Positive Leadership

Building a culture of trust (with Stephen M. R. Covey)

February 15, 2023 Jean-Philippe Courtois Season 5 Episode 3
Building a culture of trust (with Stephen M. R. Covey)
Positive Leadership
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Positive Leadership
Building a culture of trust (with Stephen M. R. Covey)
Feb 15, 2023 Season 5 Episode 3
Jean-Philippe Courtois

Trust is fundamental to a healthy society and thriving teams, so what practical steps can leaders take to build it?

To answer this question, JP is joined by Stephen M. R. Covey, a leading authority on trust and the bestselling author of “The Speed of Trust”.

Listen to the latest episode of The Positive Leadership podcast to hear why leadership today is defined by those who trust.

Subscribe now to JP's free monthly newsletter "Positive Leadership and You" on LinkedIn to transform your positive impact today: https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/positive-leadership-you-6970390170017669121/

Show Notes Transcript

Trust is fundamental to a healthy society and thriving teams, so what practical steps can leaders take to build it?

To answer this question, JP is joined by Stephen M. R. Covey, a leading authority on trust and the bestselling author of “The Speed of Trust”.

Listen to the latest episode of The Positive Leadership podcast to hear why leadership today is defined by those who trust.

Subscribe now to JP's free monthly newsletter "Positive Leadership and You" on LinkedIn to transform your positive impact today: https://www.linkedin.com/newsletters/positive-leadership-you-6970390170017669121/

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Hello, I'm Jean-Philippe Courtois. This is Positive Leadership. The podcast that helps you grow as an individual, as a leader, and ultimately as a global citizen. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: A new world of work requires a new way to lead. And the old model, what I call it kind of the “command and control” model, is not going to work in this new world, even in a more enlightened version of it, if we view people like things. We need a way to tap into that talent and that capability and to unleash it and to see it, to develop it, all these things, so that we tap into the potential that's out there to solve our problems today. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Awakening and nurturing the potential within others requires open mindedness, flexibility, agility, optimism, and above all, trust. My guest today, Stephen M. R. Covey, is a global authority on trust, cofounder of the leadership development company CoveyLink. He’s the bestselling author of “The Speed of Trust,” and more recently, “Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash the Greatness in Others.” Stephen, I'm delighted to have you on the podcast.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Hi, it’s so wonderful to be with you, Jean-Philippe.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: I was really excited to speak to him about how organisations and individuals can increase and leverage trust to achieve better performance.So I’d like to start off with your childhood and family background, if you don't mind. Your father Stephen R. Covey was the, of course, infamous author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” one of the most influential business books of the 20th century and I would say 21st century, too, by the way. But I was moved to read the dedication to your late mother on Instagram recently, what I think referred to her as a true “trust and inspire” parent. So how did your mom and your dad and your eight siblings, if I'm not mistaken, model trust and inspire, and how did that shape you? And what made you want to follow in your dad's footsteps and join a company set up? Many questions in one. So I’ll let you unfold, uncover all of that. I trust you.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Well, thank you, JP. It was inspiring for me to have such magnificent parents. I was very fortunate, very blessed, and so I feel a sense of stewardship because of that. I think both my mother and my father where what I call “trust and inspire” parents. And by that, I mean they were parents who believed in me, who saw my potential, and who helped me come to see it in myself. And that's what I think a “trust and inspire” leader or person does for another is that they see potential and talent, and then they communicate that potential and talent so that the other person can come to see it. My mother always would affirm me and, but such that I could actually see myself and the affirmation she was giving.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: What about your dad? Was he less affirmative, more subtle, or how did it come through?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Well, he also would affirm. But what I would emphasise with my dad is how he would then extend trust, and give me responsibilities and opportunities, starting from when I was just a seven-year-old boy. And in what he writes about in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Green and clean, green and clean, the story where he was teaching his young son to take care of our lawn, our yard.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I was that green and clean child. I was the seven-year-old boy given this big responsibility. This was back in the day before we had automatic sprinklers.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Of course.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And we had, you know, this huge lawn, three different locations. And he turned the job over to me as a seven-year-old to take care of it. And he trusted me, and he believed in me. And he, but he built an agreement with me of how I would do this, and how I would judge myself against the standard of green and clean. And we would walk around once a week with accountability. But I was responsible. And he took the idea of affirmation and extended it to an actual extension of trust with expectations and with accountability built into the trust –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Being extended. And how that brought out the best in me as well as I realised that I was responsible and I had these capabilities, and I could take ownership, and I could actually achieve and do things and get the result. But my father's intent all along was not so much that he had a great green and clean yard. He cared about that, but he cared far more about –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: About you.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Developing me. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. Growing you.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Exactly. Not grass. So his real intent was always to raise the child. But the interesting thing is he both raised the child and he got a green and clean lawn as well.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: He did it. Super. So wonderful start, Stephen. Can you tell us, obviously, we start with a strong finish with your mum and dad and you just did a wonderful job of framing it. But what led you eventually to create the “trust and inspire” model, right to formalise that through your life, I guess, experiences, learnings, mistakes and more? And then one day, well not just one day, I guess, the moment you decided to, to make it clear, very clear to everyone. So what, what was the trigger to do that?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: What the trigger was was when I was able to spend time actually, before my dad passed away, doing workshops and public seminars around the world with him. And he would talk about seven habits and the eighth habit. I would talk about the speed of trust, but he would always begin each session by asking the audience, you know, “How many of you believe that the vast majority of your workforce has more talent, ingenuity, skill, capability and greatness more than their current job requires or even allows them” –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: To do –

