Evaluating the Economy of Trust in Church Leadership
According to Steven M. R. Covey in his book “The Speed of Trust”, here’s a simple formula ‘that will enable you to take trust from an intangible and unquantifiable variable to an indispensable factor that is both tangible and quantifiable.’ In other words, here’s a simple equation that will allow you to get a handle on this whole issue of trust.
Trust, according to Covey, affects two outcomes – speed and cost. When trust goes down, speed will also go down and costs will go up.
And the reverse is true as well: When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs will go down.
He gives a couple of examples in the book. Here’s one that will help you understand his point:
“Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our trust in flying in the U.S. went down dramatically. We recognized that there were terrorists bent on harming us, and that our system of ensuring passenger safety was not as strong as it needed to be.
Prior to 9/11, I used to arrive at my home airport approximately half an hour before takeoff, and I was quickly able to go through security. But after 9/11, more robust procedures and systems were put in place to increase safety and trust in flying. While these procedures have had their desired effect, now it takes me longer and costs me more to travel. I generally arrive an hour and a half before a domestic flight and two to three hours before an international flight to make sure I have enough time to clear security. I also pay a new 9/11 security tax with every ticket I buy. So, as trust went down, speed also went down and cost went up.
Recently, I flew out of a major city in a high-risk area in the Middle East. For geopolitical reasons, the trust in that region was extremely low. I had to arrive at the airport four hours before my flight. I went through several screenings, and my bag was unpacked and searched multiple times by multiple people. And every other passenger was treated the same.
Clearly, extra security measures were necessary, and in this instance I was grateful for them, but the point remains the same: Because trust was low, speed went down and cost went up.”
He also gives examples of high-trust situations, including Warren Buffet’s recent acquisition of McLane Distribution (a $23 Billion company) from Walmart. Because of the trust between the two main interests, the deal was sealed in one two-hour meeting and a handshake. The deal was totally completed in one month. Buffet wrote: “We did no due diligence. We knew everything would be exactly as Walmart said it would be – and it was.” In this case, the trust of two people saved their companies several million dollars in legal fees, and cut literally months off the amount of time it normally takes to finish such a deal. Trust was high. Speed went up and costs went down.
Now, how does this apply to the church, you might ask? Well, I think the same principle can apply to church leadership as well.
I think most of us have probably been a part of a church at some point where the leadership wasn’t really trusted. Maybe it’s a financial mistrust. It could be a ‘leadership direction’ lack of trust. If the trust is low, the speed of implementing any change goes down and the cost (mentally, spiritually, financially) of implementing any type of leadership decision goes through the ceiling.
And we’ve all witnessed churches that are really moving forward… making decisions, adapting quickly, and re-molding the way they do ministry seemingly overnight. In most all of these situations, I believe the high trust level these leaders have with their churches allows them to lower the amount of time it takes to make these shifts; and it also allows them to do so much more cost-effectively.
So… your assignment this week… think about the trust level you have in your church setting. Do you have high trust or low trust right now? If you have a lower level of trust, is it making things much harder by taking a lot more time and cost to carry our your ministry plans? If you have a high level of trust, how does it speed up the time and lower the cost of your leadership?
I’m ‘trusting’ you have a great week!
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