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Key Takeaways

  • Trust is essential in all types of relationships, acting as a driving force that enhances collaboration and cooperation. It is both a prerequisite for and a result of successful interactions.
  • Trust is multifaceted, involving elements such as competence (having the necessary knowledge and skills), sincerity (being authentic), reliability (being consistent), and care (showing genuine concern for others). Trust varies in degree based on these aspects.
  • A proactive stance on trust is recommended, where individuals should extend trust and look for reasons to trust others. It’s important to address and repair trust when it’s broken, emphasizing open communication and understanding.
  • Extending trust can lead to reciprocal trust-building, creating a positive cycle that strengthens relationships. This concept underscores the mutual benefits of trust.
  • When trust is compromised, especially regarding reliability, it’s more effective to foster an environment of self-reflection and responsibility rather than confrontation. This approach encourages personal growth and trust restoration.
  • Effective leadership development involves granting autonomy, fostering engagement, and encouraging curiosity. Leaders should participate in development processes to exemplify their commitment to growth, reinforcing the significance of trust and continuous improvement within teams.

Executive Summary:

Hey folks, welcome back to the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Rich Ramsey, leadership coach, workshop facilitator, and consultant. In part A, Rich highlighted the importance of connecting genuinely with others and the willingness to “drop the armor” of defensiveness and ego to foster real connections. 

He also discussed how dropping defensive barriers and reassessing narratives can lead to transformative leadership outcomes. Additionally, he emphasized the role of empathy, trust, and open communication in achieving organizational success and personal growth. 

If you haven’t checked out part A, we strongly recommend that you do that before checking out this one. Now, without any further ado, let’s jump right in.

The Flywheel Of Trust: Fostering Connection And Cooperation In Relationships

Firstly, Rich and Nolan talk about the role of trust in human relationships, emphasizing its importance in both personal and professional interactions. Rich mentions that trust functions as both an input and an output in relationships, likening it to a flywheel where trust begets more trust through collaboration and cooperation. He underscores that a foundational level of trust is essential for any form of productive interaction.

Drawing on Charles Feltman’s work, Rich outlines key components to consider when assessing trust: competence, sincerity, reliability, and care. 

Competence involves the knowledge and skills necessary for tasks, and sincerity relates to authenticity. Reliability refers to consistency in actions, and care focuses on the genuine concern for the team or project goals. Rich points out that trust is not an all-or-nothing proposition; it can exist in degrees based on these factors.

To build, maintain, and repair trust, Rich suggests actively seeking reasons to trust others and extending trust to them rather than waiting for trust to be earned. He highlights the inevitability of trust violations in any relationship but stresses the importance of addressing these issues directly to restore trust. 

Rich also references the concept of reciprocity, inspired by Robert Cialdini’s work, to suggest that extending trust can lead to a reciprocal response, fostering a positive cycle of trust-building and cooperation.

Overall, Rich advocates for a proactive and nuanced approach to trust, encouraging individuals to extend trust, address violations constructively, and recognize the multifaceted nature of trust in strengthening human connections.

Strategies For Addressing Reliability Violations

Moving on, Rich addresses how to constructively handle situations where trust has been broken, particularly focusing on violations of reliability. Aram introduces a scenario where trust is compromised due to unmet commitments, questioning why presenting evidence of the failure is not a beneficial approach and seeking alternative strategies.

Rich responds by highlighting the importance of understanding and addressing the root causes of trust violations. He suggests that directly confronting someone with evidence of their failures might not be effective, especially if the person is already aware of their shortcomings. 

Such an approach could lead to defensiveness and further disengagement. Instead, Rich advocates for a supportive and inquiry-based method, encouraging individuals to self-reflect on their actions and the impact of those actions on trust and reliability.

By asking open-ended questions that prompt self-assessment and reflection, Rich believes it is possible to help the person recognize their own role in the breakdown of trust. This approach fosters a sense of personal responsibility and opens up a pathway for constructive dialogue aimed at addressing the issues. 

Rich emphasizes the value of care and support from leaders or coaches in guiding individuals toward recognizing their shortcomings and working collaboratively towards rebuilding trust. 

