Episode 65

Meet Stephen M. R. Covey

Meet Stephen M.R. Covey, Global authority on trust, leadership, and culture. New York Times best selling author

Stephen M.R. Covey lives and breathes leadership. As the son of leadership author Dr. Stephen R. Covey, his career choice is no surprise, but his work differs in that it’s focused on creating high-trust work culture. 

In this episode, Stephen explains his “trust and inspire” leadership model in depth, citing specific studies that explain why it’s the approach modern workplaces need in the digital age. 

“You can’t ‘command and control’ your way to innovation, you’ve got to do it through ‘trust and inspire,’” he says. 

Get Stephen's latest book Trust & Inspire, click here

Meet your host Jan Griffiths, click here

Episode Summary 

Stephen M.R. Covey wants you to trust your employees. And he wants you to do so by putting in the time to truly connect with them — while resisting the urge to micromanage.

“You’re truly empowering people around an agreement with clear expectations and with accountability,” he says of his “trust and inspire” leadership model. “And with that, you can do so much more. People will actually judge themselves against the agreement and report back to you, instead of you having to hover.”

Stephen’s leadership career began in 1989 when, after graduating from Harvard Business School with an MBA, and with nearly two years of experience as a leasing agent with Trammell Crow Company under his belt, he was at a crossroad.

“I was really debating going back to [Trammell Crow] after getting my MBA when my father said, ‘why don’t you join with me?’” Stephen recalls. And when your father is the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” joining him is decidedly the correct choice. 


So, they worked together to create the Covey Leadership Center, and Stephen climbed the ranks from Client Partner to CEO over the course of the next five years. But eventually, Stephen realized he had more to offer the world, leading him to write three books around the concept of trust and inspire leadership.

In this episode, he explains the ins and outs of this concept and why it’s the necessary replacement for the “command and control” model. 


“You win in the workplace when you build and inspire a high-trust culture, and you win in the marketplace when you collaborate and innovate. That’s how you stay relevant in a changing world,” he says. 


Themes discussed on this episode: 


  • How his father’s success influenced Stephen’s childhood and eventual career 
  • The difference between the command and control leadership model and the trust and inspire model
  • Why Stephen believes trust and inspiration go hand-in-hand with innovation and winning 
  • Why gaining trust is a slow but worthwhile process
  • Why today’s digital-first and ever-evolving work environment deserves a new leadership model
  • How believing people are innately good will lead you down a path of connection and collaboration
  • The difference between position authority and moral authority


Featured Guest: Stephen M.R. Covey


📽️ What he does: Stephen M.R. Covey is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which maintains a mission to “develop principle centered-leaders of character and competence who elevate society.” Currently, he’s the Global Practice Leader of Global Speed of Trust Practice, the result of the merger between consulting practice CoveyLink and leadership training company FranklinCovey. He’s also the author of three leadership books, including his most recent, “Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others.”


💡 On Gravitas: “The Greek philosophy of influence was expressed in three words: ethos, pathos, logos,” says Stephen. “What gravitas means to me— it’s ethos, pathos, and logos in that order, in that sequence. And so in my trust and inspire model is modeling, trusting, inspiring. … That’s gravitas. It’s who you are. It’s your credibility, it’s your moral authority that precedes you.”

Episode Highlights

Timestamped inflection points from the show


[2:54] Where it all started: Stephen discusses his childhood as the son of Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and why, after receiving his MBA, he chose the path of the family business rather than going out on his own. 


[7:45] ‘Something to say’: After scaling FranklinCovey, Stephen witnessed firsthand the weaknesses of the command and control leadership model. That’s what led him to become an author focused on a new, opposing leadership model: trust and inspire, which he explains here.


[12:20] Sharing his knowledge: The most important lesson Stephen learned in the last few years, which has only been further proven by the pandemic, is that the best leaders know the difference between management and leadership. Here, he explains why “You manage things, but you lead people.” 


[17:06] Innovation is the key ingredient: Stephen believes if you don’t build a high-trust work culture, you won’t be able to collaborate or innovate. In this section, he discusses why trust leads to innovation, and innovation leads to “winning in the workplace, which is what will enable you … to win in the marketplace.”


[23:29] Most people are good: All of Stephen’s actions as a leader stem from the basic belief that most people are good and worth being trusted. He explains why that’s a great starting point for a growth mindset.  


[27:50] Slow and steady wins the race: Stephen recognizes that speed doesn’t always equal success. Here, he demonstrates why it’s worth taking the extra time needed to build trust among your employees so that in the long run, that high-trust work culture allows you to tap into their creativity and commitment. 


[33:31] Report back: Stephen says one of the most effective ways to gain and maintain trust is to empower people. He details one way of doing that: encouraging them to report back with details rather than micromanaging. 


[38:12] Trust = leverage: A discussion of his favorite of Jan’s 21 Traits of Authentic Leadership evolves into a point about why connecting with people increases execution, ability and other important elements of a successful business. He then elaborates by explaining why “trust is … highly leveraged in our world today.”


[42:06] The proof is in the pudding: Stephen discusses his most recent book and why it was important to include specific data to back up his arguments about the power of trust. 


