Difficult Conversations Podcast
Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician
Episode 116 | November 3, 2020
The Speed of Trust - The One Thing That Changes Everything
Stephen M.R. Covey
Leadership Development Pioneer
Welcome to Difficult Conversations – Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. On today’s episode, my special guest is Stephen M.R. Covey. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. Stephen asserts that trust has become the new currency of the world and that having the ability to develop, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders is the number one competency of leadership needed today. He is the former President and CEO of The Covey Leadership Center where he grew the company to become the largest leadership development firm in the world. He currently leads Franklin Covey’s Global Speed of Trust practice, serves on numerous boards, has been recognized with the lifetime Achievement Award for “Top Thought Leaders in Trust.”
Stephen tells us all about himself, his famous father and about his personal mission in life. We find out how his father (Stephen Covey author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), who had such a great influence on him, both personally and professionally. Stephen shares a touching story he calls “green and clean” involving himself as a 7 year old child and his father. In his book, the first thing Stephen explains is why it is essential to have self-trust before you can have other people trust you. He gives advice on how to start off and build trust quickly when you’re meeting someone, regardless of whether you’re a physician or a business person. He explains his definition of leadership that puts everything in perspective. Stephen shares a great story about being genuine. Stephen talks about how trust involves “taxes and dividends” and how important it is that we teach leaders how to do this. He mentions how important it is to learn how to put on your “trust glasses.” Dr. Orsini asks Stephen if we should take managers and teach them how to build trust or pick managers that have already exuded the trust.. Dr. Orsini and Stephen share stories and advice about training and how they found that although there’s a small percentage of people that can’t be trained, but most people can and want to learn. Find out what Stephen calls, “The one thing that changes everything.” Stephen leaves us with some inspiring thoughts about trust and distrust being contagious, and how trust and confidence can create more trust and confidence.
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Stephen Covey (1s):
And my point is, if you start with trust, where you yourself are trustworthy and trusting, and you build a
relationship of trust, a high trust team, a high trust culture, and your ability to do every other one of those
things, you know, lead through change, built a team, be able to build a culture of inclusivity, you know, where
we value our differences. Because we trust each other, where you can truly collaborate where you can
engage your people, where you can innovate, create new solutions. All of those other dimensions of
leadership go up. They are multiplied by the high trust trust dividend, just like they are diminished and
diluted, are taxed by a low trust dividend.
Welcome to Difficult Conversations: Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr.
Orsini is a practicing physician and the President and CEO of the Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote speaker
and author Dr. Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders how to navigate
through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in their field
who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate. Whether you are a
doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or her
team members or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better, this is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 33s):
Welcome to another episode of Difficult Conversations: Lessons I learned as an ICU Physician. This is Dr.
Anthony Orsini and I’ll be your host again this week, you know, every week I am just amazed about how
many wonderful guests that I get to have and how many people that I get the meet. And I really had been
truly blessed to have so many guests. And today is no exception. Today we have Stephen M.R. Covey as
our guest today. Stephen is the New York times number one wall street journal bestselling author of the
speed of trust. It’s a ground-breaking and paradigm shifting book that challenges our age old assumption
that trust is merely a soft social virtue. And instead demonstrates they trust is a hard age economic driver.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 16s):
And the speed of trust has been published and has been translated in 22 languages and has sold over 2
million copies worldwide. He’s also the coauthor of the number one, Amazon bestseller “Smart Trust” the
defining skill that transforms managers into leaders. Stephen asserts that trust has become the new
currency of the world and that having the ability to develop the extent and restore trust with all stakeholders
is the number one competency of leadership needed today. He passionately delivers this message that is
dedicated to enabling individuals and organizations to reap the dividends of high trust throughout the world.
Stephen brings to his writings, the perspective of a practitioner as he is the former president and CEO of the
Covey Leadership Center, where he increased shareholder value buy 67 times.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 7s):
And it grew the company to become the largest leadership development firm in the world. A Harvard MBA
Stephen co founded and currently leads the Franklin Covey global speed of trust practice. He serves on
numerous boards, including the government leadership advisory counsel, and has been recognized with the
lifetime Achievement Award for Top Thought Leaders in Trust. Stephen is a highly sought after international
speaker who has taught Trust and Leadership in 54 countries. He resides with his wife and children in the
shadows of the Rocky mountains. Well, thank you Stephen for coming. This is awesome to meet you.
Stephen Covey (3m 43s):
Wonderful. Thank you, Tony. I’m thrilled to be on your podcast.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 47s):
That’s the short version of your resume. It’s a very impressive, I hope one that I had one third of that. That’s
pretty impressive. So thank you so much for coming. I’m so excited. I have way too many questions for you
to do this in 45 minutes, but I want to get to your book and I want to get to this whole topic of trust because it
ties into so much of what I do as a physician and what I teach to business and physicians. But before we
jump into the book, I just want to know a little bit about you, what I want my own eyes to get to know you. So
who is Steven Covey and how do you think of yourself and what are your goals in life and how do you want
to be remembered all that kind of stuff?
