Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review & Summary: The Speed of Trust, Reviewed by Zan Jones

A few years ago Susan picked up a book at the airport called The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey. She was so impressed with the content that she got involved with the CoveyLink organization to learn more about how to help organizations build High Trust environments while helping keep them in the Smart Zone.

Susan also asked all of her staff to read the book knowing it would benefit her two companies as well as the people we serve. In the last several years Susan has referred to this book many times in her clinical practice and in her speaking engagements. It had such a profound impact on her that she revamped the Smart Zone model to include Trust as a basis to support staying in the Smart Zone. Because we refer to it on a regular basis we are providing a book summary below.

Covey proves that Trust is not just a social virtue. It is also a measurable economic driver that impacts performance. In other words, Trust will make you money. Not being trusted will cost you money.

Here is the simple formula he uses:

When Trust goes up, speed will go up and costs will go down.
Trust (UP) = Speed (UP) Costs (DOWN)

When Trust goes down, speed will go down and costs will go up.
Trust (DOWN) = Speed (DOWN) Costs (UP)

For example, before 9/11 we could arrive at the airport 30 minutes before take off and breeze through security. But now, since Trust has gone down, we have to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before take off and pay a 9/11 security tax on every ticket. Covey also points out the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that was implemented in the Low Trust wake of scandals like Enron and WorldCom. In other words, Trust has gone down, speed has gone down and cost has gone up.

Covey cleverly defines what he calls the Trust Tax which is the cost of Low Trust and the Trust Dividend which is a quantifiable reward of High Trust.

High Trust Tax work environments experience:
  • Unhappy employees and stakeholders

  • Micromanagement and bureaucracy

  • CYA behavior and hidden agendas

  • Redundant hierarchy

While High Trust Dividend organizations enjoy:
  • Good communication

  • Few office politics

  • Effective collaboration and execution

  • Positive partnering

  • Strong engagement and innovation

Covey also proves his hypothesis that, "Nothing is as fast as the Speed of Trust," using his 5 Waves of Trust model.

The 5 Waves of Trust are:
  1. Self Trust.
    Self Trust pertains to confidence we have in ourselves, how we walk our talk and keep commitments. Here he outlines the 4 Cores of Credibility which are: one's integrity, intent, capabilities and accomplished results. Covey tells a hilarious story of how his dad accidentally left his mother out on the freeway in the middle of the night!

  2. Relationship Trust.
    This Wave provides guidance on how to interact with others in a way that increases Trust and avoid interacting in a way that destroys it. It's all about consistent behavior. Covey outlines the 13 Behaviors that are common to High Trust people.

  3. Organizational Trust.
    Covey describes Low Trust organizations as being redundant, political, and disengaged with high turnover. High Trust organizations outperform Low Trust organizations by 3 times and have high stakeholder and customer value, accelerated growth, enhanced innovation and loyalty. My favorite example is of the retailer Nordstrom's one rule employee handbook, in an age of hundred page policy manuals, which simply states, "Use good judgment at all times."”

  4. Market Trust.
    Here, Covey quotes Oprah Winfrey, "In the end, all you have is your reputation."” My favorite quote, however, is Warren Buffet's words, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it."”

  5. Societal Trust.
    A French proverb states, "Fish discover water last." For fish, water surrounds them and they are so immersed in it that they don't recognize its existence until it becomes polluted. People, in a way, discover Trust last. In society, we depend on Trust and take it for granted until it becomes polluted or destroyed.

Covey brings it all together by showing how to extend "Smart Trust." His Smart Trust matrix includes 4 zones: Blind Trust, Distrust, No Trust and Smart Trust. Leadership is getting results in a way that inspires Trust. Many trusted managers who are competent and credible never make it to leaders because they don't know how to extend "Smart Trust." They may know how to be trusted but not how to extend Trust to others. In order for a leader to inspire Trust he/she must empower individuals to give it their all and create a High Trust environment where everyone works effectively with others.

In the words of Stephen M.R. Covey, "Nothing is as fast as the Speed of Trust!"”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review: SuperFreakonomics, Reviewed by Zan Jones

January is a busy month for Susan in her clinical practice. That might surprise you because you might think it is December. Her practice is really busy in January because so many people have family issues, marital issues, and difficulties with their expectations soon after the holidays. That is why I asked to step in for Susan and review a book we both have been reading.

SuperFreakonomics, by the economist Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner, was even more enjoyable than their first book, Freakonomics. SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything. I think this book will entertain you and make you feel smarter for reading it.

The book begins with an interesting perspective on drunk driving. While all of us would campaign that drunk driving is bad, most of us can't answer the question: "Why do so many people get behind the wheel after drinking?" It could be because drunk drivers rarely get caught - 1 arrest for every 27,000 miles driven while drunk. But, on a per mile basis it is 8 times more dangerous to walk drunk than to drive drunk. (One caveat: a drunk walker isn't likely to hurt anyone else.) Conclusion: friends shouldn't let friends walk drunk.

I counted over 100 intriguing questions and answers in the book. Listed below are my 5 favorites:

  1. How is a Street Prostitute like a Department Store Santa? The answer: both take advantage of short-term job opportunities brought on by holiday spikes in demand. The authors go on to discuss how the annual wages for a prostitute have gone down from $80,000 a century ago to about $16,000 today. Why? Lack of demand. Not for sex but for prostitutes. Women's lib and casual sex are to blame. The prostitute explanation was interesting. And even though I am a little prude, I still enjoyed it.

  2. What is the worst month to have a baby? If you know someone in Michigan who is having a baby this year you should hope it's not born in May. If so, the baby is roughly 20% more likely to have visual, hearing or learning disabilities as an adult. Same issue if you live in southeastern Uganda. Why? The simple reason is: Ramadan. Parts of Michigan have a substantial Muslim population as does southeastern Uganda. Islam calls for a daytime fast from food and drink for the entire month of Ramadan. Most Muslim women participate even while pregnant. The effects are strongest when fasting coincides with the first month of pregnancy.

  3. Why should suicide bombers buy life insurance? Surprisingly, "terrorists" tend to come from well educated, middle-class or high income families. By examining the banking history of terrorists after September 11, certain "terrorist" behaviors were identified. Would-be terrorists are more likely to: own a mobile phone, be a student and rent, rather own, a home. Would-be terrorists are least likely to: have a savings account, withdraw money from an ATM on a Friday afternoon and buy life insurance. So if a budding terrorist wants to cover his tracks, he should go to the bank and change his name to something un-Muslim and buy life insurance.

  4. Why did 38 people sit by and watch an innocent woman be murdered? Social psychology students have all heard this story. In March 1964, on a cold, damp night, a 28-year old woman named Kitty Genovese was attacked, chased, stabbed in her back, raped, stabbed again and left to die. The murder took 35 minutes and of the 38 people who saw it not one person called the police. The incident inspired research on what is now called "bystander apathy." To find out how this event ties in with the John F. Kennedy assassination, the ACLU, TV and the Andy Griffith Show you'll have to read the book.

  5. According to the government, who visits retirement homes? Data from a U.S. government study shows that an elderly parent in a retirement home is more likely to be visited by his grown children if they are expecting a sizable inheritance. My argument is that the children of wealthy families are simply more caring of their parents. However, the data show no increase in retirement home visits if a wealthy family has only one grown child; there has to be a least two. This suggests that the visits increase because of competition between siblings for the inheritance. I'm glad I have 2 kids!

If you'd like to find out the best time of day to visit the ER, ways to postpone death, solutions for global warming, how well car seats work and if a sex-change can boost your salary then pick up a copy of SuperFreakonomics.