The Dark Side of Follow the LEADER

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Choose your leaders carefully.

Wise words that we would all agree with and yet how many of us get to know the obvious and not so obvious aspects of a leader – BEFORE we jump in and follow them?

Obvious aspects are those we can all see. Examples are their likeability, dressing, body language and grooming. Also their tone of voice, leadership style and their past performance.

Not so obvious aspects would mean those qualities and attributes that we cannot see without getting to know them personally or investigating with more discerning eyes. Usually these aspects include their values, operating model, typical emotional state, beliefs, honesty, candor, ethics and integrity.

Why are these not so obvious aspects so important? Because these are the qualities that are better predictors of future performance, behavior under stress and most important of all… these are the aspects that we take on and duplicate from our leaders without evening realizing it!

If that doesn’t scare you – it should.

Lets say you are an ethical person and you pride yourself on your honesty, straightforwardness and openness. You want to improve your relationship to money so you look for a teacher to follow who appears to be world-renowned, well respected and successful. If you take this on face value you would conclude that this teacher is a good person to learn from and you decide to follow them.

Unbeknownst to you this teacher has a flexible relationship with the truth and believes that money is to be prized and valued over all else. If they suggested you do outright unethical things this would trigger your doubt and you would see it right away. The thing is, their true nature is masked by their public persona and they have such a good act that most well meaning people would not be able to see them easily or accurately.

In fact, many of these people have well crafted strategies to keep their real nature and intention a secret. They often engage in charity projects and donate publicly to needy causes. They will talk about doing the right thing and being a good person, while behind the scenes are doing exactly the opposite! We call this “public relations”.

Why does this matter to you so much? Because you are going to take on what they say, do and believe unconsciously. These unconscious memes will become a part of your makeup and you may find yourself compromising your standards little by little. You may also find that when you do what they say they have done, your results are different from theirs. Assuming you implement and execute exactly… it may not work for you because they didn’t do what they said they did!

This gap between what they say they did and reality can cause you to lose confidence in yourself and to doubt your own abilities… when in fact you should be doubting them and their advice!

Train yourself to look for the obvious and not so obvious aspects of a leader. Tune into their feeling. Look for “bodies on the side of the road.” Ask questions and look for telltale signs of incongruence. The more slick they are, the deeper you have to look to determine fact from fiction.

Choose a worthy leader and be a worthy follower!

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© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Playing to WIN or Playing Not to LOSE

In the game of life and business, you could easily assume that most people play the game to win. Why play at all if it isn’t to win? After all, that is the purpose of the game, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t play to win — they play not to lose. You may have heard people say, “I hate to lose.”

When playing to win, you understand and accept that losing is sometimes part of the game. However, you do whatever it takes (legally, ethically and morally) to win.

When playing not to lose, you feel that you must not lose — no matter what.  You play conservatively and avoid risk because your desire not to lose is greater than your desire to win.

And here is the rub… other players will exploit your unwillingness to lose — which will have you losing!

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.


There is a graduated scale from ultimate truth to ultimate untruth. Most people think that a little untruth is OK and tell little lies to others and to themselves. The worst lies are the ones we tell to ourselves – and believe. Why? Because if you believe your own lies – then your perception becomes inaccurate to the same degree.  This is often why many people struggle and work hard only to find that success eludes them…

Think of ultimate truth as being the ultimate accuracy, and the ultimate untruth being the ultimate inaccuracy. The more accuracy – the more flow; so if you want more flow in your life, career or business… go for more truth.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Why People Lie

People lie for a variety of reasons. According to a study conducted by Dr. Bella DePaulo, the average person lies once or twice a day and over the course of a week, deceives about 30 of the people they interact with. This does not include the lies we tell ourselves. Some of the reasons people lie are to:

– gain power
– gain status or improve one’s position (impress others)
– avoid conflict
– avoid an unpleasant truth about themselves
– avoid admitting mistakes
– diminish or suppress someone else
– avoid hurting someone’s feelings
– avoid anger
– avoid responsibility
– gain respect or admiration
– gain self-worth
– be liked
– maintain the status-quo, hoping everything will pass unnoticed
– gain something of value

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.