Stephen Covey (4m 27s):
So I’m often known for who my father is. And my father is Dr. Steven R. Covey who wrote the seven Habits
of Highly Effective People. He passed away about eight years ago, but his legacy lives on through his work
and through his books in the like, and so I feel a great sense of stewardship and responsibility being his son.
I see it as a blessing and rather than feeling like I need to carve out my own identity, I feel like I am standing
on the shoulder, have a giant and am so grateful for what I have been gifted and given by having him as my
father. So I’m very proud of that. And so I’m partly known for that.
Stephen Covey (5m 8s):
And then I think I’ve tried to carve out my own niche really around this idea of trust and how trust is really not
just some soft, warm, and fuzzy social value only, although it is a social value, but kind of making the case
that Trust is an economic driver. It affects the speed at which if we can move, it affects the cost of
everything. And there’s a compelling business case for trust. There’s a compelling leadership case for trust.
When you have trust in relationships, teams and organizations, it changes everything. And so it kind of
making that case for trust.
Stephen Covey (5m 48s):
And then also talking about how trust is learnable as a skill, as a competency that is so important. And I feel
like what my mission is and who I am about is really about trying to increase trust in the world, because if
we’re going to take on and solve these challenges and problems that we have, we can only do that If we’re
able to understand each other and collaborate and ultimately innovate. And we can’t do any of that, if we
don’t start with trust. And so trust is foundational to the kind of collaboration and innovation to move forward
in society. And as you know, with your work on communication and Difficult Conversations best
communication happens when there is trust in relationships and trust between people and someone could be
a great communicator in terms of just skills.
Stephen Covey (6m 44s):
But if they’re not trusted, when the communicate people don’t believe at their hearing, even though they may
be very skilled. And so I see my kind of calling to try to help increase trust in our world largely, and then
specifically to try to help leaders and people increase trust in their lives, in, in their leadership. And so that’s
my work. The speed of trust is about, is trying to kind of make the case for why trust matters and then to
show people a practical tools and skills of how they can build trust on purpose intentionally. And that’s what I
feel like is my life’s mission.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (7m 19s):
Well, just as you were talking three or four more questions popped in my head, cause I’m so excited to talk
about this and you talk about dividends and taxes, and I want to get into that later on, because what you’ve
just said that really rang a bell is that people think trust is just, it’s just something nice to have its a soft skill.
And then later we’ll talk about the dividends and taxes because I really truly believe in that. I want to just
jump back to your father real quickly. I’m a firm believer that we just don’t pop up and be who we are that
there’s genetics involved, but there’s also a stewardship and we have role models in our lives. And I’d like to
think that I’m who I am because of role models and you just had great parents you talk about your parents in
your book and your father wrote your forward in the first book correct?
Stephen Covey (8m 3s):
Yes he did.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 4s):
And you can tell how proud he is.
Stephen Covey (8m 6s):
Well, thank you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 7s):
You really think that he had a big influence on you and how much do you think that made you, who you are?
Stephen Covey (8m 14s):
Yeah, I think it’s a measurable, it’s hard for me to imagine a different world than without the kind of the
thinking the guidance, the mindset my father gave me. So I think what my father did for me was kind of two
things. One obviously as a parent, just feeling loved, appreciated, valued for who I was as a person
regardless. And you know, it was a great parent. It also what he did for me professionally, he gave me a
framework through which the, you know, look at the world through his work on Leadership seven Habits and,
and that whole mindset has become kind of the software of my mind, of how I look at things. And so it clearly
influenced me that way, but also he believed in me in affirmed me and help me see how I might contribute
and create value.
Stephen Covey (9m 2s):
And he believed in me maybe more than I believed in myself. And that’s a gift. And hopefully for most of us,
if not all, we all have maybe somebody in our lives and may be more than one person who believed in us,
who had confidence in us. Who took a chance on us, whether it be a parent or a friend or a leader or a
coach or a clergy person or someone at work, but someone that believed in us and had more faith in
confidence in us, then maybe we had an ourselves in, in many ways my father was that for me. And so it
enabled me to kind of gain that in myself. And it really flows from my father’s definition of leadership, which I
think is quite beautiful.
Stephen Covey (9m 49s):
He said, leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in
themselves. And that’s what my father did for me to communicate to my worth and potential so clearly that I
began to see it in myself. And that’s a great gift. And I’m so blessed and grateful for that.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (10m 5s):
Both of you and your father tell the story of clean and green. And I think that’s a, what you’re alluding to. I
can just tell people a little bit about that story. That’s a great story.
Stephen Covey (10m 13s):
Yes it’s a great story. And a long story made short is I was just a young boy, seven years old. My dad was
trying to teach the kids responsibility. So he asked me to take care of the yard. And this is in the days before
automatic sprinklers. So this is a big deal. We’d go around and try on the sprinklers and like. And he trains
me for like two weeks and he says, all I care about is two things, green and clean. We want our yard to be
green and want it to be clean. And so he trained me on how to do this take responsibility and how to turn on
the sprinklers. And it had to do it so often and paying off, et cetera, sounds so simple, but I was seven. And
he trains me and then he turns it over to me. He asked me, how are you ready? And I said, I’m ready.
