You're about to break my trust

If you're using yesterday's mindset, tools, and leadership techniques, you might be at risk of breaking the trust those have placed in you. It's not because you mean to. But that matters little to the person whose trust is broken. And it doesn't stop the cascade of negative effects you'll set in motion. You live in a world that has changed.

To operate safely at the speed we're moving, you need new tools, a new mindset, and a personal commitment to protecting public trust in the wonders you build.

Because what can you accomplish without trust? The answer: not much. And the risk of operating without trust is greater than the relationship between a leader and a team, greater than the interaction between a teammate and a company goal, and even greater than the fellowship between two people. At its worst, a breakdown of trust begins by damaging individuals, companies, and products. Then it slows cultural adoption, innovation, and eventually progress.

The problem begins as a personal loss, but quickly becomes a global one.

We live in a time where innovation is proceeding at a rate never before seen. Our teams, our families, our loved ones, we all live in the rare position on the timeline of technological invention where we are proceeding so fast that an idea often makes its way into daily global use in a fraction of the time it took only 10 years ago.

Driving innovation at this speed means we must reinvent the leadership techniques we used a decade ago. Let's take the example of driving a race car! The skills that keep you safe driving at 180 mph are rooted, but only vaguely similar to the skills you learned in driver’s education. Decades of driving at 65 mph will not prepare you adequately for the speed increase, either. Why, then, do business leaders rely only on years of experience managing at slower speeds to prepare themselves for managing today?

The answer is simple: we shouldn’t—and we don’t have to.

Leading today requires new skills. These skills are augmentations of tried-and-true concepts, but also challenge institutional knowledge.

We have to teach ourselves to spot danger when it’s coming at us in a blur.

Modern leadership also requires a well-developed sense for the responsibility to safeguard the trust placed in us by our families, our teams, our customers, and our future selves. We can choose to build for-profit alone or we can choose to harmonize our financial goals with a great sense of responsibility. It doesn't have to be lonely a journey. But it starts as a personal one.

The cost of a failure in trust isn’t just those that turn their back on a product that suffers a data breach. It can ultimately be a generation of people that stop believing in an idea or stop trusting it entirely. Then the government steps in to try and do your job: protect the trust of the people. Because we when fail to protect the trust of the people, regulators fall back on simply protecting the people.

When this happens, we spend time on regulations instead of innovations; we slow the pace of innovation to one where trust has to be rebuilt because we didn’t protect it in the first place.

When this happens, the ideas that might safeguard our relationships, our ecosystems, our planet, and even our bodies may not reach us in time. The cost is as much global as it is personal.

I believe in a world where we don’t have to trade privacy for convenience. I am building a world where we don’t have to sacrifice our customers’ security for profits. There is a future where innovation is swift, but responsibility is required. I challenge you to find ways to guide us to a future where anything is possible. Let's build a future our children will be proud of. We’ll do it through modernizing leadership, practices, and trust. If you need ideas on how this is possible, contact me. I’d love to show you how.