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7 Habits of Highly Effective People & The Speed of Trust - Stephen M. R. Covey

Stephen M. R. Covey is a New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The SPEED of Trust—The One Thing That Changes Everything. He is the former CEO of the Covey Leadership Center, which, under his stewardship, became the largest leadership development company in the world. Stephen personally led the strategy that propelled his father's book, Dr. Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to become one of the two most influential business books of the 20th Century, according to CEO Magazine. 

Updated on May 18

Key Smash Notes In This Episode


The best leaders who have had to lead through uncertain times had continued to have hope and optimism about the future, while confronting the difficult reality.

Talk straight and be transparent about it with your people. Always tell the truth, and bring the right expertise and knowledge to get through the problems.

Your credibility is your asset, the trust that people have in you, is your currency. Spend it wisely.

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Talk straight with your team, be raw and empathetic. If you try to hide and ...

If you have to get through the challenging times, you can do it in a way that is transparent and respectful.

Explain the situation you are in, the cash flow, the challenges, and give your team a way to communicate back and voice their opinions. If you have to let people go, do it with compassion, with openness and transparency.

People might still not like what they hear, but at the very least, you will build trust, and it will make a profound difference for the long run.


You have almost no control over what is happening in the world at large, but you have all the control about yourself, and your circle of influence. Focus on what you actually change yourself.

"If you want to change the world, make your bed." - Admiral William H. McRaven


You are responsible. If something happened that you want to change, don't be reactive and don't finger-point! Use your own resourcefulness and initiative to make things happen.


To be trusted is the most aspiring form of human motivation.

If you empower your subordinates with your trust, they will do great thing. You might have to help them at first, nudge them along, set up accountability, and really show that you trust them, 100%. But once the trust has been established, it will keep working on your side.


On one hand, if you are a leader and you trust too much too soon, there is a risk that you get burned. It can be a disaster. Not everyone could be trusted.

On the other hand, if you don't trust enough and you don't empower your people, your team, you also won't develop them, and you won't inspire them. You will be too dependent upon yourself and what you can do.

You have to find the sweet spot.

Start by looking at your propensity to trust, as a leader, your inclination and willingness to trust. Ideally you want it to be high. Layer that with good judgement, based on the people and the situation.


If you and your team are working remotely, now is a great time to extend trust and to stop micromanaging people.

Set expectations and decide on how you are going to measure outcomes, and give people the opportunity to shine.

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