Stephen Covey and Rebecca Merrill emphasize trust. They demonstrate that in business, the focus should be on optimization through developing an ethical character, transparent motivation, and superb competence in producing sustained, superior results. Covey and Merrill have identified a hierarchy of Trust that they call the Five Waves
The First Wave: Self Trust
Self-trust is integrity. It’s about being consistent, and having the courage to act in accordance with your values and beliefs. So how can you build integrity? Covey and Merrill suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I believe that the way I see the world is totally accurate and complete—or am I honestly willing to listen to and consider new viewpoints and ideas?
- Do I seriously consider differing points of view, and am I willing to be influenced by them?
- Do I believe there may be principles that I have not yet discovered? Am I determined to live in harmony with them, even if it means developing new thinking patterns and habits?
The Second Wave: Relationship Trust
The second wave is about consistent behavior. It’s about learning how to interact with others in ways that increase trust and avoid interacting in ways that destroy it. Covey and Merrill, have created another list of a few behaviors common to high-trust leaders and people that grow out of the four cores of self-trust to support this wave:
- Talk Straight. Be honest. Tell the truth. Let people know where you stand. Call things what they are. Don’t manipulate people or distort facts. Don’t spin the truth. Don’t leave false impressions.
- Demonstrate Respect. Genuinely care for others. Show you care. Respect the dignity of every person and every role. Show kindness in the little things. Don’t fake caring.
- Create Transparency. Tell the truth in a way people can verify. Get real and genuine. Be open and authentic. Operate on the premise of “What you see is what you get.” Don’t have hidden agendas.
The Third Wave: Organizational Trust
A high-trust organization looks like this:
• Information is shared openly
• Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
• The culture is innovative and creative
• People are loyal to those who are absent
• People talk straight and confront real issues
• There is real communication and real collaboration
If the symbols in your organization communicate and cultivate distrust—or less trust than you would like to have, you need to go back to the drawing board.
The Fourth Wave: Market Trust
Market Trust is all about brand or reputation. It’s about the feeling you have that makes you want to buy products or services or invest your money or time. Here are some statistics to consider.
- Thirty-nine percent of individuals say they would start or increase their business with a company specifically because of the trust or trustworthiness of that company.
- Fifty-three percent say they would stop, reduce, or switch their business to a competitor because they have concerns about a company’s trust or trustworthiness.
- Eighty-Three percent say they are more likely to give a company they trust the benefit of the doubt and listen to their side of the story before making a judgment about corporate behavior.
So, to improve you need to look through the lens of your own “organization” in terms of Market Trust. Consider the perspective of your “customers.”
The Fifth Wave: Societal Trust
The overriding principle of societal trust is contribution. It’s the intent to create value instead of destroy it, to give back instead of take. So, with our organizations. We ask ourselves the four cores: Is our organization credible? Do we have Integrity, and do we model it in our behavior? Do we demonstrate Intent to do good, to contribute, to give back? Do we have the Capabilities to make a difference? Do we produce Results, not only for shareholders but for all stakeholders?