Trust and Leadership: Stephen M.R. Covey’s 3 Big Ideas

Trust and Leadership: Stephen M.R. Covey’s 3 Big Ideas

I recently saw the interview clip below regarding trust that really struck a chord with me. In the interview, Verne Harnish asked Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, to discuss his three big ideas around trust and leadership. Here they are below:

Economic Driver

First, trust is not a soft social virtue, it’s an economic driver. It’s all about speed and cost, both of which can be measured. Covey says that trust is also a driver of energy and joy. The premise is that when trust goes down on teams or in cultures, the energy goes down too. There’s less fun and when you measure satisfaction of the employees, it goes down.

On the flip side, when trust goes up, the energy in the culture goes up. Passion, excitement, physical energy, creativity goes up as trust increases along with greater happiness, satisfaction and fun. Not only do high trust organizations do it faster with less cost, they also do it with more fun.

Performance Multiplier

The second big idea is that trust is the number one competency of leadership needed today. It’s needed more than any of the others because how it affects every other competency. It is a performance multiplier.


Lastly, the third big idea is that trust is a learnable competency. The ability to create trust is something that you can learn and get better at. You can learn how to establish it, grow it, extend it and in some cases restore it. For many people who think either you have trust or you don’t, this is a paradigm shift. Fortunately, in the same way that a person can diminish trust through their behavior, a person can also consciously create trust through new learned behaviors.

For information on the 13 basic trust building behaviors or the Speed of Trust Program, please send an email or give us a call. And here’s the video clip of the interview:


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