Book Review

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

by Stephen M.R. Covey, Free Press, New York, N.Y., 2006, 354 pp., $26 hardcover, $15 softcover

Real inner work is arduous. It is challenging. It is a mandate for effective leaders. Real inner work is requisite to authenticity, to self-development, to self-trust.

Written by the son of best-selling author Stephen Covey, Stephen M.R. Covey’s The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything clearly focuses the reader on the power and significance of trust — first to the individual and progressively to the organizational level.

According to Covey, trust is the most powerful form of motivation and inspiration. He acknowledges the relationship between trust and getting results. When trust goes down, speed of change also diminishes and costs rise.

In an accountability era where getting results are the mandate, education leaders need to seriously consider the trustability levels within their school systems. Covey cites research that found schools with high trust had more than a three times higher chance of improving test scores than schools with low trust.

How many schools and/or districts have experienced fundamental disruptions toward excellence due to a toxic teaching and learning culture, poor school-community relationships, and poor district-union relations? How often is the lack of fundamental trust significant to these issues?

These are such huge problems that we often do not know where to begin. Leaders with high emotional intelligences quickly realize that trust must be established and maintained for the required changes to happen.

Reviewed by Donna S. McCaw, associate professor of educational leadership, Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.