[45:18] ‘One person’s strengths compensate for another’s weaknesses’: It’s easy to get competitive in the workplace. But what if you could transform that competitive spirit to a collaborative one? Stephen explains why his mindset is to “compete externally in the marketplace,but internally let's complete each other, let's be complementary”


[46:29On gravitas: Stephen’s definition borrows from the Greek philosophy of influence, which he explained through ethos, pathos and logos: “That’s gravitas. It’s who you are. It’s your credibility, it’s your moral authority that precedes you.” 



Top quotes


[5:57] “It is trust that makes our world go round. It is trust that makes our organizations thrive. And it certainly is trust that makes our relationships happy and joyful. If you can get good at building trust on purpose, what an advantage that is.”


[8:50] “Now people are working from home, working from anywhere … [there are] so many choices and options for people. And it just really has made clear that command and control is not going to work in this new world of work.”


[12:19] “You can keep a command and control mindset in the management of things. That can work. But as you work with people … trust and inspire is a far better approach … to bring out the best in them and, ultimately, the best in their oversight of the things and processes that they manage.”


[28:35] “Be efficient with things and be effective with people. Taking the time to listen, to understand, to demonstrate respect and to involve people — while it takes time up front, you’ll move faster in the long run.”


[44:22] “My job as a leader is to go first … I’m a steward. I have a responsibility, a job with a trust for those that I lead. It’s not just a position of authority, it’s a moral authority that I need to lead with. It’s a different approach.”

Transcript
Dietrich:

Welcome to the Finding Gravitas podcast. It's time to stop trying to fit someone else's mold and step into the world of authentic leadership. Connect with that irresistible force. That is gravitas. Your host, Jan Griffiths will guide you through an exploration into exactly what this elusive quality means and how you can get it. Now, let's join Jan on the quest for gravitas.

Jan Griffiths:

Here it is the much anticipated interview with Stephen. M.R. Covey. Yes, that's right. The son of the man who wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Can you imagine the stress the pressure growing up as the son of the man who wrote one of the most influential leadership books of our time.

Jan Griffiths:

But we're not going to talk about that book. Nope. We are going to talk about Stephen's new book, trust and inspire. We are going to talk about why we need to reject command and control. And it's easy to say that, but why do we need to reject it? And what are we going to move to? Stephen has defined that leadership model he spent years researching what this leadership model should look like. You know, it has a heavy foundation of trust, running through it. And it has a ton of both qualitative and quantitative data. I am so excited to share this interview with you. And I know after this interview, you will want to get this book. I've read it. It's amazing. Let's get into it.

Jan Griffiths:

Stephen, welcome to the show.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Hi, Jan, it's so great to be with you. I'm very excited for today.

Jan Griffiths:

Well, today, we are here to talk about your new book, Trust and Inspire. A transformative approach for the kind of leadership we need to move forward today. And why we need to reject command and control? The command and control style of leadership. And I haven't said that about a million times about rejecting command and control. So that comes quite naturally to me. Trust and inspire is all about unleashing the greatness in others. And quite frankly, Stephen, never has there been a better time for this book than right now but before we dive in, tell us, what is your story?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

My story begins with me being fortunate to grow up in a great home with a dad and a mom. And my father is Dr. Stephen R. Covey, who wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And I like to say that, as kids, we were the guinea pigs for those seven habits. He first tested it on us then made sure it worked. And so I kind of grew up getting that a preview of the seven habits. That's how I was raised. And it was before my dad had published the book. So that was a great thrill to have a great environment. Not everyone has that. And I recognize that. So that's part of my story. I worked in a couple of different places, went to school, got an MBA, kind of debating what to do. And I'd been in real estate development with a great company Trammell Crow company. And it was really debating going back to them after getting my MBA, when my father said, why don't you join with me, I'm going to be publishing the seven habits book soon. And we have a chance to really, really change the world. And I thought about it, but I had a little bit of hesitancy of you know, joining up with my dad and just going down a family path as opposed to kind of either going on Wall Street, I had opportunities on Wall Street, I can go back into real estate development. But I decided you know what, I actually know the power of these seven habits because I experienced them growing up. And I think I'm going to go down that path. And I chose to go with my dad and build the Covey Leadership Center. And so I kind of, you know, did the traditional work as a salesperson and the like and kind of learned the business and worked with clients and learned how to add value that way and then became a team leader and then became the client leader and then was overall the plant work and then became the president CEO of the Covey Leadership Center and really grew the company all around the world. And today we are operating 100 And I think 50 countries as Franklin Covey we merged with Franklin Quest to form Franklin Covey. And is exciting. So I kind of had a, my first path was a business path I was, I wanted to distinguish myself from my dad, partly because I didn't want to be a poor man's version of him. And he had written the seven habits, and it's presented and spoke all around the world. So I went down the business path and building the business, creating a company scaling the company, figuring out a business model, all those things, that was important work. And then after I did that, after the merger sometime, I also felt like, you know what, now I have something to say, I found something that I wanted to say. And that was about how trust is really the underlying foundation of every dimension, of relationships, of teams of cultures and of life, that makes it work. It is trust that makes our world go round. It is trust that makes our organizations thrive. And it certainly is trust that make our relationships, happy, and joyful. And if you can get good at building trust on purpose, what an advantage that is. And so feeling like I've learned this along the way in building this business. Now I'm going to apply it. So now I had something to say. So my second act, I wrote The Speed of Trust book. And I've been working on this for the last 18 years of presenting trust in organizations. And that brings me to a new book on, I'm now elevating and saying that we need a new kind of leadership in our world today. And I'm calling it trust and inspire in contrast to the command and control of the kind of leadership that is needed today. But I'm building on the foundation of trust, as the basis for what is really needed in our world today. So it kind of comes about with a one two punch. The first is that I I spent that time as a practitioner, as a doer as a CEO, working building a business, building a culture, dealing with banks, and lenders and investors and all those things and kind of learning through doing and that gave me credibility to actually now opine about it and write about it and ever and informed viewpoint of how to do it. And once I found my voice around trust, that became act two, which is where I am right now. And so that brings us to where we are today, talking about a new book.

