Recently when I was facilitating a V-treat (virtual/mini-retreat) with a leadership team, the senior leader and I agreed that our next session together should focus on trust. Even though we had talked about vulnerability based trust before in previous V-treats in our series of leadership development discussions, it was time to re-visit it again.

Trying to stay fresh but processing this important factor that can make or break teams, I needed a way to make it safe for the team to go below the surface and do a deep dive into this essential topic/issue still plaguing the them.

Thankfully, I was listening to Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead – Daring greatly and rising strong at work. If you’ve not cracked open the BB treasure trove of books and resources, you are missing out…BIG TIME!

I used her chapter on Braving Trust as the foundation for the discussion and sent out The Braving Inventory before the V-treat with clear instructions that  at the end of our time together, EVERYONE would need to choose one or two of the items from The Inventory and commit to work on them in a way that is observable by the rest of the team.

The seven Braving Inventory categories are: Boundaries, Reliability, Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non-judgement and Generosity. As we came to the close and it was time to boldly proclaim what would change in each of us going forward and what category definition was going to be our focus, I saw and heard this team going beneath the surface and getting real about growing in how they show up and how they want to be perceived. We did it! Together, we stepped our of fear and into vulnerability by sharing areas that needed more of our mindful attention.

When everyone was done, I also felt compelled to share what I committed to in my life, even though it would not be seen or felt by this group, but by the person who means the most to me…my wife.

In the moments listening to brave leaders and helping them discover an obstacle that they’d been struggling with, it hit me that even though I am a faithful spouse and a hard working provider, that when I say that I will do something and then not follow through, I have created my own integrity and reliability problem. ME! Not the circumstance, not someone else’s ability to give me a pass. ME!

When I/we choose to justify not doing something I’ve committed to no matter how small or how much, in my own heart and mind, it TOTALLY makes sense to choose something else over what I agreed to, that I become an untrustworthy person. ME!


 This unexpected look in the mirror, was so humbling that when I shared it with this team, I think it resonated with them too, that we all do this with best intentions and then wonder why people question our integrity, trustworthiness and reliability. DANG YOU BRENE BROWN! or should I say THANK YOU?

So, here is my personal prescription that I am committing to in order to restore and hopefully regain my integrity with the love of my life. I’m positive that this can work in any relationship, personal or professional. Ready?

  1. Fess UP: Think on the things that have been said and committed to that have not been completed, fulfilled or followed through on. Fess up to not doing what we said we would do, when we said we would do it.
  2. Become Accountable: If appropriate, prioritize this list and make SMART goals to get them done and make up for lost time. Share these goals with those who have been impacted by our decisions/choices and inactions with the intention of making restitution when/if necessary.
  3. Stop Blaming & Judging: It’s not anyone’s fault but ours that our lack of follow-through has impacted our actual reliability and our integrity. We own this! Not others. Stop the negative internal self-talk that justifies us and vilifies others. WE OWN THIS! We own non-judgement!
  4. Followup: Wash — Rinse — Repeat

 We all want to be valued, considered highly and want others to extend the most generous interpretation possible to our intensions, words, and actions. Let’s make it easy for others to do that by having integrity and being reliable.