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Most leaders who reach the pinnacle do so later in their careers; however, this level is not a resting place for leaders to stop and view their successes. Instead, it is a reproducing place from which they can make the greatest impact of their lives. Level 5 leaders, or pinnacle leaders, strive to lift up as many leaders as they can, tackle as many great challenges as possible, and extend their influences beyond their own organizations and industries.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.28.41 pmGeneral Electric is often cited as a top-ten organization for leaders. For many years it was led by Jack Welch, a Level 5 leader, who emphasized developing other leaders to become Level 4 leaders — or leaders who produce other leaders. Level 5 leaders like Welch can cross lines out of their areas of expertise to speak with authority. People respect them for who they are and what they represent. They often advance the cause of leadership, redefine it, and pour themselves into the next generation of leaders.

The Downside of the Pinnacle

One of the greatest dangers for pinnacle leaders is thinking they have “arrived.” No matter how good they have been in the past, they still need to strategize, weigh decisions, plan, and execute at a very high level. Their leadership momentum can overcome many problems, but even momentum cannot continually compensate for arrogance or stupidity. Level 5 leaders must not treat their organizations as their personal properties. Leaders cannot make decisions with only their personal interests in mind.

When people excel to a high level, a certain mythology grows up around them. They become larger than life in other people’s minds. However, a Level 5 leader must never forget that he started at the bottom as a positional leader. If he becomes successful, it is only because many other people helped along the way.

Best Behaviors on Level 5

Level 5 leaders make room at the top for other leaders. This creates a cycle of positive change in an organization by increasing its size and power. Level 5 leaders also aggressively give power away to other leaders. This comes from their ability to see people not as they are or as others see them, but as they could be. If there are potential leaders in the organization, Level 5 leaders must dedicate time and effort to mentoring them. The best potential leaders will not remain in the organization unless they are helped to climb up to the next level.

True leaders put their egos aside and strive to create successors who go beyond them. They plan to hand off the baton when they are still running at their peak. Leaders must not hurt their organizations’ momentum by staying too long just for their own personal gratification.

Pinnacle leaders are respected outside of their organizations and industries and have reputations that offer high degrees of credibility. The key is leveraging their abilities for the benefit of others outside their direct spheres of influence.




PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT : denoted as Level 4 leaders, they invest time, energy, money, and thought into growing others as leaders. This practice of identifying and developing people accentuates the positives of the organization. Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.34.53 pmPeople development is transformative. It invites people into the process of leadership. When new leaders are developed, they become better at what they do and they help everyone who works with them do the same. With the addition of more great leaders, an organization’s efforts improve. Growing the leadership of the organization gives it the ability to expand territory and take on new initiatives.

The Downside of People Development

To lead at Level 4, leaders must focus 80 percent of their attention on others and help them to grow, learn, and achieve. If their focus remains on themselves and what they want, then other people become an obstacle.

Leaders can tell if their egos are obstructing their ability to move to Level 4 simply by observing what happens during their team meetings:

*Do team members freely share their thoughts and ideas?

*If the leader contributes ideas, does the discussion move from his idea to the best idea — and is he happy about it?

*When the team succeeds, do other team members get the majority of the credit?

*Is there a shared sense of pride in the work that is being done?

*When things go wrong, does the leader personally accept the greatest share of the blame?

People development requires patience and big-picture thinking. Helping another person become a competent leader almost always takes longer than expected and is more difficult than anticipated, but the Level 4 leader does it anyway. Otherwise he limits the potential for himself, his people, and his organization.

Best Behaviors on Level 4

To develop people and help them become good leaders, their capacities can be assessed in these areas:

*Stress management: The ability to withstand and overcome pressure, failure, deadlines, and obstacles.

*Skill: The ability to complete specific tasks.

*Thinking: The ability to be creative, develop strategy, solve problems, and adapt.

*Leadership: The ability to gather followers and build a team.

