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 ‘Speed of Trust’ Category

Radio Interview on Smart Trust

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

 Trust Across America’s Jordan Kimmel interviewed me today on their show on Voice America Radio.  Jordan is a leading expert on quantifying corporate trustworthiness of public companies and is an engaging interviewer.  We discussed our  new book Smart Trust Here are links if you would like to listen: Part 1 and Part 2 

They also announced today their prestigious 2012 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior list that Stephen M. R. Covey and I are honored to be included on for the second year in a row.


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.

You see it differently that’s good!

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I just had an interesting interchange with one of my associates who was shocked that I was not offended by her expression of an opinion that was the polar opposite of mine.  I was shocked that she did not realize that it was safe and healthy to respectfully express your true perspective with out sugar coating it.  A difference of opinion can be a great starting point for growing trust NOT the end of it.  Respectful straight talk confronting a different perspective adds to trust while walking on eggshells and concealing your true feelings while purporting to have a candid discussion is a counterfeit behavior that actually destroys trust.  Hidden agendas undermine authentic communication.  Listening to the opposing opinions with the intent to understand and empathize builds trust.  Remember empathy is not sympathy or agreement–simply understanding their perspective.  Test this from you own experience.  You trust people that authentically express their true opinions more than those that hide them and tell you what they think you want to hear. Your greatest high trust relationships are based on open communication.  It’s good to work with those that see things differently as that fuels innovation and invention.

Tough Times Test our Propensity to Trust

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Are you more suspicious?  Who can you count on?

We all are sitting straight up right now and have a high level of suspicion of others especially as it comes to our money.  I was just listening to Tom Brokaw’s commencement address to Emory University from 2005.  He said this about money to these graduating seniors as they started their new life: “In this new life you will also have to think about money in a new way, life after all is not an ATM, now you have to earn the money.  Think about how you can hang on to some of it, and if you are fortunate, use the money that is beyond what you need, to save a life, to save a neighborhood, to save the world. You may be surprised to learn that it is that use of money, that is the most satisfying and gratifying.  In our family where we began with no money, we like to say that we have  discovered that God invented money so those that have it can help others.  More over while money helps, it is discounted somehow if it does not carry your full personal value and commitment.  A few years ago in a ceremony similar to this one, I declared: ‘it is easy to make a buck but it is tough to make a difference.’  A father of one of the graduates, a Wall Street success wrote to me suggesting a rewrite of that line, he said it’s tough to make a buck but if you make a lot of bucks you can make a hell of a difference. A or B because there is no wrong answer.” Tom went on to tell this, “Class of 9/11″ as he called them (because they entered college the month of 9/11) that they had a responsibility to rise to the occasion to right the global ship of state.

Now is the time to have a propensity to trust each other and risk again.  Now is the time to give to others and have an abundance mentality, when everything in us and around us, screams for us to have a fear based scarcity mentality.  Now is the time to use our time, not for worry, but for lifting others with our time and our treasure as history tells us we have again and again. Trust that the ripple effect of extending trust will create a tide that will raise all of us–again.

This brings to mind a quote from George Bernard Shaw that my wife Annie and I love so much.  We first heard it from Werner Erhard in the 70′s and Annie shared it with Stephen R. Covey who quoted it in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It sums up my feeling today as it has these last three decades.  We invite you to join us in sparking a global renaissance of trust.

George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy in life–that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.  That being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.  I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it what ever I can.  I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.  For the harder I work the more I live.  I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no brief candle to me. It’s sort of a splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

May we all be a force of nature.

Feared Thing First

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Fear and uncertainty can freeze and immobilize even the strong.  Confronting your resistance by taking on your “feared thing first” everyday is the secret to navigating perilous times.  This habit has allowed me to regain my sense of purpose for 2009.

We all can take advantage of the current economic uncertainty by contacting our most important stakeholders and looking for opportunities to grow our trust account with them.  Many people are frozen and afraid to call their customers and other key stakeholders for fear of hearing bad news.  Guess what? The bad news is there whether or not you hear it.  Much better to confront reality and give your customer a listening outlet to discuss challenges and feel understood than to abandon the relationship during difficult times. Now is the time to over communicate with your customers and other key stakeholders. Give them someone they can trust by behaving in ways that inspire trust.

Regain your momentum by doubling your contacts.  Call the ones you are afraid to call first.  Ask for business.  Ask for referrals.  Ask for favors.  They are as afraid and starved for meaningful dialog as you are. Go for it.  Then have the courage and monomaniacal discipline to follow up relentlessly.  Don’t take non responsiveness personally.  Others are frozen and need your consistent concern to unthaw them.  Stay with this relentless follow-up and you will be very glad you did.  One of two things will happen: 1. You will have the happy surprise of good news and will grow your business immediately or 2. You will be the first one they think of when things improve, as you were likely one of the very few that communicated with them during tough times. Make doing business at the Speed of Trust your unique competitive advantage this year.  Increase your credibility by doing your “feared thing first.” Everyday.

