.  I was with Blaine when we taught the 7 Habits to Oprah and the executives at Harpo. I remember O asking me how Blaine expected her to write a mission statement when she “did not know what was around the corner”.    Watching Blaine challenge and engage Oprah was a sight to behold and he definitely influenced her with honor.

Blaine was a co founder of Covey Leadership Center which became FranklinCovey and he was instrumental in our success.  Blaine inspired countless people to influence with honor and use their legitimate power rather than resort to coercive authority.

Blaine was the author of The Power Principle: Influence With Honor which Kenny Blanchard called “profound” and Stephen R. Covey called “life changing”.  Yes it was both to me and thousands of people around the world.  Blaine Lee was one of the most influential business thinkers and influencers of his generation.

I was moved by the reminder by Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Conversations as we wept together at Blaine’s funeral that one of the core teachings of the 7 Habits is imagining you were at your own funeral and thinking about what you would want to be said about you.  The idea is to live your life accordingly.  Well there we sat at Blaine’s funeral and realized he did just that.  Judging from the remarkable tributes to Blaine from his brother and sons and our own direct experience of him, Blaine lived up to that challenge. He left this world a better place than he found it and took with him the only thing that accompanies us out of this life, his indomitable spirit and a significantly informed intelligence.

We are confident Blaine will continue his influence beyond this world. It’s certain his influence will continue to touch our world. My dear Blaine you will be sorely missed and always remembered.   As his son Ben said: ” See you in the morning Dad!”

President Obama emphasizes trust in Inaugural Address

January 20th, 2009 by link

Today in his inaugural address President Obama emphasized trust: “Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account—to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day—because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”  Let’s hope that he can live up to that ideal.  To overcome decades of a control based culture in the US Federal government is going to take intense effort.  Restoring trust is mission critical to the entire global economy on many levels right now.  We are fighting to fuel a global renaissance of trust or as Obama stated to do our business in the light of day.”  

Want Change? Start with Trust

January 5th, 2009 by link

No matter what your personal or organizational objectives are for 2009–Start with Trust!  Trust is the most overlooked, underestimated source of success in life.  Any attempt to change an organization overlayed on a low trust culture is destined to fail or at least be dramatically suboptimized.  The friction of low trust sabatoges even the most brilliant strategy.  On the career side even the most heart felt determination to change will be undermined by low self trust.  You must first keep commitments to yourself and build your credibility with yourself.   Your attempts to influence others when you have low credibility in thier eyes is risky.

Dangerous trend in trust.

December 1st, 2008 by link

In an ethics study  released today of nearly 30,000 high schoolers entitled The Ethics of American Youth by the Josephson Institute in Los Angeles, 83% of teens report lying to their parents about something significant. 64% say they have cheated on an exam in the last year and 30% say they have stolen something from a store in the last year.  The shocker is that 93% say they are satisfied with their personal character and ethics revealing an alarming gap in their perception of their self trust. 

These are our future workers and leaders and we desperately need to change their perception of the importance of trust and ethics or our global crisis of trust is destined to deepen. 

I agree with what Michael Josephson, the institute’s founder and president had to say about the results: ”What is the social cost of that–not to mention the implication for the next generation of mortgage brokers? In a society drenched with cynicism, young people can look at it and say ‘Why shouldn’t we? Everyone else does it.’”

Clearly as a society at large it is critical for us to teach that trust is paramount to a global economy.  We must all make growing trust an explicit objective and behave accordingly to set the standard for the next generation.

Gladwell’s new Book, Outliers–worth the read.

November 26th, 2008 by link

Malcolm Gladwell has done it again. His new book Outliers is well worth the read and is already #9 of all books on the USA Today bestseller list. Outliers brilliantly challenges our assumptions about success. It makes my short list of stimulating reads about success. It is extraordinary for a growing a global perspective by learning new insights about success in other cultures. Gladwell again comes up with stimulating and surprising examples that are thought provoking and help develop our lateral thinking. It is a great book to inspire us to get better and rethink our level of play and effort. I was particularly moved by the concept that it takes 10,000 hours to master success and that hard work can overcome other disadvantages. Another unlikely insight I gained was about educating my grandchildren and helping them step up to the future. Well done Malcolm.

Speed of Trust in Huffington Post

November 22nd, 2008 by link

Stephen Baum  in a post in the Huffington Post, one of the most widely read blogs in the world, entitled Traits of a Leader: Obama challenges President Elect Obama to do Signal Acts.  One of which will be to keep his promise to make his thinking visible, transparent, notwithstanding the need to keep some things confidential. It is crucial to bringing us all along and keeping the trust he has built. Stephen M.R. Covey has it rightThe SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

European Weekly quotes Speed of Trust

November 22nd, 2008 by link

The European Weekly in an article entitled The 2007-2008 crisis – a breakdown of trust? 

By Peter Gakunu,  the IMF Executive Director for Africa, and a member of the Jury of the Robin Cosgrove Prize for Ethics in Finance, called the global financial crisis a breach of the public Trust.

Federal News Radio The Speed of Trust

November 22nd, 2008 by link

Stephen was interviewed for the Federal news radio today.  Covey will join Federal News Radio’s In Depth with Francis Rose for an hour. Joining Rose and Covey will be Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department deputy chief information officer and one of the wisest people … and one of the most avid readers.

