- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Date: Oct 2006
From the book
From Nothing is as Fast as the Speed of Trust
Speed happens when people . . . truly trust each other.
-- EDWARD MARSHALL
If you're not fast, you're dead.
-- JACK WELCH
I'll never forget an experience I had several years ago when I worked for a short stint with a major investment banking firm in New York City. We had just come out of a very exhausting meeting, during which it had become evident that there were serious internal trust issues. These issues were slowing things down and negatively affecting execution. The senior leader said to me privately, "These meetings are dysfunctional and a waste of time. I just don't trust 'Mike.' I don't trust 'Ellen.' In fact, I find it hard to trust anyone in this group."
I said, "Well, why don't you work on increasing trust?"
He turned to me and replied seriously, "Look, Stephen, you need to understand something. Either you have trust or you don't. We don't have it, and there's nothing we can do about it."
I strongly disagree. In fact, both my personal life and my work as a business practitioner over the past 20 years have convinced me that there is a lot we can do about it. We can increase trust -- much faster than we might think -- and doing so will have a huge impact, both in the quality of our lives and in the results we're able to achieve.
TRUST ISSUES AFFECT EVERYONE
As I speak to audiences around the world about the Speed of Trust, I repeatedly hear expressions of frustration and discouragement such as these:
I can't stand the politics at work. I feel sabotaged by my peers. It seems like everyone is out for himself and will do anything to get ahead.
I've really been burned in the past. How can I ever trust anyone enough to have a real relationship?
I work in an organization that's bogged down with bureaucracy. It takes forever to get anything done. I have to get authorization to buy a pencil!
The older my children get, the less they listen to me. What can I do?
I feel like my contributions at work are hardly ever recognized or valued.
I foolishly violated the trust of someone who was supremely important to me. If I could hit "rewind" and make the decision differently, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I can't. Will I ever be able to rebuild the relationship?
I have to walk on eggshells at work. If I say what I really think, I'll get fired . . . or at least made irrelevant.
My boss micromanages me and everyone else at work. He treats us all like we can't be trusted.
With all the scandals, corruption, and ethical violations in our society today, I feel like someone has pulled the rug out from under me. I don't know what -- or who -- to trust anymore.
So what do you do if you're in a situation like one of these -- or in any situation where a lack of trust creates politics and bureaucracy, or simply slows things down? Do you merely accept this as the cost of doing business? Or can you do something to counteract or even reverse it?
I affirm that you can do something about it. In fact, by learning how to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust, you can positively and significantly alter the trajectory of this and every future moment of your life.
GETTING A HANDLE ON TRUST
So what is trust? Rather than giving a complex definition, I prefer to use the words of Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. He said, "[Y]ou know it when you feel it."
Simply put, trust means confidence. The opposite of trust -- distrust -- is suspicion. When you trust people, you...