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 ‘Influence’ Category

Reading great new book by Stedman Graham

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

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

Friday, February 17th, 2012

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

Friday, January 27th, 2012

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.

Trust Across America Names 2012 Thought Leaders

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012


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

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

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

Monday, January 9th, 2012

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.”

Let’s make 2012 our best year yet!

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

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.


Smart Trust Book to be published January 2012

Friday, May 27th, 2011

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.

Pray for Japan

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

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

Trust Each Other. Vancouver Sun

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

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

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.

Speed of Trust USA Today Bestseller

Monday, November 8th, 2010

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

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

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.

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.

What’s next for Oprah

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

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.

Correction Dr. Covey!

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

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.

Did you Know? Paradigm shifting YouTube

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

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

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!

Twitter’s Speed of Trust ripple of influence

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

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.

Trust Trumps Fear

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

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?

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

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“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

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

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?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

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?

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

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

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

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

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

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.”  

Speed of Trust in Huffington Post

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

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

President elect Obama emphasizes trust on 60 Minutes

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

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?

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…)

Klaus Schwab Chairman of The World Economic Forum

Friday, October 24th, 2008

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!” 


CNN:British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today on Trust

Monday, October 13th, 2008

“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

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 Steve Jobs of China: Yang Yuanqing

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

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

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. 

World Economic Forum, Tianjin, China

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

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. 

Covey Interviewed by CNBC China

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

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

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

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

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

“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.

Covey returns to China to Speak in Global Forum

Friday, August 8th, 2008

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.


Shout out for Speed of Trust in Huffington Post

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

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.”

Stephen interviewed by Forbes

Monday, June 16th, 2008

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.

Trust is a Competency: Chief Learning Officer Magazine

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

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:   (more…)

WSJ names top 20 Influential Business Thinkers

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

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.

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

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

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. 

Training Announces Top 125 for 2007

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Training Magazine announced today the top 125 organizations that invested the most in corporate training initiatives this year. Organizations were measured on quantitative (75 percent to total score) and qualitative (25 percent to total score) data. Criteria included: number of corporate trainers, level of employee retention, Training focused on business strategy, revenue spent on training, number of trainers certified in new 3rd party content, existence of a formal corporate university, % of payroll spent on training, leadership development, tuition assistance for employees and several other factors.  
Training magazine used an independent statistical company to process and score the data.

Many of the top 125 are the usual suspects like Aetna, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, IBM, Marriott, Baptist Health Care, Verizon and others are more surprising like US Naval Undersea Warfare Center and 1-800 Flowers.  Did your organization qualify?

Stephen speaks to Chicago Business Leaders

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Response to Covey’s recent remarks to ChicagoLand Business Leaders:

“The Speed of Trust is not a topic, it is a movement — one that I encourage all Chicago businesses to engage in.”

–Jerry Roper, President & CEO, ChicagoLand Chamber of Commerce


“Trust is not only the right thing to do, it is the economic thing to do!”

Friday, September 7th, 2007

The reaction to our plea for a global renaissance of Trust is building momentum thanks to many influencers and early adopters that resonate with this important topic.   Here’s a couple of examples of what Stephen has been up to:

“TRUST is a shamefully elusive quality in business, leading organizations to make poor decisions, go to market more slowly, and waste time and effort in unproductive pursuits…  Stephen M. R. Covey says the secret of speed to market, loyalty, responsiveness, and a high-functioning—even remarkable—organization may be the most elementary (but all to often absent) component of effective human relationships: TRUST.”

AssociationsNow, July 2007 – Newton Holt

On August 14th Stephen M. R. Covey presented his new book and keynote The Speed of Trust to the attendees of the ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Chicago. Stephen says, “Associations have an opportunity to be a trusted resource, a trusted advisor, and liaison…  Associations can literally help to elevate the behavior of an entire industry, trade, or profession. Getting results in a way that inspires trust is not only the right thing to do, but is the economic thing to do . . . and that is good business for us all.”


This compelling message is resonating with business and association audiences every week as my road warrior business travels the globe delivering what William Parrett, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, calls a “red-hot relevant” message.

