Lately, I’ve been reminded of Stephen M.R. Covey’s book The Speed of Trust. In it, Covey, who is Stephen Covey’s (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) son, asserts that a high-trust environment is extremely advantageous to better business outcomes.  

It’s rally common sense, if you think about it. If you don’t trust someone, you don’t want to talk to them, work with them, or do business with them. If you are ‘forced’, in a work setting, let’s say, to interact or undertake projects with a person you don’t trust, it is likely that you will be very guarded, right? This can mean being sparse with information sharing, limiting your interactions with that person, and maybe even not putting your all into the job. It’s not that you’re a bad person – and maybe they aren’t either – but, if you don’t trust each other, it’s much harder to make good progress. 

Now imagine an entire company working in that low-trust environment. Not good for mental health, not good for productivity, and not good for the bottom line.  

Steward Your Culture 

If you’ve worked with me at all, you know I will always bang the culture drum. You could have the best product or service known to mankind, and you could be super business savvy, but if you aren’t clear and intentional about your values and have strong processes in place to operationalize and steward those values, you likely will never fulfill your vision.  

Stewarding your culture means you are purposeful about building trust with your team, with your clients or customers, with vendors, with everyone. It works just like going into debt; It doesn’t take long for a workplace culture or a business to become sick or toxic, but it takes a long time to dig out. 

How to Build Trust 

In The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey outlines four cores of credibility that will build trust: integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. He offers a measurable process for training and mentoring teams that builds trust over time. Because, let’s face it, building trust takes time! Read the book to get the full process. 

I also really like the elements for success that are outlined in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. These are agreements you make with yourself: 

  1. Be impeccable with your word.
  2. Don’t take things personally. 
  3. Don’t make assumptions. 
  4. Always do your best. 

Really, if each of us, but particularly those of us in positions of leadership, committed to these things, we would find that high trust and high productivity environments are active and flourishing in our businesses and lives. 

How do you build trust? I’m interested to hear. Tell me what you think. 

And, as always, stay on point!