The conversation also touches on the challenges of addressing issues related to other aspects of trust, such as competence, sincerity, and care. Aram notes that having open and honest discussions about these more sensitive areas is a true test of the strength of a relationship. Thus, it highlights the importance of being able to confront and work through difficult issues together.

The Role Of Autonomy And Engagement In Leadership Development

Moving on, Rich discusses the key aspects of effective leadership development, drawing on his experiences at West Point, the Air Force Academy, college athletic teams, and various organizations. He highlights the importance of allowing individuals undergoing development to have a say in their own growth process, emphasizing the role of autonomy as a significant motivational factor. 

Rich points out that when leaders give their team members a voice in what and how they learn, it can greatly enhance their engagement and effectiveness in development programs.

Rich also stresses the value of encouraging curiosity and self-discovery during the development process. Instead of relying on extensive presentations, he advocates for a more interactive approach where participants are prompted to reflect on their actions and their impacts. It fosters deeper learning and engagement by allowing individuals to uncover insights for themselves.

However, Rich identifies opportunities for improvement in leadership development, particularly noting the pitfalls of leaders who mandate development for their teams without participating themselves. 

He argues that the involvement and engagement of leaders in development activities not only enrich the learning experience but also demonstrate their commitment to growth and improvement. It can strengthen team dynamics and reinforce the importance of continuous development at all levels of an organization.

Aram echoes Rich’s points, emphasizing the necessity for leaders to “drop their armor” and actively participate in the development process, thereby granting agency and ownership to their team members. This approach, coupled with leaders “voting by their presence,” underscores the critical role of leadership in fostering an environment conducive to growth and learning.

Renewed Purpose Through Equine Therapy: Warrior Mission Ranch’s Impact On Veterans

Next, Rich shares his involvement with Warrior Mission Ranch, an organization dedicated to supporting veterans through equine therapy and other activities aimed at fostering confidence, leadership skills, and purpose. 

Rich, while humorously dismissing the notion of becoming a professional horse rider, expresses his appreciation for the learning experiences provided by the ranch. He recounts how he became involved with Warrior Mission Ranch through a connection with Rob Morris, a colleague from West Point, and introduces Mike McCave, the founder. 

McCave, a former Special Forces soldier, experienced a life-altering parachute accident that led to a long recovery process, during which he struggled with pain medication dependency. 

Seeking an alternative, McCave turned to equine therapy, which profoundly impacted his life and understanding of trust, particularly through the unique bond formed between humans and horses.

Inspired by his transformation, McCave established Warrior Mission Ranch to offer similar healing and growth opportunities to other veterans facing challenges or seeking new directions in life. 

The organization focuses on horsemanship, vocational training, and team-building activities, emphasizing the discipline, trust, and challenge reminiscent of military service. Rich highlights the significant impact this work has on participants’ lives, changing their lives for the better and providing a renewed purpose.

Practicing Leadership Principles At Home: Trust, Humility, And Perseverance In Personal Development

Rich also reflects on how the leadership concepts discussed in the podcast apply to his personal life, especially in the context of his family. He candidly admits that his family life is a crucial practice ground for these concepts. In fact, he acknowledges that it’s where he often makes mistakes and relies on the grace and patience of his wife and daughters. 

Rich shares his pride in his daughter’s achievements and the importance of trust within their relationship, emphasizing the ongoing effort to extend and rebuild trust as needed.

The speakers also discuss the essential roles of humility and perseverance in improving human interactions and personal growth. They highlight that meaningful change in how we relate to others and manage our behaviors requires discipline, intentionality, and a willingness to persist through challenges. 

According to Rich, life is a continuous practice of navigating trust gaps, making judgments, striving for betterment, and advocating for flexibility and resilience in the face of setbacks.

Overall, his insights underscore the interconnectedness of leadership principles and personal development, illustrating the universal applicability of trust, humility, and perseverance across both professional and personal spheres.

