Servant Leadership and Market Trust


 “In the end, all you have is your reputation.”

~Oprah Winfrey

Stephen Covey (Stephen R. Covey’s son) highlights the fourth wave of trust in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything as Market Trust. This wave of trust is all about brand and reputation. And market trust is about the external stakeholders.

Market trust is really about the feeling you have that makes you want to buy products or services. It’s about investing your time and money and recommending that your friends do the same. A brand is “trust monetized.”

As a result, companies spend a ton a money on creating a brand that inspires people to trust them, their products, and their services.

If you want to improve your brand, Covey argues that your company or organization must strengthen its 4 Cores and 13 Behaviors so that you can measurably increase the value of your organization’s brand.

Building credibility and trust are key values to Servant Leaders and to the marketplace in which they serve.

Considering the perspective of your customers, ask yourself:

  1. Does my brand have Integrity? Do we have a reputation for honesty?
  2. Does my brand demonstrate good Intent? Do people feel that we genuinely care or that we are simply out to “make a profit?”
  3. Does my brand demonstrate Capabilities? Do people associate our name with quality, excellence, continuous improvement, and relevance?
  4. Is my brand associated with Results? Do people feel we deliver what we promise? Is a good track record associated with our name? Would you recommend us to a friend?

Building one’s brand requires that Servant Leaders apply the 13 behaviors (2 blogs posts ago) and apply those behaviors to external stakeholders, that is, customers, suppliers, distributors, investors, and communities. 3 concepts to consider:

Talk Straight

Treat customers as if they are educated adults.

Create Transparency

Create a dynamic self-regulating economy where customers feel the transparency of your organization.

Listen First

Genuine listening is one of the truest forms of competitive advantage. Create customer panels. Conduct formal market research, make personal calls to customers, and create loyalty programs. Your customers feel good when they are heard.

Servant Leaders understand that the same concepts that apply at the level of Market Trust also applies to Self-Trust, Relationship Trust, and Organizational Trust.

At the end of the day, whatever trust we are able to create in our organizations and in the marketplace, is ONLY the result of the credibility and trust we create in and for ourselves.

To Market Trust,


Servant Leadership and Organizational Trust


                   “Organizations are no longer built on force,

                                              but on trust.”

                                                                ~Peter Drucker

Stephen Covey (Stephen R. Covey’s son) highlights the third wave of trust in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything as Organizational Trust. This wave of trust is all about establishing trust with the internal stakeholders of your organization.  Last week, we discussed the 4 Cores of Credibility and the 13 Behaviors.

The third wave of trust lays the foundation for your organization to create value, establish and maintain trust, increase speed of product or service delivery, lower organizational costs, increase the bottom line, and maximize influence- yours and your organization. The core concept of this wave of trust is considered the Principle of Alignment.

The chapter begins by asking two main questions and gives an illustration of the difference between low-trust and high-trust organizations. The two questions help to gauge how you might apply the tools above to your organization. The two questions are;

  • How would you describe a low-trust organization?
  • How would you describe a high-trust organization?

The lists consist of the answers Covey’s workshop participants provided for both questions. See if you can find your organization in one of these two lists.

Low-Trust Organizations

  • People manipulate or distort facts
  • People withhold and hoard information
  • Getting the credit is very important
  • People spin the truth to their advantage
  • New ideas are openly resisted and stifled
  • Mistakes are covered up or covered over
  • Most people are involved in the blame game, bad-mouthing others
  • There is an abundance of Watercooler talk
  • There are numerous “meetings after meetings.”
  • There are many “Undiscussables.”
  • People tend to overpromise and under deliver
  • The energy and consciousness are extremely low
  • There are a lot of expectations, for which people try to make excuses
  • People pretend bad things aren’t happening or are in denial
  • People often feel unproductive tension- sometimes even fear

Covey’s participants that discussed high-trust organizations said they typically see different behaviors such as:

High-Trust Organizations

  • Information is shared openly
  • Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
  • The culture is innovative and creative
  • People are loyal to those who are absent
  • People talk straight and confront real issues
  • There is real communication and authentic collaboration
  • People share credit abundantly
  • There are few “meetings after meetings.”
  • Transparency is a practical value
  • People are candid and authentic
  • There is a high degree of accountability
  • There exists palpable vitality and energy- a consciousness of positive momentum (Adapted from Covey, pg. 237).

Covey presents four ideas to increase the Principle of Alignment within your organization. Servant Leaders know that integrity, intent, capabilities, and results will yield long-lasting success within the organization. The four cores, applied organizationally, can improve trust. For example;

Organizational Integrity

Improve your organization’s mission or values statement. Create a culture of keeping commitments-especially in small things. Remember, they are watching how you keep your commitments.

Organizational Intent

Make sure that your mission and values are reflected in the motive and principles that build trust. Set an example and demonstrate care and concern for everyone. Use systems that focus on benefitting everyone like stewardship accountability, rewarding cooperation, and building trust on a daily basis.

