Smart Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It is probably not fair to compare this book to the one that preceded it, but I just cannot give this one four stars when The Speed of Trust was such a life-changing revelation. I wanted the same lift, the same sense of epiphany, and am somewhat disappointed. Still, I was glad for an opportunity to spend more time thinking about the all-important subject of building and maintaining trusting relationships, and in fairness there was some solid new stuff in here. I have even used some of the new material to help a client group I have been working with. But what might have been an excellent journal article was stretched out to 258 pages and that makes for some dull reading. My two-page summary will be all that is needed by most and I really don't say that very often.
I can appreciate the challenge Rebecca Merrill (the actual writer) had, crafting a book out of very little material. In fact, I think the book gains from her regular repetition of the phrase "prosperity, energy, and joy" because it is an ever-present reminder of why we should work so hard to earn and extend trust. She does well with that. It's all the examples and stories that don't really contribute much that I struggled to slog through.
One important take away for me comes in the form of another Covey matrix with four quadrants. It is helpful to understand how lower or higher levels of a propensity to trust combine with more or less analysis of a specific person or situation to produce no trust, blind trust, distrust, or Smart Trust. We learned in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen M. R. Covey's father) that a whole lot of the sweet life is found in Quadrant 2 and so it is with Smart Trust as well. I want to think about every situation and I want to extend trust where and when I can. I want to take the five action steps that build trust. If I am successful with that then prosperity, energy, and joy are sure to follow.
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