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: “To contribute?”

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Contribute, yeah. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And almost every hand would go as –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: That’s what I thought, yeah. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Everyone’s saying, “There's a lot more talent inside of our people than we're asking or getting from them.” Then the second question was and, “How many of you are under immense pressure to do more with less?” And again, almost every hand would go up. And just the juxtaposition of that, that we’re under this intense pressure to produce more, and yet we're not tapping anywhere near into people's talents and capabilities. What's wrong with this picture? And I realise that's, you know, that's a leadership gap.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Issue. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: That the way we're leading is not tapping into that. And so trying to tap into that talent, to see it, to communicate it, to develop it, to unleash it. The talent, the greatness, the potential inside of people requires leadership. And we need to lead in a new way to tap into that kind of talent to solve our problems in our world today. So just that process of seeing this gap and asking, why aren't we tapping into that, and really recognising this is a leadership opportunity for all of us. And what if I could articulate a way to do it? So the key was kind of the naming of this. And the idea was, rather than “command and control”, the old style of leadership, it’s “trust and inspire,” a new way to lead in a new world of work.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: The corporate world today is going through a reset, but learning itself with wider goals of a fairer, more sustainable, and a more equitable society, and rewiring itself away from the old “command and control” style of leadership. To us, this new way of working that Stephen is talking about in leadership which encourages and empowered self-directed employees. And there's no question that trust plays a really big part within that. In many ways, Stephen’s book couldn't come at a more pertinent time. You know, I was just meeting actually with Richard Edelman last week. And he just issued his last version, you know, the famous Edelman Trust Barometer. It's a yearly barometer for people listening to podcasts. And he says that the macro pressures manifest at individual level in a sort of fears ranging from inflation, of course, to a nuclear war right now in Europe. We can feel it, I can tell you. And these fears are on top of pre-existing worries about job losses to automation, impact of climate change, and the consequence is a descent from distrust to an acute polarisation society that we can see I'm sure both in Americas, in Europe, and elsewhere in the world. And it predicts that without intervention, we will see a continued move from a crisis of institutional trust to a crisis of interpersonal trust. So would you agree with that statement? And what comes out of that statement on top of your mind, given what you've seen in society, in business, across the world – you've been travelling the world as well – right here, right now with what's going on in the world?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes, fundamentally, I do agree with that. First of all, I think the distrust is contagious. It's kind of the environment we’re operating in, and when we look and we wonder, can I trust this institution, and can I trust these people, and we polarise, we, you know, we get polarised into tribal camps, you start to wonder and question, who can you trust? And what else is out there? And all of that is a is a pressure, and it impacts people. It starts to affect how they view not only the world, but even how they view other people and each other. And they sometimes are not even fully aware that they're being impacted by this low trust world, this low trust environment. But it begins to affect our interpretation of other people. And that, you know, I wonder if I can trust this person. And we start to become less and less trusting. And if we're not trusting of others, then they tend to not trust us back. And we could find ourselves perpetuating a vicious downward cycle.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: That’s right. Yeah.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I think these pressures are very real. I do think there's a ripple effect in either direction. And right now, because of the external and the lack of institutional trust, the distrust at the macro level, it does impact us at the micro level of how we even view each other. And especially if we're not fully aware that we look at the world through a lens.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Absolutely. So I'd like to build on that, Stephen, actually, you know, we often think about trust as a social asset, an enabler in society, in business as much as within a family or a couple as well. From my experience as a leader, I know that establishing trust is fundamental. If you want to get your team members to bring their very best authentic selves to the table, and also if you want to build a safe environment where mistakes are addressed and tackled in the most effective way. But building trust can take a lot of time and patience as well. So the question for you and for our listeners, where do you start and how do you build trust one person and one team at a time?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: That’s a beautiful question. And I think that where you start is by looking in the mirror and starting with yourself, with ourselves, each of us. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: We look in the mirror and we ask this question, do I trust myself? Do I trust myself? Do I give to my team, to my colleagues, to my family, to my neighbourhood, to those I interact with? Do I give to them a person, a leader who they can trust? Is it smart to trust me? That self-trust, trust of yourself. Giving others a person that they can trust is the foundation of all trust. And then from there, you do, you do ripple out into your relationships one person at a time, one relationship at a time. And then you can ripple out to a team, maybe your team. So it's not that I'm trying to change the whole world. Instead, I'm trying to impact my team by first impacting my relationships one on one and by modelling it myself. And then I work on my team. And then I ask, what if our team could become a catalyst to build trust with another team that we interact with? And then with another, and another, and you begin to ripple out into the larger department. And then you ripple out into the whole organisation. And then out to our stakeholders with partners and customers, and then out into society, into communities. So it's always inside out. It's simple. It's just not easy.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: But if I may, I’d like to come back to the first ripple in a way, right? Myself. How do I trust myself? How did you do that with yourself, Stephen? Taking that example, or maybe your work you've done coaching some leaders and others across the world, how do you do that?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Learn to make and keep commitments to yourself. It's interesting that the fastest way to build trust with another person is to make a person a commitment and then to keep it. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And make another commitment and to keep it, and to repeat that process. You make, keep, repeat, make, keep, repeat. You build trust that fast that way. Guess what? That's also the fastest way to build trust with yourself. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: With you.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: To make and keep commitments to yourself. And sometimes we don't keep a commitment to ourselves with the same respect we might treat a commitment to somebody else. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Correct. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: But we should with our self as well, and have that sense of clarity, of integrity, of power, personal power with ourselves. But also if we can focus on saying, look, I'm trying to focus on my character and my competence. So my credibility, I'm always working on it. I never arrive, but I'm always working on my character, my competence, and behaving myself into greater trust because it matters to me. And I'm trying to, I'm trying to model. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Model. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I'm trying to go first. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And be a model of the kind of behaviour I want to see. So if I want to see more transparency, then I model transparency, if I want to see more respect shown and demonstrated, I model respect. And if I want to see more trust then I model both trustworthiness.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: But also a willingness to be trusting, to extend that trust. So maybe JP, I would just add –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: That last thing, as you work from the inside out, starting with yourself and then your relationship, and then with others and teams and so forth. If you as a leader, if you’ll focus on two things, first, focus on being trustworthy and that's your character, your competence, you'd be a model. But second, focus on being trusting. And I think that is the essence of great leadership, is that we extend that trust to others and ignite the potential and talent that’s within them. I think it’s an act of leadership to extend trust to another person.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: I do agree with you one hundred percent, Stephen. I love the way you're making a deep distinction between yourself, trust in yourself and the way you have to keep commitments and execute on commitments, which is not easy, depending on where you raise the bar, sometimes you have to take it easier as well on yourself. That's a different discussion. And the way you are trusting others and empower them to do more with that. So you know in your book as well, to continue the discussion, you made it clear that trust, of course, a very powerful enabler and transformer, if you can inspire others as well. But there’s a lot of confusion I found often between charisma, inspiration, and a few other words. So what's the difference, Stephen, in how do you create the spark of inspiration? Would you build it within yourself? Maybe, it does start within yourself, and then propagate that with some positive energy coming from yourself to others?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Inspiration and charisma are different. I know some people who are charismatic but who are not inspiring.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: I agree with you.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I know other people who no one would describe necessarily as charismatic, but who are extraordinarily inspiring. 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Because of who they are, how they connect, how they care, how they lead. And so they're different. Inspiring others doesn't necessarily require charisma. Inspiring others is a learnable skill, it’s something we can learn to do. And you are right. We start with ourselves. We model. When you model the behaviour, that's inspiring to other people. When you extend trust to them, that inspires. To be trusted is the most inspiring form of human motivation. But then what really makes this connect and resonate is when you connect with people through a sense of caring and belonging, that will inspire others. And then when you connect people to purpose and to meaning and the contribution, that will inspire. And if you start with yourself, if you are inspired because you have a sense of purpose, if the fire within you is already lit, then that lit fire can light other fires. So always, you know, start with yourself and become, find your why, become inspired, your purpose, and then focus on connecting with people through caring, and then connecting others to purpose, to meaning, to contribution, to mattering. And the whole idea is that everyone can inspire. It's actually a learnable skill. It's not just for the charismatic.