The Key To Building Authentic Trust And Connections

Towards the end of the episode, Rich shares a profound insight on trust, citing Bruce Springsteen to emphasize the vulnerability and courage required in building authentic relationships. 

Springsteen’s words highlight that trust is delicate, relying on our willingness to reveal our true selves to others. Rich reflects on the metaphorical armor we wear to protect our vulnerabilities and the importance of shedding these masks to foster genuine connections. He urges the listeners to be more authentic with others, to consciously remove the barriers that prevent true intimacy, and to actively seek opportunities to extend trust. 

By doing so, Rich suggests, we invite reciprocity in trust-building, enhancing the depth and quality of our relationships across all areas of life, including family, friendships, and professional partnerships.

Rich, Aram, and Nolan discuss more on this episode of the NEGOTIATEx podcast. Write to us at team@negotiatex.com and share your thoughts on this informational podcast episode. Also, if you enjoyed the episode, we’d be thrilled if you could rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your ratings help us grow and improve.

Thank you for your time!


Nolan Martin : Hey everyone, thanks for joining us on the NEGOTIATEx podcast. We are continuing our conversation with Rich Ramsey, leadership coach, workshop facilitator and consultant. If you haven't already checked out part A of the show, be sure to do that first. Let's jump into the conversation with Rich.

Aram Donigian : So Rich, I imagine many listeners are thinking, Hey, this is all fine and good, but Rich, you don't know my boss, you don't know my client, my supplier. They're just a real jerk. They're insanely difficult and the issue is they won't drop their armor.

How much you coach someone when they give you that response that, Hey, I'm doing what you're saying, but it's this other person in the conversation, they're the real problem.

Shifting Your Leadership: From Self-Perception To Feedback (01:23)

Rich Ramsey : Yeah, I love that. I know the three of us and probably many more are familiar with the expression, ‘lead by example’. It's kind of hard in a coaching situation to somebody, oh, just need to lead by example, keep leading by example. So one of the things I like to do is when somebody thinks they're absolutely nailing it, that they just couldn't be doing any better, go look for some feedback, go seek out the feedback rather than waiting for it to come to you.

Ask people around you how they think you are doing and start close in where it might be a little bit safer. It might be with that number two on your team or in your organization, how do you think I'm doing? I know I'm so fortunate throughout my career to have especially first sergeants and sergeants majors who really I could go to and say, how am I doing? And they would tell me how I'm doing and I trusted the feedback that they were giving me.

So yeah, I think one thing is to go ask folks how am I doing here? This is how I'm seeing myself. How are you seeing me? How do you think others are seeing me? And then start to expand it out a little bit and even it might feel a little risky. It might require dropping some armor, but ask that person who maybe is the antagonist or the naysayer on the team how they think you're doing and see what you get.

One, you're probably going to hear some things, see some things, discover some things that you didn't previously see or you didn't previously know. And just by you asking, without even saying it, you're going to communicate, I trust you. I trust you. I'm coming to you and asking you for some feedback that other person's going to be hearing . Well, they must trust me. So that's one thing. And then based on what you hear, it might be worth looking for some I call them, next adjacent possible moves that you can make. Here's how I'm doing.

Here's something that's going well. What's an adjacent, what's the next move I can make that's going to continue to have that go well. If, where something's not going well, what's one move I can make one and another name for these are safe to fail experiments that I got from a previous colleague of mine, Ronnie would teach us about doing these safe to fail experiments where I'm going to take some action that if it doesn't go well, the sky's not going to fall. There's not going to stop spinning. It might not go well, but it's fairly safe.

An example of that might be when I was sharing the story about the client, it's just adjusting his listening was a safe to fail experiment. He didn't even have to tell anybody he was doing it. He just chose to go into a conversation with his number two and say, how am I doing? And then listen, rather than from through this listening of, you want me to fail, you don't want us to succeed, to you want this organization to succeed. Listening through that, and he heard things that he hadn't heard before or at least in a long time and it helped him shift how he was being with his team members.

So yeah, I think finding these safe to fail experiments, doing something that you could easily recover from is a viable step you can take.

