When trust is high, speed goes up and cost goes down

From “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M. R. Covey

Here’s another example on a much smaller scale. “Jim,” a vendor in New York City, set up shop and sold donuts and coffee to passersby as they went in and out of their office buildings. During the breakfast and lunch hours, Jim always had long lines of customers waiting. He noticed the wait time discouraged many customers who left and went elsewhere. He also noticed that, as he was a one-man show, the biggest bottleneck preventing him from selling more donuts and coffee was the disproportionate amount of time it took to make change for his customers.

Finally, Jim simply put a small basket on the side of his stand filled with dollar bills and coins, trusting his customers to make their own change. Now you might think that customers would accidentally count wrong or intentionally take extra quarters from the basket, but what Jim found was the opposite: Most customers responded by being completely honest, often leaving him larger-than-normal tips. Also, he was able to move customers through at twice the pace because he didn’t have to make change. In addition, he found that his customers like being trusted and kept coming back. By extending trust in this way, Jim was able to double his revenues without adding any new cost.

Again, when trust is low, speed goes down and cost goes up. When trust is high, speed goes up and cost goes down.