In Part 2 of this two-part conversation, Joe Woodard sits down with Stephen M. R. Covey, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything."
Listen as they discuss the role that trust plays in business and how the various aspects of trust – personal, professional and organizational – are critical to building and effective and lasting relationship with your clients.
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Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "Scaling New Heights Podcast."
Full transcript of the episode follows:
Joe: Thank you for tuning into this episode of the Scaling New Heights Podcast. During this episode, we will continue our conversation with Stephen M.R. Covey. If you've not yet listened to Part One of the conversation, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode before you listen to this one.
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Let's talk a little bit about Stephen Covey. Stephen M.R. Covey is the New York Times and number one Wall Street Journal bestselling author of "The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything." It has been translated into over 20 languages worldwide. During last week’s episode, and in the conversation you're about to hear, it is that book, "The Speed of Trust", that we discuss.
During Part One, Stephen described the relationship between speed and trust, emphasizing that once trust has been established, nothing is as fast as the speed of trust. He then went on to discuss the dividends or outcomes from high-trust relationships and the cost, what he calls "the tax", from having low-trust relationships.
"Building trust,” Stephen says, “starts with an inside-out look. It starts with our selves, and self-trust is the first wave of relationship trust. It moves then into all of the relationships in your life: organizationally, personally, or even in terms of entire markets for business relationship and, finally, even to all of society. Self-trust is founded in the notion of being credible, both in terms of character and in terms of confidence."
After discussing self-trust, Stephen drilled down on how self-trust and relationship trust then led to organizational trust. His point is that you can build trust inside out starting first with self-trust, and then you move naturally into building trust that follows into all of your human relationships and into your organizations.
As you become a person who naturally has trust-infused relationships with your own team, you'll be in a position to help your clients to build that same trust in their organizations.
As Stephen and I wrapped up the conversation last, he discussed the metaphor of “scaling new heights”, playing off of the name of our annual conference that is also the name of this podcast series.
Our Scaling New Heights conference and our Scaling New Heights podcast series not only uses "The Speed of Trust" to help bookkeepers and accountants to learn knowledge and skills, it actually helps you to use "The Speed of Trust" so that you can transform small business, as well as technological training, as well practice growth and development training. In every aspect, it is our goal to transform small business through you and we call that "Scaling New Heights."
Now, Stephen's going to be speaking at Scaling New Heights 2017 in Orlando, Fla., June 4-7, so don't miss this opportunity to hear him speak live. If you're listening to this podcast before Nov. 28, 2016, don't register yet. I know you're not going to hear many conference hosts tell you that, but please don't register for Scaling New Heights yet. Okay? Wait until Nov. 28, that's Cyber Monday, for the lowest price between now and the date of the event. You can learn more about Scaling New Heights at Woodard.com.
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Now, let’s finish our conversation with Stephen M.R. Covey.
Stephen, I'll tell you why I believe, from the perspective of your book, that accountants fail to play this critical role, even when there is arguably a social mandate, a corporate mandate on them, to play the role. It is because they lack both components of self-trust, and both are addressed in your book. They lack self-trust in all of its aspects, many times meaning they don't belong in that board room. They believe they belong in that back office. They believe that they belong in that overhead category and that is for all the reasons that you mentioned, that we won't restate here. Just remember from the first part of the podcast, you've got to have all four elements in order to get to that self-trust.
Character tends to be baked in. Accountants tend to be high character folks, but then they're missing the other elements. One key piece, that we've been alluding to this whole time and haven't called out directly, is knowledge. They lack knowledge. You refer to the knowledge worker, the knowledge work society that's imminent in a lot of the changes that are taking place in the professions. That's in your forward.
There is extreme competence and extreme knowledge in tax preparation, in assurance services, in bookkeeping, and in traditional accounting services. But everybody with a singular voice is tell accountants that they need to be trusted advisors. Yet there are very few voices in the space telling them how to do so. How do you provide metrics that matter? How do you determine key performance indicators by industry? How do you engage your clients in ways that will increase their wealth?
And so, Woodard is taking up that mantle. We don't just say "scale new heights". You can come to Scaling New Heights, folks listening to the podcast, and spend your entire time focused on that knowledge set so you can go back and actually deploy.