NM : Yeah, I think that's great and what I'm basically hearing is that really at the essence of this conversation is relationships and as you've mentioned multiple ties. The foundation of any relationship, professional or personal is trust. And so how do you build, maintain, and when needed repair trust in human to human interactions?

The Trust Flywheel: From Competence And Care To Reciprocity And Repair (05:11)

RR : Yeah, Nolan, I think you're absolutely on target there. That one, yeah, this is all about human to human relationships and trust is for me, at the core of those relationships, when you look at trust, some people think of it as an input variable. Trust has to be present in order for something to happen in order for us to collaborate or to cooperate or work on something together for me to provide you feedback. Other people see it more as an output variable that when we collaborate, we're going to build trust and then we'll have trust or more trust. For me, I think of it, it's both and it's almost like a flywheel. The more I can trust you, the more we can work together and the more we work together, the more trust we can have and we can build it and create more and more of it as we go.

I also happen to believe that there's got to be some level of trust present for us to do anything together. I knew that at least for me going back to the stories in Iraq is I had to have some level of trust to take off my armor, that it would be safe for me to do that and be able to sit in these meetings and have these conversations without any armor to protect me. So yeah, I'm sharing that, for me, I see it as let's get it created and so we can build it as we work together.

I think a few things, and I'm primarily drawn on the work of Charles Feltman here when I think about trust, and one is that it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. Sometimes we think of, and we even say this, right, it shows up in our common everyday language of, I don't trust that person or I don't think they trust me. That has kind of this connotation of it's all or nothing, or I do trust this person or I believe they trust me. And it doesn't necessarily have to be an all or nothing. There could be reasons why I do trust you and there might be some reasons why I don't. And for me, continue to draw on Feltman is useful, that there's some variables that I can consider when making an assessment about trust. One is competence, like is the person competent? Do they know what they need to know in order to do what they're expected to do? Sincerity is another variable. Do they walk their talk? Are they really who they say they are?

Another one is reliability. Can they be counted on to get something done? Do they get it done on time? Do they get it done? Do they meet the expectations of whatever they're doing? And then another variable and what I think is the most important, and what I think Feltman would say too is, care. Do they care about the team, the organization? Do they care about what we're up to or what we're trying to accomplish? And that really becomes critical when you think about it. If somebody doesn't have a skill or have some knowledge, they need kind of cut on some slack and they're like, well, they'll learn. I can teach 'em that. They can learn that if they don't get something turned in on time, there's a little degradation of trust, but trust may not be gone. But if they don't care about what we're trying to accomplish or I feel like they don't care about me or turning this the other direction, if somebody feels like I don't care about them, I kind of wonder why I would expect them to trust me.

So I think it's useful to look at that and I offer those in that trust doesn't have to be that all or nothing thing. I can look for reasons why I can trust you and then I can kind of hone in on what it is we need to work on to increase and build more trust in our relationship. You mentioned building trust, maintaining trust, repairing trust. And for me it sounds very simple to say and it's a little bit harder to practice, but it's looking for reasons to trust somebody and then extending it to them. If I want to build trust, let me look for a reason to trust you and extend trust to you. If I want to maintain it, look for reasons to trust and extend it or repair.

To be sure that in any relationship there's going to be some violation of trust. At some point I might say that I'm going to be home by five o'clock and I don't get home until six or seven o'clock and I never let you know I wasn't going to be home until six or seven o'clock. I may not get something done on time. So there's going to be these violations where it doesn't have to be that, well now I can't trust you. I still get that you care about us. I still get that you're incredibly competent in what you're doing and you're not being as reliable as I need you to be right now. So let's talk about getting stuff turned in on time or completed on time so we can have this as full as possible, trust between us.

The last thing on trust is we often hear these people say, well, they need to earn my trust. She needs to earn my trust. If we're going to have a good working relationship in this, going back to work I did previously in the Granger network, I got this from there, that while I'm sitting here saying, Hey Aram, hey Nolan, you need to earn my trust. What are the two of you doing at the same time probably sitting there saying, Hey Rich, you need to earn our trust for us to have this working relationship that we want to have and be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish.