Stephen Covey (10m 55s):
He turns it over to me. And when I did nothing, I did nothing for like five days in a row during the height of the
summer with scorching heat and the water and the lawn is shriveling up yellowing all around us. And we had
neighborhood, you know, barbecues over at our house and there’s a garbage everywhere, and it was
anything but green and clean. And my dad was just about to kinda just take it back, the job, thinking these
two young, but he stayed with it. And he said that, you know, how’s it going on in the yard sign? Because we
agreed that we’d talk about how it’s going walk around once a week on how things were going. And when we
walked around, I looked around and I was so embarrassed, cause the yard was yellow and it was messy, not
green and clean.
Stephen Covey (11m 37s):
And I remember saying to my dad, this is just so hard. And I began to break down and cry and Dad said, but
what’s hard? You haven’t done one thing yet, but what was hard was me learning to take responsibility. He
said to me, I’d be willing to help you if you’d like help. And I said, would you help? He said, yeah, I’ve got
time. So then I said, well, Dad, will you go around and pick up that garbage? Because it makes me kind of
want to vomit. I was kind of telling him what to do. And when I saw him doing that, it was at that moment. I
realized, this is my job. I’m responsible. I’m directing him not he directing me to. And from that moment, the
green and clean became written in my heart. And I kind of rose to the occasion and took over that
Stephen Covey (12m 20s):
And the rest of the summer, the lawn was green and it was clean. Now my father will, sometimes teach this.
We use to teach the story to talk about win-win agreements and stewardship delegation. And it was those
things, but I was a seven year old boy. I didn’t know what those words meant, but here’s what I knew as a
seven year old, I felt trusted. I felt my father trusted me. I didn’t want to let him down. You see, I was too
young to be worried about money or status at the time, but I didn’t want to let my dad down. And he trusted
me in and I ultimately responded to that trust rose to the occasion, developed some skills, took responsibility.
And so it was really my first learning on trust.
Stephen Covey (13m 1s):
I didn’t label it that at the time, but I realized later that I felt the trust and what it did for me, how it inspired me
and made me want to rise to the occasion. And that’s what trust does to people. And to be trusted is the
most inspiring form of human motivation. It brings out the best in all of us, whether we’re seven or 70, we all
want to be trusted. It makes such a profound difference on how we view the world.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (13m 25s):
There’s such a great story. And so let’s go back to your book in the first thing is if you want people to trust
you, you just think going along that line, you first have to have self trust. Right? You talk about that when you
first need to have self trust before you can have other people trust you, can you just expand upon that?
Stephen Covey (13m 40s):
Yeah. You know, I’m going to sustain trust with others. If you don’t trust yourself, number one. So self-trust
means trust in yourself. But also it means that you give to others, a person who can be trusted. So it it’s
smart to trust you. In other words, you’re a credible you’re trust worthy and you know, it’s hard to have trust
without trustworthiness. And so you are trustworthy. I call that credibility and that is that your a person of
character and a person of competence and really to have self trust, to be credible when needed to have both
character and competence.
Stephen Covey (14m 20s):
I mean you come from medecine, you wouldn’t go to a, you know, a surgeon, you want a surgeon to have
both the character and the competence. You want to make sure that if they cut that are good at it, they’ve got
the competence, but you also want him to have character and to really recommend, do you really need the
surgery? And you wouldn’t want someone without either one you want both and same with any work project.
Do you want people to have character and competence to sustain the trust? And that’s being credible. That’s
been trustworthy. So when you start with self interest, that becomes a foundation for building then trust in
relationships, trust on teams, trust and organizations. But too often, we kind of skip that step and just kind of
move right to the relationship without looking in the mirror and focusing on ourselves and asking the
Stephen Covey (15m 6s):
Do I trust myself? And do I give to my teammates, to my partners, to the people that I lead or serve a person
who they can trust because of who I am as a leader, my credibility, my trustworthiness, my character and my
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 22s):
My next question, you talked about trust and trusting yourself. I’d like to have you give me some advice. So
what I do as a physician, as you mentioned, when I teach workshops, I’ve really dedicated my career to
training physicians how to build relationships. And because that’s what medicine’s all about. It’s about that
human to human connection. Physicians generally are not great communicators, patient satisfaction. And
the patient experience is a big topic right now. And we know that when patients have a trusting relationship
with their doctor, they are actually more likely to take their medicine. They are more likely to be compliant
with their therapeutics. They are more likely to follow up.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (16m 2s):
And 100% they do have better outcomes period, and a discussion. One of the things that I have to teach is
how to build that trust in a five minute interaction. You can say that there’s a lot emergency room physicians.