Financial Crisis: Eroding High Standards

This article describes a common cause that’s behind some of the largest corporate collapses we have seen in history. Corporate collapses, particularly those caused by massive financial losses, are not often the result of a single action or cause, but rather a combination of factors. This complexity can often cover up the most significant aspect of what went wrong. A thorough investigation by people who know what to look for can often reveal lapses in standards, honesty and ethics long before the entire collapse of the organization.

These lapses often (but not always) begin at the top – with the leadership, and then filter down throughout the organization.

The Lower Truth Phenomena

We are writing here about businesses and organizations, however, this same scenario plays out in interpersonal relationships with a similar effect.

Whenever you work for or with a person who operates at a lower level of truth, honesty, values and standards than you do, you will be pulled down to their level of lower truth, honesty, values, and standards.

This does not happen overnight, it occurs slowly and insidiously over time.

Here is an example of this mechanism in operation:

Let’s say you are a high standard, high truth person who values honesty and you enter into a business partnership with another person. This can also occur when you work as an employee for lower standard management. In the following example, we are using a partnership where each partner has equal say. In situations where management has more say and power over you, this phenomena is greatly exaggerated.

Your partner purports themselves to be the same as you. They say they value honesty, have high standards, etc. On the surface, this appears to be true and you believe them.

Taking them at face value you proceed to invest a significant amount of money, time and energy in the venture. In the course of doing business, you make a lot of promises and agreements on behalf of the partnership.

When things are going well, everything is flowing and proceeding to your satisfaction. And then one by one, things begin to go wrong. There is no apparent explanation for the small failures, so you proceed forward regardless of the “taps on the shoulder.”

As things deteriorate, and more and more stress comes into the project and the partnership, you are unable to keep all your agreements and promises. This does not happen overnight, it occurs one small thing at a time. A supplier doesn’t get paid on or before the date promised. A client doesn’t get the exact order as promised. A team member’s salary is a few days late with no communication. A deposit is made late. A check bounces, etc.

Slowly but surely your high standards and ideals have been compromised and you find yourself out of integrity with yourself. This causes you to feel ashamed which can be very painful.

In order to deal with the pain of violating your high standards and ideals, the first thing you do is lower your standards and justify these lesser ideals. These lowering of standards come through your language as justification statements that sound like this: “Oh, you can’t do such and such in this business and be successful anyway,” or “Everybody has this problem in this business,” or “In this country, it is normal to pay a few days late and nobody takes any notice of it, so it is no big deal,” or “It is my intention that matters. I am not deliberately misleading people,” etc.

Eventually, a few days late on payments becomes 30, 60, 90 days, etc. If the cycle continues unchecked, you will even justify not paying people at all, in order to pay others. This is often called, “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

The next thing that occurs is that you don’t get paid on or before the date promised. A supplier doesn’t get you the exact order as promised. A payment to you is a few days late with no communication. A deposit is made late. A check bounces on you, etc. In other words, what you have done to others comes back to be done to you…

For you, as a high standard person, you take all this very personally. Your partner appears upset too, however, is more aligned with these lower standards anyway, and will lower their standards further in order to “make it work.” This leads to conflict between you and your partner over keeping agreements and maintaining high standards of conduct and honesty.

At first, you take full responsibility that it must be your problem and your partner reaffirms this. Your partner somehow convinces you to be the front person as your standard of responsibility is higher than theirs. So they will naturally tend towards blaming you and abdicating responsibility to you.

As your standards continue to decline, it becomes more and more painful.

In order to deal with the pain, you lower your standards more and deny that you had higher standards in the first place. Before you know it, you are operating at a very low level of truth, honesty, and standards.  You are much reduced in your power, charisma and confidence to the point of giving up.

It is often at this point that the entire project fails and you experience a paradigm crash. Everything stops working.

To recover from a situation like this takes personal courage to review what actually happened and to reclaim your level of truth, honesty and high standards.

To maintain high standards, it is imperative to connect, work and associate with people of similar or higher standards than you.

© Goldzone Education. All rights reserved.