The Power of LinkedIn and The Speed of Trust

November 21st, 2008 by link

Our friend Paul Allen, an internet entreprenuer extraordinaire,  quoted The Speed of Trust in a very interesting explanation of the power of referrals on his blog entitled The Power of LinkedIn and The Speed of Trust. Paul is one of the brightest minds we know and you will enjoy his insights on the potential of social networking from a marketing perspective.

President elect Obama emphasizes trust on 60 Minutes

November 16th, 2008 by link

In his first global interview since being elected, President Elect Obama told 60 minutes Sunday night: “We actually have a consensus among conservative leaning economists and liberal left leaning economists and  the consensus is this that we have to do whatever it takes to get this economy 
moving again.”

I was encouraged to hear his recognition of trust as a core element to 
restore our global economy.  Obama said:

“A top priority we have to restore a sense of Trust, transparency and openness 
in our financial system.  Keep in mind the deregulation process, it wasn’t 
just one party I think there is a lot of blame to spread around.

(You will remember a post last month where I quoted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s comments on CNN: “The most precious asset of all is something that if lost, can only be restored not by words, but by actions, that is the asset of Trust and confidence “ ) Glad Obama and Brown both seem to get it.

I also resonate with his statement of bipartisan responsibility for the 
problem.  Obama continued:

“Our basic principle that this is a free market system and that it has 
worked for us that it creates innovation and risk taking is a principle we 
need to hold to as well.  But what I don’t want to do is get bottled up in a 
lot of ideology, is this conservative or liberal,  my interest is finding 
something that works and whether its coming from FDR or from Ronald Reagan 
if the idea is right for the times we are going to apply it.”

I applaud his assertion that the best idea wins.  This alone can transform 
our leadership. As an American It has been embarrassing to watch our 
Congress and Senate under Bush and Clinton, bicker instead of influence and 
lead.  The world is losing respect for our democratic free market system 
because of our poor example.

As Obama went on:

“I want to make sure that I can recreate a bond of trust between the 
Presidency and the public that I think has been lost.”

Finally he again appealed for synergy:

“There were a number of reasons that someone would not have voted for me, 
but what was absolutely clear was whether people voted for me or against me 
they were making the judgment based on, is this guy gonna lead us well.  Is 
this guy going to be a good president.”

We all must behave our way out of the problems we have created in the 
economy by behaving with each other in ways that inspire trust.  Our leaders 
can only be as good as the people they lead. Now that the election is over we must sustain our leaders.   Let’s all take responsibility 
to rise to the occasion to be credible and act to inspire others in moments 
of trust to fuel a ripple effect for a global renaissance of 

Will President Elect Obama earn trust?

November 13th, 2008 by link

(CBS News)” In an extraordinary moment in America’s history, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has won the 2008 presidential election and will become the 44th president of the United States and the country’s first African-American leader. ”

I resonate with the possibilities President Elect Obama represents and congratulate him on his historic victory.  We challenge all to sustain our new leader and rise to the occasion to restore trust in ourselves and each other.  This new Presidency offers us all a microcosm to observe the workings of a change of leadership.  The same principles and challenges face new leaders in schools, companies and even the corner store.  Let us all have a propensity to trust in our leadership. 

Obama said it best: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” he added. 

“A new dawn of American leadership is at hand,” Obama said. 

He pledged:

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state (Lincoln) who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.”

 Today’s USA TODAY Thursday November 13th 

In an section call THE FORUM

Cal Thomas a conservative columnist and Bob Beckel a liberal democratic strategist as longtime friends often can find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot. Today’s biweekly series they entitled:  

 Words vs. Action

Bob: “He talks a good game but what’s he look like on the court? That’s essentially what the commentariat are asking when it comes to President Elect Barak Obama.  He’s been the poster [child] for common ground, yet there is much hand-wringing about whether he’ll veer left.  Anyone who thinks he’ll do so while ignoring the Republicans hasn’t been paying attention.  Even the week before the election, Obama campaigned almost completely on the common ground theme with which he began his run for the White House.  His eloquent speech in Grant Park in Chicago on election night was vintage bridge-building.”

Cal: ” As an American first, I sincerely hope you are right. It isn’t often I agree with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid–in fact, I can’t think of a single time–but I wholeheartedly endorse his summation of the main message from this election. “This is a mandate to get along, to get something done in a bipartisan way. This is not a mandate for a political party or ideology.” Read the rest of this entry »

Speed of Trust Best Seller in Britain

November 9th, 2008 by link

Take 2 one of England’s leading online booksellers today announced that The Speed of Trust was the #7 Bestselling book in Britain last week!


Klaus Schwab Chairman of The World Economic Forum

October 24th, 2008 by link

Klaus Schwab, Chairman and Founder, World Economic Forum had this to say  The Speed of Trust… is even more relevant in the world we have seen evolving over the last months. Congratulations and thank you!” 


Link and Covey learn to use their laptops.

October 17th, 2008 by link


Stephen and I really relate to this as we are not the most tech savvy members of our team.  Thank you Steve Jobs for giving us a fighting chance with our iPhones and MacBooks.

