In previous blogs we have reviewed Stephen M.R. Covey’s first two “waves of trust” – self-trust and relationship trust – derived from his ripple effect metaphor of trust.

The model which is introduced in Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust, suggests that trust is interdependent and flows from the inside out. Covey’s third wave of trust is organizational trust. He suggests that the first two waves of trust might be in place, but if the systems and structures of the organization do not promote trust – it may diminish.

If an organization espouses a value for trust, but has highly bureaucratic and controlling systems, policies and processes; the employees will not experience trust. Dissonance is then created between who the organization says it is and what is actually experienced. Leaders rarely look for indicators of trust in their policies, systems, and processes; nor do they often consciously build trust there.

Covey suggests that organizations that are aligned between holding a value for trust and enabling it, will exhibit these behaviors:

1) Information is shared openly
2) Mistakes are tolerated and encouraged as a way of learning
3) The culture is innovative and creative
4) People are loyal to those who are absent
5) People talk straight and confront real issues
6) There is real communication and real collaboration
7) People share credit abundantly
8) There are few “meetings after meetings”
9) Transparency is a practiced value
10) People are candid and authentic
11) There is a high degree of accountability
12) There is a palpable vitality and energy – people can feel the positive momentum

From the above list we can see that trust is an imperative for a healthy organizational culture. Leadership Beyond Limits, LLC offers a tool that will help leaders measure the level of trust in their organization, as well as other values essential to a healthy, productive culture. The values posted on the wall could become a source of little more than amusement, if employees are experiencing something different day-to day.