Stephen Covey & Me: TRUST is the Magic Bullet

I was amazed to hear Stephen Covey’s presentation on “The Speed of Trust” at NASBA’s (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) annual conference for national and international accounting regulators.  It focused on the same concepts I developed over the last two decades which have brought me a lot of attention, but I didn’t know why.  After hearing Covey’s presentation, I finally know why! 

Covey’s presentation echoed the themes of an article I wrote in 2003, which were further developed in my recent book. The article“How to Implement Change Effectively”, was originally published in the Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance (John Wiley & Sons). 

Wiley & Sons editors suggested I write a book expanding on the article. The core themes of Trust and Collaboration, Transparency and Linking were the centerpiece of my subsequent book, “The DNA of the Resilient Organization – How One Collective Heartbeat Creates Continuous Competitive Advantage.  Published in late 2014, the book includes the strategies and steps needed to build long term resilience.  And now, 15 years after the initial article, Stephen Covey promotes these same core concepts!

Shortly after the book was published, Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management asked me to develop and teach a course centered around the book, which I did in 2015-2016.  They said “no other university has yet linked the two disciplines you did – Organization Development and Risk Management – and we want to be the first in the country to offer it!”

In 2015, the 2003 article was selected as one of the Top Ten Articles of All-Time published in the Journal!  The selection criteria were: “frequency of access by readers” and “enduring usefulness of content.”  It was featured on the cover of the special issue of the Journal, “Best of JCAF” May/June 2015 Issue , in the #1 position.  Amazing!

After hearing Stephen’s presentation, I now understand why the article received so much attention. For organizational health and success, these concepts are the only Magic Bullet.  They are the centerpiece of all good organizational change strategies. Collaboration, Transparency and Linking are essential but they can’t be successfully implemented without developing and embedding Trust as the centerpiece of the culture.

According to Covey:  “Trust enables collaboration and partnering, leverages differences, and encourages calculated risk-taking.  People are drawn to high trust environments.”

“Millenials value open, transparent, collaborative leadership style. Trust leads to Joy!”  All these are themes from my award-winning article and in The DNA of the Resilient Organization.

Three additional key points about Trust from Covey:

  1. Trust is an economic driver, not just a social virtue.
  2. Trust is the #1 competency of leadership needed today – the ability is critical to every other factor.
  3. Trust is a learnable skill. It can even be recovered when lost.”
A culture of Trust and what it enables — true, open collaboration and communication, creativity, and risk-taking — builds strong, innovative and resilient organizations!
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