Warren Bennis, bestselling author of On Becoming a Leader, had this to say about Stephen M. R. Covey’s new book (fall 2006) entitled The SPEED of Trust: “Covey’s book underscores the single most important factor-the substrate-that will determine the success (or failure) of any organization in the 21st Century: TRUST. This is a powerful read: brave, imaginative, amazingly prescient and backed up by empirical and analytical heft. A must read for anyone in a position of responsibility, from a support group to a global corporation.”
Intelligently Brief Insights™ on The Speed of Trust posted occasionally from the wild wild west of North America.
Archive for November, 2006
What a world we live in. This is an extraordinary time to be alive and to look forward to the opportunities and challenges that face us in the next few years.
We just returned from Asia where we each addressed a large Japanese entrepreneurial conference near Tokyo. We were struck by the intensity of the participants’ attention and the quantity and quality of their questions. The number one question was, “How do you select a partner?” Participants wanted to know how to identify people who could be trusted as partners, team members, and/or employees. Great question—a globally relevant question. No matter what enterprise you are engaged in, selecting trusted players is more mission critical than ever. Recruiting is now further complicated by geography as more and more enterprises and teams are made up of people from various countries. We believe selection is more important than training. Said another way—talent trumps training.
We suggest that talent is really the results side of trust. You are known for your track record of results. More discriminating observers also note the way in which you achieve your results. Did you perform with integrity to agreed upon values? Did you achieve the results in a way that builds your reputation as a trusted performer in the future? Both your results and your methods form your reputation with others. While it is very difficult to teach the values and ethics side of trust, the good news is, with the right selection of talent, the distinction of trusted behavior and high performance leadership can be taught. Selecting trusted performers—“getting the right people on the bus,” as Jim Collins says in Good to Great—is just the first step.
Jack Welch was asked, “What is trust?” He answered, “I could give you a dictionary definition, but you know it when you feel it. Trust happens when leaders are transparent, candid, and keep their word. It’s that simple.” We could not agree more. You can feel and discern trust. It is palpable.
There is an expanding global war of talent. Competition for roles with the most exciting teams and the most important projects is intensifying. Building your reputation as a trusted high-performer is more important than ever. This is a fact not lost on our friends in Japan. We saw group after group of teenagers riding the subway after school on the way to “Cram School.” This is an extra curricular effort attended by the majority of Japanese teens to prepare for college entrance exams.
This new, global economy is pushing and probing our very paradigms, perspectives, and expectations. We truly must watch our assumptions.
A brief mention of a recent paradigm buster we encountered. Everyone is speaking of China as a future competitive threat on the global marketplace. Enter Kenichi Ohmae’s latest book, The Next Global Stage. If you don’t know Kenichi, the short form of his vitae is that he lept on to the global stage over two decades ago as he led Japanese and Asian operations for McKinsey & Company. He has since written over 100 books. We digress; his latest book pushed our paradigms about China’s role in the new economy in the next few years to the point that it deserves its own future Intelligently Brief Insight™. For now, in the spirit of brevity, one closing excerpt:
“The city of Dalian is situated near the southeastern tip of the Liaodong peninsula that hangs down from the coast of northeast China, the region formerly known as Manchuria. But in the last decade, the city has changed from being a sleepy port into one of China’s most important and dynamic industrial centers, with a population surpassing 5 million. …In the person of Mayor Bo Xilai, Dalian possessed an extraordinary local ruler. …Bo redefined the job description of a typical Chinese city major. No longer content with managing sewage and housing, he became his city’s chief architect and marketing officer, establishing close links with the cream of Japanese industry and business. …Helped by the charismatic Bo, Dalian, along with over a dozen other regions in China, has become a de facto regional state, setting its own economic agenda. While still part of China and, in theory, subject to the rule of Beijing, it is largely autonomous. The reality is that its ties with Beijing are weaker than those with business centers throughout the world.”
So, what’s our point? Consider this, a little over a decade ago, China surprisingly had no cities over 5 million in population and only 20 cities with between 1 million and 5 million people. As of 2001, there were six cities over 5 million and a paradigm-probing 160 cities between 1 million and 5 million. You do the math. Global competition is entering a new era.
The rest of the story of Bo Xilai, Dalian’s mayor? In early 2004, he was named the Minister of Commerce for the whole People’s Republic of China at the age of 53. Apparently, his pragmatic results and strong character combined fostered trust in him in Beijing.
You can get this recently published book at bookstores now, and we suggest you read it fast.