To tie it back to your point, Stephen, until they do that, until they get the knowledge, they'll lack the confidence. Until they actually have the knowledge and the confidence and they deploy with consistency, they won't have the results, and they'll always get sort of caught up in the net of a lack of self-trust in this area.
Stephen: Again, another beautiful description of reality. It fits into this concept that I've been talking about, because those are two areas that we’re often deficient in - lacking the confidence and lacking the knowledge. I like how you went back to the beginning, because you've got to start with self-trust. In that self-trust, the character side is the strength of the accounting profession, and that's a good thing, right, because it, integrity, enables the whole system to work.
But the real differentiator on that is the competent side. That's also where the self-confidence will emerge from. I divide competence into two-halves, capabilities, the branches of the tree, and then results, the fruit of the tree. See? You can't have the fruits without the branches.
Joe: That’s right.
Stephen: So, I have the capabilities. For capabilities, I use the acronym TASKS, T-A-S-K-S. Talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge, style. In summary, it would be your expertise and the knowledge is so vital, especially in your profession because it's changing so rapidly and it's voluminous; there's so much out there.
To get specific understanding and to increase that knowledge - and that's why conferences like this are so valuable to get relevant knowledge and adding valuable knowledge – and the more we can increase those capabilities, including the knowledge and the expertise, the greater the self-confidence that will build in us that we do belong, that we do belong at the table, we do belong at the board, and we do belong as a true advisor. We can add value, because we understand not only the rules and laws, but the implications of it, and the business dimensions behind it and what this can entail.
We can articulate that. We get more and more confident, so it becomes a circular process of those capabilities producing more results. The branch is producing more fruit. The capabilities are producing more results, which then reinforces our self-trust and confidence in ourselves. The client then has more confidence in us and it becomes circular. We keep kind of moving in a virtual upward spiral, and we're going to greater and greater heights …
Joe: Long-term successes of our past. Right?
Joe: That's what propels up the next leg of the mountain is to draw from the success from the last leg of the mountain.
Stephen: That's results. That's your track record.
Stephen: That inspires self-confidence and it inspires confidence in others that they will have in us.
Joe: Absolutely right.
Time only permits me to cover one more element of trust here, but let's go all the way to the last ripple. It kind of begins on the inside out. You've got your immediate relationships, your organizational relationships. In your book, you talked about brand and reputational trust. We don't have time to stop on that one too long, just folks, read the book. Hopefully every one of you will read the book and if you read it before you come to Scaling, you're going to get so much more out of Stephen Covey's keynote.
I want you to talk about societal trust. I thought that one was so powerful. What do you mean by it?
Stephen: This is the outer way, as we ripple out, that we also we're trying to ultimately build trust in society. I'll tell you what. Those in the accounting profession are part of this. You think of the expression "trust and verify". That's part of what we do as accountants; we're in the verification business that enables people, markets, and even society to trust. If there were no verification, it might be harder to trust.
It really has an impact on all of society. What's interesting here, Joe, is that there's hard data that shows that high-trust cultures, high-trust societies exhibit better economic performance than do low-trust societies. You kind of suspect that, but it's really true. Zak and Knack, two economists, studied 41 countries, and their conclusion was that high-trust societies exhibit better economic performance than do less-trust societies. In every case, it was true.
We did our own kind of study on this looking at the trustworthiness of nations and juxtaposed to their gross domestic product per capita. The trustworthiness in the nations was done through the proxy of the corruption perception index, so it's not a perfect proxy, but it's not bad one. Here's what you found. At every 10 percent interval point, as you move that from when there's a lot of corruption, you had very low prosperity. As you began to decrease the corruption and increase the trustworthiness at every interval, the prosperity of the society would go up.
Again, you suspect it, but the research bears it out. The point is we could actually impact trust in an entire society. That society could be your community. It could be your state. It could be the country. It could be the world. We can define it different ways, but this is very real and we can make difference and an impact in the world.
"We can make a dent in the universe," as Steve Jobs would say, and have an impact. I'll tell you what. Accountants are a big part of this, because of the work that we do here, we increase trust in society. As we scale new heights and add more value in that work, we can help elevate all society.