You’d come in to the emergency room, I’m meeting you for the very first time. I have three to five minutes to
build that trust. And I teach certain techniques. I’m really big on body language and showing competency. I
call it being the expert in the room, but also being a genuine person. I’m sure you’ve had the same issues in,
in a boardroom or what you’re doing business. Any advice you can give to people to say, this is how you
build trust quickly. You just meet somebody. We talked a little bit about how quickly people build either trust
you or they don’t.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (16m 44s):
And I thought about that book, blink and slices. When people walk in the room, they even instantly trust you
or any advice you can give to a physician or a business person. So you’re just meeting somebody or how do
you start off on a good note?
Stephen Covey (16m 57s):
Yeah, it’s a great question. Cause we all face every day in our word and the like, so here’s a couple of
thoughts. What you can show perhaps in just quick interactions, is that you’re real, your genuine, you’re
authentic, you’re not trying to put on airs or try to pretend. And so coming in and just right out of the gate or
whether you’re a Physician or a business person I have learned, if you will kind of up front to declare your
intent and declare yourself, here’s who I am. And I like to build a relationship of trust. If we can trust each
other, everything works better.
Stephen Covey (17m 38s):
So I’ll try to model it. I’ll try to go first and hold me accountable if I don’t, but I will do my best that I can
because if we can trust each other, it’s better for all of us. And if you’re a doctor, you kind of already come in
with the idea that there are some competence there by your training in your profession and for a doctor,
maybe the greatest need is to show that you have character that you care. And so coming in and say, and I
really liked to help you and be a value to you and serve you. So let me listen to you, let me understand, try to
hear you out. Cause my goal has to be a value of help to you of service. That matters to me.
Stephen Covey (18m 18s):
See, I’m declaring my intent and in the process to clarify who I am, that I’m here to serve, to lead, to make a
difference, stat value versus you know, trying to self aggrandize myself. It’s all about me and narcissistic
view. I’m just trying to show him a real person I’m genuine and authentic. And the best way to do that is to
declare yourself, declare your intent, open yourself up, be transparent, be authentic, be real and trying to
listen, trying to understand someone who has a great way of kind of taking a next step on that. Let me hear
you first to it shows that I am who I say I am, that I care about you. And those are sometimes things you
have a chance to do.
Stephen Covey (18m 59s):
It might be a better setting where maybe your expertise, your competence is not as known. Like it might be
in medicine. And so coming in and you don’t wanna come in and be braggadocio, but you might come in and
say, I’ve got experience in the background of this at my whole goal again is to, you know, create value and to
serve and add value and base upon my training. And in my experience, I hope that it can be able to do that.
But if my main point is, if you will, to declare your intent to another and even declare yourself, I learned that
from Doug Conant. I’ll tell you about that in a moment of who you are and what’s important to you and why
that way there is no mystery in a relationship and it also shows kind of a vulnerability that you’re not trying to
pretend, you are trying to be real and authentic.
Stephen Covey (19m 50s):
And that kind of is disarming for people. And they realized that this is a good person that is just trying to get
to know me and help me in my problem, help me in my situation to help me succeed and just being
disarming by being authentic and real is a great way to do that. So it was Doug Conant. He was the former
CEO of Campbell soup company and they had a massive turnaround. They went from the bottom 10% in
engagement of their people to the top 10% during his tenure in not only in engagement, but also in a
performance, you know, dramatic turn around. And he told me that in any new relationship, when he would
come in and meet someone for the first time, he would try to declare himself saying, here’s who I am.
Stephen Covey (20m 39s):
Here’s what I’m trying to do is to just be genuine, to just be real, to be authentic, and to lead out with it and to
take the mystery out of the relationship. And it was always about trying to again serve and because we
would all be kind of embarrassed to declare self-serving intent. But if our intent is to serve, to create value, to
build a relationship, to give back. That’s a natural thing to want to declare. And then it just invites authenticity
back and it helps accelerate the relationship of press. So it’s not easy stuff because if you feel vulnerable,
but it’s in that vulnerability that helps you build trust faster than if people are wondering, this person has kind
of still playing their cards close to the vest, who are they?
Stephen Covey (21m 29s):
What’s their agenda here instead you’re just open. Here’s my agenda. I want to serve. I want to help. I want
to build a relationship of trust.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (21m 34s):
You don’t know how happy I am that you said that you actually use the word genuine for those people who
read my book and have gone through my workshops. I used an acronym called program and the G is
actually for genuine it be a genuine person with the acronym is a discusses communication. And if you’re a
genuine person, people tend to trust you, especially if you’re a Physician, as you said, Physician to come in
with a certain level of competency, we want them to number one, show that they care. So if you’re typing on
the computer while the patients’ speaking, that’s not bringing the patient first. So you are losing trust right
there, but by being in a genuine person. But I will tell you a quick story in my mother-in-law, who was in a
hospital in New York, a very well known hospital.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (22m 18s):
The cardiologist told her that she had a clot, that it was inoperable. And my wife came home and she started
to cry and a cardiologist told her, and she would just go home and she’s going to have a stroke because it
surgeon won’t, operate on her. So I made a couple of phone calls and we agreed to meet the, a head of
surgery at the hospital, thoracic surgery. He came in and he started talking about how he avoids the traffic
with his motorcycle in New York city. And he sat down with us and he spent no more than two minutes just
being a genuine person. And then he said, well, we’ll operate on your mother-in-law tomorrow. And that’s
being a physician said to him, well, the cardiologist said it was an operable.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (22m 59s):
And his response was well, it is to most people, but for me, I’ll be able to take care of it. No problem. And I
think he wasn’t braggadocious. So we didn’t think that he was cocky. We thought he was competent. And
because he was first a genuine person. And I think that’s what you were talking about, but don’t you agree,
Stephen Covey (23m 15s):
Tony, this is a beautiful illustration have exactly what I’m talking about. That by coming in and being genuine,
real, authentic, rather than an out of the gates versus pretending or trying to seem or trying to just be kind of
narcissistic it’s about me, but rather here’s who I am. I’m genuine. That builds a little bit of trust right out of
the gates people to reciprocate back then, when you say I can do this, I can help you. Your discussion of
your capabilities, your competence is in the context of a genuine relationship that you are building and a
desire you have to help.
