In the business world, Covey characterized trust as “the one thing that really does change everything.” He called trust a “performance multiplier” that contributed to outstanding business outcomes, including growth, innovation, and value.
Organizations with low trust were described as riddled with gossip, low energy, withholding of facts, hidden agendas, and suspicion. These companies paid a significant cost in a “low trust tax” that impeded business outcomes.
Everything Covey said about businesses applies to families. There is nothing more important than trust within a family.
What’s the level of trust in your life?
1. Are you authentic? This means being real with your spouse, children and others. We all have different roles throughout the day, and act differently at work than we do at home. However, trust occurs in an environment where you allow yourself to be who you are and allow others to see the real you. You don’t worry about putting on different personas in various situations, but rather you are comfortable just being you.
2. Are you truthful? Honesty doesn’t mean saying whatever you feel whenever you feel it. The most honest people I know are also respectful and courteous, and express themselves in ways that are not offensive. They are sensitive to others’ feelings, and are selective in their timing of when they deliver a difficult message.
Honest people don’t say one thing and mean another. They don’t feel compelled to offer their opinion on everything, and often are silent out of respect to different perspectives.
3. Do your actions match your ideals? Kids hear a lot from us about how they should act, but do our own actions meet the same high standards we set for our children? We aspire to live a life of high ideals, but certainly fail at times in meeting such lofty goals. Do we acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility for our own actions?
4. Do you keep your promises? Trust is enhanced when you do what you say you’ll do. Don’t make excuses about being too busy. If you never intended on doing something, then don’t make a commitment.
5. Do you communicate clearly, completely, honestly and consistently? Communication is the essential building block that forms the foundation of trusting relationships.
If trust is an issue in your life, follow the advice of Covey. “Always start with yourself. Trust is an inside-out process.” Don’t reprimand your children or spouse but rather change your own behavior and see what impact it has on your life. “If you get good at trust, you’ll get better at everything you do” advises Covey.