William Hunt's AgustaWestland isn't the first company I've heard about has used a book to engender important discussions in the workforce. At the AgustaWestland helicopter factory in Northeast Philadelphia, the book is "The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything," by Stephen M.R. Covey. It was a must-read for the management team at AgustaWestland.
"Really, the essence of the book is that the more trust there is in the organization at every layer, the more the speed of the business is faster, because lack of trust is a stop in the process," Hunt, the chief executive, said in our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
Hunt said he works hard to cultivate the trust of AgustaWestland's parent company in Italy, because that trust is key to the Philadelphia plant's viability. "Does our parent really trust our ability to perform and manage what we had been given here?" he said. He said he was able to share an executive summary of the book with his Italian colleagues. (Click here to read my blog post on doing business Italian style.)
Trust is important. I once heard a Wharton professor of management explain that there are really only two cultures in a workplace -- the culture of trust, where managers trust employees to do their best work, and the culture of distrust, where companies believe they are being cheated by their employees and spend a lot of energy monitoring them.