 “What makes one company or organization successful while another flounders? Why are some employees rock stars while others become disgruntled and irrelevant? There are many reasons of course, but, according to author and business strategist, Stephen M. R. Covey, a single distinction often makes the difference: TRUST.”

Oklahoman, July 2007 – Penny Cockrell


iPhone is awesome, Steve Jobs Rocks!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Our new iPhone

Stephen M. R. Covey in June CEO Magazine

Thursday, June 7th, 2007


June 2007

Chief Exeuctive Magazine this month has an article entitled The Business Case for Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey

Almost everywhere we turn, trust is on the decline. We find low trust in our society at large, in our institutions and in our companies. Research shows that only 51 percent of employees trust senior management, and only 28 percent believe CEOs are a credible source of information. This compels us to ask two questions. First, is there a measurable cost to low trust? Second, is there a tangible benefit to high trust?

Few argue with the notion of trust.

Everybody is in favor of it and nobody is against it. But at the end of the day, many CEOs don’t really believe that internal organizational trust is directly connected to their company’s bottom line. Instead, they believe that trust is merely a soft, nice-to-have, “social virtue.”

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations quotes Stephen M. R.

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

In late April Stephen spoke to the executive team of the U.S. Navy led by Mike Mullen Chief of Naval Operations which included all U.S. Navy Admirals and Senior Leaders at their annual leadership conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

In a current article entitled “Sailors building trust, one person at a time” published in The Hill, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, had this to say about trust, Stephen M. R. Covey, and military service on this past Memorial Day:

 “In the Navy, it’s a big part of who we are.  It’s what we do. Trust is what we offered our friends and allies in the Arabian Gulf when we sent a second aircraft carrier there…  Trust is what we share when we tell our brothers and sisters in the Army and Marine Corps that we are going to pitch-in and help them out on the ground, and then we do it…  Trust is a Corpsman racing to a fallen comrade…  Trust is the engine that literally runs the global maritime partnerships of the ‘1,000-ship Navy’…  As Stephen M. R. Covey put it in his new book, The Speed of Trust, ‘When you build trust with one, you build trust with many.’… That’s exactly what your Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen are out there doing every day on your behalf… On this Memorial Day, as we pause to remember those who sacrificed their lives for this country.  I hope we also pause to remember the sacrifices our service members are making as they build trust with millions of people around the world, one person at a time.”

We are honored to have these fine people join us in our attempt to spark a global renaissance of Trust.

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.

After Virginia Tech, How Can We Trust?

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

After Virginia Tech, How Can We Trust?

Once again, fear has been incited by an act of terrorism – now what? How can we recover and extend trust again?  Who can we trust with our children, our friends, and our own lives? Again, our societal trust is compromised as headlines read:

  • Witnesses Paint a Grizzly Picture
  • Struggling to Find Order
  • Asia Fears Backlash
  • 32 Reasons to Question Freedom
  • Legislative Remedies – Gun Bans
  • How Safe are Local Campuses

In contrast, Wednesday, April 18, 2007, the USA Today Headlines read, “Gen Y shaped, not stopped, by tragedy.” In this compelling piece, Frank Harrison, student body president at the University of South Florida in Tampa, remarks about his generation’s experience of shared tragedy, “It shocked us into a sense of community. It’s not a sense of fear—‘Are we next?’ ‘Could it happen here?’ It’s more a sense of urgency that we have to stay together.” Stephen had this to say, “This generation has recovered from numerous national tragedies; the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine, September 11th, the Space Shuttle disaster, Hurricane Katrina, and now Virginia Tech. They will recover from this one and inspire others with their example of resilience and trust in a free society ”

Stephen suggests: “Trust is an integral part of the very fabric of our society. We depend on it; we take it for granted – until it becomes polluted or destroyed. Then we come to the stark realization that trust may well be as vital to our own wellbeing as it is to society as a whole. Without trust, society closes down and will ultimately self-destruct. As Thomas Friedman contends in his bestselling book, The World is Flat, trust is essential to a flat or open society.  As he puts it: ‘Without trust, there is no open society, because there are not enough police to patrol every opening in an open society. Without trust, there can also be no flat world, because it is trust that allows us to take down walls, remove barriers, and eliminate friction at borders. Trust is essential for a flat world…’”

Lastly, he asks, “What if we fear that the simple act of getting out of our car at a gas station might put us in the scope of a deadly sniper, as was the case a few years ago in Washington DC?  The thought that trust cannot be restored is a common myth, but it is just that—a myth.  Trust can be restored.”