Jan Griffiths:

I love that I love the background. And some may think that it was COVID that prompted you to write this book. But this book has been in the works for some time the research has gone on for years, right?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yes, I actually started working on this book as many as 15 years ago, when my mind got into it. But then it was about five years ago, actually, I guess six years ago now in 2016, where I started to say, You know what, I became clear about the need to move from command and control to trust and inspire. And Jan, it's kind of just like you said at the outset, when you when you introduce me, you've been saying we got to get away from Command and Control for years. So we've been clear what we need to move from, we've been less clear about naming, calling describing what we need to move toward. And that's where I became very clear of it, you know, in juxtaposition and beautiful juxtaposition to command and control where we need to move his trust and inspire. A new kind of leadership relevant for our new world today. So I absolutely have been working on this over the last six years. And and then COVID happened. And it really made this 10 times more relevant, because it just accelerated trends that were happening dramatically. And we had 10 years in one. Now people are working from home working from anywhere, hybrid work, remote work, dispersed workforce, so many choices and options for people. And it just really has made clear that command and control is not going to work in this new world of work. We've got to have a new way to lead, trust and inspire. So COVID just has accelerated the immediate relevance of really what is a sea change in the kind of leadership that's needed today. But COVID just revealed it faster, it was already going there. And I'm happy that we're going to get there faster because we can get results faster by transitioning and getting that a command and control into trust and inspire.

Jan Griffiths:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. However, there are a lot of naysayers in my audience. As you well know, the automotive industry. We developed command and control. It didn't start in the automotive industry, obviously. But we're proud of command and control in the automotive industry. And we have CEOs we have senior leaders in this industry, who are in the role they're in today because they practice command and control and they did it well. So it's hard for this group of leaders to look at trust and inspire and say, oh, yeah, that's that sounds good. Let's do that, you know, the, when I start to talk about authentic leadership and trust, sometimes I get the eye roll, you know, it's like, oh, well, that's nice. But that's the soft stuff. We got a business to run. You know, we've got bottom line numbers, to those naysayers, that we've still got out there in this very tough command and control environment in automotive. Why change? What can you say to this hard core leadership group to say, This is why you need to change?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yeah, it's a great question. And I'll give you a short answer. And then in three points to it. Short answer is because you'll get better results in trust and inspire today than you will in command and control, you'll get better results, and you build a better culture, which will enable you to get better results going forward in the future. But let me tell you why. And this is the three points I'll make. The first is that by talking about trust and inspire, I'm not saying that that means that we're just weak, soft, you know, nice to everybody, without expectations without standards, without processes and systems. And that's too often, what happens is people kind of just paint that, like you suggested, with a, you know, this is soft, this authentic leadership and whatever you might call it, this is a soft, and we need hard edged command and control type. I'm responsible, I'm the boss, leadership, that's what works. What I like to point out is this, we need both good management and good leadership, both are important. The key is to distinguish what it is that you're managing what you're leading, you manage things you lead people, and especially in today's world, when you try to manage people, as if they were things that becomes far less effective. So I'm not against great management of things and things includes processes, systems, structures, technologies, inventory, supply chains, you manage things, but you lead people. You can keep a command and control mindset in the management of things that can work. But as you work with people, the whole idea is trust and inspire is a far better approach with where people are at and to bring out the best in them. And ultimately, the best in their oversight of the things the processes that they manage, it's just a better way to lead. I just want to highlight that it does not have to be perceived as soft and weak. It's just the opposite. It is actually strong, and it takes great strength and courage. But you get better outcomes, especially in today's world. And you can still have management of things and processes, the leadership of people, manage things lead people, that's the key paradigm. So that's number one. The second is look at the hard data. The hard data on this is overwhelming. Watson Wyatt study showed that high trust organizations, which is part of trust and inspire, outperform low trust organizations, by 286%, in total return to shareholders nearly three times higher. There's an economics to trust, greater speed, lower cost, when there's high trust, when there's low trust takes you longer cost you more that is a tax. High trust is a dividend for a great place to work Institute 13 year study shows that high trust organizations, because to be a great place to work, trust is two thirds the criteria, they outperform the market in this 13 year study by 288% nearly identical, three times higher, better economics. But I can even go to this in the automobile industry. This was a study by Jeff Dyer and Wujin Chu. It was named a study of the decade and they looked at a trust in relationships between manufacturers, you know OEMs and suppliers in the automobile industry. And they found that when they built trust in those supplier, OEM relationships, that they move faster with less cost, and you had all kinds of economic outcomes that were better that were quantifiable and hard edged. And it was very, very specific. I look recently at the working relations index, done by Plante Moran in the automobile industry and their data is very similar. They look at the supplier OEM relationships and the higher the trust the higher the transparency, the higher the trust, the better the communication, it results in better outcomes and every piece of data that reduces the cost OEMs of doing business, it helps them improve their efficiency, their productivity, and it reduces their time to market, all quantifiable hard edge things. So you can just look at this by pure economics. And you'll see that building this kind of culture is a better way to lead building the kind of relationships is a better way to lead and you'll get better outcomes. And then finally, I would just add one last piece. And that is that it's a new world today. It's a new world of work. And it's out the new workforce increasingly, with Gen z's, millennials, people don't want to be managed, they want to be led, they want to be trusted, they want to be inspired command control has reached its expiration date, at least command and control of people. Again, I'm not against managing processes, but you lead people trust and inspire is a far better way for this new world. To quote Marshall Goldsmith, what got you here won't get you there. And command control may have worked in the past, but it's not going to work anymore. And I would question how well it really did work in the past, in terms of really optimizing what was possible. So many, many factors, I'm aware of some pushback. And that's natural. And I'm not saying you leave everything behind. It's just you need to adopt a mindset that's relevant for our times. It's a more complete, more accurate understanding of people and of leadership. And that's especially needed in a new world of work.

