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Book:  Trust & Inspire
Author:  Stephen M. R. Covey
Purchase:  PrinteBookAudiobook

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. Where the workforce is more diverse than ever before, and multiple generations have radically different expectations, we need a new way of leading. With unprecedented choices and constant change, people are unlikely to be moved by, or even tolerate, leadership that doesn't match today's world. And yet the vast majority continue to lead, parent, teach, and coach with the same Command and Control style that brought us through the industrial age. (pg. 16)

  2. A Trust & Inspire culture is the ultimate magnet for attracting top talent, because people are drawn to environments and cultures where they're trusted and free. Where they are inspired by a sense of purpose, meaning, and contribution. Anyone can offer decent pay, benefits, and standar perks. But high performers want to be where they'll be trusted and empowered. (pg. 45)

  3. In a high-trust culture, people are 32 times more likely to take a responsible risk than they are in a low-trust culture. They're also 11 times more likely to innovate and six times more likely to achieve higher performance. Trust is what enables all of this to happen. (pg. 48)


Other Key Ideas:​

The traditional hierarchical organizational structure is becoming flatter in order to push decision making down and increase speed and flexibility. (pg. 20)

As younger generations populate a larger percent of the workforce, they bring with them different experiences, perspectives, and ideas. They have different expectations of their work and of their bosses than the older generations. The social contract has changed. (pg. 21)

The remarkable growth of freelancing and the gig economy has given people more flexibility and options. Based on growth trends, some experts predict that there will be more freelancers than traditional jobholders by 2023. With this flexibility and increased choice, it's important for leaders and organizations to create the kind of culture that attracts, retains, and inspires people. (pg. 22)

All organizations must create a high-trust culture that can attract, retain, engage, and inspire the best people - and thus win the ongoing war for talent. (pg. 23)

Command & Control creates fear, and fear holds people back. People under Command & Control don't really collaborate, because collaboration requires risk, trust, and transparency. Instead, they coordinate; at best, they might be able to cooperate. You cannot Command & Control your way to collaboration. If people don't trust each other or the leadership, they simply won't collaborate. They'll hold back, giving only what is necessary. It's exhausting, slow, and expensive. With Command & Control, any innovation that occurs is nominal and incremental. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but a lot of value is left on the table. (pg. 47)

Trust permeates every aspect of Yuan's leadership. He is known for his commitment to speed, calling it the "primary weapon" entrepreneurial companies have. But to get speed, the pivotal factor is trust. "Without trust, we have no speed," Yuan maintains. "With trust, we move fast. That's why trust is everything." (pg. 50)

Command & Control style bosses are not bad bosses. However, bosses who operate with a Command & Control philosophy prevent organizations from reaching their full potential. (pg. 55)

Trust & Inspire leaders stand out. We feel different around them than we do around other leaders. It is exciting and exhilarating to be led by someone like this. Working with such a person isn't like working with other people. The difference is palpable. Why do we feel differently? It is because leaders like this think and behave differently. We want to be better because of the way they treat us, how they speak to us, what they expect of us, and what they see in us. They ask for our opinion and listen to what we say. (pg. 80)

Command & Control leaders think if you get some, I get less. If you succeed, my success is diminished. This scarcity mindset leads to jealousy and an unwillingness to work with others, let alone recognize their success. They don't look for the talents or positive attributes in others unless it serves them in some way. And even then, leaders can feel threatened if the talents of their people exceed their own. Trust & inspire leaders operate with an abundance mentality. When we operate with an abundance mentality, jealousy dissipates. People become eager to work with others. They look for opportunities to celebrate the people around them because they genuinely care for others and their well-being. (pg. 89)

While an abundance mindset is all about caring for others, a scarcity mindset is about caring for yourself and competing with others. Scarcity convinces you that there's only so much to go around. Abundance means there is plenty for everyone. An abundance mentality flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It leads to a natural desire to elevate caring above competing. (pg. 90)

A continued display of credibility helps others build confidence in you. And credibility is crucial in today's world. As Barry Bellaford said, "Leadership is not a popularity contest; it's a credibility contest." It's better to be trusted than to be liked. (pg. 101)

Some people have high levels of humility but lack courage. These people care about relationships but often don't have all the will to correct people when they're wrong or give critical feedback. Some leaders are humble enough to recognize their team has become dysfunctional, but they are too fearful of confronting team members about what needs to change. Such team leaders are often more concerned with being liked than in doing what is right. (pg. 105)

Humility is widely misunderstood today; it is often seen as weak, soft, timid, and passive - the opposite of what real leadership is. In truth, humility is enormously strong, firm, courageous, and active - the very essence of leadership. A humble person is more concerned about what is right than being right, about acting on good ideas than having the ideas, about recognizing contribution rather than being recognized for making it. (pg. 106)

