Like Strangers At A Cocktail Party

The Law of Solid Ground: trust is the foundation of leadership.

In the book by Stephen M. R. Covey called “The Speed of Trust”, Stephen describes how the level of trust present in an environment can affect the speed of progress.

I have to admit, I didn’t get much out of the book until I experienced first hand the effects of trust. Today, I share some of my observations.

Like Strangers at a Cocktail Party

I got the phrase from Jason Fried in his book “Rework”, and it creates a great picture of what it looks like when there’s no trust present.

What do you do when interacting with a stranger? What if you have to work together?

My observations:

  • Meetings conversations are shallow.
  • Processes trump logic. If it’s not following a process then it’s wrong.
  • There are several rounds of peer review and approvals.
  • Almost everything needs to be approved by a key person or committee.
  • No one pushes back on anything. The subject matter expert knows best.
  • People comply instead of engage. It’s all hands, no brains.
  • Decisions take months instead of days.
  • No one is responsible. There’s always a finger to be pointed at someone.

Like A Group Of Close Friends

How do you behave with your closest friends?

Imagine a workplace in which you have a level a trust with everyone similar to the one you have with your closest friends. What would that look like? What behaviors would you see?

My observations:

  • Common purpose to help each other.
  • Unselfish sharing of resources.
  • Proper delegation of tasks. Including full control and personal ownership of each individual.
  • Passionate conversations about important issues.
  • Decisions fall on the people closest to the problem.
  • People hold each other accountable.
  • Willingness to try and fail often.
  • People feel safe.

What are some examples of your examples of trust or lack thereof?



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