*Attitude: The ability to remain positive and tenacious amidst negative circumstances.

In order to equip others to succeed, Level 4 leaders must follow a five step process:

*Step 1: I do it (competence)

*Step 2: I do it and you are with me (demonstration)

*Step 3: You do it and I am with you (coaching)

*Step 4: You do it (empowerment)

*Step 5: You do it and someone is with you (reproduction)

To create a leadership development culture that cultivates Level 5 leaders, current leaders must:

*Champion leadership: Define and model good leadership.

*Teach leadership: Train leaders on a regular, frequent, and consistent basis.

*Practice leadership: Help emerging leaders to plan and execute.

*Coach leadership: Review new leaders’ performances and correct their errors.

*Reward leadership: Reward good leadership withfair pay, resources, and recognition.

Production: Another aspect of Leadership


The production level 3 of leadership communicates the vision of the organization through action. Level 3 leaders help people see what productivity looks like. This encourages team members and validates their efforts. Productivity also helps people recognize that they can actually accomplish more than they believed was possible.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.43.54 pmThe Downside of Production

Many leaders who reach Level 3 tire of leading because of the weight of responsibility they feel. Level 3 leaders also must make the difficult decisions to:

*Be successful before trying to help others be successful.

*Hold themselves to higher standards than they ask of others.

*Make themselves accountable to others.

*Set tangible goals and then reach them.

*Accept responsibility for personal results.

*Admit failures and mistakes quickly and humbly.

*Remove themselves from situations where they are ineffective.

Best Behaviors on Level 3

Vision casting is an integral part of Level 3 leading. Productive leaders must create a clear link between the visions of their organizations and their teams’ daily production. They must show how the short term impacts the long term. Level 3 leaders employ the five Laws of Teamwork:

1. The Law of Significance: One is too small a number to achieve greatness.

2. The Law of Mount Everest: As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.

3. The Law of the Catalyst: Winning teams have players who make things happen.

4. The Law of the Bench: Great teams have great depth.

5. The Law of Dividends: Investing in the team compounds over time.

People want to succeed. If they are not succeeding, they want to know what adjustments they need to make in order to succeed. Most people are willing to change if they are convinced that changing will help them win. Productive leaders take responsibility for guiding team members through this process.

Leaders who reach Level 3 always experience success, but not all of them capitalize on that success and move on to the next level. To do that, they must remain focused and productive — all while cultivating and preserving positive relationships.

Guide to Growing through Level 3

In order for Level 3 leaders to move onto Level 4, they must:

*Think about things that help others become better, both individually and as a team. They can do this by turning the focus outward from their own production and helping others become high producers.

*Define each team member’s area of contribution and figure out how they all work together to make the team most effective.

*Meet with the team daily (or at least weekly) to give feedback on performance. They must praise people’s efforts, help them learn from their failures, and reward their successes.

*Find challenges for people to win together as a team. The greater the number of wins, the more they can increase the difficulty of the challenges.

*Know who is who on the team, including:

*Momentum Makers: Producers who make things happen).

*Momentum Takers: People who go along for the ride.

*Momentum Breakers: People who cause problems and hurt moral).

*Be responsible for making the decisions and initiating the changes needed for the team to succeed. This can be done by setting aside an hour a day to think of five new ways to change things for the better.


The Practice of Innovation


Simply understanding the source of innovative opportunities is not enough. People must understand the principles of innovation and how to use new ideas successfully. The principles include several do’s and don’ts. The do’s include:

*Thinking through the sources of innovation.

*Going out to observe, seek, and listen to the trends of public opinion.

*Producing innovations that are clear and simple.

*Starting small.

*Aiming toward leadership. If innovations do not aim at leadership from the beginning, they will unlikely be innovative or capable enough to establish themselves in the market.

The don’ts of innovation include:

*Trying too hard to be clever.

*Being unusable without necessary training.

*Diversifying into too many things at once.

