I had the honor of interviewing Stephen M.R. Covey, author of the Speed of Trust, as part of his PR campaign for the upcoming Leaders Causing Leaders tour, and asked him about entrepreneurship and microenterprise.

Covey’s father, Stephen R. Covey, who wrote the foreword for this book, is a widely renowned bestselling author of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, so I thought perhaps that a chip off the old block would be able to help me in the work that I do, which is helping green entrepreneurs succeed. The younger Covey’s book focuses on trust, and how it affects performance, motivation, teamwork, production….in other words–it may be the root of all success.

Covey noted that if you view entrepreneurship as many investors do, as a three-legged stool (market opportunity, deal offered, people in charge), the clear leader of these is the people part. He referred to a Guy Kawasaki quote, which I will paraphrase here: when the lights come back on and the powerpoint turns off, investors often ask themselves one followup question–do I trust this person to perform?

Covey suggests it’s vital to inspire trust and confidence. Investors, customers, employees, etc. need to have trust in the person. Product doesn’t necessarily need to be fully developed…but you do need trust. And the focus of this trust is 1) character and 2) competence.

Touchy feely? Not at all, according to Covey. “Trust is not merely a social virtue,” he says. “It’s also an economic driver. If people trust you, things take less time and become more efficient. Trust is therefore a performance multiplier.”

So how does a ‘trep build trust? “Trust is a learnable skill,” says Covey. “We can get better at it.” Covey suggested that trust is really a function of 2 things:

  1. credibility (integrity, intent, competency, results)
  2. behavior (i.e., you can’t talk yourself out of a problem that you behaved yourself into….)

Certain behaviors will grow trust, according to Covey. In the book, he lays out 13 of these behaviors. Of them, many are learnable, including talking straight, eliminating hidden agendas, clarifying expectations, listening first, keeping commitments, and extending trust.

For more information on Stephen M.R. Covey and his book, see http://www.speedoftrust.com/

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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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