I'm not Pollyannaish on this and just overstating this saying, "Go out and change the world." What I am saying though is the only way to change the world, the only way to lift society, is to go inside out. Don't underestimate the impact that we do have on society. Look at the opposite. Look at what happens when you have an Enron or WorldCom, a huge scandal, a Bernie Madoff type thing, and how that hurts and destroys trust. It works the other direction too.
You build great confidence in markets, confidence in an organization and in a company and in the leadership that can build trust. People are inspired by that, and it ripples out from there, too. It works both directions. It ultimately does have an impact on society. That's inspiring. That's aspirational. It's all about contribution, making a difference. I think this profession (accounting) is a vital part of it. I commend what you're doing and I believe in it.
I've been a beneficiary, because I've been a CEO of a company. I had started with my accountant to head a small firm, but he was so trusted to me and to my father when we started, and our team, we ended up riding with him all the way through until we became a public company. Then we were required to go to a Big Four type firm, but we rode him all the way through for many, many years. We not only used him to do accounting work, but he became such a trusted advisor to us and we had such confidence in him that we put him on board.
He was an advisor to the board; he could still do his accounting work, but we wanted his advice on everything, for the entire business. I've seen this done at the best and highest level, and including doing all the basic vital things that have to be done. Adding those value-added perspectives and judgement and wisdom and insight that we got from him. I saw this and how it impacted us, and we're trying to make a difference in the world and how this really synergized into something special.
You can have that kind of impact.
There's five waves. I love that we start with ourselves, but I love how we end with impacting all of society. It's inside out.
Joe: You talk in the book about a principle of abundance. I think a lack of understanding of that is what stops us from engaging in social trust. For those who haven't read the book, the idea is that you don't hoard your assets, whether it's intellectual capital, or financial, or even substantial. I know this sounds like I'm asking people to step out on faith, but you embrace a concept that if I pour my cup out, something's going to fill my cup back up. You can never fill another person's cup, but you can pour out your own.
I've found in life - and I think this is a little bit of that self-trust coming back in, because without it we can't engage in social trust - in my self-trust model I've found that every time I do pour out my cup, every time I give something I don't think I can afford to give - whether it's time, whether it's money, whether it's resources, whether it's intellectual capital - my cup does get filled back up.
There's a weird antithetical force in the universe that by giving away more, I actually am not a multiplier where all of a sudden I've become rich and I give away to get rich. The more I give away, the more sustained I become. That somehow in that act I grow.
I think the other reason we don't engage in societal trust is because of a sense of defeatism. What difference can I make? I'm not the Covey family. I don't have an audience of millions of people. I don't have perennial best sellers.
My challenge to you is first, the Covey family wasn't always the Covey family as we know them either. They engaged in social trust activities, and they started changing the world. That can happen to you as well.
The bigger challenge, the more practical challenge I would give is even if you can't change the world (and most of us can't), we can change the world for one person, then the next person, then the next person. That's the challenge I got from your book, Stephen, that societal trust piece, is just start changing the world one person at a time. Be that change you want to see in the world that Muhammad Gandhi challenges us to do.
Stephen: Beautiful. Beautiful wrap-up summary on that, Joe. I even believe that abundance is a choice. Abundance is a choice. Some of the most abundant people I know don't necessarily have a lot of resources. Whereas some of the most scarcity-mentality people I know have a lot of resources. They see the world through the lens of scarcity., zero sum. There's only so much and I’ve got to get my piece. “If life’s a pie, someone gets more, than I get less." That's the zero sum, the scarcity mentality.
The abundance mentality is that there's a pie and it's an expanding pie, a growing pie. The fact that someone gets more doesn't mean I can't get more too. It's mindset. It's a condition, it's a choice. Abundance is a choice, not a condition. A great example of this is John Huntsman, Senior, the philanthropist billionaire, Huntsman Chemical. Not the politician, his son, but the father. He's one of the most abundant people in the world and he's given away all of his money. He wants to die broke, but people say, "Well, that's easy for him, you know, to give away. He's got so much. He can give it all away. He's got so much."
