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 ‘Organizational Trust–Alignment’ Category

Rare new book: Touchpoints

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

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

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

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.

Kellogg Financial Trust Index

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

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

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

The Kellogg Financial Trust Index called trust:

The Missing Link 

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

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

Radical Transparency

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

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

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

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

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

Want Change? Start with Trust

Monday, January 5th, 2009

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

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

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

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

Do you trust your boss?

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.

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…)

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

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

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

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


Japanese finance

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

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

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

Fortune Great Places to work confirms Trust

Monday, March 10th, 2008

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


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

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.”

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.

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.” 

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.”

Trust: the one thing that changes everything

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

“The one thing that can change everything in our personal and professional lives in 2007 is—trust,” states Stephen M. R. Covey, author of THE SPEED OF TRUST, which is already in its 5th printing less than three months after publication.  Covey asserts that the ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders—customers, business partners, investors, and co-workers—is the key leadership skill of the new, global economy. This is an assertion he is qualified to make after growing his father’s, Dr. Stephen R. Covey, leadership center into a global enterprise operating in 40 countries and the largest leadership development firm in the world.


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.



The Speed of Trust
Purchase at Amazon Purchase at Barnes & Noble
What we are reading