Covey, author of the management improvement book Leading at the Speed of Trust, offered “three big ideas of what trust really is.”
First, Covey said, trust is “an economic driver, not merely a social virtue.”
“Trust always affects two measurable outcomes, speed and costs,” he said. “When the trust goes down in a relationship, on a team or in a company, the speed will go down and the cost will go up. This is what we might call a tax, a low-trust tax.”
Second, “Trust is the No. 1 competency of leadership today,” but especially so within the healthcare industry.
“The ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust with all stakeholders—patients, physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, communities and co-workers—is the No. 1 competency of leadership in the healthcare economy.
“It is a performance multiplier,” he said. “It's high leverage. It will make everything else that you do better. It will take all of your competencies and make them better. It's a rising tide that will lift all boats.”
And yet, he said, “We operate in a low-trust world.” And, he said, distrust is increasing.
Trust in medical leadership has fallen to 37% in 2007 from 73% in 1996, Covey said, while trust in hospitals to “do the right thing” has fallen to 28% in 2007 from 40% in 2004, according to surveys.
Third, “Trust is a learnable competency,” he said.
Covey spent much of the rest of his time on an overview of 13 points of improvement that AHIMA members could take home and work on to engender trust in their workplaces, including ways to build character and improve competency, which he likened to the roots and branches of trust.
“Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust,” he said. “Nothing is as inspiring as the offering of trust.”
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