The Speed of Trust

By Jeff Abbott

There are some laws of relational physics that rule businesses dealings and most leaders don’t understand them. Moreover, they feel that giving attention to relational stuff is fluffy and a waste of time. “I have to get a job done”. Well, good luck with that.

It is a proven fact that when trust is not found in relationships, they slow down…sometimes to a stop. That can’t be cheap. For instance, sometimes in business, leaders think that the best way to prevent mistakes is to get 6 signatures from department leaders to make sure we don’t make any mistakes. They believe that people aren’t naturally trustworthy, so you can’t trust them with freedom or autonomy. The result is the business slows to a crawl while documents crawl from in-basket to in-basket, office to office. Meanwhile the customer waits for the product and manufacturing is forced to race through the process because the documents were “late to release”. The strange thing is that those living in this system can’t see that it’s killing productivity. In fact, the absence of trust breeds an environment devoid of trust and the organization spirals away from its goals.

This is not just theory described here. It is the life I lived. I learned by growing an organization on trust. Trust, autonomy, and freedom to create made for an organization that dominated its market. People all over the organization were succeeding in so many ways that the cumulative effect propelled us far past our competition.

Experts say that without trust, learning cannot be transferred from one to another. The trust barrier keeps others from learning from me. Once trust obstacles are removed, amazing things happen. Take a look at the tables labeled the “Four Corners of Trust” and the “Behaviors of Trust”. An honest look at myself using these tables as a grid revealed that there are areas I need to strengthen to guard against trust leakage in my leadership.

What can your organization gain from a stronger culture of trust? Perhaps reading The Speed of Trust Book Review will help you see what might need to change to improve your speed and lower your cost of doing business.


How much does a bad hire actually cost your company? Find out here.

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