Leaders who demonstrate humility are 18 times more likely to inspire colleagues than leaders who don't. It takes courage to have humility, but that act of vulnerability is what endears people to us. When we show how to be humble, people will be inspired to give their best efforts and to follow suit. (pg. 106)

I prefer to give my trust a hundred times and risk being disappointed two or three times than to live perpetually in an atmosphere of distrust. (pg. 130)

When we asked employees how frequently their leaders extend trust, they rated them 277 percent lower than the leaders rate themselves. While leaders want to say "I'm pretty trusting," not everyone who works with them believes that to be true. (pg. 131)

The most stressful part of the workday for 75 percent of people is their boss. (pg. 132)

In the Waterloo Schools, we believe employees are capable of making smart decisions without overly prescriptive guidance. We believe this fundamental belief differentiates our district as compared to the excessive verification and surveillance-style practices of other districts. (pg. 137)

When people receive trust, they are inspired to reciprocate by returning the trust, creating a virtuous, upward cycle of trust and confidence that creates even more trust and confidence. Trusted people will reciprocate not only by trusting you back, but also by following your example and extending trust to others - resulting in growth of both people and performance. (pg. 145)

A recent Gallup study showed that 50 percent of employees have "left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career." No matter how much they might enjoy their work, nobody wants to work with a bad boss. While 80 percent of employees are stressed about work, the vast majority - 75 percent - say that the most stressful aspect of their job is their immediate boss. Bad bosses not only sap productivity, they sap energy and joy - in other words, they destroy well-being. (pg. 152)

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." (pg. 161)

44 percent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years and only slightly more than 30 percent are fully engaged. This has nothing to do with the nobility of the profession or the quality of the teachers, and everything to do with the uphill challenges teachers face. But, like most industries, perhaps the biggest barrier tends to be a Command & Control leadership style among many educational administrators. If teachers don't feel trusted or inspired, how are they going to inspire their students? While systemic changes and more resources are clearly needed, creating genuine connection to purpose, meaning, and contribution can be an inspiring pathway to help teachers navigate through many of these challenges. (pg. 167)

Perhaps the single-highest leveraged activity we can do as leaders is to have one-on-ones with our direct reports because of the profound and inspiring impact those one-on-one meetings can have on both of us. (pg, 170)

Going slow and building relationships with staff allows you to move fast as an organization. With people, fast is slow and slow is fast. By going slow and building individual relationships, eventually you are able to move exceptionally fast. When we attempt to go fast with people and skip the relationship-building steps, not only will we get slowed down ... we may even come to a grinding halt. (pg. 170)

Servant leadership is impossible without an abundance mentality - which is based on a deep inner sense of personal integrity, authenticity, and security. (pg. 182)

We give our team lots of freedom, power, and information in support of their decisions. In turn this generates a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. On rare occasions that freedom is abused we avoid overcorrecting. Just because a few people abuse freedom doesn't mean that our employees are not worthy of great trust. (pg. 231)

When we are credible and secure, we are not dependent on comparisons or the opinions of other people. This allows us to be genuinely happy for others' success. But when we're not credible or secure, we tend to operate out of a comparison-based identity where we're threatened by the success of others. (pg. 238)

It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of the population experience "imposter syndrome" at some time in their life - which is a phenomenon characterized by feeling underqualified, not experienced or talented enough to be doing what we're doing. (pg. 238)

Remember - the best idea wins. It means that we are looking for the best idea, no matter who or what it comes from. An idea meritocracy. (pg. 246)

True leaders are more concerned with what is right than who is right. (pg. 253)

Too often, rules and regulations become the sole focus of educational systems. Focus on test scores and measured learning outcomes dominate the national stage, while specific rules and regulations abound in every school district. Strict policies combined with overloaded classrooms and underfunded schools can lead to a Command & Control style. Because there are so many moving pieces, leaders in education feel they have to oversee every detail. The end result is that teachers and administrators feel stifled and overwhelmed. The Command & Control style often leads to compliance being valued over creativity, scores being valued over growth, and rules being valued over people. (pg. 280)

Half of teachers in the US are actively seeking a different job. These statistics aren't because people have lost interest in helping children. Instead, teachers too often feel overwhelmed and burned out. Instead of being unleashed to develop creative lessons and activities, they are burdened with paperwork and meetings. (pg. 281)

This doesn't always mean that you will achieve the highest academic scores or the best results. But there is one thing that you can always control - the way you see and treat your students. The way you express belief in them. The way you are there for them. And if you do these things consistently, it will yield great results - even if it's not always a result that other people can see. (pg. 284)

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