Stephen Covey (23m 55s):
So it seen differently. It’s not seen as I’m bragging as seen as yeah, they really can help me like he says he
wants two or she wants to.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (24m 3s):
Yeah. If he came in on his phone and didn’t make eye contact and didn’t spend time and just said, bring your
mother-in-law to the, OR tomorrow we would have said, wait, hold on a second, I’m not sure I trust you. But
he talks about his motorcycle and how he loves to scoot in and out of the traffic in New York city, and he
became a real person and that took one to two minutes. So when he said I’ll operate on your mother-in-law
tomorrow no problem, I’ll take care of it. We can totally believe them. And I guess what, he did an amazing
job. And she did really well. So let’s shift over to business and I’ve had several bosses in my life. And I
mentioned this in a previous podcast. Some of them I’d walk through fire for. And if you’re in a room and
someone said something bad about them, I would be ready to fight you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (24m 47s):
I’d be really mad. I’d defend them to death and others, not so much. And I think that when I was reading your
book, that’s what I was thinking about it as the one’s that I’d walked through, fire for had my back. I trust with
them. They trusted me. I knew that if I did something well, they would brag about me and say, look at Tony is
doing a great job. And they wouldn’t throw me under the bus if something went wrong. So you talk about
taxes and dividends. How important it is that, that we teach these leaders how to do this because otherwise
they’re going to get complete turnover over and over again.
Stephen Covey (25m 28s):
It is absolutely critical because just the example you gave, when you build a relationship of trust with
somebody, oras a leader, then it literally impacts how people interpret everything else that you’re doing. That
if you get through that lens and when you are both trustworthy, but also trusting to the example you gave is
that you trusted them and they trusted you. So we’re really inspired by leaders who are not only trust-worthy,
but who are trusting. They were willing to extend trust to us. That really brings out the best in us. We want to
rise to the occasion.
Stephen Covey (26m 9s):
We want to prove that trust justified and we gave it back to them. And when you have a leader like that,
you’re loyal to that person. You want to stay with them and they engage you. You want to contribute. You
want to make a difference. Whereas when you have a bad boss and the very definition of a bad relationship
is low trust, or you can’t trust the person either because they’re not trustworthy or because they don’t trust
me or anybody else hardly, then that’s something you want to avoid. It is, it just sucks the energy and the joy.
It slows things down. It takes longer. Cause you have to compensate for that lack of trust.
Stephen Covey (26m 48s):
It is a tax and everything takes longer, everything costs more when there’s low trust and relationship,
because you now have to check and verify and question and wonder and take all of these steps to
compensate for low trust. Whereas when there’s high, trust it as a dividend, you moved fast, low costs
because there is a speed to trust. Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. When in a relationship on a team,
in a company and you can put a value on it. In fact, there is overwhelming data that shows that high trust
organizations outperform low trust organizations by about three times.
Stephen Covey (27m 29s):
Well in economic performance, total return to shareholders because they get greater speed, lower costs,
greater creativity, greater innovation, better engagement. When there is trust and when there’s distrust,
everything takes longer, costs you more, but also you will see less engagement and people far more
turnover. People far less collaboration, far less innovation. And all of those things are taxes and we can’t
afford to pay those taxes. And when you view trust as an economic driver, not just a social virtue, suddenly it
moves up on the hierarchy of why it matters that it’s not just, that is nice to have, like you said, at the outset,
it’s a better way to lead.
Stephen Covey (28m 19s):
We get better results, better outcomes, better performance. And it’s, there’s more energy to enjoy and the
relationship. So its kind of both the, the quantitative and the qualitative are higher.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 28s):
You know more about this than I do, but employee turnover cost a lot of money and not every job that I have
left, but most jobs that I’ve left it’s because I thought the manager was untrustworthy or that there wasn’t a
good relationship there. So that’s what I love about this dividends and trust that you can get away with it for a
short period of time. Right. But sooner or later the rooster’s are coming home. Right? A what’s that saying? I
Stephen Covey (28m 56s):
The hens have come home to roost.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 57s):
Right, but you’ll get away with it over a short period of time, but not long.