*Innovating for the future. Unless there is an immediate application of a product or system, it is unlikely to be successful.

The last piece of advice Drucker offers on the subject of learning the skill of innovation is the importance of three conditions:

  1. Innovation requires work, ingenuity, focus, and talent to be successful.
  2. To succeed, innovators must build on their strengths.
  3. Innovation must be focused on and driven by the market.

By combining these principles and sources of opportunity, everyone can be innovative leaders in their industries, despite whether they are private or public.PRISM




The first step to understanding entrepreneurship is realizing that it is futile without innovation. Innovation is the means by which an entrepreneur exploits change as an opportunity for a new or different business or service. As such, innovation is very much a discipline that can be learned and should be practiced.

Learning the discipline of innovation starts with the seven sources of innovative Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.28.41 pmopportunity. While they could be considered symptoms, they are actually highly reliable indications that changes are happening in any given industry.

Source #1: The Unexpected

Perhaps the richest of opportunities for innovation success comes from unexpected success. This is the path by which entrepreneurs meet the least amount of risk and least arduous pursuits. More often than not, unexpected success appears in an existing company’s blind spot. Currently, management teams are trained to comb through reports that highlight expected results, so that unexpected success is left unexplored and vulnerable for exploitation. Drucker advises that reports must be revamped to include all results so that people can analyze their businesses properly and, more importantly, look for innovative opportunities.

Unexpected failures rarely go unnoticed; however, they are seldom seen as symptoms for opportunity. Executives typically call for more reports and more studies to analyze failures, but instead should be stepping out to investigate possible situations. Understanding customers’ experiences (i.e., the true reality of a product) is how to exploit opportunities of an unexpected failure.

Source #2: Incongruities

Stemming from unexpected failures, the second source, incongruities, appears when there is a dissonance between what is and what “ought to be.” It invites innovators to investigate why results are not lining up with expectations and what can be done to exploit opportunities. The only major downside to this source of innovation is that it is largely only apparent to industry insiders. Someone from the outside is not likely to spot or understand any type of incongruity, no matter which form it takes. Incongruity appears in several different ways, including:

*Incongruity between the economic realities of an industry.

*Incongruity between the reality and the assumptions about an industry.

*Incongruity between the efforts of an industry and the values and expectations of its customers.

*Internal incongruity within the rhythm or the logic of an existing process.

Of all the incongruities, that between perceived and actual reality may be the most common due to the fact that producers and suppliers almost always misinterpret what customers actually buy and why.

Source #3: Process Needs

New and existing businesses alike can lead innovation in their industries using process needs as a source for opportunity. Here, existing processes are perfected, replaced, or redesigned around newly available knowledge. Sometimes it gives light to a whole new process by providing “missing links” for different industries. Drucker, however, advises that the most common place to look for process needs are not missing links, but demographics and incongruities–both of which give ample opportunity and are largely overlooked.

Innovators seeking to exploit process need opportunities must understand that they will not be successful unless their processes are self-contained, there is only one missing or weak leak, clear objectives and solutions are defined, and there is a widespread belief that there could be a better way to do business. Without a thorough analysis and strategy of all these criteria, innovations are likely to be unsuccessful.

Source #4: Industry and Market Structures

Next, Drucker moves onto the sources of opportunity that can be seen by industry outsiders–the most critical of which are the structures that comprise industries. Indeed, industry and market structures appear so solid to people within specific industries that they are likely to consider them certain to endure forever. However, Drucker points out that most industry structures are actually quite brittle. To most outsiders, industry structures are highly visible and predictable and can innovate under the radar quickly and with relatively low risk. Meanwhile, insiders continue to assume their positions are permanent. There are four near-certain indicators of industry structure changes that individuals must keep an eye out for:

  1. Rapid growth of an industry.
  2. Changes in the way the services or products are perceived in the market.
  3. Convergence of technologies that before had seemed distinctly separate.
  4. Rapid changes in the way business is conducted.