So here the two or three of us are in that relationship waiting for the other person to earn trust and we're not going to get very far very fast or at a minimum is going to take a lot longer to get somewhere to get something done than it really needs to. Whereas if I look for those opportunities to extend trust, I'm going to find them If I really look for 'em. And if I bring in, I'm a fan of Robert Cialdini and he talks about influence and one of the things he talks about is reciprocity, this law of reciprocity that if I treat you a certain way or I give you something that the kind of natural state of things is that you're going to feel like you need to reciprocate and give me something or do something for me.

So that influences me that if I want you to trust me, then I should look for a reason to trust you and extend trust to you and there's a good chance you're going to reciprocate and we're going to be headed in a really good direction together.

AD : So Rich, I love how you frame this entire conversation around trust, especially Feltman's variables, that it's not an all or nothing sort of thing. Just to double down on kind of one piece of it, when trust has been broken, I've asked you to do something, you didn't get it done. So the violation in reliability perhaps. Why is it? My tendency might be to bring you the evidence and just pour the evidence on, Hey Rich, get your act together. You didn't do this right. Now, I don't trust you.

Why is that not a helpful approach and what is another way that you would suggest or coach someone to kind of help the other person identify it for themselves? I know you referred to this as a disorienting dilemma before. I've recognized for themselves their own role in the, whatever breakdown in trust there's been.

RR : The first thing I'll say there, Aram, is you're giving me some flashbacks to some work we get together at the Air Force Academy.

AD : I wasn't intentionally doing that.

From Unfulfilled Commitments To Shared Responsibility: Rebuilding Trust In Leadership (13:03)

RR : Well, I mean I violated Arm’s trust in that he was directing a course and he gave me, really the honor to be a faculty member in that course, and I screwed up. I wasn't getting grading done on time, getting grades turned in on time, and it was putting Aram in a tough spot with his boss. And so I violated his trust. Now, thankfully, Aram is generous and gracious and that wasn't the end of our relationship. And Aram, I don't think we had these variables of competence and reliability and care then. But for me, it's kind of a sense-making thing that I know that you knew that I cared about that course, that I was competent in teaching and I was screwing up and I wasn't being reliable, and we had to work on that.

I think the worst thing you could have done, Aram, is just pile the, I think going back to your question about what do you do when trust has been violated and the inclination is to bring a bunch of evidence, I think there's generally speaking two situations that may occur. One, I already know that I'm not being reliable or that I'm doing something that's violating your trust.

So just dealing with that first, if you would've come to me with, here's all the evidence, it probably just would've ticked me off a little bit and I may have withdrawn, disengaged, whatever, he'd become even more unreliable, who knows? And that would've been on me. I take responsibility for that. But in those situations, when the other person realizes what they're doing, I think support and that's what you offered me Aram, was a lot of support in getting the things done that I needed to get done for us, for the course for the students that we were teaching.

I think in other situations the person may not realize what they're doing, they may not see it. And if I come to you with a bunch of evidence on the surface, that's fine, nothing wrong with that. It may in some way be helpful. What the risk is is that as soon as I start, as soon as I, I didn't accuse you, intend to accuse you of anything, but you hear it as an accusation that you're not being reliable, and then here's all the evidence.

And so I'm just kind of getting the cortisol is getting worked up and I'm starting to feel more and more defensive. I think, and that's not going to help anybody. I think something that we can do is help people see for themselves where they're being reliable, where they're not being reliable. It might be where you ask the question is, we're engaging in this conversation about trust. Where do you see yourself being trustworthy? And are there areas or where are the areas where you see yourself maybe not being trustworthy. And see what the person already sees for themselves. Get curious and ask some questions rather than being judgmental.

And again, there's something to be fixed here. There's something to be addressed, but asking questions and helping the person see it for themselves, well, I'm not getting grades turned in on time. Ok. And not getting grades turned in on time. What's the impact of that on the course, on us, on the students? And as I start to talk through some of that based on the questions you're asking me and the care you're extending to me by asking those questions, I think you mentioned this disoriented dilemma that I might experience this where I get a little kind of twisted up and a little uncomfortable, and then when the leader or the coach can provide the care and support to get that person moving in the right direction, I think we're back to where we're headed in two good places together.

