What Does Entrepreneurship Really Come Down To? An Interview With Stephen M.R. Covey

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Stephen M.R. Covey, author of the Speed of Trust, as part of his PR campaign for the upcoming Leaders Causing Leaders tour, and asked him about entrepreneurship and microenterprise.

Covey’s father, Stephen R. Covey, who wrote the foreword for this book, is a widely renowned bestselling author of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, so I thought perhaps that a chip off the old block would be able to help me in the work that I do, which is helping green entrepreneurs succeed.  The younger Covey’s book focuses on trust, and how it affects performance, motivation, teamwork, production….in other words–it may be the root of all success.  Covey noted that if you view entrepreneurship as many investors do, as a three-legged stool (market opportunity, deal offered, people in charge), the clear leader of these is the people part.  He referred to a Guy Kawasaki quote, which I will paraphrase here:  when the lights come back on and the powerpoint turns off, investors often ask themselves one followup question–do I trust this person to perform?

Covey suggests it’s vital to inspire trust and confidence.  Investors, customers, employees, etc. need to have trust in the person.  Product doesn’t necessarily need to be fully developed…but you do need trust.  And the focus of this trust is 1) character and 2) competence.

Touchy feely?  Not at all, according to Covey.  “Trust is not merely a social virtue,” he says.  “It’s also an economic driver.  If people trust you, things take less time and become more efficient.  Trust is therefore a performance multiplier.”

So how does a ‘trep build trust?  “Trust is a learnable skill,” says Covey.  “We can get better at it.”  Covey suggested that trust is really a function of 2 things:

  1. credibility (integrity, intent, competency, results)
  2. behavior (i.e., you can’t talk yourself out of a problem that you behaved yourself into….)

Certain behaviors will grow trust, according to Covey.  In the book, he lays out 13 of these behaviors.  Of them, many are learnable, including talking straight, eliminating hidden agendas, clarifying expectations, listening first, keeping commitments, and extending trust.

For more information on Stephen M.R. Covey and his book, see http://www.speedoftrust.com/

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Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill) and a business advisor to progressive organizations.  See GreenBusinessOwner.com for more information.

Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

2 responses

  1. Everyone wants to be ‘trusted’, but for the entrepreneur, he is trusted to do the things that others either do not want to do, or come up with excuses why they can’t do, but the entrepreneur is willing to do the things necessary to either ‘get the job done’, or get on the phone and work out the difficulties without making excuses for anyone else, just willing to be a ‘man of his word.’ The acorn did not fall far from the tree, and thats a good thing.

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