Speed of Trust on CNN

October 13th, 2008 by link


Mellisa Long & Stephen M. R. Covey

Mellisa Long & Stephen M. R. Covey

Stephen M.R. Covey talks about what role trust plays in business and relationships.  Stephen was interviewed by Mellissa Long on CNN about trust in themarketplace. 



CNN:British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today on Trust

October 13th, 2008 by link

“The most precious asset of all is something that if lost, can only be
restored not by words, but by actions, that is the asset of Trust and
confidence “
   British Prime Minister Gordon Brown CNN Oct 13th 2008

Fatal Flaw in Facebook, Linked in and other Social Networks

October 7th, 2008 by link

As I see it, the ultimate value of the Social Networks is still up for grabs even though it is growing worldwide.  The potential fatal flaw is that rather than enhancing your reputation you may damage it by loosely giving access to your most trusted relationships. Consider this: Do you have a multiple year, deep trusted relationship with your social network friends or a 1 year acquaintance repeated multiple times? With Trust depth matters.

Social networks are filled with loose mutual acquaintances but rarely our most trusted influencers. Why? Because it would violate the very level of trust the relationship is based on to openly expose your most influential high trust relationships to random access from others you barely know! This is the same reason customers are reluctant to risk their reputation by referring their trusted colleagues and friends to salespeople. The speed of your trust and reputation, your social capital and influence, resides in your carefully nurtured “Trustwork” not your loose network of acquaintances. Mix the two haphazardly and you risk your reputation with your most trusted friends.  Many of the acquaintances in your social networks, are simply “potential” candidates for you to up-level and earn deep mutual respect with, and they with you,  by demonstrating consistent behavior over time that inspires each person’s trust. Facebook,  Linkedin and others provide a rich opportunity to meet new friends trusted by people you trust.  This  is the ultimate value of networking. In fact research shows that loose acquaintances were more likely to lead to a job referral. So social networks do have value.  Just be sure to extend smart trust and check new friends track records before introducing them to your Trustwork™ of long nurtured high trust relationships until they earn that extraordinary level of trust.

The game of friending anyone and everyone to show a large network number also seems risky.  Clarify your expectations and think of how you would like others to access you. Build your network strategically based on your objectives.  The intent of the network providers is to attract eyeballs and mindshare any way they can and find ways to monetize that attention.  The jury is still out on how they will do that.  Meanwhile, we are trusting them with considerable information so be smart out there.

Link & Covey as the “Ugly American Tourists”

September 30th, 2008 by link

Link & Covey as "The Ugly American Tourists"

Believe it or not Stephen and I have rarely spent free time together.  When we travel on business together once or twice a year it is usually just that, we do the business and immediately fly off in different directions.  We enjoyed the 4 hours we had together in Beijing immensely. It turned into quite a memorable adventure. We happened across the network, familiar to most savvy international travelers, of starving art students that speak English and love to “show their work” to international tourists.  Actually it was refreshing to see first hand that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in China.  Stephen and I were an easy mark. We stood out like a sore thumb as we tried to jam days of sight seeing into a few hours.  We were approached by a college student (read lead generator) who suspected we were lost.  He offered to walk us to Tianimin Square.  

My propensity to trust waned however, as he attempted to convince us that we needed to turn right, away from the square,  when we clearly had two blocks left to go.  (He did not realize that I had been there before.)  Undaunted he graciously served as tour guide but ultimately managed to lead us out the side entrance of the Forbidden City which conveniently led us to his Art Studio on a side street.  From there we experienced a sales process second only to the American timeshare industry.  Turns out, the shop is owned by his “Art Professor” and the student was trying to raise money for a trip with the professor to the USA. Never mind that they contradicted each other several times on what cities they planned to visit. The art was actually quite impressive.  Stephen really liked one of the professor’s pieces, but loving soul that he is. did not want to offend the student by not buying one of the student’s pieces.  Voila, in a masterful tour de force that I thought was exclusively American, the student turned Stephen over to the Professor (known as a T. O. in the car and timeshare industries) who generously solved Stephen’s dilemma by offering to throw in the student’s work if Stephen bought the more expensive Professor’s piece (known as the drop in the US car and timeshare industry).  It was really  beautifully orchestrated.  The good news is that the art Stephen bought is an extraordinarily beautiful Oriental ink drawing.  As we laughed about our experience while we walked back to the hotel taxi stand to return to the airport it dawned on us that neither one of us had any idea the market value of the art.  Fortunately value is in the eye of the beholder and both Jeri and Stephen love the piece and Stephen and I have a great road warrior story and a great laugh together.

Birds Nest with rare blue sky

The Steve Jobs of China: Yang Yuanqing

September 30th, 2008 by link

Yang Yuanqing

Stephen was pleased to speak again to Yang Yuanqing, Chairman of the Board of Lenovo.  Lenovo is rapidly becoming a major global brand after acquiring the IBM PC and as the one of the lead sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  This merger was one of the most visable multinational mergers between a Chinese and a U. S. firm.  Stephen first met Yang Yuanqing when Stephen led a global executive team 2 day  meeting for Lenovo last year.  They have an impressive collection of talent and an excellent product and are poised to be a powerful force in their industry.  Of note is the decision that Lenovo made to drop IBM from their product  branding long before their rights to use the IBM name expired in their contract.   This was a bold vote of confidence in their global brand and reputation.  Well done!