Innovators must always scan for these four indicators if they want to be at the forefront of their industries’ structural revolutions.

Source #5: Demographics

Demographics are part of the external changes that lead to innovative opportunities. Of all the external changes, demographics are the most unambiguous. They include any changes in population, including its size, age structure, composition, employment, educational status, and income. Executives in any industry typically do not pay close attention to demographics because they have the most lead time; that is, they occur over such a long time span that they appear to be of little concern.

Source #6: Changes in Perception

Changes in perception include any shift in public opinion. While the facts often do not change, their meaning to the public does. This can lead to innovative opportunity, but Drucker warns that it is a dangerous source because it is hard to distinguish between a genuine change and a short-lived fad. However, done correctly, this can be an excellent source of innovation for entrepreneurs.

Source #7: New Knowledge

New knowledge is perhaps the flashiest of all innovation as it gets the most publicity. While most sources for opportunity have overlapping themes with one or more other sources, new knowledge differs greatly from the rest. First, it has the longest lead time because innovations are essentially started from scratch. Secondly, knowledge-based innovations are almost never based on one factor, but on the convergence of multiple knowledge sources. Not until these sources of knowledge are analyzed and understood will innovations be successful.

Knowledge-based innovations also carry great risks. They must be solid both in product and business structure when they hit the market, otherwise a company will have introduced a new technology which other, more stable businesses will couple with their strengths to render the new business obsolete.


Project Oxygen


Convincing high-achieving, independent, autonomous engineers that managers are valuable assets that can improve the work environment is a daunting task, but Google set out to do just that with its multi-year Project Oxygen research initiative. Based on the belief that the best way to win the hearts and minds of knowledge workers was through scientific methodology, the initiative was heavily data-dependent and constructed to test assumptions.

Project Oxygen sought to identify the behaviors representative of good managers and provide actionable guidance for managers so they could improve going forward. According to the data, the most effective managers:

  1. Are good coaches.
  2. Empower their teams and do not micromanage.
  3. Express interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.
  4. Are productive and results oriented.
  5. Communicate well, including listening and sharing information.
  6. Help with career development.
  7. Have clear visions and strategies.
  8. Possess key technical skills that enhance advisory capabilities.

The program has won great favor with both employees and managers, convinced skeptics, and yielded significant and measurable improvement results.


Contextual Intelligence


In today’s global economy, companies routinely expand into new geographies, applying their successful business and operational models to new locales. Routinely, many of these businesses fail. By operating from the principle that what works well in one place should work just as well in another (with minor tweaks), companies frequently do not recognize how much context matters.

There are numerous contextual factors at play (including government regulations, infrastructures, and cultural norms) in various geographies that can derail even the most successful operational models. Understanding and adapting business and operational models to these new contexts is not a simple matter. But it can be done.

The first step in overcoming this problem is developing contextual intelligence — the ability to recognize knowledge limits and adapt them to new environments. Contextual intelligence enables an entity to gain deep insight to the contextual differences between geographies and then make the best decisions about how to alter, redefine, deconstruct/reconstruct, or completely abandon a business model in order to successfully expand into a new environment. Sometimes the best decision is to not expand at all.

Common practices in acquiring contextual intelligence include hiring cultural natives, creating local partnerships, and conducting cross-disciplinary training. Additional suggestions for improving contextual intelligence are:

*Researching a country’s institutional context.

*Recognizing that not all countries will migrate to a free-market economy.

*Understanding that geographic differences are often multi-layered, complex, and not easily generalized.

*Experimenting with new models and taking an entrepreneurial approach.

*Learning to distinguish between the general and the specific.

*Realizing that change can take a very long time.

*Creating data in-house rather than relying on others’ data.

*Being patient.





There are five actions of smart trust:

  1. Choose to believe in trust.
  2. Start with self.
  3. Declare your intent … and assume positive intent in others.
  4. Do what you say you are going to do.
  5. Lead out in extending trust to others.

