Photo Credit Willie Holdman

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

Archive for the ‘Relationship Trust–Behavior’ Category

8 Habits of Highly Effective Google Managers

Friday, March 11th, 2011

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.

Gladwell draws brilliant distinction on trust in social media

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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

Monday, January 10th, 2011

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).

The Ripple Effect

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

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.

You see it differently that’s good!

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

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.

Feared Thing First

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

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

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

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.

Transformation vs. Change

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

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

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

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.

Will President Elect Obama earn trust?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

(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.” (more…)

Fatal Flaw in Facebook, Linked in and other Social Networks

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

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.

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

Monday, September 29th, 2008 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. 

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

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

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: (more…)

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

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

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.

#1 reason to lose Talent

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

91% of work groups are “taxed” by low trust without knowing it—how about yours?


Low trust can rob your team of results and personally cost you a promotion.  As a boss, it can cost you talent.  The number one reason for talent quitting is low trust in their relationship with their immediate supervisor. 

The Oklahoman newspaper recently asked Stephen, “What makes one company successful while another company flounders?”  “Why are some employees rock stars while others become disgruntled and irrelevant?”  And, why does William G. Parrett, CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, state, “The SPEED of Trust is red-hot relevant”?  

High trust companies outperform their low trust competitors by 286% according to Watson Wyatt research. 


Confront Reality

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

One high trust behavior worth mastering is the career critical behavior of confronting reality and bringing bad news to your boss fast so he or she does not get blindsided.  Bosses do not like surprises and certainly do not want to be caught off guard by their boss if they find out first.  Bad news does not age well.  Stuff happens.  Your credibility will go up, not down, if you develop a track record of straight talk, confronting reality and taking responsibility quickly. Not raising the red flag may seem like the safe thing to do–laying low and hoping that someone else blows the whistle–but it is not.  Playing chicken with important information and not being quick to confront reality is not good for your credibility and thus your career.

Two decades ago I promised myself I would come to work everyday willing to be fired. Talking straight and confronting reality has proven to significantly increase my credibility with influencers and was directly responsible for several promotions and key assignments–well worth the perceived risk.

Now after years as the boss this behavior is one of the key traits I value in work associates and a powerful source of 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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