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: I love it, and I can almost visualise the fires of inspiration you talked about, Stephen. One of the things I enjoy the most in my life is over the past several years now, I've been coaching a bunch of young social entrepreneurs who want to change the world. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: And guess what? Many of them don't have the confidence in themselves that they don't have the charisma at all. But they have so much purpose, so much clarity on the way they want to change the world. They are incredibly inspiring, and we get them on stage. After, of course, doing some work on the on the semantics, the words and all of that. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Right. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Wow, people who are much more grounded than themselves are like incredible. They are all impressed by the inspiration. So I've seen that in action, it’s highly contagious in a positive way. The ability to inspire is one of the single most important leadership skills that separates great leaders from average ones. Data gathered by Harvard Business School from nearly 50,000 leaders learned that the ability to inspire creates the highest levels of employee engagement and commitment. Inspirational leaders are value driven. They lead from a deep sense of purpose, and they have a sense of responsibility to create positive change. They have a clear understanding of what their values are and don't cave under pressure in a situation where we would need to sacrifice their values to achieve a result. They recognise being ethical is not always easy, but it's right. Let's continue the dialogue and in a way, I mean extend the discussion on leadership. In your book, you describe leadership as stewardship, right? First, you model the behaviours you want to see, and this builds trust. Interestingly, at Microsoft, we create and implemented a measurement framework Stephen called “model, coach, and care.” So as you work with many large companies in the world and their leadership teams, right, how do you get them to practice what care means and what model implies in their day to day lives? Because words sometimes are big on the world on a slide, but well, making them real in your life is something else. So how do you do that?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes. And making it come alive is where the real action is. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Exactly. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: So, well, first of all, let me say this at the outset, that I love the Microsoft model. If you look at the core model in the “Trust and Inspire” book, it's the same three principles. I just flatly label it different. I'm calling it “modelling, trusting,” –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Trusting.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: “Inspiring”. But in a very real sense, to “model, trust, inspire” is very similar to “model, coach and care.” When you trust another, you move from managing people to coaching. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Because you believe in them, you trust them. So you don’t have to manage them. You're trying to coach them and help them succeed. So that's a mindset shift. But the fundamental belief that triggers that, that enables that, is your belief in them, your extension of trust to them, that moves you from a management model to a coaching model. And inspiring others comes when you connect with people through caring. So that's very much what you're doing at Microsoft, the caring. And when you care for another, you will inspire them.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: So, so, so well said, Stephen. And so much in alignment in a way with the way we try to do it every day because it's not a given, it’s hard work. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Right. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: It's a practice as well.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: It’s a journey. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yeah, it’s a journey. Bringing clarity around what's working, what's not working in a business, in a company like Microsoft and others, is something we have to think a lot about every day. Right? It's called accountability in many ways. And so I'd like to get your thoughts on the best way to do that and about the role of accountability within the trust building that you talked about. And just to add a couple of more, another story actually or two to enrich a little bit, the discussion, I had Pete Carroll, that I'm sure you may know from as the head coach of the Seahawks.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: On the show, on the podcast a while ago. A wonderful discussion. He’s maybe, as you know, holding a weekly accountability meeting with the Seahawks. And he said, he told me, you know, it's super important for people to fulfil their potential. It's a time where everyone, it's on Monday, is encouraged to put their hand up and say, I messed up. I could have done this better. A coach or team. And as I discuss the potential of positive leadership, there's often a misconception that being positive most of the time stops you from holding people accountable and driving high quality performance. So, Stephen, in your own experience, how do you balance the care you show for people, the trust you build in them with the need for real accountability? And do you also believe with the value of accountability meetings, wherever the shareholders meetings are, by the way?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes, beautiful. I do. I believe completely with what Pete Carroll said and with what you're describing here, JP, that is this accountability is essential both for the building and the maintaining of trust, but also for the development and the unleashing of the potential, both. And here's how it works, because you're right, sometimes people, they paint it as an either or. Kind of are you going to hold me accountable or are you going to trust me? As if they were two different things. But no, they're interconnected. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Absolutely.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: They're very much related. When we extend trust to others, we're always doing it with a sense of the clear expectations around the trust that we're extending. 

