According to Stephen M. R. Covey, Co-founder and CEO of CoveyLink Worldwide, trust is a hard-edged economic driver because it always affects speed and cost, and you can measure it in terms of trust levels, trust components, and trust effects.
Many people see trust as a perception, but it can be quantified
We can measure trust in terms of its components – credibility and behavior.
Credibility encompasses four dimensions – integrity, intention, capability, and results – that can all be measured. If employees don’t trust management, it could be an issue of integrity. Or it could be an issue of intent, where employees don’t feel that leadership cares about them as people. It could be a capability issue; leaders may not be current with what’s really happening, or they may not be growing in their competence. It might be a behavior issue, where results just don’t mesh with what people are told. The effect is the same; employees become skeptical and therefore don’t trust.
Behavior is the second component of trust – 13 behaviors that build trust. These include talking straight, creating transparency, and keeping commitments. By observing behaviors, we learn about leaders, managers, and employees.
Another way to measure trust is by its effects. In every case, trust influences speed and cost. In any business relationship, when trust is diminished, speed goes down and cost goes up. And the opposite is true. High trust equals a rise in speed and a decline in cost.
So when someone tells you that trust is “soft,” you can show them how to measure it in terms of levels, components, and effects. It’s quantifiable, and from an economic framework, you can see its expense and its dividends.
Trust is always worth the investment.