Stephen Covey (29m 3s):
Yeah. You won’t sustain it. Especially in today’s environment where it’s a new world. We got all this change
hitting us, technology changes work has changed it’s more collaborative and interdependent and has also
being done increasingly more remote as well as in person, the work force has changed. We have multiple
generations, including millennials and gen Z. They have a whole kind of a different expectation and they
want to be trusted. And then they’re so many options in choices that if there is a low trust culture, its kind of
characterized by command and control kind of the old style of leadership command and control based upon
low trust that’s not going to attract, retain, engage or inspire the best people.
Stephen Covey (29m 50s):
The best people want to be part of a culture, have a team where they feel trusted and that brings out the
best in them. And then it not only engages them, it inspires them and they perform better because of it. And
they want to become a part of something new and great and they tell their friends about it and they tell
others and they become your greatest champions and advocates. Whereas yo had a bad boss or a low trust
relationship. You go find a better boss. You’ll leave. Half of us have left companies because of a bad boss
and that’s all based upon trust. And so the data is just overwhelming. High trust is a dividend.
Stephen Covey (30m 30s):
It gets played out in multiple ways, low trust as a tax. And you start in our discussion, Tony with this in
medicine, when there’s high Trust with a Dr you’re more active follow their directions and instructions. All of
the things you’ll get better. Medical outcomes is also a happier relationship where there’s low trust. If you get
lesser medical outcomes and also a probably is more stressful, painful, exhausting, no fun. So that’s true in
medicine is true in business. That’s true in life and is just a matter of kind of putting the, I call them the trust
glasses where you look at the world through the lens of rust and see how trust is impacting everything.
Stephen Covey (31m 11s):
Not in small ways in profound ways. And it’s always been this way, but we’ve often never seen it. And I’m
trying to get people a lens through which the view, the world who ends with trust.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 20s):
Yeah. And from my point of view, when I trained physicians and nurses, almost all of them are very
compassionate people. They want that trust they haven’t just learned how to communicate that trust and
they haven’t learned that to make that relationship with their patients quickly. And it doesn’t take long for me
to teach them that three hour workshop, a couple of sessions and they get so excited when they see the
difference when they see the patient’s eyes light up when they walk into a room because they’re so happy to
see them. So it can be taught. It’s all tied into this communication. And when you come in as a consultant to
a business, so I guess there’s two ways of looking at this now, do we have to be careful about who we make
Dr. Anthony Orsini (32m 2s):
Because sometimes as I always say, a lot of companies make the mistake, it’s just finding the smartest guy
in the group or the smartest women in the group and make them as a manager or do we take the manager
and teach them how to build trust? Or do we just pick the manager that already exudes the trust. I guess this
is what I’m asking.
Stephen Covey (32m 21s):
Well, it can be both, you know, obviously sometimes there are some people that are just natural leaders that
know how to build trust, build relationships, and that’s wonderful. And hopefully they are also good at getting
outcomes and results. So we want both, we want the results. We want the relationship with the outcomes we
want the culture. It’s not either or it’s both. And your point is also a valid. Sometimes we tend to just promote
the top producer that may or may not be really a good leader. They might technically know how to do it, but
they might not understand really how to lead people and relationships in. Sometimes they try to manage
people is if they were things in the learning is how you manage things and you lead people in the moment,
you start to try to manage people as if they were things and be efficient with people and manage them like
things you lose trust.
Stephen Covey (33m 15s):
And then we to lose trust with them and everything will get bogged down. You’ll start paying the taxes and
I’ve learned with People fastest, slow and slow is fast. So taking the time to build the relationship and yeah, it
takes you have some time up front, but then you build that relationship of trust. Suddenly, you move faster
when you don’t take that time up front and try to just be efficient, not listen, not, you know, be genuine not
kind of build that relationship. It all in the name of efficiency. I don’t have time for any of this. Well guess what
everything you try to do is take you longer to do because I was wondering, can I trust this person? So with
People fast is slow and slow is fast.
Stephen Covey (33m 55s):
So, but I think it’s learnable, I think these are the things that you can learn to do as a leader. Some might be
natural at it, but others can learn to do, you know, to model, how to trust and to inspire. And those are kind of
the three key dimensions that I see at modeling that you model the behavior, trusting you, trust your people
because of what that does is a great way to lead and then inspiring, which was all about connecting them to
why it matters to meaning, the purpose of the contribution as well as just connecting in the relationship alone
can be inspiring that you care enough to do that. And I think that’s learnable that you can learn how to do
that and become better at it.
Stephen Covey (34m 37s):
And so when people ask are leaders made or are they born? My answer is that they are reborn through their
choices or they made them and they can learn that and get good at that.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 50s):
I have trained individually over 5,000 doctors and we use improvisational roleplaying and different ways. And
then I can’t even count how many workshops in other ways, but with the improvisational role-playing we take
doctors, we put them in difficult situations. We videotape them. We talk about their communication skills.
