The speed of Trust: Rebecca Merrill and Stephen M. Covey

Trust is an actionable, tangible asset and the one thing that changes everything 

Trust affects everything in our lives 365 days a year, from our work to our personal relationships. Various kinds of relationships are built and sustained by trust but they can also be damaged by lack of trust. With every single violation of trust, we recover slowly because we are worried about everything else out there.

If trust is removed, deepest relationships and connections will fall apart. The impact doesn’t just stay in our present moments, it also creeps into our future moments — both professionally and personally. So, we need to get better at creating, extending, and restoring trust. Does it sound complicated? That might be because you think that trust is a character for a special few, but it isn’t

Trust in 5 places 

According to Stephen Covey, trust happens in five successive waves[1]:

  • Wave 1: Self Trust
  • Wave 2: Relationship Trust
  • Wave 3: Organizational Trust
  • Wave 4: Market Trust
  • Wave 5: Societal Trust

1st wave: Self trust 

The speed of Trust

This first wave is also known as Self Trust. Believability or credibility is the foundational principle for this wave. Can people trust you? How credible are you?

To build our credibility, we need to understand four cores or key elements related to character and competence. These are intent, capabilities, integrity and results.

The metaphor of a tree can help to better explain the four cores of credibility: Integrity is the root below the surface that allows everything to grow. Intent is the trunk that grows out in the open. Capabilities are the branches that allow us to produce. Results are the fruits, which are measurable, tangible and visible outcomes that people can see and evaluate.

Once you start making and keeping commitments to yourself, remember to be open and stand for something as these will help you to increase your credibility and self–confidence. The higher your credibility, the higher the trust you will inspire.

2nd wave: Relationship trust

Relationship Trust is the second level of trust, and it’s all about learning ways to increase trust and how to avoid destroying it. Hence, there are certain powerful behaviors common to high–trust or highly trustworthy leaders and people worldwide. Some of them are listed below:

Behavior 1: talk straight

Business tycoon Warren Buffet is renowned for saying it as it is. He usually writes a management letter for his company’s annual report with no fluff. He doesn’t even mind adding the mistakes that he made during the year. The main reason why trust is low in most organizations is because the leaders don’t communicate honestly. They talk with spin. If only they knew that clear communication means less meetings and higher productivity.

Behavior 2: show respect

The speed of Trust

Treat everyone with respect, especially those who have nothing to offer you. Never miss the opportunity to show concern and care for people. There are no little things because everything has an impact on trust.

Behavior 3: be transparent

You need to create transparency and be genuine in a way that people can verify. In the present global economy, transparency is fast becoming popular as the critical value in organizations with high levels of trust.

Behavior 4: right the wrongs

When you’re wrong, don’t hesitate to make things right as soon as possible. Be humble, take responsibility, and don’t make a habit of blaming others for your mistakes.

Behavior 5: show loyalty

When you are loyal, people will see you as trustworthy. You can show loyalty by giving credit to others to thank them for their input in getting the results. You can also speak about others as if they were present.

3rd wave: Market trust 

This next wave is called the Market Trust. When you see or get in touch with some companies, how do you feel about them? Perhaps, you have heard great things about their products, services, or leadership. So, you are likely to buy from them or recommend them to your family and friends.

The reverse will be the case if you or your clique have had a terrible experience with a company. This is no way you will be happy to spend your money on a company that has wronged you.

4th wave: Organizational trust  

Most companies spend a lot of money to create a brand that inspires trust. It doesn’t matter whether the company sells products or services.

On the micro level, every single human being has his or her own reputation or brand, which affects trust, cost and speed. This is pretty glaring in your resume and comments from your references when you are applying for a job or school. It also determines whether people will give you a benefit of doubt in tough situations.

5th wave; Societal trust and giving back

The speed of Trust

Societal trust is the fifth and final level of trust known as. Trust is an integral part of our society. Yet, we take it for granted until it gets destroyed or polluted.

Then, we begin to realize that trust is key to our existence like water is to a fish. It is impossible to think of a world with the absence of trust. An open global economy can only thrive on behaviors like practicing accountability, creating transparency, keeping commitments, extending trust, talking straight, and righting wrongs.

When we take a closer look, we start to see that the fifth wave is as a result of our trustworthiness that started from the first wave. Then, it flows into our organizations, our relationships, and our marketplace to impact the entire society. Together, we can build families and organizations that positively impact the well–being of the world.

Your speed of trust and the PR angle[2] 

As you can see, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. And that trust can massively improve the quality of all relationships in your life. Now, it is up to you to learn how to extend trust in a smart way.

All great businesses and PR are built on trust. Embrace trust, and see it working for you.

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