Think HBR

The speed of trust

Scott Douglas
Trust underpins most relationships. In business, the ability to establish high trust with your customers, business partners and your team, will be the key leadership attribute to take your business forward and create the culture you desire. High trust in any business leads to significant advantages, in bringing confidence to any situation and allowing things to happen quicker and more efficiently.
In his book “The Speed of Trust” Stephen M R Covey argues an economic case for trust, indicating that when trust goes up, costs go down, and of course vice versa.
In the context of communication, he indicates that in high trust relationships, you can say the wrong thing and people will still get your meaning, however in low trust relationships, you can be measured and precise, and people will still misinterpret you. This communication alone either speeds things up or slow things down; directly attributable to the underlying trust that exists.
So how do we build trust? Essentially it comes equally from both our competency and our character. Our competency is determined by our capabilities and results, whilst our character is built from our integrity and intent.
It seems logical that you won’t trust someone who lacks integrity, however you also won’t trust someone that doesn’t have the capability to do the job and deliver on that promise. To build trust, you need both.
Intent, or commitment, is another critical piece. For leaders to build trust with their teams, they should display commitment to their growth and development and support those team members to achieve their goals. Business, where team members don’t trust the commitment of the leaders to support them, will mean despite high capability of those leaders to get the job done, they will have effectively created a low trust environment, and the related costs associated with that.
Building trust is not a soft skill, it is an essential element to the effectiveness of any business, and a key attribute for any leader. How would you rate the level of trust in your business?
For further information contact SiDCOR on 1300 743 267, email or visit
Scott Douglas4 Scott Douglas
The CEO at SiDCOR Chartered Accountants, has over 20 years’ experience in accounting and taxation, having begun his career with international accounting firm KPMG. With extensive experience in a variety of industries and with all types of businesses from local entrepreneurs to national organisations, Scott is perfectly suited to provide solutions needed to minimise tax and maximise wealth. Scott has a Bachelor of Commerce from Newcastle University and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.