There is a dramatically increasing number of people and organizations everywhere engaging in the five Actions of Smart Trust–thereby avoiding their opposites and counterfeits–and getting remarkable results, according to Covey and Link.


Belief in trust is the first smart trust action that the authors consider, and it’s no accident that it’s number one. Belief is essential to getting results, and is the foundation of success. Deciding to believe in trust is the basic choice from which all of the other smart trust actions emanate. However, this belief in trust is not a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t thing, done only for convenience, appearance, or when there’s no risk involved. Trust has to be the underlying approach that determines day-to-day actions.

Among the companies offered as examples is W.L. Gore & Associates. Founder Bill Gore believed in trust so greatly that he set up what is known as a “lattice organization” that still exists. Employees are considered “associates,” and rate one another’s contributions. A new CEO was chosen in 2005 based on employee feedback of who they would like to follow.

The authors note that many organizations tend to be based on a top-down structure, and an assumption that people cannot be trusted. However, the highest form of control does not come from reams of rules and regulations, but from a high-trust culture.

An extraordinary example of trust–and all the good that can come from it–occurred in 2007, when Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook, got a call out of the blue from Steve Jobs of Apple, who was considering using the company’s technology. After fruitlessly trying to get Skyhook’s technology noticed, it seemed as if this was the company’s big opportunity. However, before the deal was done there was an Apple event, and Jobs needed Skyhook’s code to showcase its products there. The code was the key to Skyhook’s technology, and Morgan was advised not to give it out. However, he trusted Jobs, gave him the code, and was rewarded when Jobs showed off Skyhook’s technology to an eager audience. Skyhook took off from there, thanks to a single act of trust between Morgan and Jobs. Who knows what would have happened if Morgan had refused Jobs.

It can be hard to overcome life experiences–ones that have quite possibly led to distrust. However, it can be done. Trust glasses can be put on and used to view the world and govern actions. If a person believes in trust, they can trust. Covey and Link are convinced that developing a belief in trust is the most powerful thing people can do to begin to access the benefits of trust in their lives.


The second smart trust action is to start with self. It is not enough to believe in trust; trust has to begin somewhere. Individuals, leaders, teams, and organizations that operate successfully in today’s world also behave in ways that grow out of that belief. It takes both character and competence to give a person the confidence to not only trust themselves, but inspire others to trust them as well. Self-trust affects not only a person’s worthiness to be trusted, but also the way people see and interact with others. The authors go outside the business realm to offer as an illustration the story of how a young rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers named Magic Johnson rose to the occasion in his team’s 1980 championship series with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers’ regular center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was injured, so Johnson filled in and led his team to victory. He drew on the trust in his own character and competence to inspire the Lakers to victory. It was not ego–self-trust is never ego, arrogance, or bravado–but a quiet confidence –a trust in his own abilities that compelled him.

Other examples of people with the capacity to be trusted include Peter Aceto, head of ING Direct Canada, who trusted himself enough to ask his employees outright if he should stay on, and John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who committed to the school when another came calling because he had given his word to UCLA. Another example of a person who has self-trust is Almaz Gebremedhin, a cleaning lady and single parent who put all five of her children through Penn State and was named Good Morning America’s Woman of the Year.

Self-trust works for countries as well. In Denmark, 88.8 percent of the people express a high level of trust in others. Denmark is one of the most productive countries in the world, considered the happiest nation in the world, has the least corruption (along with New Zealand and Singapore), ranks number two on the prosperity index, and has the fifth highest GDP in the world.

The authors also examine some companies that once had great trust then lost it. One is Johnson & Johnson, which established great trust in the Tylenol crisis of 1982, then badly fumbled their handling of the Motrin situation in 2008. Another is Toyota, which had established a deep bond of trust with its customers that was shattered when the company mishandled an incident with sticking accelerators.