Yang Yuanqing is a local rock star of business much as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are in the U.S.  He was mobbed by dozens of press and TV cameras as he left the stage.  Stephen managed to speak to him for several minutes. Yang was genuinely pleased to see Stephen again.  We gave him as set of the Speed of Trust 13 behavior cards translated into Chinese.

The “Yahoo” of China 90% of China’s Netizens

September 29th, 2008 by link is the #1 internet portal in China reaching over 90% of all web users in China with over 273 million active accounts.  That is nearly the entire population of the U.S. or Europe both children and adults!  In a lengthy interview Stephen and I were struck by the similarities of the questions and the high level of interest in the topic of Trust consistent with what we experience in other countries.  There was no sense of caution as the interviewer pointed out the low levels of trust that still exist in China between the government and business. The Speed of Trust is published in both simple and Complex Chinese and is selling well.  

Stephen emphasized the common ground of the topic of trust in relationships with team members from various nations.  He pointed out that the 13 behaviors of high trust leaders are common to leaders around the globe regardless of nationality.  There was significant interest in Stephen’s assertion that trust many times can be restored  or to a great degree improved after it is broken.  It is not black and white.  This resonated as a hopeful concept for China as they tend to consider dire consequences to loosing face or damaging your family or business reputation.  Stephen also discussed the gains in market trust and brand reputation gained by China due to their hosting the Olympics.  The national pride in China fueled by the Olympics and rising economics is evident in conversations with local leaders. 

World Economic Forum, Tianjin, China

September 28th, 2008 by link

Stephen and I attended The World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China.  Stephen presented the Speed of Trust and participated on several panels. At the close of the World Economic Forum’s “summer Davos” we participated in a general table discussion on the topic of what are the top challenges facing organizations in the coming year.  Each table of the 2000 plus participants identified one issue and then using keypad voting every one voted to force rank the top issues (now keep in mind this was taking place the weekend that the US congress and Senate were working on a rescue program). We were all surprised that the global financial crisis was voted #2.  The #1 challenge was a crisis of Trust and Confidence.  The consensus was that the impact of the financial crisis is exasperated as trust declines.  The financial crisis at is root is a trust crisis. Especially because it involves credit and everyone is afraid to part with their cash and are rightfully reluctant to risk because they do not know who they can trust given the downfall of several hundred year old institutions. Think about it—credit is trust and trust is credit. 

BBC debates how global financial crisis effects China

September 28th, 2008 by link

On the weekend that the U.S. Congress and Senate were debating a financial package Stephen and I attended a BBC televised  debate from the World Economic Forum on the impact that the economic crisis would have on China.  It was fascinating.  The woman pictured was from Taiwan, others were from Mainland China and Western firms.  Consensus was that China has not yet gotten involved in the financial industries like the west.  Their economy is still growing in the more stable and traditional industries of manufacturing, agriculture and real estate. They are also cash rich and actually may benefit by buying Western assets for low prices.  The ultimate threat is lack of demand for their exports if other economies loose buying power.

Covey Interviewed by CNBC China

September 28th, 2008 by link

Stephen had an engaging in interview this morning on CNBC China that is broadcast nationwide and is considered one of the leading sources of business news in Asia.  He was interviewed by David Arkless a distinguished member of the Board of Directors of Manpower, a $20 billion global conglomerate.  In an engaging discussion Stephen discussed the core impact of Trust on business relationships across national lines.  He pointed out that in his presentations in over 30 countries on The Speed of Trust business and government leaders resonated with the relevance of trust to their current business strategies and objectives.  Trust neutralizes nationality and gender focusing on the track record and credibility of the person and not other factors.  We trust people that come through for us.  Trust is a universal principle that applies to all human nature and cultures even though it may be expressed locally in different ways and practices.  In China, as in all of Asia the practice of saving face is an example of preserving your trusted reputation.



A passionate case for women in leadership

September 27th, 2008 by link

This very articulate woman from Pakistan made a powerful case for the underrepresentation of women in leadership through out the world and even on the panels of the World Economic Forum.  I attempted to speak to her but the press of the nearly 2000 people in the room prevented me from getting to her.  I also have searched the photo album of participants to find her name but was unable to find her.  If you know her, email me.

I resonated with her straight talk in respectfully confronting the forum about this unfortunate reality in business and government.  I am a staunch advocate for women in leadership and have a bias that they have traits of intuition, vision, and empathy lacking, or at least way underdeveloped, in many of their male counterparts.  It has also been my experience that women are more influential in negotiating.  This is the purest evidence for their case as a disproportionate number of women excel in sales which is the ultimate level playing field with no ceiling, glass or otherwise.  Trust is an extraordinary gender neutralizer.   We trust people based on their integrity, performance and behavior regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Crisis of Trust

September 25th, 2008 by link

“Politics” – the antithesis of trust and standard operating procedure for many industries, governments, organizations, and relationships. In today’s world, everyone is a politician, trying to get ahead, but it is an illusion, spin. Add to that the very real consequences of stop-loss measures like bailouts, leaving what many media outlets call a “crisis of confidence.”  We call this a crisis of trust.  