What I have found is about 15%, just what you were saying before, about 50% of the people that go through
these exercises, just knock it out of the park. I mean, they walk into a room, they light it up. If they’re giving
tragic news to a patient in this case, there are actors, they do it in the most empathetic way and they’re just
naturals. And some of them are right out of medical school and some of them are older. There’s about 10 to
Dr. Anthony Orsini (35m 30s):
And I want your opinion on this too tha maybe I could train forever and they’re just not going to get it. But the
other 70% really want to learn and are teachable and get excited when you tell them, do this and do that and
try this and try that. And then they try and in a work, is that your experience to that? There are some that just
can’t be trained, but most of them can be,
Stephen Covey (35m 54s):
Yes, it is absolutely that most people can get there because it’s a character first. It’s who you are, that
genuineness. And if people have that, your intent matters more than your technique. Now the technique
does matter as well. You can kind of learn how to do it better, but your intent matters more. And when you
start with that and if people say I care and I have good desirous to do this, they can get there. They can
learn better practices, better skills, better ways to communicate when their intent is good to begin with. There
may be a few that just don’t quite get it. Their mindset is so oriented around either just doing the task that
they don’t think about their relationship, or just maybe there are two ego centered narcissistic.
Stephen Covey (36m 41s):
They’re not worried about other people as much. And this all feels like a foreign language to them almost,
but that most people can get there if they are willing. So intent comes first and the techniques, but you can
get good at this. And I’ll say, let me just give one illustration of this in medicine. I know that it’s a big part of
this audience, not exclusively. You got other people that are heavy in medicine. The good news is the
medical professions come in already with the highest levels of trust of any profession, the highest trusted
professions tend to be nurses and doctors at, and even pharmacists, a medical or a higher trust professions.
It’s not a given it will happen, but that’s a good starting point.
Stephen Covey (37m 24s):
And I think it is because it’s so important. It’s your life and your coming in. And most people are most nurses
and doctors are good people trying to help. And so that’s a good thing. I think if you could get really good at
that genuineness and declare an intent, but also two key behaviors in medicine, but also in all the
businesses and in life that are really good. If you can focus on empathizing and showing compassion. So
that’s listening and then showing that you care than those two things of, I am willing to listen and to
understand and to empathize, which is I understand somebody.
Stephen Covey (38m 7s):
And then I showed that I care about that person that really moves you to the front of the line of saying that
person, I liked this doctor, I liked this nurse. I liked this leader because they listened to me and they care
about me. And this is all back to the genuine-ness that will help you. If you establish that trust, then all your
communication skills will just be enhanced because they trust you. Whereas you could not be trusted and be
really skillful and smooth and in articulating. But if you’re not trusted, people are diminishing diluting taxing.
What you’re saying.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (38m 44s):
There are so many parallels between medicine and business. And you were talking about intent before. It’s
well known the American bar association in one of their conferences, many years ago I don’t remember what
year was, put out a statement to the fellow attorney’s and said, if a patient who has a trusting relationship
with their doctor, they are unlikely to file for malpractice lawsuit, even if prompted to do so. And that’s the
intent that’s right there. If you trust your doctor, something might’ve gone wrong, but the intent was good.
And you, well, Dr. Orsini he’s a good guy and he didn’t do that on purpose. And there are less likely to sue.
So there’s that tax and dividend Again right? So there’s, it’s palpable.
Stephen Covey (39m 24s):
It is a tangible, you could put an economic value on it. I’ve seen similar studies, university of Michigan, sorry,
works where, you know, doctors who have build the relationship and who apologize or sued about two and a
half times less than those who don’t. It Is because that people, why do they sue? They sue when they’re
they’ve been wronged. And when they’re mad, they tend to stay mad when they’re owed an apology and
don’t get one. And so then as the apology takes the story to get out of their hands and the look I’m not giving
legal advice, my insurance companies don’t want you to do it. But the whole point is if you build a
relationship of trust, that dividend is a dividend and every dimension and aspects of that relationship, I’ll have
a team of a culture and you can put an economic value on it.
Stephen Covey (40m 10s):
You can put a qualitative value on it. It’s a happier way to live the best relationships. The happiest, the most
enduring are those which people can trust each other.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (40m 19s):
And in business. We have some HR people, a lot of HR, people in the audience. And we had Dr. Larry
Barton on a few months ago, I guess. And he is one of the leading experts in a workplace violence. And he
talks about the manner in which the HR people separate someone from employment and when things aren’t
working out. And if you can communicate that trust and communicate that you’re a genuine person and
things didn’t work out, that person is less likely to come back and shoot the place up. And so there’s trust in
this relationship. I mean, we can go on and on it. It’s just amazing. What are my favorite sayings as people
follow not because they are told to people follow because they want to. And I think that really goes well with
your whole trust thing.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (41m 1s):
My best bosses as I said, I would follow them through fire. So it really is intangible. So this has been great. I
know you’re a very busy man. I can talk to you all day long. You’re so easy to speak to this whole concept of
trust. I think you said it in the beginning of your book, it’s every aspect of our life. There is no aspect where
trust isn’t important, right?
