Trust is Fragile

March 26th, 2008

Successful leaders lead by example.  They stay the course and don't wander from the right path.  They know that trust is earned and is fragile.

Several years ago a young bike racer and his team entered a championship race.  The winners would have a shot at capturing the regional championship title.  He was a fine cyclist and he often led his team to a first or second place finish.  As he surveyed the field at the start of the race it seemed clear that another victory for his team was at hand.  He studied the race map, and confident that he knew the course, tucked the map securely away.  Near the midway point in the 50 mile race, he found himself in the lead.  As he approached a fork in the road he turned right—everyone followed.  Fifteen minutes and miles later, he came to the realization that he made the wrong turn.  As the racers all turned about, he suddenly found himself at he back of the pack.  For the remaining miles, he and his fellow team mates struggled to regain their first place standing, but it was for naught.  They finished a distant 18th place overall and lost their bid for a shot a the regional championship.  Although he and his team often led in subsequent races, he found his teammates less willing to follow him.  He had lost their confidence and trust in him; it would take years and hard effort to regain it. 

Be a leader.  Stay the course.  Don't wander from the right path.  Know always that trust is earned and fragile.

Good night, gentlemen.