By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to build trust through long-term relationships. Reading time: 3:31
You’re a General leading in battle when you’re forced to surrender to a fever-maddening illness that threatens your life.
You are so sick that even your official physicians refuse to treat you, fearing they would be cited for negligence or even murder.
Compounding your predicament is a rumor that your rival is offering a reward to assassinate you.
Finally you solicit a doctor willing to treat you against the odds.
But then– just as you begin to take the medicine this doctor just prepared for you– you are presented an urgent note. The note says the medicine you are about to drink is poison. The note also warns that this doctor had been paid off by a rival General to assassinate you.
What do you do? You do what Alexander the Great did.
He scanned the note and immediately swallowed the medicine as cavalierly as if he were downing a drink in bar and while drinking handed the note to the doctor. The doctor also read the inflammatory note and hardly reacted to being called an ASSASSIN. He knew better.
And so did Alexander The Great, who would go on to conquer half the known world some 2,346 years ago.
Alexander the Great trusted his doctor: Philip of Acarnania. He knew this Dr. Phil of Yesteryear would honor his Hippocratic oath to: “Do No Harm.” After all, this Dr. Phil of Yesteryear had served as a physician to Alexander the Great when Alexander was a boy.
That medicine gulping scenario between potential adversaries underscores the key to a profitable Leadership Trust Fund: a long-term relationship rooted in two-way communication of listening to each other more than speaking at one another.
No wonder investing in a Leadership Trust Fund like that over time takes more currency than cash: the currency of your character, your commitment, and your conviction.
Consider the doctor’s character when he read the bogus accusatory note and then matter-of-factly remarked that Alexander would recover. The doctor stayed in character. Biographer Peter Green noted that the doctor spoke “with considerable sang-froid” defined as composure, calmness or self-confidence. Sure enough. In three days Alexander the Great did fully recover.
The doctor’s willingness to treat his patient and Alexander’s eagerness to seek medical treatment illustrates that trust is more correctly used as a verb not a noun.
As a verb, Trust is something you do; not something you have.
As a verb, Trust is a commitment you make to someone over time not just a hope for something.
As a verb, Trust demands more credibility in someone than creditability in something.
As a verb, Trust demands more endorsement and belief in someone (credibility) over time than a fiduciary function of their perceived worth (creditability) in something over time.
As a verb, Trust develops more of an interdependence With than a dependence On another.
That’s why investing in your Leadership Trust Fund requires regular deposits in a long-term relationship and the challenge of regular scrutiny over time. Especially under adverse conditions, according to Max De Pree in his book Leading without Power:
“Earning trust is not easy, nor is it cheap, nor does it happen quickly. Earning trust is hard and demanding work. Trust comes only with genuine effort, never with a lick and a promise.”
Just ask Alexander the Great. Over a drink.
Trust others to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day.
It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.