But the pointing out where somebody is doing wrong. Piling the evidence on bringing those judgments to the surface, sometimes it works and oftentimes it doesn't. And really being curious about what's going on, having the other person asking them questions to help them see it for themselves, I think is really valuable.

AD : And those are hard conversations. It takes a lot of patience. You were focusing a lot there on the reliability piece, but there's also, if competence is the issue, if that's where it's a breakdown to say, where do you need to learn something or be trained on something even more difficult when it's an issue around the variables of sincerity or care, I often like to say if you really want to tell how strong a relationship is, it's being able to have those sorts of conversations. I mean that's the strongest tie between two people is when you can talk about what's not going well and whether there's been a breakdown.

RR : Yeah, really good. Really, really good.

NM : Rich, you're involved in a leader development at both West Point and the Air Force Academy. Given those experiences, your work with college athletic teams and your current work with a variety of organizations, what are the things that many people get right when it comes to developing leaders and where are there opportunities for improvement?

Leadership Development Reimagined: Autonomy, Curiosity, And Shared Ownership (18:09)

RR : Well, first go Army, just drop that in there. I think some of the things that people get right, whether it's at West Point or the Air Force Academy or in organizations and companies I get the opportunity to work with now is when the people who are experiencing the development or who are being developed get to have a say in their development, get to have a contribution to how that development is going to go. I think that's really viable. And we see that in some of the companies that I get to work with now.

I go to this idea of autonomy and autonomy is a pretty important variable when it comes to motivation. Just having a little bit of say in how things are going to go can mean a lot as far as my motivation goes. And in this case specifically motivation to really fully participate in that developmental opportunity. So I think the more that leaders can really give their people the opportunity to have a say in what the development topic is going to be or how it's going to go or when it's going to happen, I think can be really valuable as compared to the leaders who just say, Hey, I know what needs to happen here. I know what needs to improve. This is what we're going to do, kind of thing. That's not necessarily bad, but it's also not necessarily as effective as it could be.

So I think giving people a voice is really important. And then giving them the opportunity, and we were just speaking about this to discover something for themselves, discover something new. I know we've all been a part of where we go into some training of some sort and you see the slides come up in the lower right hand corner there. It's like one of 177 slides or something like that, and you just kind of settle in and you're not necessarily settling in a good way maybe or in the most primed for development sort of way. And this is something I've really had to learn as there were times in my career where I was guilty of creating those 177 long PowerPoint presentations.

But to really, just ask more questions, get curious and give people the opportunity to experience seeing things for themselves. I know when somebody asks me a question, I'm kind of, maybe I have some righteousness or some kind of like ‘I got it all figured out’ and somebody says, well, what is the impact you're having on others by acting that way or behaving that way? That alone causes me to pause and think, and I'm really grateful for those opportunities and it draws me in and makes me want to participate more rather than just being told.

So I think those are two things. One, getting the opportunity to have a little bit of a say in what are we going to do? What's this development going to be about? And then during that experience, getting the opportunity to ask me some questions, put me in some situations where I get to see something for myself. I think where it could improve is the number one thing, I'll just start with that is when a leader says, here's what needs to change or be better or improve on my team, it's like team, go do this development and I'm going to go do what I need to do, kind of thing. And they don't participate. I find in the work that I do that the teams and organizations where the leader is involved and engaged and present, it's a whole different experience than when it's just the followers in the room.

You often hear just during the breaks and in the back of the room conversations that, yeah, I don't know where the boss is. I wish they were here to participate in this. And it's not now, intent that they need to be here to participate because I think the people really care about the boss being the opportunity to engage with the boss and these types of experiences. So one of the least effective things that happens is when it's just the ‘followers need to get better’ kind of thing. And that's tied in closely with when the person at the top thinks they know what needs to happen for things to improve without actually pulling in others, the people kind of at the ground level or on the front lines who are doing the work, asking them what they need. So going back to the first thing as far as giving people some autonomy and a voice and what it is they're doing,

AD : And both of those, to go back to where we were at the very beginning of this conversation with dropping armor, I think a leader has to be able to drop their armor somewhat to one, give their people agency and ownership over their own development versus this is something I'm going to do to you. So I mean, again, it goes back to how a leader's showing up and then this last point that you're making Rich, which is that, I mean leaders vote by their presence is I think closely tied to that too.