Jan Griffiths:

Absolutely. And, you know, in the auto industry, Stephen, we're good at understanding changes. And let's face it when it comes to the product, right. So we're going through massive disruption now with electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yep.

Jan Griffiths:

And we're good at getting that and strategizing around that. But what we're not good at is recognizing the workplace piece of this. The marketplace with we got that right, we get we're getting that figured out. But it's the workplace, the need to change the leadership model in the workplace. That's what we've got to get really good at. And we got to get good at that right now.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Absolutely, Jan, you've nailed it. I call those the two epic imperatives of our time, when in the workplace, when in the marketplace, you win in the workplace, when you build, inspire a high trust culture, you win in the marketplace, when you collaborate and innovate. So you stay relevant in a changing world, especially with disruption. And the automobile industry is right at the harbinger of you know, right at the forefront of all these kinds of disruptive technologies, electric vehicles, autonomous driving all these things that are going to disrupt the industry. But here's the key insight. And here's why your point is valid, that in the long run, there is a sequence to it, it is hard to sustain winning in the marketplace, if we are not winning in the workplace. And the reason that is so is because if you don't build a high trust coach culture, in the long run, you will not be able to collaborate nor innovate very well at all, you'll lose your edge, and you'll fall behind. But when you when you build this high trust culture, your ability to collaborate goes up dramatically. Your ability to innovate goes up dramatically. And there's hard data on that. A study from LRN shows in a high trust culture, people are 32 times more likely to take a responsible risk, and they're 11 times more likely to innovate in a low stress culture, you just won't get that people are afraid to take any type of risk. Again, I'm not talking about a wild risk, but a responsible, smart, calculated risks, but they don't innovate as a result. So you won't innovate, you won't collaborate and you won't stay relevant in a changing world at disruption. Winning in the workplace is what will enable you in the long run to also win in the marketplace. Now look, in the marketplace, you might through some technological innovation, or disruption, you might win in the short run, but you won't sustain it in the long run. Because you won't be able to truly collaborate and innovate without trust. So there is a sequence to it. And it's not lockstep you can do both simultaneously. All I'm saying is people are very clear on the need to face this disruption in the marketplace. I think we need equal clarity on saying we need to face the disruption in the workplace and operating in a command and control culture is not relevant anymore. Just like that would be like trying to say we're going to move forward and act like none of these instructions are taking place in the marketplace. We've got to do both inside out is the most sustainable approach.

Jan Griffiths:

Oh, to use your analogy that I love. It's like coming to a tennis match with a golf club, right?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Absolutely. To operate with command and control in leading people today is the equivalent of doing just that playing tennis with a golf club. The tool you're using the style of leadership you're you're employing is not relevant for the game being played is a new game, we a tennis racket.

Jan Griffiths:

This episode is brought to you by Gravitas Detroit, now is the perfect time to implement an internal company podcast. That's right, a podcast that's focused on your company and your people, real human to human connection, the power of storytelling, use it for executive interviews, employee spotlights, technical reviews, and so much more. We have details in the show notes.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, you're right. You mentioned you talk a lot about innovation.

