The Key to Running Fast

Running Shoes“We run fast in this organization.” That is a phrase you hear fairly frequently at Chaddock, and I believe our track record would support that claim. So what enables us to “get off the dime” to move things forward in a timely manner? In a word, trust.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust ( This is the second time I have heard him speak, and I believe if more organizations would take his research and framework to heart, amazing things could happen. In 2011, I led a book study with all of our supervisors on The Speed of Trust. It was the first time we had done anything like this, and I believe our organization is still reaping the positive benefits from this effort. (Even though, at the time, I’m quite certain a few of our managers were thinking, “Seriously, Debbie . . . a book study? Is that really the best use of our time?!?)

Sometimes slowing down, to review the game plan and get everyone on the same page, is the best way to go fast. And what did reviewing The Speed of Trust “game plan” do for us? It gave us a common vocabulary. Phrases like “inheritance tax” and “trust dividends” became commonplace. People began to step back and think about someone’s intent, rather than viewing actions through a single perspective lens. And over time, silos began to break down and communication across departments began to improve. Is it perfect? Of course not. Communication and working collaboratively are always a work in progress, but if our employee surveys are any indication, we continue to move in the right direction.

In the book, Covey identifies the 13 behaviors of high trust leaders. While all are important, I believe six of these behaviors had the greatest impact in our organizational culture (I have numbered them according to where they fall on Covey’s list).

1. Talk Straight
3. Create Transparency
6. Deliver Results
8. Confront Reality
11. Listen First
13. Extend Trust

I absolutely believe in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly with staff. We measure lots of things, and summarize the results so everyone knows where we stand. We “name the elephant in the room” and try to provide numerous opportunities for staff input. After all, if we trust them with the children, we ought to be able to trust them with information. I have said that to staff for years, and really believe it, however Covey further reinforced that idea when he pointed out that those who extend trust to others are seen as more trustworthy themselves. What a concept . . . maybe the real key to running fast is to trust that you and your staff can.

Time to lace up those running shoes!

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