Building a Winning Culture: Inspire Trust
In his classic book, The Speed of Trust, our colleague Stephen M. R. Covey explained that the first imperative of a leader is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them with meaningful stewardships, and to create an environment in which high-trust interaction inspires creativity and possibility.
“Trust is the highest form of human motivation. it brings out the very best in people.”— Stephen M. R. Covey
TRUST — A PERFORMANCE MULTIPLIER
Only 10 percent of workers trust their bosses to do the right thing, and only 14 percent believe their company’s leaders are ethical and honest. Less than a fifth of the general public trusts business leaders to be ethical and honest.
For companies known as being trusted, the bad news is good news. People are hungrier than ever to do business with people they can trust. A Watson Wyatt study found the high-trust organisations outperform low-trust organisations in total return to shareholders by threefold. Why is that?
Consider this: Trust always affects two measurable outcomes — speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed goes down and cost goes up. This creates a trust tax. When trust goes up, speed goes up and cost goes down. This creates a trust dividend. It’s that simple, real, and predictable.
How do you feel about relationships where trust is high? How effective is your communication with a person you trust? In our experience, it’s easy and fast. Conversely, when trust is low, communication is nearly impossible, even about the most trivial things.
Once we understand the hard-edged, measurable economics of trust, we can see the quantifiable impact everywhere. While these trust taxes don’t show up on the income statement, they’re still there, disguised as other problems: redundancy, bureaucracy, politics, disengagement, turnover, churn, and fraud.
When trust is high, the dividend we receive is a performance multiplier, elevating and improving every dimension of the organisation: increased value, accelerated growth, enhanced innovation, improved collaboration, stronger partnering, higher engagement, better execution, and heightened loyalty.
In an organisation, trust is critical both internally and externally. In fact, given the performance multiplier effect of high trust, leaders who used to campaign to be the “provider of choice” in their markets should now campaign to become the most trusted provider. Those who make building trust a priority are going to have a strategic advantage.
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