“Jump!”

Those were the words shouted up to me as I stood on the top of a telephone pole—that seemed no thicker than a toothpick—about 30 feet in the air (but felt like a 100). That’s right. You guessed it. The infamous ‘ropes course’. (It was free time at the Wild At Heart Boot Camp and I opted out of the shuffleboard tourney in favor of some fabricated adventure.)

Long story short, my teammate performed with perfection! As I launched my body toward the suspended horizontal bar—and missed (close, but no cigar)—he belayed my fall and brought me in for an uneventful two-point landing. The endgame: I was convincingly reminded about the necessity of trust…and I lived to join my band of brothers at the buffet line later that evening. All good.

Trust.

Simply stated, in the marketplace of leadership, trust is the currency that undergirds—or undermines—the entire economy. Any defaulting or downgrading of it will send the leadership indicators south in a heartbeat.

In pursuit of my own personal growth and understanding about the value of trust, I have become a fan and student of Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust. Below are a few of his insights about trust. I am confident that you will find these excerpts both helpful and challenging. Most of all, I hope these provocative observations about trust will serve you well as you build an ever-expanding portfolio of trust in your life and leadership.

  • There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world—one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love. On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time. That one thing is trust.
  • Low trust is the greatest cost in life and in organizations, including families. Low trust creates hidden agendas, politics, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, win-lose thinking, defensive and protective communication—all of which reduce the speed of trust. Low trust slows everything—every decision, every communication, and every relationship.
  • The greater your integrity—the more honest, congruent, humble, and courageous you are—the more credibility you will have and the more trust you will inspire. The more you will be able to transform trust taxes into trust dividends in every dimension of your life.
  • Keep commitments is the “Big Kahuna” of all behaviors. It’s the quickest way to build trust in any relationship—be it with an employee, a boss, a team member, a customer, a supplier, a spouse, a child, or the public in general. Its opposite—to break commitments or violate promises—is, without question, the quickest way to destroy trust.

Over the past month, where have you encountered
trust in a significant way?