A recent BBB-Gallop poll indicates a 24% decrease in trust of business during the past year.  This was before the current financial crisis. Steven Cole, President and CEO, National Council of Better Business Bureaus, asserts, “The continuing decline of consumer trust is just not sustainable for businesses, but, interestingly, the issue highlights a clear opportunity for competitive advantage among businesses that embrace consumer demand for trust in the marketplace.”

The fastest way to get the US economy back on track: rebuild and restore trust, in every industry, every organization, every government, and every relationship. Seventy-two percent (72%) of those surveyed in the BBB-Gallop poll say it’s as simple as businesses “doing a better job delivering on their promises.”

The numerous endorsements by CEOs in The Speed of Trust obviously indicate the appeal to executives, but the real proof is that organizations around the world are embracing The Speed of Trust by having it presented to their most important audiences.

 Proving the economic case for trust and demonstrating that it can be measured AND that the needle can be moved is what engages the executives.  This topic resonates! 

 Trust is a mission-critical competitive advantage in the new global economy, and the good news is that it can be dramatically increased by learning 13 behaviors common to all high trust leaders around the world. 

Trust is being spotlighted on the global stage; Stephen and I are currently en route for him to present The Speed of Trust to 1,500 leaders from over 60 countries at the World Economic Forum. in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, September 27-29, 2008.  The China forum is a meeting for what are termed “Global Growth Companies.” This second “Summer Davos” will bring together the emerging multinational companies – the New Champions – that have the potential to reshape the global economic landscape. Under the theme “The Next Wave of Growth,” CEOs of the New Champions will engage with a diverse group of the most important players shaping the future of business and the global agenda.

As economy slows: Are you the “go to” performer?

August 21st, 2008 by link

As the U.S. economy slows, it causes a global ripple effect.  When the going gets tough, budgets, projects, money, customers, and jobs gravitate to the “go-to” performers that are trusted.  High trust teams outperform low trust teams by as much as four times.  Why?  They execute at The Speed of Trust. 

Do you trust your boss?

August 17th, 2008 by link

Leading-edge companies are asking one important question in employee evaluations:  Do you trust your boss?  These companies have learned that the answer to this one question is more predictive of team and organizational performance than any other they might ask.  The number one reason for costly employee turnover is the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor.  We are facing a crisis of trust and business ethics.  In the U.S., only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in senior management.

Covey returns to China to Speak in Global Forum

August 8th, 2008 by link

Stephen M. R. Covey has recently been invited to present The Speed of Trust to the World Economic Forum  in China September 27th.  The China forum is dubbed “summer Davos” and is a meeting for what are termed “Global Growth Companies”.   Stephen said “ It is such and honor to address this group of influencial world leaders who’s motto is entrepreneurship in the global public interest’. They believe that economic progress without social development is not sustainable, while social development without economic progress is not feasible. I agree.”

The forum will be hosted in Tianjin, China just 90 minutes east of Beijing and across the bay from Dalian the site of last years forum. 

The World Economic Forum’s Community of Global Growth Companies forum was created to recognize the next generation of industry leaders. It supports them as they navigate the challenges of new geographies, markets, cultures and regulatory systems as they become a major driving force in social and economic development.

The World Economic Forum’s Community of Global Growth Companies consists of companies that:

  • Are expanding outside their traditional boundaries
  • Experience growth rates exceeding 15 per cent year-on-year
  • Have revenues typically between US$100 million and US$ 2 billion
  • Have demonstrated leadership in a particular industry
  • Have an outstanding executive leadership.

Stephen and I will join CEO’s and senior executives from the world’s leading organizations including Nokia, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, Duetsche Bank,  Peking University, KPMG,  Infosys,  Swisscom, Chevron, Dabur India, Harvard, Best Buy, Burger King, Volvo and journalists from CNN, The Financial Times, China Daily, New York Times, Time magazine and many others.  This is a meeting that will make the ultimate ripple effect of influence and we are privileged to be invited to address them.


Speed of Trust still New York Times Best Seller

August 4th, 2008 by link


Shout out for Speed of Trust in Huffington Post

July 27th, 2008 by link

Stephen Baum author of What made jack welch Jack Welch,  had this to say about The Speed of Trust in a blog entry in the Huffington Post: “Stephen M.R. Covey’s important recent book, The Speed of Trust : The One Thing That Changes Everything, reminds us of the business case for being trustworthy and being seen as trustworthy. Character is first among equals in leadership requirements. Reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy.”

Jobs does it again iPhone 3G rocks!

July 11th, 2008 by link

Stephen interviewed by Forbes

June 16th, 2008 by link

In an interview with executive editor David A. Andelman, Covey explains the significance and mechanics of trust–how to build it, keep it and profit from it.

Stephen M. R. Covey: I use a very simple definition of trust. By trust, I mean confidence. Confidence. The opposite of that–distrust–is suspicion.

See, I don’t trust someone if I’m suspicious about his motive or agenda or integrity. I do trust when I feel confident about it. It’s like Jack Welch said–I could give you a dictionary definition of trust, but you know it when you feel it. And what you feel is confidence.

Generation Y—We’re Here, We’re Peers…Get Used to It

June 11th, 2008 by covey

Generation Y—We’re Here, We’re Peers…Get Used to It

Longing for Mentoring Opportunities, Gen Y Engages Senior Management Directly

I’ll never forget what one CEO said about the risk of investing in a focused training initiative for his company. Someone asked him, ‘What if you train everyone and they all leave?’ He responded, ‘What if we don’t train them and they all stay?