And an agreed upon, a mutually agreed upon process –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: For accountability.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Right.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: To those expectations. And so I call this building the agreement together. So you build the agreement together, which has two halves clarifying expectations, and agreeing to a mutual process of accountability to those expectations. And if upfront you build that agreement together, then you can find as a leader that you can be far more trusting of others. Look, this is even what my father did with me, with the green and clean story when I was seven years old. Because he spent two weeks training me that I want the yard, the lawn to be green and clean. So those were the expectations, the green and clean. But then we, he built a process for accountability where he said this, so what we're going to do is let's walk the yard once a week and you tell me how we are doing against the standard of green and clean. So that was the process for accountability, that once a week we would walk the yard, and I would report on how we were doing against the standard of green and clean, the expectations. And so even as a young seven-year-old, he trusted me, but always with expectations and accountability. And what that does is that brings out the best in people.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Absolutely.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And the key is do it together, build the agreement together. Then the person can hold themselves accountable as opposed to you having to hover over and micromanage their every move when you don't have an agreement.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: I love the way you are resisting to the famous tyranny of all, right Stephen, it’s not “trust or inspire,” it’s “trust and inspire all together.” I love it because I think that –

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Precisely.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: That's part of, that's part of the art of leadership. But I’d like to shift gears, and if you don't mind, come back to the foundational work of your dad's. I'm talking about the amazing bestseller of course that he published in 1989 that I think has sold more than 40 million copies in the world. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Yes.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: A huge number, incredible. Of course, I've read it many times in my life as well. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In it, he defines three clusters of impact you can build and develop to become highly effective. The first cluster is independence or self-mastery. The second one is interdependence, and a third one is self-renewal. I'm struck by the similarity with the Positive Psychology and Positive Leadership approach actually, Stephen. With the Positive Leadership philosophy, you know, I tend to use these three ripples analogy, and in a way you've started to relate to that already in this podcast. And I'm describing how to develop and grow a positive mindset, starting with me, the first ripple, which is about developing my self-awareness, my self-confidence, building on my strengths, and also the ability to manage my perceived neurology – physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, positively so that I can actually align with my purpose. The second ripple is, of course, me and others. Oh, you learn, how you learn to care, which you discuss a lot, or to communicate positively as well with others. Not with naivety, but actually positively, in order to coach others to grow, to make them actually grow and achieve more in their lives. And finally, you get to the third ripple, which is all about the way you build a deep alignment between you, your personal purpose, and the bigger mission of the team, the organisation, the community, the football club, whatever you belong to, to make a positive impact in the world. So I'd love to know if and how your dad and you have been influenced by the positive psychology, philosophy and work over the last decades, actually, Stephen? And where do you see alignment in both approaches?

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I think there's an extraordinary alignment between the work my father did and the work that I'm doing on trust and this positive leadership. And because the basic approach that my father had and that I also have kind of adopted building on, you know, standing on the shoulders of my father, this inside out model, you know, we might use different language or nomenclature to describe it, but the principle is the same in the seven habits. The first three habits are what my father called the private victory, you know, victory for the self. 

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Self, yeah. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: You know that becoming, moving from dependence to independence, that private victory. And the next three habits, habits four, five, and six is the public victory. Now you are able to work and succeed with others interdependently, and that's a higher value. You know, interdependence is a higher value than independence. Because it includes independence, but it also goes beyond now to do how we relate with others and how we work with others to achieve greater things together. But interdependence is a choice that only independent people can make. And so. So –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: You start. 

