Trust is Not Just Nice, It’s the Key to Your Success


Best-selling author Stephen M.R. Covey gave 
a business case for trust in his keynote speech 
at the 2015 Masters Summit in Salt Lake City.
Whether you’re a quality professional responsible for your system implementation or a CEO getting ready to launch a medical device startup, Stephen M.R. Covey believes there’s one thing you need to succeed—trust. “Trust is an economic driver, not merely a social virtue,” he said in his keynote address at the 2015 Masters Summit.

Everyone needs to be time- and cost-efficient. Trust will help you achieve both, according to Covey.  “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust,” he said. “The economics of trust covers speed and cost. When trust goes down, you will feel your speed go down, and consequently, cost goes up.” He called that extra cost the “trust tax.”

As an example of trust tax, he cited the 9/11 tragedy. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the American public’s trust in airlines and airports plummeted. The U.S. government and the airline industry spent enormous amounts of money over the years to restore such trust through increased security and other measures. 

Covey spoke to a crowd of 500 MasterControl customers, partners, guests, and employees at the eighth annual Masters Summit held in Salt Lake City (1). 

Trust has Ripple Effect

Covey, the cofounder of Coveylink and the author of the groundbreaking book, “The Speed of Trust,” said trust flows from the inside out, creating a ripple effect of five “waves.” They are:  
  • Self trust 
  • Relationship trust 
  • Organizational trust
  • Market trust
  • Societal trust
“Trust is the foundation of leadership,” he said. “It’s high leverage. If you have high-trust culture in your organization, you’ll do better in everything every day.” He called this phenomenon the “trust dividend.” 

As an example, he cited the huge success of Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos. He said the mutual trust between the CEOs of Taco Bell and Frito-Lay made them move forward with the product launch quickly, which is unusual in collaborations involving big companies. Doritos Locos Tacos is considered one of the most successful products in fast-food history, selling 1 million tacos every day (2). 

This article is related to the Video: Who is MasterControl?

Covey debunked the perception that trust is merely a social virtue and asserted that it’s an essential ingredient for success that can be measured and quantified. “To be trusted you’ve got to give it. If you withhold it, the people around you will withhold it,” he said.

He qualified his statement by introducing the concept of “smart trust” as opposed to blind trust. What is smart trust? It’s a combination of good judgment that flows from one’s propensity to trust combined with sound analysis and evaluation.

“Trust is a function of credibility and competence,” he explained. For organizations and businesses, he said, “You need a balance of both. You want people who have integrity, but also who can deliver results.”

Cindy Fazzi is the editor of MasterControl Insider, a monthly publication for MasterControl users. She writes about the life science industry and other regulated environments. Her two decades of experience as a news reporter, writer, and editor includes working for the Associated Press in Ohio and New York. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University.

(1) The Masters Summit is MasterControl’s premier annual educational conference for its customers. This year it was held in Little America in Salt Lake City, from Oct. 13-15, 2015.
(2) “Doritos Locos Tacos: How Taco Bell and Frito-Lay Put Together One of the Most Successful Products in Fast-Food History, The Atlantic, July-August 2014,