“Millenials,” “Echo Boomers,” “Gen Yers”—The demographic bred to take on the world, and raised with the tools to do it, this group is already making waves with their new rules. They are strong, talented, organized, and don’t like the word, “No.” They also know that they don’t have to work for you.

 HR Magazine calls talent retention “the most urgent priority for companies.” Talent is running away from big business and the red tape that goes with it, while organizations teeter on the brink of losing the valuable force of Baby Boomers heading into retirement.

 If you are an eager Gen Y employee, you’re not off the hook. The winds are changing, but you’ve still got a lot to learn. Hold yourself accountable to the same standards you ask for in management. Not only can we all get along, we can build the best organizations the world has ever seen.

 How do we close the gap between these wildly different philosophies, harnessing the power of old and new to create a win-win for all stakeholders?  I think the answers are deceptively simple and will change the structure of business forever: Read the rest of this entry »

Stephen returns from Australasia tour

June 7th, 2008 by link

Stephen just returned from Asia and reports that The Speed of Trust continues to be well received – from Australia to Singapore.  Crowds there were very responsive to the concept that trust is a competency that can be learned and taught.  They see trust as a competitive advantage.  Audiences were particularly enamored with the new DVD vignettes from the Leading at the Speed of Trust training course.

Meet Stephen in Chicago June 22

June 7th, 2008 by link

Come visit us at SHRM! The Society for Human Resource Managements

60th Annual International Conference

June 22-25, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois

Preview our new Speed of Trust DVDs, 

and meet Stephen at booth # 5320.

Trust is a Competency: Chief Learning Officer Magazine

May 17th, 2008 by link

The Speed of Trust is a powerful way to recession-proof your career and your organization.  When the going gets tough; projects, money, promotions, and jobs gravitate to trusted high performers. The last to be laid-off or outsourced are those “go-to” players who are trusted. A 2005 study by Russell Investment Group showed that Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” (in which trust comprises 60% of the criteria) earned over four times the returns of the broader market over the prior seven years.

The May 2008 edition of Chief Learning Officer (CLO) magazine featured The Speed of Trust in an article entitled: Trust is a Competency.   This prestigious magazine is well known by leading executives around the world.  CLO called trust “a critical characteristic that is more essential to business performance than ever.”   The article goes on to say: “Increasingly more and more, leaders today are ‘rediscovering’ trust as they begin to see it with new eyes.  Looking beyond the common view of trust as some soft, intangible, illusive social virtue, they’re learning to see it as a critical, highly relevant, and tangible asset.  They’re discovering that trust affects—and changes—everything within an organization…literally every dimension, every activity, every decision, every relationship.  They’re also beginning to recognize that trust is quite possibly the single most powerful and influential lever for leaders and organizations today.”

Stephen concludes the article with this practical advice for executives: “So what is the role of learning practitioners with respect to trust?  I suggest it’s three-fold, corresponding to the three ways of seeing trust with new eyes:   Read the rest of this entry »

WSJ names top 20 Influential Business Thinkers

May 8th, 2008 by link

Richard Branson is the most surprising new addition to the top 20.  A deserving one at that.  It is interesting the new balance of power between Academia, Business Consultants, Business leaders and now journalists. Erin White in an insightful commentary for The Wall Street Journal touts a new breed of Guru.

We of course, are delighted to see Dr. Covey still in the top ten after all these years.  Dr. C is “still crazy after all these years” as Paul Simon would say. One of the most memorable insights he taught me years ago is that “each great class teeters on the edge of chaos”. Well said.  His 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  still dances on and off the bestseller lists this year nearly 20 years after its publication.

We would all do well to be life long learners at the feet of these remarkable mentors and hundreds of others like them.  Re-read their books and articles.

Ken Blanchard’s new book: The One Minute Entreprenuer

May 7th, 2008 by link

Ever thought of starting your own business? Our good friends, Ken Blanchard and Ethan Willis, have teamed up to write Ken’s next bestseller: The One Minute Entrepreneur. I first met Ken 23 years ago when I lived in San Diego, just after he had published The One Minute Manager and before it became the New York Times bestseller (and sold more than 12 million copies in 27 languages). It was Ken that introduced me to a new entrepreneur in 1986, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, who had an idea for a book.  We all know the rest of that story.  Every time I see Kenny, he asks me, “Link, what has become clear to you since we last spoke?”  A provocative question.  Well Ken, what is clear to me is that The One Minute Entrepreneur is a must-read book.

Speed of Trust is # 2 on BusinessWeek Magazine’s bestseller list

May 6th, 2008 by link

The Speed of Trust is # 2 on BusinessWeek Magazine’s latest bestseller list and is sweeping global business circles.

Trust in Japan my Bow is My Bond “The Economist”

April 27th, 2008 by link

Our close friend and colleague Joseph Grenny co-author of the New York Times best seller Crucial Conversations sent us this interesting snapshot into international trust printed in the Economist this week. It highlights the foundational bedrock of Trust in business.  Business,  whether B2B or with consumers demands a propensity to trust each others intentions.  IF that presumption of Trust is violated consistently and a propensity to be suspicious prevails it could grind our global economy to a halt.  The articles points out an interesting fact.  That there are actually less lawyers in the business sector in Japan,  perhaps signaling a higher propensity to trust.  The speed of growth that economies around the world are enjoying seems to be evidence that trust is again growing.  This story is a cautionary tale however, if we violate trust with each other in business our global economy could quickly shift from speed to friction.