Restoring trust is much more difficult than establishing trust. Take, for example, the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. A notorious con man early in life, he turned his life around and restored trust in himself as a security consultant who helped expose potential security system faults for businesses.


The third smart trust action is to declare your intent and assume positive intent in others. To declare intent, a person is signaling his behavior to others, telling people why an intended action is going to occur. As an example, the authors talk about the Charlotte County, Florida, school district. A hurricane devastated some of their facilities. The district superintendent called a meeting and declared his intent that all employees were going to be paid as soon as possible and that no jobs would be cut. As a result, the district built a strong trust with their employees, one that has carried over to contract negotiations and beyond. Two other famous cases of declared intent are Babe Ruth indicating that he was going to hit a home run on the next pitch and then doing it, and President John F. Kennedy declaring America’s intent to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s.

Declaring intent is a performance multiplier that provides numerous benefits. It creates context, inspires hope, encourages reciprocity, and shows respect for others. It also increases trust. Eli Lilly Chairman and CEO John Lechleiter said: “We’ve learned that the best way of building trust is by letting people see for themselves what we’re doing.”

Failure to declare intent will usually cause people to react in one of two ways: Either they will try to guess intent, or they will project their own intent. In low-trust organizations, the guess is usually a worst-case scenario. A low-trust relationship will cause people to project their fears, suspicions, and worries more often than their hopes and dreams. As Mahatma Gandhi said: “The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.”

Declaring intent builds trust fastest if the intent is based on caring and mutual benefit. No motive builds trust as quickly and deeply as the motive of caring. Numerous examples are given of caring intent, such as Zappos’ slogan: “Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world.” Another example is Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey, who said: “Ultimately we cannot create high-trust organizations without creating cultures based on love and care.” Other examples of caring intent include PepsiCo, whose mantra is “Performance with Purpose,” and Procter & Gamble, which strives for “purpose-inspired growth,” evidenced by its giveaway of a water purification powder that resulted in the creation of the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program.

Most effective leaders assume positive intent, which is an extension of trust. The act of assuming good intent changes the dynamic of a relationship. It inspires reciprocity. It leads to trust-building behaviors. It creates a virtuous upward cycle of trust and confidence rather than a vicious downward cycle of suspicion and distrust.


The fourth smart trust action is do what you say you are going to do. Trust will fail if the person promising trust does not “walk the talk.” Delivering promised results builds trust faster than any other action. This smart trust action combined with action three (declare intent) packs a powerful one-two punch. These two actions have the greatest power to knock out suspicion and distrust. If something happens so it becomes impossible to do what was said, communicate that fact quickly. It helps to reframe expectations and can also engage others in either renegotiating or helping to find alternative solutions.

Doing what you say you are going to do is the ultimate brand creator. It defines a person’s own brand and it defines a company brand. In today’s business world, a strong brand is imperative. The authors cite studies that the trusted brand is the most popular, as well as the most profitable. In addition, trusted brands (Rolex, Sony, Mercedes, etc.) command higher prices in the marketplace. As a bonus, declaring intent and doing what you say are the fastest ways to build a reputation and trust. Among the stories used as illustrations of this action is that of Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines. By instituting a smart trust policy, and doing what he said he was going to do, Bethune turned a struggling airline into the most admired airline in the world.


The fifth and final smart trust action is lead out in extending trust to others. This is what leaders do–they go first, they are the initial ones to extend trust. If a person is not inspiring and extending trust, they are managing, or maybe administrating, but they are not leading. Extending trust produces results, increases trust, and elicits reciprocity. Extending trust can break negative cycles of distrust and suspicion. This leads to greater prosperity, energy, and joy for all stakeholders.

