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

Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

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.”

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.

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.

War in the Boardroom

Friday, March 27th, 2009

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

Link and Covey learn to use their laptops.

Friday, October 17th, 2008


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

Do you trust your boss?

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

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

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.

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…)

Meet Stephen in Chicago June 22

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

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

60th Annual International Conference

June 22-25, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois

Preview our new Speed of Trust DVDs, 

and meet Stephen at booth # 5320.

Trust is a Competency: Chief Learning Officer Magazine

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…)

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?

#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. 


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.”

Your Need for SPEED

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

New Year; No Time.  No time to even evaluate the head-spinning number of offers for advice on how to manage your time in 2007.

Why just manage your time when you can lead your life?  The small incremental gains of efficiency in traditional time management pale in comparison to the problem of our lack of bandwidth to handle the increasing volume of input in our lives.  Technology’s promise of more time is more than offset by the astronomical increase in the volume of input from email and text messages, let alone our 24/7 access by cell phone.

You need SPEED!  You need a quantum leap in time savings of hours and days, not just minutes.

TRUST offers this magical momentum.  We call it the SPEED of TRUST™.  We contend that nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.  Consider this: we are moving into larger offices—a daunting task on top of the demands of a fast start to a new year. To make matters worse, this move required a new phone system well beyond the sophistication of the one we quickly selected off-the-shelf at our local Office Max in the beginning.  This is a complex issue.  Enterprise level phone systems are computerized and intricate.  Comparing all the options and discerning which recommendations to follow was nausea inducing.  Enter TRUST.  Through a trusted friend, we were referred to his trusted phone expert with a strong vote of confidence from our friend, based on his direct experience of this guy’s track record.  Five to 10 days saved.

It gets better.  We also needed another business development associate—another mind-numbing time drain.  Recruiting top-level talent in a fully employed market is extremely difficult and can take weeks of searching and interviewing.  With just a few calls to a few trusted colleagues, we found an extraordinary candidate.  Four to eight weeks saved.

For the sake of speed, we will resist sharing the several other examples associated with just this single event, let alone myriad of examples in other dimensions of our business. Wait, can’t resist, one last standout example for you to consider:  customer referrals.  How much time and money do you invest in searching for ideal new customers?  Think how much time and money a direct referral from a trusted friend or customer is worth to you.

As old Ben Franklin said, “Time is money.”  Multiply a few personal examples of the time you have saved last year from the speed of trust by your annual income.  If you own a business or lead someone else’s, plug in a number and multiply it by your organization’s annual payroll.  SPEED pays.

The SPEED of TRUST™ is a quantum leap timesaver.  It keeps the magic of momentum on your side.  Another dimension of the speed of trust for a future discussion is the leverage of entrusting others to take on some of your tasks.  This concept of the highest-and-best-use has the potential to optimize both your time and your life.

One last reality check. Yes, we do know traditional time management and technology are also very important and amplify your speed.  We do practice state-of-the-art time management AND use world-class technology.  However, they are secondary drivers of the momentum and growth of our business.  Trust produces exponentially more momentum and speed where it counts—for our business and for our clients’ businesses.

This year, live life like you mean it—expand your circle of influence and harvest the SPEED of TRUST™.


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.”

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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