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The Zen of Trust






Zen master Himadri was reputed to be a great leader who built stunningly successful institutions multiple times in his life. One of his disciples, Supyo, wanted to know the secret to his success, so he could build an organization himself.

Himadri said, "leadership".

Supyo was a little irritated with this answer. He had read everything about leadership. Countless tomes, written by countless leaders. Every one explained how they (or someone else) succeeded in building something that lasted for a long time. But none of it explained how someone can succeed so well so many times. Supyo wanted to not just create something once, but may times, much like Himadri. And he knew he had other precedents (none of whom had written about their success, strangely.)

Supyo had heard of Master Jobs and Stargazer Musk. He considered these two giants to be the only exceptions to the rule - that it is rare to even get one attempt at creating something stunning and extraordinarily valuable.

Then there was Himadri, his own master, doing it every time. And he wasn't about to reveal how, in more than one word at a time. This  - to be brushed away with one word answers, even if was the Zen way - wasn't an answer, or if it was, it was as good as nothing.

Supyo persisted - "Master, what is the Buddha of Leadership?"

Himadri said "Trust".

Supyo was now really seething. He wanted to learn, but there was no opening.

He moved up a level. He said, "Lead! I Trust!"

Himadri smiled.

He walked Supyo along the beautiful artwork that was the centerpiece of the monastery's courtyard. As they were climbing the stairs, Supyo started listening intently. All the while, he kept a corner of his eye on the rest of the world. As he did this, he sensed that the very space around them seemed to rotate, ascend and descend around them as they talked.

Himadri swatted a fly midway, and spoke these words:

"Trust is the backbone of culture.
Culture is the backbone of execution.
Execution is the backbone of strategy.
Strategy is the backbone of operations.
Operations is the backbone of service.
Service is the backbone of 'permission to do more'.
Permission to do more, is the backbone of growth.
Growth is the backbone of reputation.
Reputation is the backbone of brand.
Brand is the backbone of Trust."

Upon hearing this, Supyo was enlightened.

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