FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Competence
This is the first part of a three-part series on trust by Dr. Todd Wangsgard, to be featured in the Texas/Oklahoma FranklinCovey blog.
Author of The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey, defines trust as “confidence born of the character and competence of an individual or organization.” This simple yet complete definition of an otherwise squishy subject takes into account both the feel-good side of trust in character as well as the practical side of one’s reliability in competence. Both character and competence lend confidence to those who would consider following any leader. And more than ever before, trust (or confidence) is sought after by an increasingly globally savvy audience of human beings who see the impact that geo-political activities are having on their individual well-being.
SMRC (as we affectionately call the author at FranklinCovey) also boldly asserts that, “trust is the key competency of the new global economy.” Again, as you replace “trust” in that sentence with “confidence,” one can see how the currency of trust is not just a “nice-to-have,” but rather an absolute imperative for leadership effectiveness under any circumstances. It is key, because without it, business plans, corporate promises, financial metrics and reports all come under the scrutiny of one question: “Yes, but what should we believe?”
The Speed of Trust book and classroom experience offer several models of thinking to better understand and define trust that break the subject down into understandable water cooler discussions. The Four Cores of Self Trust that subdivide Character into one’s integrity and intent and Competence into capabilities and results. The Five Waves of Trust that any leader must assess and develop within, including Self Trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational (or team) Trust, Market Trust, and Societal Trust. The 13 Behaviors of High Trust, including Talk Straight, Create Transparency, Right Wrongs, Get Better and nine others.
I recently worked with a successful CEO in the manufacturing and fulfillment business who has truly lived out the kind of trustworthy behavior described by SMRC. He has worked side-by-side (while the CEO) with frontline employees on the manufacturing line to learn what they do and to help keep costs down during a recent recession (Show Loyalty, Deliver Results, Confront Reality, Practice Accountability). He has made an effort to get to know every single employee in the company and remembers to send them a hand-written birthday greeting each year (Demonstrate Respect, Show Loyalty). While announcing a 15% pay cut for himself, he asked all exempt associates to accept a 7½% pay cut to help off-set their losses or agree to termination with a 3-months’ salary severance package (at their higher rate of pay). No one left and all were subsequently rewarded with “back-pay” on their lost wages after a couple successful intervening years and given a sizeable bonus (Talk Straight, Create Transparency, Show Loyalty, Get Better, Keep Commitments).
The confidence that Stephen writes about and that I’ve witnessed in industry over the past 25+ years starts with a leader who has genuine confidence in himself or herself and in the associates who choose to follow. Give them a leader they can trust (the Self Trust wave) and you have a foundation upon which you will build lasting relationships, enormously successful organizations, and a brand that generates intense loyalty and growth.
As congressmen contemplate how to stimulate a stubbornly sluggish economy, you already know the answers to recession-proofing your career and life. I can’t tell you how many times our FranklinCovey principles have crossed my mind this past week as we watch lawmakers work towards compromise.
- Create Transparency
- Clarify Expectations
- Right Wrongs
- Get Results
- Talk Straight
- Listen First
- Keep Commitments
Just to name a few.
When the Conference Board released its 2008 CEO Challenge report (Financial Crisis Edition), I was struck by the sudden rise in rank, from 34th place to 9th, of the respondents’ perceived need for more Business Confidence.