Jan Griffiths:

And e very CEO, in the automotive industry has innovation on their agenda. Absolutely. And what I love sometimes is an innovation is an imperative. It's a business imperative, we got to have it, we got to innovate. And then you see command and control. It's like, wait a minute, guys, or gals, you cannot have innovation, if people don't feel safe at work, if there's not trust, if they can't, not only bring their whole selves to work, but put their ideas forward and feel that they're valued. If you don't create that environment, you are not going to get innovation is just going to remain a little bullet point on that business plan forever in a day, and it's not actually going to happen.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yes

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Absolutely, you've nailed it, you can't command and control your way to innovation. You've got to do that through trust and inspire. It may be in the past, maybe in the past, at a brute force, that you could do it. But today, the nature of the change is too great. The pace of change, the amount of change, that type of change, disruptive technologies, command and control is incremental. It's not enough, you can't command and control your way to innovation, you've got to do it through trust and inspire, and you won't stay relevant otherwise. And so Absolutely. As a CEO, or as a leader in automotive organization, said value innovation, but lead with a style of command control, then there is a massive gap. And that is not sustainable. In the long run, you've got to employ a new way of leading in order to innovate in this new world. You can't command and control your way to collaboration. And you also can't command and control your way to a great culture that's going to attract, retain, engage and inspire the best people so that you win the war for talent, and that in the time of the great resignation, and where the need to attract people is critical. Again, people don't want to be managed, they want to be led. They want to be trusted. They want to be inspired.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it comes back, you mentioned mindset earlier, a lot of this comes back to mindset. I mean, we've talked a lot about the command and control has expired, and people have to recognize that. So that's a mindset switch for people. But also, it's how you see yourself as a leader and how you see others. And do you see people as being inherently good, or bad, and lots of processes that we spend a waste a lot of our time and energy on is because we just assume somebody is gonna screw up. And then we've got some complicated process around it. And we lead with this sort of fear of the the very small amount of people that are actually going to mess up. Take us through that thought process about mindset as a leader.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

I think this is critical. And I know this is one of your 21 traits of a authentic leader, mindset. And it's a great one, because that matters, you know, from our mindset flow our behaviors, and you want to change your behavior, change the way you think, first, you know, change your paradigm, as fast way to get behavior change is sustainable. And that's mindset. And so it does matter. And yes, you operate in the premise that most people are basically good. And you acknowledge there might not, there might be a few that somehow want to go outside the color outside the lines. And like that most organizations today have been built under command and control mindset, where we design the organization for the 5%, we can't trust not for the 95% that we can, and we penalize the many because of the few and the cost of it is enormous. And there's a better way to do this, where you can still have control but it's built in control through culture. Building control through expectations and accountability through agreements that govern people that are outside of that don't belong, and they get weeded out as opposed to just more rules more more policies and procedures or processes that penalize the many because of the few don't let the 5% You can't trust to find fear that 95% Oh, you can said Build your organization around the 95% and build a culture that then crowds out weeds out to Starbucks. The other is a better approach to leadership this especially needed today. But it does begin with that mindset that most people are basically good and most people can be trusted as a starting point. Now, I didn't say everyone, every time. But again, my mindset is I start with that basic premise, it's a better starting point. You also start with the mindset of a growth mindset. As Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford, talked about a growth mindset. And the idea that you'd normally have it See, I could have a growth mindset, as a command and control leader, a growth mindset for myself. And I become more enlightened in my command and control. I call it enlightened command control. That's a good thing. It's better than authoritarian command control is more sophisticated. But the real question is, do I also have a growth mindset for others, that they can grow? We start in the in the trust and inspire book, we, the beginning of it is the fundamental beliefs of a trust and aspire leader. And that's the mindset. These beliefs collectively comprise the mindset, the paradigm for how you view people and leadership. And the very first belief is this, that people have greatness inside of them. So my job as a leader is to unleash their potential, not to control them. And that's a mindset starting point, you know, that people are whole people. So my job as a leader is to inspire, not merely motivate. They're not just economic beings, they're whole persons, they have a desire to contribute, add value, to develop, to grow. That mindset is a great starting point. And having a growth mindset, not just for yourself, but for others, is trust and inspire. Because then if you start with that, and you see the potential, see the greatness, see the possibilities, then your job is to communicate them, to develop them, and to unleash them around the service of your mission. Your goal, your purpose. That's the idea. But it begins with mindset. You're exactly right.

Jan Griffiths:

