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Two weeks ago, Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link sent me a copy Smart Trust, a book about how to have high trust in a low-trust world.  Their premise being, “we've become very good at recognizing the cost of trusting too much, we're not nearly as good at recognizing the cost of not trusting enough.” Covey is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Speed of Trust. Greg Link is the strategist behind the blockbuster success of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

My litmus test when I'm approached about “endorsing a book” is simple: If I can genuinely connect to what the authors have written, schedule permitting, I will.

Smart Trust passed muster, particularly because as I've written here, trust is not one of my strong suits, but I want it to be.

You will likely have very different learnings than I did, but here are my three key discoveries:

1)  I don't always distrust.  Sometimes I blindly trust, toggling between the two. This either/or paradigm is a tough way to live. Writes Frank Crane, “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough.”  When I've decided to move out of the tormented state, I have frequently trusted too much, regret ensues, reinforcing the mistrust.

What had never occurred to me is that there is the middle road of “smart trust.”  As the authors explain, “Smart trust is judgement.  It's a competency and a process that enables us to operate with high trust in a low-trust world.  It minimizes risk and maximizes possibilities by optimizing (1) a propensity to trust and (2) analysis.” This book provides a rationale and tactical advice for trusting smartly.  With this book fresh on my mind, I practiced smart trust in a recent negotiation.  It's a much better way to operate.  The less torment in my life, the better.

2)  I'm not as trustworthy as I thought I was.  And, if I will become more trustworthy, I will actually trust more.   Let me explain what I mean.  I cancel on people not infrequently.  Not to be rude, but because I overcommit, get overextended.  Blind spot no longer blind, I realize this breeds mistrust.  If I will be more careful about what I commit to, and then keep those commitments, to my professional and civic colleagues, to my friends, and my family, and to myself, I will trust more.

3)  Because we don't dream well in isolation, when we are neither trustworthy nor trust, we isolate ourselves, making it difficult to dream.  However, by optimizing our head (analysis) and our heart (propensity to trust), by learning to discern, we raise the odds of being able to execute our dreams.

Thoughts?

Beyond the general “politicans and businesses can't be trusted” zeitgeist, have you examined trust recently?

How has your ability to trust propelled your dreams forward?

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Here's a sample tweet — “Big dividends come from the ability to wisely extend trust and be trusted”. – @coveylink c @johnsonwhitney #in #smarttrust

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