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: It's always inside out. Exactly. But then we ripple out into a broader effect of how we then overlap who we are and how we relate to the world with, and our purpose with how we can contribute to making purposes in society and to making a difference to matter. To move really from success to significance.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Yes.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: And overlapping purpose, overlapping the individual purpose with organisational purpose or community purpose or societal purpose. That's when you tap into, it's a great capacity and power and contribution, and to truly mattering and making a difference and unleashing the greatest potential that we have inside of us. And that's where we want to want to get. And so I think there's an extraordinary alignment between the positive leadership approach and what we call the principle centred leadership approach, because the, we are drawing upon a fundamental principle that's inside out. And I think that that applies everywhere throughout the world and in any leadership position, in any role. It always starts with ourselves looking in that mirror and owning it and taking responsibility and rippling out from there. And my work on trust, I've done a similar thing, is I focussed on the Five Waves of Trust, which is another version of those three surplus – self-trust leads to relationship trust, which leads to team and organisational trust, which leads to market and stakeholder trust, which leads to community and societal trust –

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Societal.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Inside out.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: The inside out model is absolutely fundamental to the new way of leadership that's emerging. Traditionally, most descriptions of leadership are focused on the outer manifestations like performance, achievement, power, drive, etc. Instead of getting to the foundational principles of leadership itself, leadership from the inside out takes a different view. We cannot speed up the person from the leader. The leader and the person are one. We lead by virtue of who we are. You know one thing I believe has changed since 1989 when the, when your father's obviously published this book, the famous book, is a desire by most people now, most, not just the Gen Zs, to take a job that is meaningful in harmony with their values and purpose. And of course, the young generation in particular cannot imagine working for a company that does not drive a positive impact in society through each section – investment, whether it's carbon negative organisation or companies building an inclusive and ethical culture and more. So what is your take on those new demands and how do you rationalise that additional dimension, the framework? Is it somewhere already included into the framework you have or is it developing because of the outside coming to the inside now of the world and people asking for that alignment with where they want to see the change in the world? So I'd like to ask you the question about your own purpose and your own legacy, Stephen, because I know you've been thinking a lot about that. What is it you want to leave behind? What is it you love? Your kids, family, friends, clients, and many more who have followed you and your dad to bring to life in their own lives. Tell us.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: I hope to be a catalyst along with many others to help bring about a renaissance of trust and inspiration in our world. To intentionally and deliberately focus on increasing both trust and inspiration in our world. Because as we started out with, as you looked at the Edelman Trust Barometer in your conversation with Richard Edelman, that it's, we're living in a world of declining trust at the macro level, the societal level that's starting to impact us at the interpersonal level, and potentially even at the personal level. And so it's very easy to kind of have that snowball, and the ripple effect, the vicious downward cycle happen. I want to be a catalyst, along with others like yourself, Jean-Philippe, and many others, to help actually counteract that. And to bring about a virtuous upward spiral of greater trust, greater inspiration in our world to light those fires within, and to help those fires light other fires. And to have this ripple effect, metaphor and concept be happening everywhere. To help bring about a renaissance of trust in our world and bring about a better world in the process. So that's my personal mission. It's what drives me, and it’s why I keep doing what I'm doing is because I recognise rather than being discouraged by a low trust world, I'm saying all the more reason in a low trust world why we need leaders and mentors and coaches and examples and models who are going to lead out in bringing about a high trust world and a better world to live in, who know how to trust and inspire and bring about this renaissance of trust that we need. That's my mission. My purpose is what I'm trying to be about, and I'm not presenting myself as a perfect model. I am saying it’s what I aspire to help do and to help bring about this renaissance of trust. So that's who I am and what I'm about.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Thank you so much. You know it’s been such a wonderful, wonderful discussion together, and I really look for with many others to join this new renaissance movement in 2023 to be a trusting, caring, inspiring and positive leaders that the world needs some more of these days. I really enjoyed my conversation with Stephen. I came away feeling super optimistic and energised by the deepening conversation around the incentive model of leadership that we both feel so passionate about. I was struck by some of the key insights he shared, particularly about the importance of trust. Start with having trust in yourself and being trusting of others, and remember to bring out the best in people, you need to build expectations and accountability collectively. It then encouraged people to take on responsibility and have confidence in themselves.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Wonderful. I’ll give you this last thought. Well, it takes two or more people to have trust. It only takes one to start, and each of us can be that one.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Can be that one. Let's be that one.

 

STEPHEN M. R. COVEY: Let’s be that one.

 

JEAN-PHILIPPE COURTOIS: Thank you so much, Stephen. Thanks a lot. You've been listening to Positive Leadership Podcast with me, Jean-Philippe Courtois. I'm always interested in getting your feedback, so please leave us a review, comment, or rating. I always appreciate it. If you'd like more tips on how to grow as an individual, a leader and a global citizen, then why not head over to my LinkedIn page and subscribe to my newsletter, “Positive Leadership and You”? And if you've enjoyed this episode, make sure to tell your friends about it. Spread the word, please. That's all for this week. Until the next episode. Goodbye.