The interesting thing to think about John Huntsman is he was giving away the money when he had nothing. He had nothing and he was giving away money he didn't have, because it was a mindset for him. It was a choice that he made when he had no resources. He still was giving everything away and it has come back.
It really does and can happen. We had this decision clear back in 1989, when my father was writing "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"; back then it was a different mindset. A lot of people were saying, "Don't publish the book. If you publish the book, who's going to hire you to come give a speech on it when they can just buy the book?" That's kind of the mindset, and the thought was, "No, no, no. Get it out there. It's abundance. You give it out there it will come back."
He published the book and it did. He went out there and people said, "Wow. We love this book. Come in and speak." It was just the opposite. It was an abundance thing. It created a far bigger pie and that was completely contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time. Today it looks obvious, but at the time it wasn't.
Joe: At that time he wrote that book it was all about trade secrets.
Stephen: It was about trade secrets. Everyone ...
Joe: A horde in intellectual process.
Stephen: That's right. You would horde your IP. We had some competitors that were the same size as us. We were just small, and they would horde their IP and protect it and you couldn't get it unless you paid big bucks to get it. We went the opposite direction saying, "It will come back to us a thousand times." Abundance is a choice, not a condition. It’s part of how we build that self-trust.
It also helps us overcome the defeatism as you call it. The basic premise of that I would just say is this, “The best way to predict your future is to create it. We are all the own creative force in our lives." While we don't see the world as it is, we see the world as we are, but our head can create our world. When choose paradigms of abundance instead of scarcity, we open possibilities that we maybe have never have seen before.
Joe: Yep. I just have to point this out because your book stands on its own and is its own thought process and is absolutely innovation, but I see a lot of your father's book in this. I see interdependence, which is the highest goal of the first six habits. I see a little bit of the sharpening of the saw, and I see in there like you just described in that pro-action, there is a lot of connection between the first three habits in this concept of self-trust. What you just said is basically we are the creator. That's the whole premise of the first habit.
Stephen: It's the whole premise of the Seven Habits and the very first habit that we're not a victim. We are programmers, habit one. Habit two is therefore write the program, create it. And then habit three, live it.
There's no question that the greatest influence in my life, both personally and professionally, has been my father. He kind of teed up the idea of trust through the emotional bank account, and what I've tried to do is take it and drill and go deep into one idea from his book and go deep into that and to make trust practical and tangible and actionable. Because, if you think about it, Joe, nobody is going to argue with trust. Right? Everyone will say, "Yeah. Yeah, trust is nice. You got to have it."
Still, for some, it's just this nice, soft, warm, and fuzzy social virtue. I'm trying to show that it's economic, as well as social. It affects the speed in which you can move and the cost of everything, and I'm trying to show also that it's learnable. It's a learned skill. It's something we can get good at. We can move the needle out. We can become better at building, creating, growing, establishing, extending, and in some cases, even restoring trust. We can do it deliberately, intentionally, on purpose. We can build trust on purpose from the inside out.
I've stood on the soldiers of a giant, my father.
Joe: And you shouted from your own message very loud from those shoulders. It was a fantastic book.
Stephen, first, I'm so excited that you're going to be joining us at Scaling New Heights, and I'm looking forward to continuing our conversation in a sense there where you can drill down even deeper on some of these concepts to our audience.
Everybody listening, get this book. It is extremely powerful. It will shape the way you look at the world, the way you look at relationships, and the way that you develop out yourself. If you want to read "The Seven Habits" and this back-to-back, that's even a bigger challenge for you. They do play together very, very well.
Stephen, thank you so much for writing the book. Thank you for engaging us, and thank you for being with us today. It's been a great conversation.
Stephen: Thanks so much, Joe. Thanks for having me. I loved being with you and I'm excited to be also part of your conference coming up in June.
Joe: We're looking forward to it. We'll see you in June.
Stephen: I look forward to it. Thanks, Joe.
Joe: Thank you for tuning into today's podcast and our conversation with Stephen M.R. Covey.
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Now for more information about today's episode, to explore other episodes in this podcast series, or to learn more about our annual conference, visit Woodard.com. As always, we encourage you to stay tuned, stay connected, never stop learning, and scale new heights.