Covey and Link offer numerous stories as illustrations of extending trust, such as that of the Ritz-Carlton employee who was searching for a guest’s lost ring. He did not find it, so he searched the laundry. Still not finding it, he took a washing machine apart and there it was. The Ritz-Carlton had extended the trust to him to follow his own initiative, and this sort of trust pays off for the hotel chain. Research reveals that guests who are actively engaged with Ritz-Carlton and its staff spend 23 percent more money than those who are only moderately engaged. A four-point increase in employee engagement scores companywide means an extra $40 million in incremental revenue for Ritz-Carlton.

When leaders lead out in wisely extending smart trust, their actions have a ripple effect that cascades throughout the team, organization, community, or family and begins to transform the behavior of the entire culture.

Businesses can also extend smart trust to their customers. Connecticut-based Zane’s Cycles, one of the three largest bike shops in the United States, allows customers to go for test drives without asking for identification. “We choose to believe our customers,” says founder Chris Zane. The company loses only five bikes each year out of 5,000.

One area in which smart trust can be particularly useful is with mergers and acquisitions. Eighty-three percent of mergers fail to create value, while more than 50 percent actually destroy value, mainly because of the people and cultural differences. Smart trust is the “secret sauce” of a successful merger. It creates the trust necessary to integrate the two cultures.




People view the world through two different types of glasses that various factors throughout their lives have helped to shape. Covey and Link identify these glasses as blind trust glasses or distrust glasses and offer a third alternative: smart trust glasses.

Looking through blind trust glasses creates a naïve, gullible, blissful trust in almost everyone and everything. These glasses are easy to wear because they do not require much effort or thought. People want things to go well, so they ignore the evidence. Unfortunately, blind trust glasses open the door for all manner of fraud and schemes. Blind trust is risky, and it typically does not represent the smartest way to operate in a low-trust world.

Glasses of distrust are often people’s choice after they get burned by a blind trust experience. In a low-trust world, glasses of distrust seem like a natural response. They can feel safer, less risky, and give the feeling of more control. While most people realize the cost of trusting too much, they do not stop to consider the cost of distrust. The authors call this a “wasted tax” that can result in unwanted outcomes like redundancy, bureaucracy, turnover, churn, and fraud.

Distrustful behavior often brings huge taxes. The authors relate the story of a business that sold sunglasses. To try and halt inventory shrinkage, which the owner figured was caused by customer or employee theft (or both), he instituted a tie-down system on every frame so that the glasses could not be pulled off the shelves. He reduced the shrinkage problem from two percent to 0.2 percent. Unfortunately, because customers could not try on the glasses, sales decreased by 50 percent. Distrust not only affects relationships with customers, it also affects prosperity, energy, and joy within and between companies.

Neither blind trust nor distrust is sustainable for a lengthy period. Those who trust blindly eventually get burned and those who live with distrust eventually experience financial, social, and emotional losses.





Maxwell describes six characteristics associated with people who experience fulfillment as they pursue their dreams:

* Fulfilled people understand the difference between a dream and its realization. The idealized image of a dream that everyone carries in their head is usually not achievable because it depends on everything being perfect. The ideal vision can be helpful for establishing goals and stimulating internal motivation, but it also needs to be tempered with reality.

* Fulfilled people understand that the size of a dream determines the size of the gap. Large dreams are potentially more fulfilling than smaller ones. However, large dreams also come with a big gap between birth and completion.

* Fulfilled people keep dreaming while making the journey. People must continue dreaming in order to maintain inspiration, motivation, and fulfillment.

* Fulfilled people appreciate each step forward in the journey. Most dreams are achieved slowly, and sometimes the results emerge in subdued ways. As a result, it is important to take joy in the journey and find fulfillment in the small steps along the way.

* Fulfilled people make new discoveries while living in the gap. People have the potential to make many great discoveries while pursuing their dreams. Often, the greatest discoveries are the ones people make about themselves while pursuing a dream.

* Fulfilled people buy into the natural law of balance: life is both good and bad. To reach a dream and to find fulfillment in the process, people must be proactive in both good times and bad. Even when individuals do not feel like working toward their dream, they must persevere anyway.