This book will help you . . . trust us

By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor

There’s an old axiom that one never stops learning.

This is one of the many reasons FederalNewsRadio has established the FederalNewsRadio Book Club.

The first book is called The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

It was recommended to FederalNewsRadio’s Christopher Dorobek by Defense Department deputy CIO Dave Wennergren, who says he believes CIO’s live in a world of change and should be as prepared as they can be.

Change is all about the ability to give up personal control and to step out of your comfort zone to try new things — try new approaches — and if you’re stuck only knowing what you know today, it’s very hard to actually help move an organization to a new place.

Wennergren says books are an excellent way to understand the best practice ideas that are being bounced around between different organizations and people.

This is the first step, he says, in developing a common language about issues of change.

So, I thought it was really important to make sure that your leadership team really embraces continuous learning — and so back in the days when I was Department of the Navy CIO, I created something that we call Expanding Boundaries, where the leadership team would get together every two months or so and read a book — maybe we’d bring in an author — and talk about how the book had applications in our lives and our work and move on from there.

Wennergren says that club lives on at DoD, although it’s called Expanding Horizons.

One of the advantages of a book club is that it gives everyone who participates the ability to think about the problem and how to solve it before taking any action.

With this in mind, Wennergren explains why he picked Covey’s book and recommends it so highly.

I just really think it speaks to one of the key issues that faces every information leader today, whether you work in the public sector or the private sector, through this issue of trust. If you think about it, we live in these large, complex organizations. The future of information management is all about moving to the Web and cloud computing. It’s all about moving away from a world of local area applications and local area networks and great personal control on the parts of organizations, to a world where you rely upon other people to deliver services for you.

Wennergren says this new world is one where trust is essential.

Frankly, I believe that we exist primarily in low-trust organizations. The fascinating thing about the book is that he talks about how you can actually measure trust and that you can see how low trust results in increased costs and increased time to get anything done.

Wennergren says, to him, the best part about Covey’s book is that there’s hope.

Just because you’re in a low-trust organization now or some other organization doesn’t trust you, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some very concrete steps to try to build trust.

While there are many examples in the book that explain why trust is important, Wennergren notes that he feels the overall thesis of the importance of trust is especially relevant in today’s environment.

In a nutshell, all the promise that we see about moving to a Web 2.0 world, of moving to service-oriented solutions, of moving to cloud computing — these are all issues where you’re not going to do it on your own anymore. So, you’re going to have to get over — you know, in the old days I bought the system, I owned the system, I fixed the system, I maintained the system, I did everything by myself — [now] instead I’m getting Web services from somebody maybe halfway around the world, and that’s a world that can work if you can become part of a high-trust organization.

Wennergren will be on hand next week to talk more about this book and how it helps him as an information leader during the first FederalNewsRadio Book Club discussion.

Tune in to In Depth with Francis Rose on Nov. 19th at 2 p.m. to hear more!

(Copyright 2008 by All Rights Reserved.)


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