Speed of Trust “You can’t talk your way out of a problem, you behaved yourself into.” - Stephen R. Covey

By Jason Lee, Communications Manager

A round 2008, a very prestigious group at an event was asked, “What’s the biggest challenge facing them right now?” The second answer the group came up with was the global financial crisis. The number one challenge the group said they faced was the loss of trust and confidence. The group went on to explain that as they lost trust, confidence in leadership declined and it exacerbated the global financial crisis. Covey explains that the best relationships are built on trust. Trust is the new currency, and the currency of franchising. Trust drives better businesses. If we have trust from our franchise owners, the franchise owners will have trust from their customers. Trust creates a win-win situation. A great example of a company that basis its business off of trust is Southwest Airlines. The company has had 44 consecutive years of profitability because they were able to gain and maintain the trust of their customers. Their airline fares are low and service is ranked high by consumers. Southwest ranked in the top-two for customer service, right along-side airline rival JetBlue. Other airlines tried to copy the approach of Southwest but were unable to copy the culture of Southwest. Covey stated there are three big ideas related to trust. 1. Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social virtue. 2. Trust is the number one competency of leadership needed today. 3. Trust is a learnable skill. Neighborly™ is trust. With Neighborly you have transparency of trust from one brand to another. 1. Trust is confidence. 2. Trust includes both character and competence. 3. Smart trust is good judgement – a third alternative from the extreme of blind trust (gullibility) and the other extreme of distrust (suspicion). It is important for leaders to have smart trust. This allows you to use good judgement but is not the same as blind trust. When a leader has distrust and suspicion it makes them less effective and impactful as a leader. If leaders have trusted people and were burned, they may now only trust very few people, or just themselves. The good thing about trust is that it has the element of reciprocity. If you trust people, they will trust you. The decision to trust should start with leaders. Leaders go first. They are all accountable. Leaders find ways to lead by extending trust to others.

“I have found that by trusting people until they prove themselves unworthy of that trust, a lot more happens” – Jim Burke, former CEO, Johnson & Johnson. Covey explains there are several ways trust can help a business. There is an economical benefit to Trust. There is a trust tax. When trust goes down, so does speed, which makes cost goes up. When trust is up, ultimately cost goes down. An example of financial gain from trust can be seen in the partnering of Frito Lay and Taco Bell. The partnership allowed for the quick creation of the Doritos loco tacos sold at Taco Bell locations. Frito lay and Taco Bell executives had to have trust in one another to make this deal happen. It quickly became a winning product for both parties. Companies like Frito Lay and Taco Bell are not alone in the trust sphere. Data shows high trust organizations have 280 percent higher total returns to shareholders. Getting good at trust enables leaders to build a competent team that moves fast, is agile, innovative and first. High trust creates synergy, collaboration and engagement that leads to retainment of employees. When looking at the one hundred best high trust companies, their turnover rate is half of the average than that of low trust companies. When trust goes down, energy and joy goes down. When a company has high trust, energy and joy goes up. The best thing about trust is that it is learnable. Self-trust, relationship trust, team trust, market trust and societal trust are all important to a company. The best way to build trust is from the inside out. There are two main types of trust. Credibility and behavior. Credibility is integrity, intent, capabilities and results. Behavior is extending trust. Are you ready to trust?

This article covers the presentation given at Reunion 2017 by best-selling author, leadership expert and keynote speaker, Stephen R. Covey.


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