And Stephen, I'm sure there are people listening to this right now going Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I'm in the automotive industry. We have high performance standards. We have razor thin margins, I've got to produce. And I know because my clients tell me this all the time. They're afraid there's fear in the air. What if this person messes up? It's back on me and I might lose my job. That's that's the typical thought process. And because we're going so fast, and we're on this sort of hamster wheel going, Oh, we got to go, go, go, go go go get things done. What about the numbers? Where's the numbers? Where are we for the month where I for the quarter? They say, I don't have time for all this. I don't have time to be doing all these one on ones with people, I get business to run? How would you help people get on board with a mindset like that?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Again, look at the look at the numbers, look at the data. With people fast, as slow, as slow as fast. You try to be efficient with people, in the long run, it will take you longer number one, because you'll lose a lot of those people, then you got to replace them. And that's gonna take you time, and then train them and everything else. But also, you don't get their buy in, you don't get their involvement, you won't get their commitment, you won't get their best work, you'll get compliance but not commitment, you'll get the minimum of what's required, but not their creativity, and their innovative spirit and heart. You try to be efficient with people, they usually will backfire in the long run. Again, I could differentiate between people and things, be efficient with things be effective with people and taking the time to listen, to understand and to demonstrate respect, and to involve people. While it takes time up front, you'll move faster. In the long run by going slow, you'll then go fast. For those that are worried about, I don't have the time, this is all the more reason why you've got to approach it this way. Because it will buy you time. That's why I caught my first book, The Speed of Trust. I make the point that that you build trust, you move fast. Speed happens when people trust each other. And nothing is as fast as the Speed of Trust. Nothing is as profitable as the economics of trust. So if you're worried about performance, then that's why look at the data. You'll do a better and faster with less cost with trusts then you will without it. Does it take you a little bit of time to create it. Yes it does. But then once you get it, nothing is as fast as the Speed of Trust. And so it's a little bit of a paradox. It does require a little bit of recognizing that I do have to do some investment. It does take some time. But it comes back fastest and incredible return how fast it comes back to you as you invest in this because you will now move fast once you have this. In a way that you can't come close to, when you don't have it, when you don't have the trust, and you don't have the buy in, you don't have the commitment of the people, you don't tap into their energy, their creativity, passion, their commitment is different in kind. And so that would be my response is tested. Try this, recognize this. But also, I would say this, too often we compartmentalize this into kind of all or nothing. And I'm saying, as a leader, when you trust people, yes, you are responsible. But do it in a smart way. I call it smart trust, set up with agreement with clear expectations around the trust that's being given with a mutually agreed upon process for accountability around the trust being given, but where you really empower the person, that's one of your 21 traits, empowerment, you're truly empowering people around an agreement with clear expectations and with accountability with teeth in the accountability, so that you have a control that's built in to the trust being given as opposed to kind of a blind trust of, hey, trust you, whatever happens is great. No, you extend the trust, you are trusting around the agreement, of expectations and accountability. And with that, you can do so much more. And people will actually judge themselves against the agreement and then report back to you, instead of you having to hover over and micromanage. But you'll build in control. And, yes, there's a risk that could go wrong, but it also can go right and be better. And if you build in the agreement, well, you minimize that risk. I really believe this is a better way to lead. And you still keep control, it's just a different, you shift the locus of control from external to internal. And from from leader, you know, from Boss, judging the person to the person judging themselves against the agreed upon criteria, and accountability that you've set up. And then you as the leader become a coach, instead of a boss and a judge.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, I agree. And I learned this the hard way, as I moved from command and control to being an authentic leader myself over the years, and it took years I mean, it didn't just happen overnight. But particularly in my last corporate role, this is something that I know our audience might be struggling with. And that is, I started to realize that having more one on ones, with my people, connecting with my people on my team, at a deeper level, was the right way to go and not trying to get my arms around all the stuff that they were working on. But there's a culture that says, Even as a senior level leader, as a C suite leader, you better be down in the detail, you better be down in the weeds. And I used to struggle with that. Because I used to say, Well, why why do why do I have to be on all these calls, I mean, I got a whole team of people. And when I jump on a call, I cut the legs from under them, I would prefer to support them from behind, not be on the call, but be there saying I got your back, I'm with you. What do you need, you know, keep going keep moving forward. But that's something that I struggled with was this wearing being in the weeds as a badge of honor. And being one of the first perhaps in that that corporate team to try and form a more authentic leadership model, a more trusted inspire model, it's hard being the first one out.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

It is hard, especially when what else is out there, what you see is more troops command and control. Even if it's enlightened command control. That's the models that we see. So to go first, that's hard, it takes courage. It also takes it takes some humility about it too, that there is a better way to lead in a new world, and that people are capable. So this combination of both humility and courage. It's a paradox or combination. It's what Jim Collins in Good to Great talks about, you know, humility and courage. That's a powerful combination of going first. And and recognizing this and someone needs to go first, leaders go first. And yes, there's a risk to do it. But the greater risk is not to do it in our world today. And I just say, you can still minimize that risk. If you do it in a way where you are creating the agreement, the expectations with accountability. And look, I recognize there may be some leaders that just say I need more detail, you can still do that. You can still learn about the weeds if you want to a little bit by when you extend the trust and you empower someone in the agreement saying when you report back on how you're doing against the desired results. It's also useful for me to understand the other things that you're seeing. So I'd like you to report back on that too. But you could still keep the locus of control at the person's foot instead of you hovering over and micromanaging where You're in the weeds. And what it feels like to other people is, my boss doesn't trust me, and they're micromanaging me. And whereas you as the boss might be saying, hey, I want to know the details, there's a way to do that and still learn the details, but have the people feel trusted. It still enables you to kind of, if you're detail oriented, to learn the details, but you'll do it better. And you'll empower your people better, and they'll perform better if you trust them first. And then in the process of setting up the agreement, maybe they report back on more details that are important to you. But there might be other leaders that say, I don't need that. I just need to know about the results and the outcomes. Here's one thing I do know, Jan, you can't hold people accountable for results. If you supervise and dictate their methods.

Jan Griffiths:

Yes, Yeah.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

You do that, then you're accountable. And so you know, that hold people accountable for results, give them guidelines and parameters, empower them, so they can have ownership, they'll perform better. And you'll actually build more control into it. That's the irony is people that were worried I'm going to give up controlling and lose control. There's actually more control in a trust and inspire culture than there isn't a command and control culture. Because you can't come up with enough rules and policies for people who you can't trust.