Organizational Capabilities

Put systems in place that attract and retain the talent needed to be competitive in today’s global market. Provide on-going professional development, mentoring, and training to promote satisfaction that comes from growth and expansion for the stakeholders. Information and decision-making systems should include everyone to meet organizational goals and customer needs.

Organizational Results

Create a shared vision for everyone to embrace. Get and keep everyone on the same page. Provide accountability systems for internal stakeholders to get results on a consistent basis. Use balanced scorecards or other systems that meet the needs of the stakeholders, and not just the bosses.

Servant Leaders understand that organizations are severely taxed when low-trust is rampant. And, on the other hand, organizations receive dividends when there is high-trust within the organization. The seven taxes for low-trust organizations, along with the seven dividends for high-trust organizations are highlighted below.

The 7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes

  • Redundancy
  • Bureaucracy
  • Politics
  • Disengagement
  • Turnover
  • Churn (turnover other than employees, like customers, suppliers, distributors, investors, etc.)
  • Fraud

The 7 High-Trust Organizational Dividends

  • Value
  • Accelerated Growth
  • Enhanced Innovation
  • Improved Collaboration
  • Stronger Partnering
  • Better Execution
  • Heightened Loyalty

I love how Covey brings this chapter to an end by discussing these same core concepts as it relates to family. Everything in this chapter applies just as powerfully to the family as it does to any other organization. For instance, does your family have integrity? Are values and guidelines clear? Does our family have good intent? Are we kind and caring to one another? What are our family’s capabilities? Is it safe to learn from mistakes? And finally, what results does our family produce? Are systems and processes in place to create joy and share are great accomplishments?

Indeed, as Servant Leaders in our homes and our workplace modeling the 4 Cores and 13 behaviors, we create an alignment that supports our structure and values. And in doing so, Servant Leaders positively affect everything else in our families as well as in our organizations.

To Organizational Trust,

Dr. Crystal

Servant Leadership and Trust

Antrustimagesnouncement: We begin our summer review of the book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey. Covey discusses five waves of trust, and we will look at each one in detail. I hope that you are enjoying your summer and I look forward to your continued support!

“Our distrust is very expensive.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stephen Covey (Stephen R. Covey’s son) defines trust in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything as something that, “You know when you feel it.”

Trust in relationships is built on confidence. If you have confidence in a person, perhaps a boss, a coworker, a family member, or friend, the relationship feels good, there is good communication, you can get tasks done quickly, and you enjoy the relationship.

On the other hand, if you are involved in a low-trust relationship, it may feel like communication is broken, things do not get done quickly, there are constant misunderstandings, and the relationship is tedious, cumbersome, and draining. Indeed, there are many differences between high and low-trust relationships.

Organizationally speaking, trust within companies and businesses has declined. Recent research shows:

  • Only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in management and leadership.
  • Just about 36% of employees believe their managers, supervisors, and leaders act with honesty and integrity.
  • A whopping 76% of employees have witnessed illegal or unethical behavior on the job. Behavior that if exposed, would violate the public trust.
  • The number one reason why people leave their jobs is due to a bad relationship with a boss.

What can be done about increasing trust on the job? Cynics often ask if trust can be measured. Can trust be seen as an economic driver? Well, Covey makes the case that it can. Trust affects two outcomes; speed and cost.

This insight says that when trust goes down, speed will also go down, and costs will go up.

↓     Trust     =     ↓     Speed     ↑    Cost

Conversely, when trust goes up, speed will also go up, and costs will go down.

↑     Trust     =     ↑     Speed     ↓     Cost

Covey illustrates this through the example of post 9/11 and the new security processes put in place at airports across the country. Clearly, we need the extra security measures to protect safety. However, it slowed down the process and increased the cost to fly.

Covey goes further to say that trust is a function of character and competence. Both aspects are important to trust as character involves one’s integrity, motives, and intentions while competence includes your skills, results, track record, and capabilities. Covey makes a serious and noteworthy claim that the character side of trust is, “fast becoming the price of entry in the new global economy.”

Think about it. People trust people who make things happen.

Leaders give the promising projects or sales leads to those who have performed in the past.

Universities give the new curriculum to the most competent instructors.

Students who show promising skills get the coveted internships.

Servant-Leaders understand the balance between character and competence. These are the foundational building blocks of trust. Through the 5 Waves of Trust (Self-Trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational Trust, Market Trust, and Societal Trust). Servant- Leaders can build stronger, sustainable relationships, provide more opportunities, envision better outcomes, and have fun! What a concept!

Servant – Leaders know from a deep well within that trust impacts everything in one’s life. The way you lead, establish, grow, restore, and extend the one thing that changes the game- And that my friends, is trust.

To Trust,

Dr. Crystal