Business Excellence Professional Service Firms Trust


I have become wedded to Stephen M R Covey’s book The Speed of Trust. So much so that the CD version I bought first, before the book, has been running almost continuously in my car for 6 weeks (in between the children playing Dizzie Rascal and an assortment of musical extravaganza).

I have now picked up the book and it feels like a real comfort to see a lot of the exact words repeated – I suppose there is no point reinventing the wheel.

My stasis arises because, now that I have fully grasped the 4 cores of Self Trust and the 13 behaviours of Relationship Trust (2 of the 5 waves of trust; the other 3 being Organisational Trust, Market Trust and Societal Trust), I can see that everything that I do whether at home or work starts first and ends with Trust. Or rather it should do.

The point is that I think we have forgotten how to trust. This point, which for me is the most powerful, is dealt with as the last of the 13 behaviours: “Extend Trust”.

To call in aid Mr Covey’s book, this is a mixture of both character and competence, but, more than that, perhaps much more basic, it requires you to trust your inner self before you Extend Trust. You need to become more trusting as a person and considered more trustworthy. This will require, for a lot of people, a paradigm shift, particularly where they have been burnt or been taken advantage of.

Personally speaking, I have experienced long periods of quiescence where I felt it better to keep myself to myself. This self-dependence was as much rooted in the need to or experience of doing things for myself, but also not being trusting enough.

Sometimes, and let’s be quite honest, it requires you to be convinced that there is something in it for you and whilst I totally get that I would rather take the plunge in getting it wrong (not being burnt) than not trying at all.

I am not suggesting, if you want to break (into) this cycle that you should extend trust indiscriminately or with a lack of thoughtfulness but next time you find yourself in a relationship where you are unsure, I would challenge you to let go of your reservations, worries or concerns and extend trust.

For me professionally, give that up until very recently I was a practising solicitor, it is quite a challenge. In the past I have had to be very guarded and sometimes quite circumspect in my dealings with clients, colleagues and certainly with regards to my opposition (that’s how we refer to solicitors on the other side of a dispute – hardly sounds like there is much trust there).

Now, I am having to let go and put myself in situations, particularly around my business interests, where I am having to take a lot more on trust. That is not to say that my Spidey Senses are not still flashing up from time to time but I am learning slowing to extend trust and I think it is making me a better person as a result.

Now for you sceptics out there who require some ROI language, consider this (taken from the CD): “When Trust Goes up, Speed goes up and Cost goes down.”

I challenge you to think of a recent transaction where had there been greater levels of trust it would not have had a measurable effect on the outcome.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t want you to think about trust in purely economic terms but rather as a factor that we can all work on and which has the power to reshape our lives, relationships and ultimately make a real difference to our socity.