RR : Yeah, I like that. The voting by their presence. I like that a lot and it's a powerful bow.

AD : You have a number, I know you're passionate about this topic that we've been talking about, and you sit on the board for the Warrior Mission Ranch, which strives to foster confidence, leadership skills and purpose and individuals who have the hearts of warriors through the use of horsemanship, vocational, and team building activities in addition to becoming a professional horse rider. Can you share a bit about this passion work you do and a little bit about this organization?

Discipline, Trust, and Challenge: How Horses Help Veterans Heal At Warrior Ranch (23:48)

RR : Well, first, becoming a professional horse rider is a long way off if it's there at all, but it is fun learning and I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to learn. Yeah, Warrior Mission Ranch is, I got connected with Warrior Mission Ranch through a friend Rob Morris, who I was a tech officer at West Point with, and now he and I get to do some of this leadership development work together. Got connected to Mike McCave, who is the founder and owner of Warrior Mission Ranch. Mike's story is, I won't go deep into it, but bottom line is, he is a special forces soldier officer in the army.

He was out of the operational world doing a training assignment as his family worked through some health issues and he had a parachute accident where he hit the ground at 119 miles an hour. You can only imagine what that does to a person when they hit the ground that fast. Years in the hospital, and you can imagine the surgeries and the other things that happened. And he felt himself getting addicted to pain medication and he kind of quit cold Turkey and said, I'm not doing this anymore. I'm not going to continue to go down this path of what he felt was becoming addicted.

And so, some of the medical professionals he was working with referred him to an equine therapy ranch near San Diego, and he went and it changed his whole life. He'd had some experience with horses growing up, but he really realized the impact of the human being and the horse working together. And he tells stories of that's where he really saw what trust was all about. When horses who are prey animals really extended trust to him and changed his life and he has now committed himself to providing experiences, providing, as you mentioned Aram, training to veterans who are looking for new opportunities, who are experiencing challenges or hardships and what an organization, what a story to have this person who has dealt with what he's dealt with. And his wife, Sarah is right there by his side with him in this Warrior Mission Ranch and bringing in veterans and teaching them horsemanship skills and helping them feel that discipline again, they felt when they were in the military and giving them challenges and fully supporting them as they experience those challenges. It's incredible growth for them. It's incredible. Yeah, it really helps change lives and it's really fun to be a part of.

AD : Now, thanks for doing that work and as fellow veterans, we really appreciate it.

RR : Yeah, for sure.

NM : You've been married for over 20 years and have two wonderfully successful daughters. How do the concepts we discuss today transcend and apply to your personal life?

Balancing Family And Leadership: The Shared Journey Of Growth (26:43)

RR : Well, I think the first thing I would say is that my personal life is probably the best practice ground I have for anything we've talked about today and probably where I tend to mess up the most and need people to extend me grace and patience. Cassie, Thea, Kyle would I'm sure agree with that. Seeing Kyle and what they've done and what they're accomplishing is really cool to see. Dealing with a proud dad, I guess, and just having the realization of where I have violated their trust and then seeing them extend trust back to me or me looking for opportunities to extend to them.

Trust is just one example of practicing what I like to engage in and work with others on. I've really, really lately, too been conscious of, we talked about judging others, seeing mistakes others make before I see my own, counting myself as trustworthy, but counting others as untrustworthy. Where am I doing that in my own life with my daughters? And those examples are there and it's fun practicing at the Air Force Academy used to talk about it's this mountain with no top and that we're constantly getting up in the morning and getting on the mountain and climbing and doing our best to see the developmental opportunities in front of us, whether at home or in our work or wherever we may be engaged and having awareness of those opportunities and then doing something with them.