Jan Griffiths:

That's right. And what do you what do you try? They'll find a way around it and find a way around. Yeah. Stephen, when we talk about being in the weeds, one of the things I like about, you know, the visual of that, right is when you're in the weeds, you're looking down. And as a leader, you need to you need to always keep looking up and onward. And I'm looking, you know about, of course, it's about purpose, but where are we going, where's the future, and I love to live in a creative space. So I found that by getting away from more the detailed command and control, I wasn't literally looking down into the weeds, I was looking up and beyond and into the future.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

That's beautiful. I love it. I agree with that, that, that you want to look forward that and that's, you know, part of your role as a leader is the vision of where we're going, and what this is about and the purpose and connecting to that. And yes, we need to get results. But you can do that around outcomes, not around methods, not around into the weeds where it's all downward looking. I love it. I love that visual, looking out, looking out up, not down. And again, that doesn't mean you give up control, just build it into an agreement around accountability or on the expectations that you trust people on. And so that's a beautiful way of describing it. I think you're right on.

Jan Griffiths:

Thank you. Thank you, Stephen you have actually looked at my 21 traits of authentic leadership. Can I guess which one? You're gonna is your favorite? Can I guess? Can I please? Please? Yes. Is it trust?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

It's trust!

Jan Griffiths:

I knew it was!

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yeah. That probably wasn't hard to guess.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

It wasn't. It wasn't.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yeah, I looked at it. The thing is, though, believe it or not, it was I loved. I loved all 21 And, and I could get excited about any of the 21 You know, lead with gravitas, heart first leadership, transparency, vulnerability, energy, mindset, empowerment. I've mentioned some of these. But if I had to just pick one I would be trust. And the reason I say that is because trust is the one thing that changes everything. So if we get good trust, we can do everything else that we're trying to do better. Our ability to collaborate goes up our ability to innovate goes up, our ability to connect with people, to engage people to inspire people goes up, our ability to execute goes up, our ability to lead change to build teams goes up. So my point is, trust is the one thing that changes everything is highly leveraged in our world today. There's overwhelming data on this Zanger Folkman, their consultancy, says you combine trust with any other trait, and that trait goes up dramatically. It's highly leveraged. And that's why I think it's so important. And it will support the other 20 traits and and make them better when there's trust is a rising tide that lifts every boat. So that's why I love trust, but I also love the others to it, and those others helped create the trust. I mean, transparency is one of the behaviors that helps create trust, so that it becomes a reciprocal in a virtuous upward spiral of the trade supporting each other.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, no, of course. But you know, it's interesting, Steven about trust is that if you go you know, if I go into a client or any automotive company and I say, you know, do you do you trust your people? They'd all go, Yeah, I trust my people, but they might be the biggest micromanager command and control person you've ever met, is that there's a difference right in being trustworthy, and then extending trust to your team.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Absolutely. And I like to highlight that this way, in order to have trust the noun, the outcome, you need to be both trustworthy and trusting, and it is not enough to just be trustworthy. In fact, look at it this way, you could have two trustworthy people working together. And yet no trust between them. Even though they're both trustworthy. If neither person was willing to extend trust with the other, you'd have to trustworthy teams or departments working together, both trustworthy, and yet no trust between them. If neither team is willing to extend it to the other, even in a supplier relationship, the OEM could be trustworthy, the supplier could be trustworthy, and they could have no trust between them. If neither party is going to extend it to the other. So not only do they have trash, it only has to be trustworthy. You have to be Trusting. Trust the net trust the verb, helps create trust the noun. So I trust people in order to get trust. I'm trustworthy and trusting, to create trust. And that's what I really highlight in, in this trust and inspire approach. Is I highlight, I frame it in three stewardship says, you know, modeling, who we are, trusting, how we lead, and then inspiring. That's about connecting to why. And so we've got to be trusting in order to have trust. And and this is where I highlight, hey, don't just blindly trust people. I'm not advocating a blind trust. I'm saying a smart trust, you use good judgment, always with clear expectations, and always with an agreed upon process for accountability.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah

Stephen M.R. Covey:

It's a better way to lead.

Jan Griffiths:

One of the things I love about the book is the way that you've written it. It's so for those of you who are listening right now are going okay, well, all of that sounds great. But you know, where's the data? And how do I do this? The book is broad. And it's deep. And it's there's data, this this pieces of data cited all over this book. But one of the things that I really love that I think people will enjoy is at the end of each chapter, each section, you've got command and control and the characteristics that fall in line with command and control, and then trust and inspire, where trust an inspired leader would do. That, to me is so valuable. I think people are going to get a lot out of that.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yeah, I really hope so. I think Jan, in my opinion is we learn best by contrast. The whole premise of this book is that the new world of work requires a new way to lead, we need a new way to lead in our world today. And that, that command control is past its expiration date. If you're going to say this, we've got to be clear what we need to move toward, and name it and call it as the, you know, the Greek philosopher expression goes that the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms. So if we're moving from command control, what is it that we're moving toward? Trust and inspire. And we need to name it and call it and describe it and how it's different than command control, especially the more enlightened version of the command and control where I become better at it more advanced at it. I bring strengths into it, I bring even emotional intelligence into it mission. But my mindset hasn't shifted. I still don't see the greatness inside of people. I don't have a growth mindset for people, I just do for myself. So I haven't changed the mindset. So I call that enlightened command and control, which is better than authoritarian command control. Because you've added, you know, emotional intelligence, kindness, other things to it, it's benevolent, trustworthy, but I still maybe haven't shifted my mindset, my paradigm of how I view people, as whole people capable of being great, and having growth capabilities. And I haven't shifted how I view leadership, that's my job as a leader is to go first in my job as a leader, as a leader, I'm a steward, I have a responsibility, a job with a trust, for those that I lead, not just position authority, it's a moral authority that I need to lead with. It's a different approach. I think the contrast is what makes this book come alive. I think that the readers will love it, for that reason alone. And I'm inviting the readers to come up with your own contrast. And we're gonna online, get a running list of these contrasts because I have, you know, quite a few in the book, but we're going to add to it and grow these as we move forward with the kind of leadership that's needed today, trust and inspire.

