As one of the most widely read books by CEOs, Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust is a timeless and powerful analysis of the cost – essentially, the tax – to business, organizations and individuals when they are not trusted.
Covey explains that trust means confidence, and the opposite – distrust – is suspicion. Indeed, when I’m developing strategy for clients, whether they are in midst of crisis or calm, the underlying strategy usually boils down to the following:
- Instill trust
- Allay suspicion
Trust, writes Covey, is “the one thing that changes everything” in business and life. He illustrates the critical role trust plays in our every transaction and relationship. He provides a thorough analysis and plan for how to establish trust and enhance credibility so organizations can bypass the time-consuming machinations needed to deal with and compensate for distrust.
There are several important take-aways in this great book, but the most compelling one touches on the book’s title and drills right down to the bottom line:
- When trust goes down, speed goes down, and costs go up.
- When trust goes up, speed goes up, and costs go down.
Essentially, distrust gets you a tax; trust pays you a dividend.
In my business, I’m focused on what I call “trust communications”:
Trust communications are designed to:
- establish and build trust
- inform and engage stakeholders
Trust communications must be:
- authentic and credible
- based on accurate information
Most reasonable people desire to pay fewer taxes and earn more dividends. That being the case, the question is this: How will you reduce your trust taxes and earn greater trust dividends? Like anything that pays dividends, the answer will entail making an investment in your organization and its strategic communications.