The article contrasts the propensity to trust in the Japan compared to the west.  ”In the West, that culture is increasingly one of implicit mistrust. Deals require armies of lawyers and thick paper trails to give parties confidence, in spite of the time and money that such work entails. In Japan, by contrast, companies—some dating back centuries—regularly deal with long-standing partners; reputational concerns, rather than strictly legal ones, are paramount.”


Japanese finance

My bow is my bond
Apr 24th 2008 | TOKYO
From The Economist print edition

A wicked swindle exploits a soft spot in Japan’s business culture

TRUST is the bedrock of business everywhere, but the sources from which it springs are different. In Japan, where reputation and relationships are considered precious, the informal cues are as important as the legalistic ones. Parties take their time discussing deals. Managers meet to exchange meishi—their all-important business cards (usually presented with two hands)—and bow respectfully. It helps to establish confidence.
So it was that when a handful of bankers from Lehman Brothers met executives of Marubeni, one of Japan’s largest trading houses, at Marubeni’s headquarters across from the Imperial Palace last autumn, they never suspected that they were actually being drawn into a massive fraud. The teams had met numerous times to discuss a bridge loan. Reams of paperwork were supplied. In a convoluted agreement, Lehman provided more than $350m in financing to a small firm with ties to Marubeni (and founded by a cousin of the empress of Japan); the trading house guaranteed repayment.
Or did it? When Lehman contacted Marubeni after a payment was missed, Marubeni said that it had no idea what the bank was talking about. Marubeni has claimed that contracts signed and stamped by a Marubeni director were found to be forgeries and the manager whom Lehman’s bankers met in Marubeni’s offices was an impostor. Marubeni says the two employees who negotiated the deal were fired. Marubeni refuses to repay the money, claiming it is a victim of fraud itself. On March 31st Lehman sued Marubeni for $350m. Since the fraud was uncovered, more alleged victims have surfaced, such as Och-Ziff, an American private-equity firm, which is owed around $80m.
The case pits a company’s responsibility to supervise itself against the adequacy of the due diligence that investors must perform. The Japanese legal doctrine of “apparent authority” holds firms accountable for their employees’ actions, provided those actions are carried out within the scope of their normal work. Meanwhile, Lehman’s checks will come under scrutiny, not least by its own insurance company. Yet also on trial will be Japan’s business culture—and what constitutes trust in the world of finance.
In the West, that culture is increasingly one of implicit mistrust. Deals require armies of lawyers and thick paper trails to give parties confidence, in spite of the time and money that such work entails. In Japan, by contrast, companies—some dating back centuries—regularly deal with long-standing partners; reputational concerns, rather than strictly legal ones, are paramount. Business disputes rarely go to trial. The number of corporate lawyers is extremely low compared with other financial centres, and frauds by one party against another are exceedingly rare.
So when Lehman met Marubeni employees at the trading house’s offices, there was no reason to suspect anything was amiss. Many consider such a culture to be very beneficial to Japan. Yet the closer that Japan’s financial practices are to global standards, the more the informal ties of trust will be replaced with formal legal ones. Something will be gained, but something will be lost as well.

Global renaissance of Trust in full swing: Stephen to speak in 13 global cities

April 20th, 2008 by link

As Jerry Roper CEO of the Chicago Chamber of commerce said last year:  ”The Speed of Trust is not a book it is a movement.”  We hope so.  Stephen and I are thrilled at the tremendous reception The Speed of Trust is receiving from all corners of the Globe.   We are convinced and passionate about the prospects of sparking a Global Renaissance of Trust.  Momentum is building,  keep telling your friends.  Be an advocate of Trust.

Stephen speaks in these 13 Global Cities in the next few weeks:

In Australasia:

  • Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, May 19, 2008
  • Auckland, New Zealand, Tuesday, May 20, 2008
  • Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, May 21, 2008
  • Sydney, Australia, Thursday, May 22, 2008
  • Singapore, Monday, May 26, 2008
  • Hong Kong, Wednesday, May 28, 2008
  • Shanghai, China, Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Europe:

  • Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  • Luxembourg/Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday, June 18, 2008
  • Birmingham, UK, Thursday, June 19, 2008
  • The Netherlands, Friday, June 20, 2008

In South America:

  • Puerto Rico, Wednesday, April 30, 2008
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Speed of Trust continues to sell strongly in the USA, remaining on the New York Times’ list for the last 12 weeks.  The Speed of Trust was #12 of all books in USA Today on February 14th and #1 in The Wall Street Journal business books on February 15th.  It is #13 on the New York Times’ list for this Sunday. It was also the #1 best-selling book for the entire year of 2007 by CEO-Read. 

