A Summary of the Five Waves of Trust in The Speed of Trust, a Book by Stephen Covey

Summary

“The Speed of Trust” does not only explain how important trust is in different kinds of relationship but also how trust -when fully developed- can make a person successful and prosperous. The author Stephen Covey discusses the economics of trust using the model called the Five Waves of Trust. In the book, he states the differences between low-trust relationship and high-trust relationship. The myths and realities of trust are also presented such as the speed of trust and creating and destroying trust. He also highlights the importance of trust in businesses as the employer’s lack of trust on employees and vice versa may lead to negative outcomes. The five waves of trust; on the one hand, are important not only in business but also on personal relationships, self-growth and the society.

Basically, the first wave of trust is self-trust. To be trusted by others, it is important to trust one’s self before anyone else. It also helps a person improve his credibility so he can trust others. To develop one’s integrity, he has to have intent or purpose as well as capabilities. To be capable of trusting one’s self and others, a person should use his talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style. Apparently, one should have results and improve them by taking responsibility for the results, expecting to win and finishing strong.

The second wave of trust is relationship trust. Significantly, this is developed through different behaviours such as talking straight, demonstrating respect, creating transparency, writing wrongs, showing loyalty, delivering results, getting better, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, practicing accountability, listening first, keeping communication and extending trust. When these behaviours are practiced, one will be able to improve relationship trust (Cover & Merrill, 2006). The third wave of trust, which is organizational chart, is about trust among the members of an organization. The book mainly tackles the common trust issues organizations face. Essentially, violation of principles is the common cause of a low-trust organization and it can be addressed by communicating and cultivating trust within the organization.

Market trust, the fourth wave is about maintaining an organization’s brand or reputation through trust. Speed, cost and trust are interrelated and they are affected by brand or reputation. An organization can use the above wave of trust especially the behaviours discussed in the second wave. Lastly, the fifth wave of trust is societal trust is about contribution as the main principle of high societal trust. It is about making big contributions to gain the trust of the society and further develops one’s business or organization.

The Relevance of the Concepts to Today’s Army Officers

Trust is vital to every organization as lack of trust can affect not only the relationship of its members but also the performance and reputation of the entire organization. The military is known to be a strong institution thus its members have the courage to face all the challenges of being army officers. The concepts of trust discussed in the book can be applied to army officers. Before an officer enters the military, he does not only need to be brave but he also needs to trust himself. Apparently, courage and self-trust go hand-in-hand: how can an officer face and fight his enemies if he does not trust himself? It will be difficult for him to accomplish his tasks if he thinks he cannot do it. One of the reasons why a person does not trust himself is due to fear of making mistakes. However, an army officer should be a risk taker and self-trust is the key to being brave and credible.

The second wave of trust also applies to the challenges faced by army officers. It is not enough to trust one’s self especially inside an organization. The military is a big one and to accomplish successful operations, all the members of the organizations should trust one another. Not only the followers should trust the leader but the leader also needs to trust his followers. Mutual trust is important and encouraging each other will help them face the most dangerous battles and overcome them.

As a large organization, organizational trust is very important for army officers. The problems in a low-trust organization discussed in the book often happen in the military. There are people who manipulate facts for personal purposes and they are often in a high position. Covering up mistakes and withholding information are also common in military organizations. These problems make army officers find it difficult to trust their leaders and even their colleagues. Hence, when the members of the organization do not trust each other, it will lead to bigger problems and may affect the reputation and credibility of the whole organization.

Market trust; though is more about branding of organizations, can also be applied to army officers. The reputation or image of the military is important since this is an institution that aims to ensure peace and safety. People’s perception on army officers is essential and if military organizations do something unlawful or unethical, they will lose people’s trust. This is why army officers, apart from being brave and trustworthy; should also know how to take responsibility for their actions. Army officers including the leaders must show the people they are protecting that they are worthy of the citizens’ trust and they should not break such trust. The same goes with societal trust. Army officers should gain the trust of the society. They have to do their jobs properly and ethically to maintain people’s trust.

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