AD : We haven't said anything about humility and perseverance. We haven't named them, but I felt like you talked, that's both of these. If we're really going to make changes in human to human interactions in how we show up, there is a need for both of those things. A strong degree of humility and then just sticking with it even when, well, we don't get the response right away that we're hoping for or we're struggling with our own very deeply entwined behaviors or tendencies, and this isn't a switch, you just flip or it's not a magic pill or something you take.

It actually requires some degree of discipline and intentionality and so forth. I just see you as a very genuinely humble person who doesn't claim, I mean, and that doesn't mean you're perfect all the time either. But that's a key piece here to this and the fact that we're, what Kristen would call it, being on an upward trajectory that I'm on an upward trajectory. I haven't made it yet, but boy, she's happy with the progress I'm making.

From Feeling To Action: Navigating Trust Gaps With Persistence & Flexibility (29:34)

RR : That's good to hear. Aram, what I hear in what you're saying is that it's a practice, and this is something I've really had to learn over the years more recently than before, that everything we've talked about today is a practice that before the sunset tonight, somebody somewhere about something is probably going to cause me to question even if subconsciously question can I trust them? And being aware that I have this feeling like you just did something that has me asking, can I trust you? Well, where can I trust you? What do we do about this situation where I feel like I can't trust you?

Constantly, you're going to judge somebody, I'm going to judge somebody. You're going to see a mistake somebody else makes. And being aware that we're doing that and constantly practicing and bringing that perseverance to our practice and yeah, not giving up. I think when we try it, it doesn't go exactly how we want it to go. So we throw it out, the other person or the team or the organization sees that and they start to wonder how committed we are or how dedicated, are we as committed and dedicated as the leader, as committed and dedicated as she or he wants the team to be, kind of thing.

So bringing that perseverance. If it doesn't work the first time, try it again. Try something different knowing that your perseverance is going to have an impact on the team and organization.

AD : Hey, Rich, as we get ready to conclude, is there anything you'd like to leave as a final thought with our listeners? Either anything we didn't ask you or something that maybe you'd like to leave them with as a challenge?

The Cost of Armor: Shedding Masks To Build Authentic Relationships (31:24)

RR : Going back to trust, if I may, I'd like to quote the great American poet, Bruce Springsteen, who I heard this. He did a Springsteen on Broadway and he was introducing one of his songs and he said this, that “trust in a relationship is a fragile thing because trust requires allowing others to see as much of our real selves as we have the courage to reveal.” And so when I hear that, it really makes me think about what is the armor I have on? What is it that I'm trying that I'm doing to conceal who I really am for somebody? And he goes on to saying, I think this might be the most important part. He says, “trusting others means allowing them to see behind our many masks we wear and overcoming that fear of others, seeing our real selves or rather learning how to love and how to trust in spite of it. And that takes a lot of courage and a very strong partner.

So whether your partner is a family member, a friend, a business associate, a business partner. Looking for opportunities to drop the armor and reveal who you are, I think can be a really viable move to make. So I think for me, I know the challenge that I give myself is looking for ways where I can be more real with people. Where I can shed some of the armor literally or figuratively that I may have on and be someone who they can see as much of me as I want to see of them.

And then looking for opportunities to extend trust. I think that's just a good practice to have is, where can I extend to this other person some trust and see that in all likelihood they'll extend it back to me. So yeah, I think those two, be in real with people, and extend with trust to people.

AD : Well, Rich, thank you for that. Thank you for all your insights today. It's always a pleasure to get to visit with you and both be inspired and challenged by the things you offer. And I know that listeners to this program, we'll find that as well and encourage them to go look at the things that you're doing at Maximize Potential. So again, just thanks and wish you the very best.

RR : Well, thanks to both of you for this opportunity. Just having this time with you is meaningful and then just really appreciate it. Very grateful to both of you for what you're doing. Thanks.

NM : Thanks, Rich. So that is it for us on today's podcast. If you haven't already, please rate review and subscribe and we'll see you in the next episode.

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