What is Your Trust Score?
In over eleven years righting for Over the Road I’ve never provided a book review on a book I haven’t finished reading yet. I don’t advise it and I hope never to do it again. But I’ve been so moved by a section of a book I’m only 20% finished that I think I’d like to comment.
The book is the New York Times best seller “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey (son of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Author). It should be read as a very personal book. While reading one should reflect only on their own shortcomings and failures. Reading it with a critical eye to those around will not provide the true benefits of its wisdom.
If you have been reading my articles over the last couple years you have seen me paint a picture of how both business and personal relationships should work. I’ve written many articles on ethics and integrity. I’ve tried to promote integrity in both the industry and in personal life. I’m in no way implying my life has been perfect, however, I did come to see benefits of some paths and downfalls of others. Some lessons from the faults in my own life and some from those around me.
As Mr Covey expounds on trust he shows how trust reduces cost and increases performance efficiency. Probably the simplest example (not given in the book) is going for a loan with either a high credit score or a lower one. The high credit score applicant can receive approval much faster and usually at a better cost than the lower (lest trustworthy) credit score.
As an accountant to well over 500 independent operators I see the difference trust makes within a wide range of scores. I’m not talking just credit scores but in all factors of life: finances, family, friends and taxes (just to mention a few).
In my line of work I see a lot of trust applications, specifically business finances. After several decades of watching the outcomes of operators efforts I can safely say that those who actively develop trustworthy habits and reputations end up accumulating much higher levels of after tax wealth than those who cut corners and fudge on their taxes. It is probably the most counter intuitive anomaly in the financial industry. Those who confess accidents end up getting lucrative opportunities much more than those who hid their failures. For an example such as this one we can easily draw lines of cause and effect. However, there are other trustworthy character traits such as “clients who actively give to charity end up with more than those who don’t” that refuse to provide any clear cause and effect links. I’m a numbers guy… I’m supposed to show the trail of its benefit… but seriously I cannot. I can only verify that it is true. Those who give will get, while those who take will have less. That’s as best I can testify to.
Building trust in both our character and our competence (Covey) brings long term financial gain, reduces stress, increases capacity, provides more opportunity, bolsters confidence and a whole host of other benefits. Simply put its just good business. The road to success may be slower at first but as the compound interest of trust multiplies, eventually its hard to keep up with it.
Hire trustworthy people, in both character and competence… but first make sure you have it yourself. A quality person rarely will stay with an unscrupulous boss or co-worker. Get the right people onto your bus and the wrong ones off. Trustworthy people have a desire to be trusted and will flourish in the right atmosphere.
I challenge you to read the book “The Speed of Trust”. Take it personal. Read it as a self help book like I have so far. I found ways to be a better leader, husband, father and friend. I encourage you to better yourself, better your neighbor and better your work environment. Increase your trust score.