Stephen Covey (41m 21s):
But it applies everywhere. So if you call it the one thing, right, I call it the one thing that changes everything.
And it’s not that you don’t have to do other things. Leaders today. We have so much that a lead through
change that to build teams, you need to build cultures, inclusion, and equity. You need to collaborate. You
need to engage. You need to innovate all of these things for asking of leaders. And my point is, if you start
with trust, where you yourself are trustworthy and trusting. And you build a relationship of trust, a high trust
team, a high-trust culture, and your ability to do every other.
Stephen Covey (42m 7s):
One of those things lead through change, build a team to be able to build a culture of inclusivity, where we
value our differences. ’cause we trust each other where you can truly collaborate, where you can engage
your people, where you can innovate, create new solutions. All of those other dimensions of leadership go
up. They are multiplied by the high trust dividend just like they’re diminished or diluted or taxed by a low trust
dividend. So it’s the one thing that changes everything, trust when it’s right in front of us. At one level, we all
know this from our own experience. Just the example you gave Tony of. when you think of a leader who you
trust that you’d go to war for them, and you have their back compared to someone you don’t trust and who
doesn’t trust you, how they are very forgetful.
Stephen Covey (42m 54s):
He’ll move on. We’re all that way. We all know this. It’s just the message that I’m trying to give is that not only
does trust matter because of high trust dividends compared to low trust taxes is also that trust is learnable
from the inside out. Meaning we look in the mirror, we start with ourselves, we work on our credibility, our
trustworthiness. We work on our behavior, including the behavior of trusting other people. And we model the
others, a high-trust leader, and we build a high-trust relationship and you can do it with one. You can do it
with many, and you begin to build that kind of team and culture. And it’s learnable as a scale, as a
competency, as a team, as a culture, as a company, you go from good to great in trust and suddenly you get
all these dividends.
Stephen Covey (43m 41s):
And that’s kind of the big idea that trust is learnable as a scale, as a competency, through our credibility and
through our behavior and getting good at this matters for all the reasons we’ve discussed. That’s the big
Dr. Anthony Orsini (43m 52s):
That’s why so many people in so many companies need your help. So how do people get in touch with you?
Stephen, if they need your services, what’s next on a horizon for it? You tell us a little bit about how they can
get in touch with you and get some help from other companies, for the corporation, for their individuals. How
do they get in touch with you and what services that you offer now.
Stephen Covey (44m 13s):
I see the best place is just go to our website, which is speed of trust.com, the variety of tools there, and
videos and things you can look at, including there are some places where you can ask, how do I bring me in
to give a speech, or what have you? We have training. We have consulting, we have tools, measurement
tools, products, or services. I’ve spoken to a lot of organizations all around the world, including healthcare,
as well as government and education and the businesses NGOs. So kind of a whole gamut. And if we have
others that do the same. So I’d say the website’s speed of trust.com was probably the best place. Plus there
are some good tools, some videos there that you might find useful, and it’d be a good place to start.
Stephen Covey (44m 57s):
And then we just say this in conclusion, we are living in a world of declining trust and the trust is going down
because of all around us, in our society, in our politics and a media. In most institutions, we are seeing the
trust go down in the U S and in most parts of the world with some exceptions. And so the danger of a low
trust world is that it tends to perpetuate itself and create more of the same, where we all become a little bit
more careful, more cautious, more guarded. Now we can find ourselves perpetuating a vicious downward
cycle of distrust and suspicion, creating more distrust and suspicion.
Stephen Covey (45m 41s):
And everybody feeling justified in this process. Distress is contagious. Here’s the good news. Trust is also
contagious and trust and confidence can create more trust and confidence, and you can build it one person
at a time, one relationship at a time, one a leader at a time, and each of us can kind of look in the mirror and
start with ourselves. We don’t have to wait on others, we can get that person, a leader that they can trust.
You can be that kind of person for another, by your credibility, your trustworthiness, and by your willingness
to behave your way into a trust, including being trusting. And so ultimately, while it takes two, to have trust, it
only takes one to start.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (46m 19s):
I love that. That’s fantastic. I love that. And so thank you so much, Steven. This has been a true honor to
have you. It’s been great. Oh, a lot of fun. I hope we’ll get to speak again sometime soon. I’ll put all of those
links on my show notes. Thank you again for being here.
Stephen Covey (46m 34s):
It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you for me to as well, Tony and I really admire you and the great work that you’re
doing with this podcast in the other thought leadership that you’re providing,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (46m 45s):
You enjoyed this episode, please go ahead and hit subscribe and download all the previous episodes. If you
want to know more about the Orsini Way, you can contact me @theorsiniway.com my the book is available.
“It’s all on the Delivery” on Amazon, and you can contact me through the website as well. So thank you,
Steven. That was incredible. And I will be in touch really soon.
Stephen Covey (47m 7s):
Wonderful. Hey, thank you so much, Tony wonderful to talk to you.
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