Economic Uncertainty tests the very core of Self Trust

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Scared and stressed out about the economy?  Start with yourself.

In times of crisis we tend to panic and question everything.  Avoid freezing like a deer in the headlights, and do not wait for some grand strategy from senior management to turn the tide. The organizations and individuals that will thrive in this chaotic market environment know that leadership is a choice, not a position, and will immediately foster hundreds of moments of trust with their customers and other key stakeholders.  These moments of trust will be led by both formal and informal leaders throughout the organization behaving in ways that inspire trust.

I started by checking my trust account with my self. I reflected on my expereince in previous times of stress. I noticed that I have overcome tremendous adversity several times in the past and that I rebounded every time.  We need to keep the faith and know we are resilient and will prevail again by behaving in ways that inspire trust in ourselves and others.

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.

Speed of Trust in Globe and Mail, Canada’s Largest Paper

Monday, April 13th, 2009

The Globe and Mail is considered Canada’s national paper with over 1 million readers.  Stephen was interviewed by Sarah Boesveld last week and his remarks appeared in today’s Globe and Mail in an article entitled Ambiguity Anxiety.   Stephen had this to say about the pressure on trust in the current crisis when managers are secretive: ”They tend to be done without very much openness, without very much transparency – people in rooms all day long behind closed doors. And when they emerge, managers dish out spin and don’t give employees the straight goods,” he says.

Amazon Kindle

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I finally got an Amazon Kindle 2 and must say so far it has exceeded my expectations.  The ability to word search all your books alone is worth the ride.  The Speed of Trust is available in a Kindle version and searching that on the fly has proved very useful.  It holds 1500 books which beats the 500 or so that crowd my office.  You can take notes but it definitely is not as intuitive as a pen and highlighter but I am getting used to it.  It feels miraculous to not carry the 3 to 4 books I usually end up traveling with and you can easily read several at a time as it picks up where you left off so it is simple to read several books simultaneously.  The digital paper is also surprisingly easy to read even in sunlight.  While off, the Kindle displays delightful pencil sketches of authors.  It rotates randomly and one day it displayed the definition of Kindle: light or set fire, arouse or inspire (an emotion or feeling), become impassioned or exited.  I can not yet say that my Kindle has impassioned me but you can say it has re-kindled my goal to meet the challenge that Dr. Stephen R. Covey gave to me years ago: to read a book a week.   Most years I have not hit that goal but I have a couple of years past and I will say that his challenge has dramatically increased the number of books I have read in the last 22 years and that is a HABIT worth having.  Maybe it is The 9th Habit!

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.

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.

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

European Weekly quotes Speed of Trust

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The European Weekly in an article entitled The 2007-2008 crisis – a breakdown of trust? 

By Peter Gakunu,  the IMF Executive Director for Africa, and a member of the Jury of the Robin Cosgrove Prize for Ethics in Finance, called the global financial crisis a breach of the public Trust.

Federal News Radio The Speed of Trust

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Stephen was interviewed for the Federal news radio today.  Covey will join Federal News Radio’s In Depth with Francis Rose for an hour. Joining Rose and Covey will be Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department deputy chief information officer and one of the wisest people … and one of the most avid readers.

The Power of LinkedIn and The Speed of Trust

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Our friend Paul Allen, an internet entreprenuer extraordinaire,  quoted The Speed of Trust in a very interesting explanation of the power of referrals on his blog entitled The Power of LinkedIn and The Speed of Trust. Paul is one of the brightest minds we know and you will enjoy his insights on the potential of social networking from a marketing perspective.

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…)

Speed of Trust Best Seller in Britain

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Take 2 one of England’s leading online booksellers today announced that The Speed of Trust was the #7 Bestselling book in Britain last week!


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!” 


Speed of Trust on CNN

Monday, October 13th, 2008


Mellisa Long & Stephen M. R. Covey

Mellisa Long & Stephen M. R. Covey

Stephen M.R. Covey talks about what role trust plays in business and relationships.  Stephen was interviewed by Mellissa Long on CNN about trust in themarketplace. 



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. 

BBC debates how global financial crisis effects China

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

On the weekend that the U.S. Congress and Senate were debating a financial package Stephen and I attended a BBC televised  debate from the World Economic Forum on the impact that the economic crisis would have on China.  It was fascinating.  The woman pictured was from Taiwan, others were from Mainland China and Western firms.  Consensus was that China has not yet gotten involved in the financial industries like the west.  Their economy is still growing in the more stable and traditional industries of manufacturing, agriculture and real estate. They are also cash rich and actually may benefit by buying Western assets for low prices.  The ultimate threat is lack of demand for their exports if other economies loose buying power.

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.



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.


Speed of Trust still New York Times Best Seller

Monday, August 4th, 2008


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.

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…)

Speed of Trust is # 2 on BusinessWeek Magazine’s bestseller list

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

The Speed of Trust is # 2 on BusinessWeek Magazine’s latest bestseller list and is sweeping global business circles.

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.

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. 

Stephen offers 8 Trust Tips to Recession-Proof Your Career

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

As speculation continues on whether or not we’ve entered a recession, the fact remains that March marked 80,000 U.S. jobs lost—the worst monthly drop in 5 years, raising the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent. Analysts say the bloodletting will continue at unprecedented rates as the economy continues to trend down. Meanwhile, workers sit huddled in their cubes wondering who will be next. Rather than fear the unknown, learn how to be the employee that is too valuable to layoff with 8 Tips that will give you the edge when the axe starts to fall.

It’s no secret that the best opportunities, promotions, and assignments go to the team members who can be trusted to get the job done. These are often the same people who get to stick around when the going gets tough. The fastest way to increase trust—and therefore your value to the company—is to demonstrate behaviors of character and competence. A basic understanding of these behaviors will help make your organization more profitable, you more promotable, and your relationships more energizing:

1)       Talk Straight & Create Transparency—Tell the truth in a way people can verify and leave the right impression. Err on the side of disclosure—no hidden agendas. The more people trust you, the faster you can work (think less red-tape). Counterfeits such as beating around the bush, withholding information, flattery, and spinning actually damage trust and effectiveness.

2)       Demonstrate Respect & Show Loyalty—Behave in ways that show fundamental respect for people. Exhibit caring and concern. Give credit where credit is due and speak about people as though they were present. Counterfeits—like faking respect or concern or, worse yet, showing respect for some (those who can help you), but not for all (those who can’t)—diminish trust quickly.

3)       Right Wrongs—Make things right when you’re wrong. Apologize quickly. Make restitution where possible. Demonstrate personal humility, and don’t let pride get in the way of doing the right thing. Don’t rationalize, deny, or justify wrongs, and never cover things up!

4)       Deliver Results & Practice Accountability—If you need to build trust fast, deliver results. Results give you instant credibility and instant trust, demonstrating that you add value; that you can contribute and perform. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver, and don’t make excuses for not delivering. Take responsibility for the results and hold yourself accountable.

5)       Get Better—Continuously improve. Take feedback for the learning opportunity it is and increase your capabilities. When people see you as a learning, growing person, they develop confidence in your ability to succeed in a rapidly changing environment, enabling you to build high-trust relationships and move with incredible speed. (Efficiency costs the company less—improving their bottom line and your skill set.)

6)       Confront Reality & Clarify Expectations—Lead out courageously in conversation and take the tough issues head-on. Then clarify expectations by creating a shared agreement about what is to be done up front. Pin down the specifics (results, deadlines, or dollars and cents).

7)       Listen First—Really listen (genuinely seek to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, experience, and point of view), and do it first (before you try to diagnose, influence, or prescribe). Listening first and speaking last helps you make better decisions, directly impacting the positive track record you’re building.

8)       Make and Keep Commitments—Say what you’re going to do, then do it. Keeping commitments is the quickest way to build trust in any relationship. Its opposite—to break commitments or violate promises—is, without question, the quickest way to destroy trust. Be careful with the commitments you make. Be sure you can deliver, and then do.

Trust is free and priceless. Once established, trust increases speed and reduces cost in all relationships and transactions, making you more productive and your employer happy. If you practice these behaviors, you will become more effective. You will save yourself—and your company—time and money. Most importantly, you will reap the rewards of being the employee that is so valuable—so trusted—that the company cannot afford to lose you.


Speed of Trust workshop in Washington DC May 7th

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Trust is the key to collaboration.  Warwick Business School in the UK found that “outsourcing contracts that are managed based on trust rather than stringent agreements and penalties are more likely to lead to trust dividends for both parties – as much as 40% of the value of a contract”.  

Leading at the Speed of Trust in Washington D.C.

May 7 & 8, 2008 (with Train-the-Trainer May 9th)

First time on the East Coast and only time this year!

Speed of Trust #5 on Canada’s Financial Times bestseller list

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

The Speed of Trust continues to gain momentum around the world in our quest to be a catalyst for a global renaissance of Trust.  It was #5 on Canada’s respected Financial Times’ bestseller list over Easter weekend. 

When the going gets tough, projects, money, and jobs gravitate to trusted high performers.  The Speed of Trust teaches 13 behaviors common to high trust people and leaders throughout the world.  The last to be laid-off or outsourced are those “go to” performers that are trusted.  

As Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail and Editor-in-Chief of WIRED magazine, stated in his interview with Stephen M. R. Covey on The Speed of Trust: “Money was the currency of the old economy; Trust is the currency of the new, global economy.” Stephen M. R. Covey is fast becoming the global CEO of Trust. Stephen will be speaking in Singapore, Hong Kong, and several other Asian cities in late May.

The Speed of Trust is New York Times Best Seller

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Speed of Trust #1 Wall Street Journal Best Seller

Friday, February 15th, 2008

The Speed of Trust is the #1 Best Selling Business Book according to todays Journal!

Speed of Trust #12 All books USA TODAY

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Happy Valentines day Geri Covey and Annie Link #12 USA TODAY February 14th!!


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?

Speed of Trust #1 bestseller for 2007

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008


New York Times Bestseller

New York Times Bestseller

CEO Read recently named The Speed of Trust as the #1 most read business book by CEO’s and executives for 2007.  We are honored and feel this speaks to the ever growing relevance of Trust in todays Global Marketplace.

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


Stephen interviewed on Oprah and Friends

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Excerpts from the recent Covey/Oz interview on Oprah and Friends:

“I love talking about trust … The Speed of Trust helps folks understand how they can start to make a difference in their lives, and it is the only way we will change it in this country.

Lack of trust has permeated the health care system.  That is the reason we do not have efficiency in the way we deliver care… Trust is a source of stress in the life of Americans.  I am convinced, lack of trust is a friction that slows down the very machinery of life, now there is much more insight to why that is so. Trust to me is a fundamental attribute – if not the most important one.”

–Dr. Mehmet Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz Show, Oprah and Friends radio

Bestselling Author of YOU: The Owner’s Manual

“Ask Dr. Oz” on The Oprah Winfrey Show 

Who do you Trust?

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Think about your own experience. Who do you trust?  A friend? A work associate? Your boss? Your spouse? A customer? Why do you trust this person? What is it that inspires your confidence in this particular relationship? Ask people what they say behind your back, about you, about your company. 

Test it with your own experience: what are your conversations like with people who trust you? You can say the wrong thing, and they still get your meaning. Conversely, what are conversations like with someone when trust is low? You can be precise and measured, and they still interpret it the wrong way.

Now consider an even more provocative question: Who trusts you? People at home? At work? Someone youve just met? Someone who has known you for a long time? What is it in you that inspires the trust of others? 

Think about itpeople trust people who make things happen. They give the new curriculum to their most competent instructors. They give the promising projects or sales leads to those who have delivered in the past. From a line leaders perspective, results round out what trust really is and helps give trust its harder, more pragmatic edge. 

Ethics is the foundational dimension of trust, but by itself is insufficient. You cant have trust without ethics, but you can have ethics without trust. Trust, which encompasses ethics, is the bigger idea and is career critical to you in this new Flat World economy.

Trust more important than Strategy?

Friday, November 9th, 2007


As Stephen stated emphatically in a recent presentation: “We define TRUST  as comprising both character AND competence. The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore TRUST with all stakeholders— customers, suppliers, investors, and employees— is the critical leadership competency required in the new, global economy.”

 More important than VISION, you ask? Yes! No matter how grand a vision, the high cost of low trust can stop you from reaching it profitably.

 More important than STRATEGY? Yes! While high trust can‘t make a poor strategy succeed, the high cost of low trust can derail an otherwise great strategy.

 More important than SYSTEMS and STRUCTURE? Yes! No degree of re-engineering and quality or cost control can overcome the sabotage and tax of a low trust culture.

 More important than SKILLS? Yes! No matter how skilled a group, the high cost of low trust can derail their potential success. Nothing repels talent like a high control, low trust workplace. 

 We call it the ‘SPEED of TRUST™.’ Doing business at the SPEED of TRUST is both more financially rewarding AND just plain more fun and energizing!”

“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


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.”

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.”

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.


Behavior Shift

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

One of the most profound things we have learned over the years from Dr. Stephen R. Covey is his insight: “If you want to make incremental improvements, work on your behavior; if you want to make quantum leaps in improvement, work on your paradigms.”  We have proven this insight repeatedly through our own experience and the experience and reports of countless client executives and workers over many years. It is true that our paradigms, or world views, dramatically affect the way we behave.  We submit that the corollary is also true – SHIFT your behavior and you will shift your paradigm.

What we actually do—our behavior—affects our thinking and our paradigms.  Consider thinking about the benefits of exercise.  We know that it is a beneficial health practice.  If we study it hard enough and meditate about it, we may shift our paradigm and, in turn, may behave by exercising.  Shifting our behavior and actually exercising affords direct benefits that conversely can shift our paradigm about exercise.  What we call a behavior shift.

People trust us based predominantly upon our behavior.  Behavior is the outward expression of our integrity and our intent.  We tend to trust others by observing their behavior and trust ourselves based on our intent.  Ultimately, it is our actions not our intent that is evident to others.  We contend that trust is affected by both character (who we are) and competence (our strengths and results) and that our behavior and our results tend to color our reputation, credibility, and influence with others.

Consider this: Who do you trust? What separates great leaders from good ones?  What makes a manager a manager of choice by their reports, peers, and boss?  What makes an individual credible with customers, suppliers, distributors, investors, and other stakeholders?  While there are many dimensions to these questions, there is one common thread throughout:  being an individual who can be trusted. 

Perhaps a more important question than, “Who do you trust?” is the far more personal question of, “Who trusts you?”  There are some organizations who ask all their employees directly the following simple, key question in formal 360-degree feedback processes: “Do you trust your boss?”  These companies have learned that the answer to this one question is more predictive of team and organizational success than perhaps any other question they might ask. 

A high trust leader is an individual who has unquestionably strong personal credibility, has the ability to create and grow trust with others interpersonally, and is then able to extend that trust organizationally.  High trust leaders are managers of choice who understand the impact trust always plays on two key outcomes—speed and cost—and how low or high trust either extracts a tax or produces a dividend on every activity and dimension within a relationship, team, or organization.

High trust leaders have learned how to interact with others in ways that increase trust levels while avoiding the pitfalls that deplete trust.  While there are numerous actions and behaviors that affect trust, we have identified the 13 key behaviors common to high trust leaders throughout the world.

What’s most exciting is that these “13 Behaviors of High Trust Leaders” can be learned and applied by any influencer at any level in any organization.  The net result will be a significantly increased ability to generate trust with all stakeholders in order to achieve better results. You will become more promotable and your company will become more profitable. According to Watson Wyatt research in 2002, “Organizations with high trust outperform organizations with low trust by nearly 3 times.”

To trust and to be trusted amplifies your leadership influence and causes a ripple effect that makes your world and, ultimately, the world at large a better place. CoveyLink emphasizes action and the energizing vitality and influence this ripple effect creates.


Warren Bennis endorses Speed of Trust

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

Warren Bennis, bestselling author of On Becoming a Leader, had this to say about Stephen M. R. Coveys new book (fall 2006) entitled The SPEED of Trust“Coveys book underscores the single most important factor-the substrate-that will determine the success (or failure) of any organization in the 21st Century: TRUST. This is a powerful read: brave, imaginative, amazingly prescient and backed up by empirical and analytical heft. A must read for anyone in a position of responsibility, from a support group to a global corporation.”

New York Times Reviewed Speed of Trust

Monday, October 30th, 2006

The New York Times reviewed The Speed of Trust and called Stephen M. R. Covey the next potential business sage and guru, citing The Speed of Trust as “the most intriguing business book of fall 2006.” 


The Speed of Trust published today by Simon & Schuster NY & London

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

We are THRILLED to announce that today is the long awaited official publication date of “The SPEED of Trust” by Stephen M. R. Covey.

 We know your time is precious and that we are certainly biased, but we are confident you will join the CEO of Black & Decker, Nolan Archibald, in discovering that “The SPEED of Trust” is well worth your time. He put it this way: 

“When I received this book and was asked to read it and offer my comments, my first impulse was, ‘I don’t have the time.’  However, as I read the foreword, then the first few chapters, I could not put it down.  It is exactly what business leaders need today. This book gets to the core roots of ethical behavior and integrity and how ‘trust’ is the most critical factor in effective leaders and organizations.  Covey discusses with clarity and insight how to develop trust through character and competence and how ‘trusted’ leaders and organizations do things better, faster, and at lower costs.  Everyone should make the time to read this book.”

William Parrett, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tomatsu, adds,

“The Speed ofTrust is Red-hot relevant.”

 Yes, we know, you still have books you have not finished reading on your bedside stand.  However, this book is different; we know you will finish this one.  As Nolan Archibald said above, he could not put it down.  Besides, trust is the one thing that will change your relationships and career for the better.

 As Chris Anderson, Publisher of WIRED magazine and author of the hot new book “The Long Tail,” told Stephen in a recent interview: “The currency of the old economy was simply money.  The new currency is trust itself. People confer their attention to the people who have earned it.  So trust is the new currency of the reputation economy.”

Dr. Laura said: “Want to be an irresistible positive force?  Combine personal responsibility with compassion and respect for others.  Want to know how to do this perfectly?  Read The Speed of Trust.”

One last plug, October 8th’s New York Times’ Book Review had this to say: “Of the three [books], the most intriguing is “The Speed of Trust” (Free Press, $26), by Mr. Covey, a Harvard M.B.A. who previously ran the Covey Leadership Center, which featured the work of his father, Stephen R. Covey—a guru in his own right as author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’  The younger Mr. Covey, a potential guru himself, defines trust as a combination of character and competence.”


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.

Good Idea vs. Compelling Vision

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Ever had a good idea?  Believe me, we have heard a lot of good ideas over the years and a rare few made the leap to a real possibility – or vision, as distinct from mere thoughts, conversations, and hollow promises.  What distinguished them from the others?  By the sheer expectation and faith of the individual generating the idea, it is transformed into a real possibility and a compelling vision. The distinction . . . a visceral passion to make things happen.

As hockey legend Wayne Gretzgy put it, “Skate to where the puck is going to be.”

Anticipation . . .  Expecting success . . .

Steve Young, super-bowl MVP quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, told us that when he first started to play in the NFL, the linemen were so big, he could not see his receivers.  He had to have faith to throw the ball to where the receiver was going to be and “trust” that they would be there.  His trust was rewarded by becoming one of the NFL’s all-time leaders in pass efficiency.

The expression of a vision has a power far beyond a good idea as evidenced by its effect. Vision engages people to act.  Like Kennedy’s vision expressed in a speech, “The time has now come to send a man to the moon and return him safely again.”  That was 1962, and the fuel necessary for such a feat had not even been invented yet.  Guess what happened the summer of 1969?

A vision is distinct from a good idea by the conviction of the person articulating it and is colored by our trust in their credibility and track record.  “When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen.”  When Steve Jobs speaks, people listen. When Tiger Woods speaks, people listen.  When Warren Buffet speaks, people listen. When you speak, do people listen?  Do you have a record of integrity, pure intentions, and consistent results?  Or, are you perceived as talking about work rather than working.  Or, as our friend and author, Brent Peterson, calls it, “fake work,”  Are you perceived as always preparing to sell or as someone that lets your results speak for themselves?  Are you constantly discussing fabulous business plans, yet have never launched a successful business?

Good ideas transform into visions when they are expressed with both the conviction and the credibility that moves the listener in a visceral way to envision possibility.  As Werner Erhard put it, “The role of leadership is the transformation of an ideal into a possibility or vision.”  Jack Welch adds, “Vision is the essential element of the leader’s job.”  You must have the credibility and platform to convey your vision in a way that makes people believe it will go forth regardless of the circumstances.  Good ideas are dependent on the argument that supports them.  Vision is a possibility and expectation with no evidence to support it.  In other words, expect miracles.

Look to your own experience to validate this.  How many seemingly impossible things have you accomplished?  Things that you were worried about, yet hoped for, that ultimately came to pass?  For example, did you find your soul mate, make a sale, get a job, write a book, graduate, start a company, get promoted and on and on? Things that, at the time you anguished over, yet somehow believed in the possibility of, had faith in? Even successful people have doubts.  Oprah once asked me, “How can you have a vision when you don’t know what’s around the next corner?” (“O,” it seems it turned out!)

Children are brilliantly optimistic about possibility.  Unfortunately, we socialize it out of them and turn them into “realistic” adults.  Many adults are arguments for negative possibility.  They question everything.  The hidden agenda behind their questions is really a request for certainty.  They do not have a propensity to trust but a propensity to distrust.  A scarcity mentality.  Glass half empty and all that.  As George Bernard Shaw aptly put it, “All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”  Certainty is an illusion.  As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing”.

Take some risks this year. Be open to the possibility that things may just turn out.  Elevate your good ideas to a visceral vision worth living into — a  stand worth taking.  As Chairman Peter (Drucker) liked to say, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

If Not Now—When?

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

It is so easy to let Ron do it.  Or, in other words, to do it “LateR on”.  Why do today what we can put off till tomorrow?  Perhaps this human tendency to sacrifice the important to the urgent is exacerbated today by quantum leaps in our life expectancy.  Baby boomers around the world are being blessed by a second adult life.   Sixty is the new Thirty and all that.  We googled “life expectancy” and found a life expectancy calculator at  For $5  I learned I will live to be 97.  Wow, 60 really is the new 30.  Who knows how accurate this is, but the doctor on the site is the medical advisor to a Sky One television show in Britain called Change the Day You Die.  Interesting.

This insight started when I was listening to Tom Peters the other day on my ipod.   I sat up straight when he mentioned that Mozart died at 35. Whoa! Think of what he accomplished in what is today a “half life.”  A few minutes research online and I discovered several others that died in their 30s: Gershwin (38) Princess Di (36) Alexander the Great (32) Van Gogh (37), Bob Marley (36), Marilyn Monroe (36).  Lest this insight cease to be brief, we will let this short list suffice. This idea really hit home last week when we were sobered by learning that our friends’ uncle died unexpectedly at 51.  We never know.

In the SPEED of Trust workshop we challenge people to identify an important relationship that they would like to restore lost trust in.  Some take it to heart and create a break through for themselves.   Others allow the opportunity slip through their fingers and let Ron do it.  This is usually a life pattern even with the most successful people.  They seem to master their careers but fail to face and master their most important relationships.   A recent participant took it on and restored trust with a sister who  had not spoken to her in over a year.  Another changed his relationship with a stepdaughter who is now his best friend.  Another worked with a boss of 10 years and got promoted.  The common sentiment of people who have the courage and resolve to take the challenge is that they wish they had done it years ago.  They now resolve to not live life with broken relationships but to change their behavior.  To have what we call a “behavior shift.”  We have identified 13 behaviors of high trust common to leaders around the world. (to download a copy go to: ).  But learning behaviors and living them are two different things.

Changing your behavior is tough.  According to a Fast Company article in May 2005, “about 600,000 people have bypasses in the U. S. A. and 1.3 million have angioplasties.”  In order for the procedure to last and extend their lives, they need to change their lifestyle.  Now this is a life and death motivation for change. Yet “.…two years later 90% have not changed their lifestyle.” Apparently fear of dying puts them into denial and they ignore it.

There is hope.  John Kotter of Harvard says “Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings…In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions not just thought.”  Dr Dean Ornish, a professor of medicine at U C San Francisco, “persuaded Mutual of Omaha to fund research.  Doctors  took 333 patients with severely clogged arteries.”  They put them on a regimen of diet and exercise. “ The program lasted for only a year.  But after three years, the study found, 77% of the patients had stuck with their lifestyle changes—and safely avoided bypass or angioplasty surgery…Instead of trying to motivate them with the “fear of dying,” Ornish reframes the issue.  He inspires a new vision of the “joy of living” …”Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear,” he says.

Mutual of Omaha saved millions of dollars because the patients in the study did not have to have surgery.  The high cost of low trust is costing you and your organization in a similar way and exacting what we call a trust tax on your important relationships and your personal and professional “bottom-line.”   What are the costs of your low trust and broken relationships to you?  Promotions? Profit? Productivity, love, joy, satisfaction?  Whatever it is, why not take it on trust once and for all.  If not now—when?

Whatever you have accomplished so far in your life, the possibility for you to do something worthy is tremendous. Whether you have another half-life ahead of you or you return home tomorrow, why not live life like you mean it? All we ask is that you strengthen trust in one simple relationship, and then another, which will lead to another, and on you go and pretty soon you have a life. You have influence.  Relationships are the currency of life. People on their deathbed talk about relationships, not money.  The irony is people with high trust relationships are more likely to make more money, be better parents, be promoted, get a raise, be given the best projects and have overall more financial success.  You can have the best of both worlds: rich personal relationships and career satisfaction. Most of all you will increase your influence and thus your ability to make a bigger difference for having lived. 

The current cover story of BusinessWeek Magazine  asks:  Is Your Company FAST Enough? and warns: “There are two kinds of businesses: the quick and the dead”.  Living life at the SPEED of Trust is the career critical skill of the new global economy.  Take it on.

If not now—when?

Where were you when you realized the world is flat?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

That’s the profound question New York Times three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas L. Friedman asks his readers in his thought-provoking #1 bestseller, The World is Flat, A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.1

Wait a minute, are you still convinced that everything you once learned about Christopher Columbus and the Santa Maria is true?  Well, maybe it was—back then.  But today, if you plan to stay in the game, Friedman suggests you reconsider and re-learn.  In an interview with Tom Nissley of, Friedman explains:

“What I mean when I say that the world is flat is that sometime in the late 1990’s a whole set of technologies and political events converged—including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the Internet, the diffusion of the Windows operating system, the creation of a global fiber-optic network, and the creation of interoperable software applications, which made it very easy for people all over the world to work together—that leveled the playing field. It created a global platform that allowed more people to plug and play, collaborate and compete, share knowledge and share work, than anything we have ever seen in the history of the world.”

Friedman asks people in his book where they were when they realized the world was flat.  Amazon’s Nissley asked Friedman where he was.  His response:  “I was in Bangalore, India, the Silicon Valley of India, when I realized that the world was flat.  I was doing a documentary for the Discovery Times Channel about “outsourcing.” After 60 hours of interviews with Indian entrepreneurs who wanted to write my software from Bangalore, do my taxes from Bangalore, trace my lost luggage from Bangalore, read my x-rays from Bangalore, and draw my Disney cartoons from Bangalore, I realized that something big had happened– the world had been flattened–and I needed to write about it.”

Friedman suggests that when the tech bubble popped in the late 90’s, followed by the distractions of Y2K mania, the tragedies of 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we westerners blinked and missed the fact that the flattening of the global economy was beginning to accelerate at a hang-on-to-your-seat pace.  Friedman interviewed Henry Schacht, who, during part of this period, was watching the whole process from the side of corporate management.

“The business economics, [he told Friedman] became ‘very ugly’ for everyone. . . .  ‘Cost pressures were enormous,’ he recalled, ‘and the flat world was available, [so] economics were forcing people to do things they never thought they would do or could do . . . Globalization got supercharged’—for both knowledge work and manufacturing.  Companies found that they could go to MIT and find four incredibly smart Chinese engineers who were ready to go back to China and work for them from there for the same amount that it would cost them to hire one engineer in America.”

Let’s think about this.  Besides the fact that your accountant is already outsourcing your tax return work to India, your most recent CAT scan or MRI was most likely deciphered in Australia, you’re having a hard time understanding the English spoken at the other end of the help-line, and the MP3 you just bought came with directions in 14 different languages, what does this flattened world really mean for you and your future—both personally and professionally? 

Friedman asked this question of Jaithirth Rao, whose Indian firm, MphasiS, is successfully and lucratively able to handle outsourced tax work “from any state in America and the federal government.”  Said Rao, “It is a good question. . . . We are in the middle of a big technological change, and when you live in a society that is at the cutting edge of that change [like America], it is hard to predict.  It’s easy to predict for someone living in India. In ten years we are going to be doing a lot of the stuff that is being done in America today. . . .  Any activity where we can digitize and decompose the value chain and move the work around, it will get moved around.  We can predict our future.  But we are behind you.  You are defining the future.  America is always on the edge of the next creative wave.”

Defining the future . . . the edge of the next creative wave. . . .  Just what is this future, this creative wave we’re all going to want to catch?  Friedman supplies a solid answer through L. Gary Boomer, CEO of Boomer Consulting in Manhattan KS, who explains, “Those who get caught in the past and resist change will be forced deeper into commoditization.  Those who can create value through leadership, relationships, and creativity will transform [their] industries, as well as strengthen relationships with their existing clients.”

According to Publishers Weekly, Friedman agrees with the transnational business executives, who are his main sources, that these [world flattening] developments are desirable and unstoppable and that American workers should be preparing to “create value through leadership.”2

At CoveyLink, we couldn’t agree more.  The global call for capable, innovative, trust-based leadership is intensifying.  World-class leadership and business relies on trust and trust has been the lubricant of commerce since the world’s first merchants began trading seeds, then beads, then goods and services.

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

The growth of knowledge work both leads and informs this important global trend.  Knowledge work is dependent upon relationships and relationships, of course, thrive on trust.  Trust fuels this new global economy just as trust magnifies or diminishes every other leadership competency you have, including your vision—a vision which must now include the entire globe regardless of your industry or profession.

The world is not becoming flat, it is already flat.  And, yes, it will get flatter.  If you haven’t yet caught onto this fact, read Friedman’s book.  In fact, we recommend you read it now, then read it again every year as a gauge to hold up against your most recent, brilliant strategic assumptions. 

One last memorable thought from Friedman:

“In China, Bill Gates is a Britney Spears – they scalp tickets to hear him speak.  In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears. That’s the problem.”



1 The World is Flat, A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Friedman, Thomas L.,  Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005

2 Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2005



Trust: Hot Leadership Topic

Monday, October 31st, 2005

The Center for Public Leadership at Harvard has just published their 2005 list of America’s Best Leaders in the October 31st issue of US News and World Report.  A prestigious panel of experts, who are leaders themselves, led by David Gergin, Director of the Center, and Warren Bennis, a noted leadership authority, made the selections from more than 300 nominees.  The bipartisan panel took turns advocating and then opposing the finalists.  We at CoveyLink were not surprised by any of the 25, and it was very validating to see high trust as a thread through the best leaders’ behavior.

Collin Powell, one of the 25, had this to say about leadership, “You’ve got to trust people…you’ve got to let people make mistakes and not ground them off about it.” US News added this quote from his autobiography, “When they fall down, pick ’em up, dust ’em off, pat them on the back, and move ’em on.”  Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat, speaking of terrorists said, “They take ordinary objects from our daily lives, shoes and backpacks and airplanes, and turn them into weapons of mass destruction.  They try to destroy the trust that is the very fabric of our open society.”  Oprah said, “What I’ve learned is when I don’t know what to do, do nothing. Sit still and listen for that small voice that will always lead you and guide you.  If you’re quiet and listen, you will hear it.”  Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, said, “The greatest leaders are those that serve others.  A good leader exists for the people, not the other way around.” Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News Channel, says his recipe for leadership success is: “Take responsibility and make decisions, encourage your troops, joke with ’em, make sure work’s fun, tell ’em the truth, stay open, take responsibility if you screw it up, change the decisions that are bad as quickly as possible.”

We resonate with and strongly advocate the behaviors of these high trust leaders. Trust remains the most relevant and refreshing aspect of leadership and business today. Not only do the best leaders tout it, but everyone seems to have a trust story or example about how trust has affected their relationships, careers, and businesses.

For example, our new friends, Arthur and June Sueko Fong, are owners of Fong Imports, an Asian antique shop in Laguna Beach, California.  When we were in their shop last week, Arthur asked what we did for a living.  We told him we were leadership consultants and helped companies increase their profits through the speed of trust.  His immediate response was that trust was instrumental to his success in business. He shared this with us: “When I was 12 years old, my uncles were in the import business in Chinatown in L.A.  They trusted me to take the deposit to the bank.  It was thousands of dollars, yet they trusted me, 12-year-old Arthur Fong.  Not only did they trust me to go to the bank, but they had me go to the docks and sign for the shipments of the imports. Because they trusted me, I did not let them down.” 


Arthur commented further that it was the trust of his uncles that put him in the import business as an adult and that, to this day, trust is the backbone of his business.  He does not need to go to China and Japan on buying trips, but relies on trusted relationships in Asia to both select and ship merchandise to his shop in the USA.  Trust is also critical to his customers.  He adds, “They know they can trust me to charge fair prices.”  We can attest to that; we purchased several items that would have been twice as much in another shop!

Who Trusts You?


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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