Speed of Trust

The first off-season read is to complete the ‘Speed of Trust,’ Stephen M. R. Covey.

I first picked it up during the Olympic Break, but there was just too much to do to really dig into it. Now, I started over and I zipped through 60 pages in my first sitting.

Exceptional read.

I’m certain to share more excerpts, this one grabbed me right away though.

The foundation of the book is the:

4 Cores of Credibility

1. Integrity
2. Intent
3. Capabilities
4. Results

Pages 59-60 tell me enough about integrity to solidify it’s place as the foundation.

Integrity.  What is it?

“I look for three things in hiring people. The first is personal integrity, the second is intelligence, and the third is a high energy level. But, if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

– Warren Buffett
CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

When I first read the below story, I had to re-read it. It didn’t register correctly. Did a pro-athlete just do that?

I’ve spent over a decade in professional sports, the WNBA, where “flopping” and “whining” is the norm and the best of the best (coaches and players) regularly dupe most officials every night with a well timed “flop” or “whine.” It’s an art.

Whining… it’s the norm.

That’s not exclusive to the WNBA, we see it in nearly every sport, professional or not. Whine to officials on every call. We are all guilty of it, myself included. I have worked extremely hard to stop. No one is perfect, least of all me. I’ll never coach a completely “whine-free” game, but I hope to. I hope to become so centrally focused on the things my team needs me to do to help them be successful, that I don’t have time to worry and whine about the calls. I hope to have the patience and integrity and focus my intellect over my emotion. Easier said than done.  My time with the Virginia Basketball Academy has really helped me the most with this.

Players…. Not sure they will ever be “whine-free.”

You may remember this one. I’m not a tennis guy, so I didn’t.

pages 59-60, ‘Speed of Trust’, Stephen M. R. Covey

Core 1 – Integrity
Are you congruent?

In the third round of the 2005 Italia Masters tournament in Rome, tennis champion Andy Roddick was paired against Fernando Verdasco from Spain. It was match point in favor of Roddick. When Verdasco hit his second serve, the line judge called the ball “OUT,” and the crowd began to cheer for Roddick. Verdasco moved toward the net to shake hands, as if the match were over.

But Andy Roddick didn’t accept the point. Instead, HE said the ball was “IN” and called the umpire’s attention to a slight indentation on the clay court which showed that the ball had landed ON – not BEYOND – the line. Surprised, the umpire allowed Roddick to overrule him and the point was awarded to Verdasco.


Not only for Roddick, but the official who had to admit they missed that one, they were wrong.

Everyone was amazed. In a game not typically played on the honor system – but on the umpire’s calls – Roddick had made a call AGAINST himself and went on to lose the match.

This is where I stopped and re-read it. He made a call against himself. He lost.

We all speak constantly about “doing what is right because it is right,” not because it is easy, not because it helps you win… do what is right – when no one is looking or the game is one the line – because it is what is right.


Roddick lost that match. He gained credibility. He gained trust. He gained and earned respect.

How did this display of integrity give him credibility? Look at it this way: How are the umpires going to respond the next time Andy Roddick challenges a call? Most likely, they will treat his challenge with the utmost respect. His reputation is known; his credibility will precede him.

“The Roddick Choice,” demonstrating integrity even when it is costly. It illustrates the clear connection between integrity, credibility, and trust – both with others and with ourselves.

From the first 60 pages, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I can’t imagine it getting worse, that’s why I’m up reading it at 4:50 AM….that, and my daughter is a swimmer.

Find the book here:


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