Speed of Trust: hot new Keynote

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Stephen’s hot new book and keynote, The Speed of Trust, continues to inspire association audiences and fuel requests for his call for a global renaissance of trust.

 He is in demand worldwide with associations from all sectors including:

-American Dental Association 2007 National conference,

-The Institute of Internal Auditors National conference,

-The Information Technology and Internal Auditors National conference,

-The ASAE & The Center CEO Thought Leaders Conference,

-The Software and Information Industry Association National conference, and

-Several Healthcare Associations in the U.S. and Canada.

Many others are embracing his fresh and relevant message. Global demand is growing.  In March this year, he keynoted leadership conferences in Asia and Europe and is headlining conferences in London in June, India in July, and China in September.

 Why the significant demand by associations? Hugh K. Lee, President of Fusion productions and host with Disney Institute of the Digital NOW conference this month, had this to say when asked why he invited Covey to keynote his conference: “New global networks, new ways of doing business, and new ways of gaining knowledge have placed a premium value and penalty on the presence or lack of trust.   Nowhere in our society is it more critical to gain and maintain trust than in our associations. Every sector of our economy, every profession that we are employed in, and the vast majority of knowledge, research, standards, and guidelines that we live by are produced by associations today. That’s why we chose to have Steven M. R. Covey speak at DigitalNow; it is essential that we all understand the impact of trust and make it a priority. Mr. Covey’s research and knowledge are critical to achieving this goal.”

William Parrett, CEO of Deloite Touch Tomatsu, sure was prophetic when he called The Speed of Trust “red-hot relevant” last year. 

The SPEED of Trust is a paradigm-shifting topic that challenges our age-old assumptions that trust is merely a soft, social virtue and instead demonstrates that trust is a hard-edged economic driver—a learnable and measurable skill that makes organizations more profitable, people more promotable, and relationships more energizing.

The Speed of Trust was selected by Business Week as one of the 5 top career books for 2006 and is already in its 6th printing in the US and is being translated into all major languages around the world.   

Lastly, Elliott Masie, CEO of The Learning CONSORTIUM, describes why he had Covey keynote his 2006 annual event:   “In a ‘flatter’ world, trust is the ‘secret sauce’ that significantly enhances learning, relationships, and results. Covey’s breakthrough insight that trust is a competency is both revolutionary and immediately practical.  CEOs and Chief Learning Officers will embrace The Speed of Trust as an authentic and actionable strategy–a roadmap–for increasing the effectiveness of their organizations and leaders.” 

Speed of Trust Radio Podcast Hits #77 on iTunes

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

SPEED OF TRUST Radio interviews by Stephen M. R. Covey rose to the top 100 downloads on Apple’s iTunes podcasts this week.  SPEED OF TRUST Radio is a joint venture between the Affiliate Nanocasting Network (ANN) and CoveyLink Worldwide.  Of this success, Stephen said, “I am thrilled that the Speed of Trust is striking such a chord in the digital world.  Clearly, as Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, stated in my interview with him, ‘Money was the currency of the old economy; TRUST is the currency of the new global economy.’  I couldn’t agree more.”

Michigan loves The Speed of Trust

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Grand Rapids kicked off the new year last week with their 119th Annual meeting and The Speed of Trust.

Jeanne Englehart, President of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, shared this reaction to The Speed of Trust:  “Stephen M.R. Covey recently delivered the keynote address to 1,000 business and community leaders at our 119th Annual Meeting of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce… Stephen’s message — trust is an economic imperative — really hit home with the audience… His presentation came alive with real-world examples our audience could relate to. Interest in the topic was high — as we sold out two weeks prior to the event and had to move to a larger venue!… The Speed of Trust presentation is relevant to each and every business owner, board member, leader, and employee. Anyone who cares about growing their business, empowering their people, or saving time and money walked away with ideas and behaviors they could immediately put into action.”

