The context: both companies were on the verge of signing a deal. However, Mr. Jobs did not have time to close it before Macworld 2008, where he wanted to talk about Skyhook's location technology during the globally watched summit on Apple technology.
Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan found himself with a dilemma: whether to trust Mr. Jobs, or decline based on the deal not being closed yet. His senior executive team strongly urged against giving away the code, especially because the young company had no customers yet. But Mr. Morgan agreed to trust Mr. Jobs, and provide him with the information.
In Mr. Covey's view, Mr. Morgan made the right choice, and that wasn't just because the company went on to global fame and sales in the years following its mention on Macworld.
"You not only miss possibilities (by distrust) ... but you tend to generate a reciprocity, distrust right back," the best-selling author and CEO of CoveyLink, a consultancy and trust practice company, told an audience of hundreds of Ottawa executives Monday.
Mr. Covey spoke about his latest book, Smart Trust, at the Westin Hotel. The event was co-hosted by OBJ, the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and two IT magazines, Canadian Government Executive and IT In Canada.
Choosing to trust judiciously in business relationships increases the speed of a transaction, reduces the cost and also increases energy and joy, he said.
Online businesses such as eBay (which processes millions of transactions between anonymous buyers) and Zappos (which offers free shipping for its shoes both ways to allow customers to try them on in house) would not exist without smart trust, he said.
"Trust is a decision and choice," he said, adding, "(it comes) from a bone-deep belief that this is a better way to operate."