Stephen offers 8 Trust Tips to Recession-Proof Your Career

April 16th, 2008 by link

As speculation continues on whether or not we’ve entered a recession, the fact remains that March marked 80,000 U.S. jobs lost—the worst monthly drop in 5 years, raising the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent. Analysts say the bloodletting will continue at unprecedented rates as the economy continues to trend down. Meanwhile, workers sit huddled in their cubes wondering who will be next. Rather than fear the unknown, learn how to be the employee that is too valuable to layoff with 8 Tips that will give you the edge when the axe starts to fall.

It’s no secret that the best opportunities, promotions, and assignments go to the team members who can be trusted to get the job done. These are often the same people who get to stick around when the going gets tough. The fastest way to increase trust—and therefore your value to the company—is to demonstrate behaviors of character and competence. A basic understanding of these behaviors will help make your organization more profitable, you more promotable, and your relationships more energizing:

1)       Talk Straight & Create Transparency—Tell the truth in a way people can verify and leave the right impression. Err on the side of disclosure—no hidden agendas. The more people trust you, the faster you can work (think less red-tape). Counterfeits such as beating around the bush, withholding information, flattery, and spinning actually damage trust and effectiveness.

2)       Demonstrate Respect & Show Loyalty—Behave in ways that show fundamental respect for people. Exhibit caring and concern. Give credit where credit is due and speak about people as though they were present. Counterfeits—like faking respect or concern or, worse yet, showing respect for some (those who can help you), but not for all (those who can’t)—diminish trust quickly.

3)       Right Wrongs—Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Demonstrate personal humility, and don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing. Don’t rationalize, deny, or justify wrongs, and never cover things up!

4)       Deliver Results & Practice Accountability—If you need to build trust fast, deliver results. Results give you instant credibility and instant trust, demonstrating that you add value; that you can contribute and perform. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver, and don’t make excuses for not delivering. Take responsibility for the results and hold yourself accountable.

5)       Get Better—Continuously improve. Take feedback for the learning opportunity it is and increase your capabilities. When people see you as a learning, growing person, they develop confidence in your ability to succeed in a rapidly changing environment, enabling you to build high-trust relationships and move with incredible speed. (Efficiency costs the company less—improving their bottom line and your skill set.)

6)       Confront Reality & Clarify Expectations—Lead out courageously in conversation and take the tough issues head-on. Then clarify expectations by creating a shared agreement about what is to be done up front. Pin down the specifics (results, deadlines, or dollars and cents).

7)       Listen First—Really listen (genuinely seek to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, experience, and point of view), and do it first (before you try to diagnose, influence, or prescribe). Listening first and speaking last helps you make better decisions, directly impacting the positive track record you’re building.

8)       Make and Keep Commitments—Say what you’re going to do, then do it. Keeping commitments is the quickest way to build trust in any relationship. Its opposite—to break commitments or violate promises—is, without question, the quickest way to destroy trust. Be careful with the commitments you make. Be sure you can deliver, and then do.

Trust is free and priceless. Once established, trust increases speed and reduces cost in all relationships and transactions, making you more productive and your employer happy. If you practice these behaviors, you will become more effective. You will save yourself—and your company—time and money. Most importantly, you will reap the rewards of being the employee that is so valuable—so trusted—that the company cannot afford to lose you.


Speed of Trust workshop in Washington DC May 7th

April 14th, 2008 by link

Trust is the key to collaboration.  Warwick Business School in the UK found that “outsourcing contracts that are managed based on trust rather than stringent agreements and penalties are more likely to lead to trust dividends for both parties – as much as 40% of the value of a contract”.  

Leading at the Speed of Trust in Washington D.C.

May 7 & 8, 2008 (with Train-the-Trainer May 9th)

First time on the East Coast and only time this year!

Speed of Trust #5 on Canada’s Financial Times bestseller list

March 30th, 2008 by link

The Speed of Trust continues to gain momentum around the world in our quest to be a catalyst for a global renaissance of Trust.  It was #5 on Canada’s respected Financial Times’ bestseller list over Easter weekend. 

When the going gets tough, projects, money, and jobs gravitate to trusted high performers.  The Speed of Trust teaches 13 behaviors common to high trust people and leaders throughout the world.  The last to be laid-off or outsourced are those “go to” performers that are trusted.  

As Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and Editor-in-Chief of WIRED magazine, stated in his interview with Stephen M. R. Covey on The Speed of Trust: “Money was the currency of the old economy; Trust is the currency of the new, global economy.” Stephen M. R. Covey is fast becoming the global CEO of Trust. Stephen will be speaking in Singapore, Hong Kong, and several other Asian cities in late May.

Fortune Great Places to work confirms Trust

March 10th, 2008 by link

Fortune Magazine’s 2007 100 Best Places to Work found “…that trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.” This is based on the major findings of 20 years of research according to their research partner. 


Three of the five criteria for Fortune’s annual best workplaces top 100 are based on trust and the other two are strongly correlated to trust.

Stephen Covey Greg Link

About CoveyLink

Stephen M. R. Covey and Greg  Link are co-founders of CoveyLink & The Global Speed of Trust Practice with worldwide license partner FranklinCovey. We advise and train leading organizations, government agencies and educational entities to transform toxic relationships, toxic teams and toxic cultures to high trust, high performance, fully engaged growth engines.  We have presented keynotes is over 40 countries around the world based on our  New York Times and Wall Street Journal #1 bestseller, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything and our new, already #1 book, Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy and Joy in a low Trust World.



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