Reaction to Covey in Colorado

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Stephen spoke to several hundred business people in Colorado last week  in anticipation of the the long awaited publication of The Speed of Trust.  The reaction?

Gaye Stockman, President & CEO of the Loveland Colorado Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, had this to say: “Covey’s The Speed of Trust presentation was an amazing event for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Not only did we have a wonderful turnout of approximately 500 business professionals in Northern Colorado, but the support from sponsors leading up to the event was awesome. Rarely are we able to put together a presentation and have it become self-sustaining within such a short period of time. We managed to do it all within three weeks. Now that says something – not only for The Speed of Trust but about the public’s readiness to hear this message. Thank you for helping us spread this powerful message throughout our business community. We continue to hear from our members how great Mr. Covey’s presentation was.” 

I suggest that the speed of trust in this case was the trust the community had in Gaye and her team.

Tribute to a legend: Chairman Peter

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

One of the world’s great business minds graduated last week.  With honors! It is with great respect and even awe that we acknowledge the passing of revered business authority Peter F. Drucker last Friday, November 12th, a few days shy of his 96th birthday.

With 39 books written over 75 years, Chairman Peter (as he was affectionately called) was, in our estimation, the most influential business thinker and writer of the 20th Century.  He has influenced our thinking as well of the thinking of the most respected business authorities of our day including Jack Welch, Jim Collins, Stephen R. Covey, Ken Blanchard, Warren Bennis and countless others we are not personally aware of.

Early last year, in an interview with Forbes magazine, Mr. Drucker was asked if there was anything in his long career that he wished he had done but had not been able to do.

“Yes, quite a few things,” he said. “There are many books I could have written that are better than the ones I actually wrote. My best book would have been “Managing Ignorance,” and I’m very sorry I didn’t write it.”  We wish he’d gotten to that one too.

Mr. Drucker consulted business leaders and non-profit leaders well into his 90’s leaving the legacy of staying productive and contributing throughout one’s life.  He strongly believed and taught that people were assets, not costs and thus shifted the thinking of several generations of business leaders.  He extended pro-bono to non-profits, again modeling high ground behavior for other business leaders. He encouraged business leaders to give back to the community by developing a parallel career in  non-profit organizations.

Chairman Peter’s words continue to echo through the halls:

“Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two – and only two – functions: Marketing and Innovation. Marketing and Innovation produce results. All the rest are costs.”

“The number one difference between a Nobel prize winner and others is not IQ or work ethic, but that they ask bigger questions” 

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

“One either meets or one works.”

“The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction and malperformance.”

“Stock option plans reward the executive for doing the wrong thing. Instead of asking, ‘Are we making the right decision?’ he asks, ‘How did we close today?’ It is encouragement to loot the corporation.”

Jack Welch attributed a simple question by Drucker for one of Welch’s most profound insights. In Jack’s words, “Drucker said: ‘If you weren’t already in this business, would you enter it today? And if not, what are you going to do about it? ‘Simple, right? But incredibly powerful’.”

Drucker’s simple question ultimately led to Welch’s operating maxim that if a GE unit could not be No. 1 or No. 2 in its field, it should be sold.

“Peter could look around corners,” philanthropist Eli Broad, who knew Drucker for 30 years, told the LA Times, Friday. “He would say things that seemed rather simple but in fact were very profound. He saw the future.”

In the foreword to one of Drucker’s last books Jim Collins wrote: “Drucker liked to tell the story of a Greek sculptor from 500 BC who was commissioned by the city of Athens to construct a set of statues to ring the top of a building.  The sculptor toiled for months longer than expected, making the backs of the statues as beautiful as the fronts.  The city commissioners, angered by this extra work, asked:  ‘Why did you make the backs of the statues as beautiful as the front?  No one will ever see the backs!’  ‘Ah but the Gods can see them,’ replied the sculptor.”

In essence this brief story lends insight into how Peter chose to live his life.  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 and experience.

We are confident Peter Drucker will continue his influence beyond this world. It’s certain his influence will continue to touch ours. Bravo Peter. Way to finish strong! 

“Aude aliquid dignum” (16th century Latin: “Dare something worthy”)

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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