Jan Griffiths:

Oh, I love that I'll be adding to that.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

I want you to add to it, Jan, I will see yours.

Jan Griffiths:

I will. My favorite quote from the book, "Rather than compete with each other, we complete each other." Boom, Mic drop. There it is right there, love that.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Yeah, we compete externally in the marketplace, but internally let's complete each other, let's be complementary, you know, build a complementary team that completes each other where one person's strengths compensates for another's weaknesses, and vice versa. And rather than competing with each other, we're trying to truly collaborate, trust each other, complete each other, to become a better whole, working as one team. I love competition in the marketplace. And I love collaboration in the workplace, as well, you'll never get the collaboration without the trust, and without, you know, acting in the best interest of others, and elevating, caring, above competing, and even service above self interest. And the irony is, you'll actually serve your interests better when you serve and when you care. And when you add value, and work together in a collaborative, interdependent world.

Jan Griffiths:

I love that. And before we let you go today, I have to ask you the question I ask all my guests, what is Gravitas to you? If Gravitas is indeed the hallmark of authentic leadership?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

I love it. I love this question. And I love what you're doing Jan, with this Finding Gravitas podcast, and the whole idea of lead with Gravitas your very first trait of an authentic leader. As you know, and as our listeners know, Gravitas, I believe is a Latin word, right?

Jan Griffiths:

Yep

Stephen M.R. Covey:

And so I'll come back, I'll stay with the classics. But I'll shift from Latin to Greek, and is what the Greeks, the Greek philosophy of influence was expressed in three words, "ethos", "pathos", "logos". And "ethos" is kind of who you are your credibility. "Pathos" is now the relationship you put the feelings in the relationship you build with those you're leading. And "logos" is then your ability to influence through logic and the like. And the key is all three, but the key is to sequence ethos, who you are comes first. Pathos, you know, is the relationship logos now is influencing people through a variety of different ways. The ethos is example, the pathos is relationship, Logos is teaching. Here's the thing, example is seen, relationship is felt teaching is heard, but people don't hear until they first see and feel. So you start with ethos, and then the pathos, you build that relationship, you become a model first, and then you build the relationship of trust, and then people become far more open to your influence. So I think, leading with Gravitas, and what has gravitas means to me, it's ethos, pathos, and logos in that order, in that sequence. And so in my trust and inspire model, it's modeling, trusting, inspiring. But it would start with that modeling. That's Gravitas. It's who you are. It's your credibility, it's your moral authority that precedes you. It goes in front of you your presence. And I love how you describe it as the the pole, the gravitational pole that be the leader that comes in because of who they are as a leader, not just because of their title. It's their moral authority, not just their formal authority, and in who they are their ethos, and their pathos, and logos. So that's, that's how I would describe it. Modeling. That's your starting point for trust and inspire.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

That's gravitas to me.

Jan Griffiths:

I love it. leadership starts with you. Right?

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Absolutely! In the long run, and during influence is created from the inside out. So my job as a leader is to go first because it starts with me.

Jan Griffiths:

I love that. And there it is. Stephen Covey, thank you very much for your time today.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Thank you, Jan. I feel like a we're co-catalysts.

Jan Griffiths:

I know, I do too,

Stephen M.R. Covey:

And trying to help bring about your words authentic leadership, and in my words, trust and inspire. We've got to move away from command and control, to trust and aspire to authenticity. It's a better way to lead in our new world today.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, I'd say partners in crime not co-catalysts, but there you go.

Stephen M.R. Covey:

I love it.

Jan Griffiths:

Thank you!

Stephen M.R. Covey:

I'll be your partner in crime all day long, Jan.

Jan Griffiths:

Thank you!

Stephen M.R. Covey:

Great to be with you.

Dietrich:

We love feedback. Email Jan directly at jan@gravitasdetroit.com to tell us about your journey into authentic leadership. We want the show to be meaningful to you. So leave a comment on what you thought of today's episode and let us know if there's any topics that should be covered in future episodes.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Finding Gravitas
Finding Gravitas
The Authentic Leadership Podcast

About your host

Profile picture for Jan Griffiths

Jan Griffiths

Jan Griffiths is the founder of Gravitas Detroit, a company committed to helping you unlock the power of your team through authentic leadership.
In January 2020, Jan launched the Finding Gravitas podcast where she interviews some of the finest authentic leadership minds in the quest for Gravitas.
Gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership.