Soundview Executive Book Summaries

One Editor’s Opinion (Part Two)

As promised, I’ve returned with the second book that I felt had a major impact in the past 10 years. While my first post covered John Maxwell’s The 360 Degree Leader because it deals with the leader in all of us, my second choice reflects one of the qualities that should make up the character of any leader: trust. For that reason, I’ve selected Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust as a book that deserves a second look.

While Covey would likely exhibit modesty if compared to his father (management legend Dr. Stephen Covey), the younger Covey’s book The Speed of Trust is a work that could prove to be as influential as some of his father’s writings. As we exit a decade where the American public complained at length about a lack of trust in corporations and the government, trust has continued to grow in importance as a business tool. Executives understand the two-way exchange of trust and its impact on the workplace because of an increased need for honesty on the part of a company’s employees. Corporations that garner a sense of trust on the part of buyers see their products appear in every home. However, as Covey notes, trust is a delicate item and if fractured, the recovery process is long and slow.

Trust will continue to be among the most important concepts that businesses will have to understand as we enter 2010. Life in a world where the majority of business is conducted using technology that the masses can’t readily explain requires a great deal of trust. The by-gone era of handing one’s check to a bank teller and receiving a receipt along with a few $50 bills has been rendered inefficient, but it was far easier to trust the teller than a machine. Just open your e-mail account today and see how many spam messages are hoping that you’ll trust them.

What makes The Speed of Trust one of the best books written on the subject is the way Covey weaves the importance of trust in the workplace together with trust outside of it. The maintenance of trust is one of the most difficult skills to master because too many people today look to dismiss actions as insincere. Leaders in particular walk a delicate line. They hope to gain a good relationship with those they lead, but they must also monitor performance and dictate policy. Covey helps executives establish the best ways to communicate trust and ensure that its flame isn’t prematurely extinguished. Once the candle of trust is out, it can take some time for its light to be lit again.

On behalf of everyone at Soundview Executive Book Summaries have a safe and Happy New Year! We greatly look forward to bringing you the best business books of 2010 and beyond … in a format that makes the most of your time.


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