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Literature of Leadership: Smart Trust

Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World. (2012). Stephen M.R. Covey (Author), Greg Link (Author), Rebecca R. Merrill (Contributor)

Today’s leaders operate in a highly unpredictable and low-trust world. The more unpredictable the context, the more that sound judgment and the ability to trust can create a competitive advantage. What capacity-building skills are needed to operate with high trust and manage risk wisely? In “Smart Trust” (2012), Stephen M. Covey clarifies the art and science of building high-trust relationships and cultures to improve individual and organizational “prosperity, energy and joy”.

In this sequel to his original bestseller, “The Speed of Trust” (2008), Covey takes a deeper dive into the concept and importance of Smart Trust—defined as the act of operating with informed judgment and high trust in a low-trust world. Accordingly, the book is organized into three parts (inclusive of nine chapters). Part I explores “trust” as a critical competency for success and includes:

  • The critical importance of high-trust relationships in life and work;

  • The many lenses that frame our world view on building trusting relationships—from “Blind Trust”, “No Trust”, “Distrust” to “Smart Trust”;

  • The synergistic combination of “heart” and “head” factors that enable Smart Trust—these being, “the propensity to trust” and “analysis” (respectively); and

  • A decision-making tool for extending Smart Trust to others.

In Part II, five specific actions are described on how leaders create Smart Trust interactions, relationships and cultures. These include:

  1. Choose to believe in trust,

  2. Start with self,

  3. Declare their intent…and assume positive intent in others,

  4. Do what they say they’re going to do, and

  5. Lead out in extending trust to others.

Part III focuses on the “Power of One,” and how each individual can act within their sphere of influence to be a difference-maker.

This book is filled with insightful leadership stories, reflective questions, actionable strategies, and links to online resources that will benefit anyone seeking to be a Smart Trust agent.

Image source: Amazon

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