We often look at business results through this simple equation: Strategy x Execution = Results. However, the book demonstrates that there is an additional hidden variable: (Strategy x Execution) x Trust = Results


By introducing the Trust variable, Covey shows how the presence or lack of trust can either create a dividend or a tax, impacting the business results. In this brilliant book, Covey demonstrates that Trust is not this elusive and intangible thing that we all struggle to pin down. He shares how we can understand it, practice building it and repair it, when broken, with Listening being one of the 13 key behaviours in this process. “Don’t assume you know what matters most to others. Listen.” Covey highlights 5 different levels of Trust, being:

  1. Self Trust
  2. Relationship Trust
  3. Organizational Trust
  4. Market Trust (aka your Reputation)
  5. Societal Trust

What is critical to understand here is that we can’t build Trust with others, if we don’t build Trust with ourselves first! And self-trust always starts with listening to and honouring ourselves – our needs, limits/boundaries, goals, etc.


  1. Nothing gets you faster to a great deal outcome than the Speed of Trust.  Everything starts with our ability to listen to what makes (or break) self-trust.
  2. Trust is composed of two equal parts – Character and Competence – both of which are absolutely necessary.
  3. Trust can be restored, even when it has been lost or damaged.

Covey describes “Listening First” as a key behaviour to build Trust. He suggests starting all important conversations by genuinely understanding the other side’s thoughts and feelings, before going into analysis and solution mode. Covey references an article from Peter Drucker published in the Harvard Business Review:

“We’ve just reviewed 8 practices of effective executives. I’m going to throw in one final bonus practice. This one is so important that I will elevate it to a rule: Listen first, speak last.”


Myths vs Reality


“After your turn off the projector, quit PowerPoint, and end your pitch, most deals come down to a simple question: Do you trust each other? This book is a valuable and timely explanation of how to trust and how to be trusted” Guy Kawasaki


"Imagine a world where the men in business not only come home with more value in the deal, but with a new sense of trust and respect as a society?"

Fabian Courtaux, Trusted Negotiator