Book Review: Speed of Trust

April 11, 2015
Thomas Loarie
Media Appearances

Do you wonder why we feel everything is chaotic and in the state of decline? Could the `loss of trust' be at the heart of what we are experiencing? It is pervasive today; there is distrust of the media; the public (e.g. IRS, DOJ, SEC, schools) and private sector institutions; corporations and financial institutions (e.g. Wall Street); politicians; physicians; police; unions: and the list continues. Symptoms of the breakdown of trust can be found in political gridlock, increasing regulation of corporate and personal activity, class warfare; the breakdown of the family; increased incarceration; increasing concern about our educational system, and much more.

A reasonable person would conclude that the loss of trust is at the heart of these problems after reading Stephen M. R. Covey's (son of Stephen R. Covey of "Seven Habits" fame) "Speed of Trust." Although published in 2006, "Speed of Trust" is as important and relevant today as it was then. If anything, the book has become even more important and relevant.

The world today is abundant with manipulations, myths (spin to create an alternate reality), half-truths, and outright falsehoods. Deception, hidden agendas, disregarding commitments, blaming others, and trusting none except those in an elite "inner circle" pervades every aspect of our lives.

The tax we pay - when there is a lack of trust, we pay dearly. This tax is huge and is impeding our ability to be productive and happy. Things take longer, cost more, and often, never get done. It is manifested in micro-management, second-guessing, regulation, strict operating procedures, bureaucracy, and unnecessary politics.

Covey points out that trust has two components - trust based on character and trust based on competence. We can identify our sense of distrust quickly by asking two questions: 1) Can we trust this person (organization, country) to do the right thing (character)? And, 2) can we trust this person to do things right (competence)? Complete trust requires a yes to both.

Covey notes that trust begins with us and begins his book with a look at self-trust. He includes a questionnaire to assess your credibility to provide direction areas for improvement. If you cannot trust yourself, no one will trust you, nor will you inspire others to develop and facilitate trust. You can find out what it is in you that inspires trust. It thrives with behaviors such as talking straight, creating transparency, treating others with dignity and love, practicing accountability, and keeping commitments, and extending trust to others. Once self-trust is established, it can spread like a wave and change the world.

"Speed of Trust" is structured on these subsequent waves, which are:

  • The first wave: self-trust
  • The second wave: relationship trust
  • The third wave: organization trust
  • The fourth wave; market trust
  • The fifth wave: societal trust (creating value for others and for society)

While there is a tax paid when there is distrust, there is also a trust dividend when there is trust. The trust dividend is a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of life. High trust materially improves communication, collaboration, execution, innovation, strategy, engagement, partnering, and relationships with all stakeholders. There is nothing as fast as the speed of trust. For us, high trust significantly improves excitement, energy, passion, creativity, and joy in relationships.

How do you know if you are in a high trust environment? If you are in one, you will notice:

  • Information is shared openly
  • Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
  • Culture is innovative and creative
  • People are loyal to those who are absent
  • People talk straight and confront real issues
  • There is real communication and real collaboration
  • People share credit abundantly
  • There are few meetings after meetings
  • Transparency is a practiced virtue
  • People are candid and authentic
  • There is a high degree of accountability
  • There is palpable vitality and energy - people can feel the positive momentum

"Speed of Trust" will enable you to see, speak, and behave in ways that establish trust. It will also give you the language to speak about trust, enable you to name the underlying issues involved, and give you the language to describe those issues and to talk about a result. This book will also help you develop behaviors that establish and grow trust, particularly the 13 behaviors of high-trust people and leaders worldwide.

Father James Schall, SJ, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University, noted in his recent essay, "On Lying," "To those who live in untruth, the truth will seem like a 'lie.' A lie is a statement, presented as fact, which does not conform to a reality that we did not make or legislate into existence. It makes communication between human beings impossible.... Society as a whole is now being invited, or rather coerced, into the double life of the big lie - to pretend that what is, is not and that what is not, is. There is something worse than the disease; there is a denial of its existence... A double life, however, leads to a double death." The worst thing, Socrates warned, is the lie in the soul about what is.

Trust affects the trajectory and outcome of lives. We know there is more of everything good when there high trust - more options and opportunities, less friction and cost, and greater productivity. We respond to and thrive on trust.

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Thomas M. Loarie is currently Executive Chairman of eMedonline, a medical therapy management company, sits on the board of several development-stage healthcare companies, and provides leadership coaching for several rising stars in healthcare. Additionally, he leads ministry in Northern California for executives and professionals who are in career transition.

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