The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed
August 14, 2017
Robin Dreeke brings lessons forged in a field more fraught with danger than any to help all of us build trust and lead humanely.
Robin Dreeke has an almost intimidating bio. He is a retired marine who was, until recently, the head of the Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program, "where his primary mission was to thwart the efforts of foreign spies and to recruit spies." At this point, you might be expecting a spy novel, but his new book, The Code of Trust, is built around the system he devised to help him lead that work—a system he has since taught to "hundreds of military groups, corporate groups, law firms, financial institutions, and universities," and implemented it in counseling "a select group of CEOs, academicians, public servants, and think-tank analysts."
It all began in an unlikely place: "in the streets of New York City, among spies and counterspies." (I swear this isn't a spy novel.)
In the profession of spies and counterspies, trust is a scarce commodity, even though it's the currency of the trade.
But what does that have to do to the 99 percent of us with lives less likely to be made into dramatic movies? Dreeke believes that all good, lasting leadership is rooted in trust, and he makes a quick and convincing argument of it. There are shortcuts to the top. We all know someone who has risen to great heights with beguilement, bullying, lies, and manipulation. But those kinds of leaders, Dreeke tells us, don't last:
Of course, from time to time, people that you don't trust may temporarily have power over you. They might be bullies, or people who gambled, lied, and manipulated their way into power.
That kind of power doesn't last, and the influence of those people fades fast. Bullies are overthrown, liars are exposed, gamblers lose, manipulators make mistakes—and trustworthy people inevitably take their place. The world isn't perfect, but it does reward and empower those who have earned the honor of being trusted.
Coming from someone else, that might sound naive even if it were true. Coming from someone who has been at the nerve center of the intelligence games nations play, it come across a twee more convincing. Dreeke will show how building trust simply works, and it's what works best—in both intelligence work and the work the rest of us do everyday. The system he developed has two components: The Code of Trust (five rules to gain trust and be a leader), and The Four Steps (the action plan for inspiring trust). And it boils down to a central truth:
To inspire trust, put others first.
That single, central action empowers all legendary leaders.
The book also provides a "Trust Training Manual" consisting of 15 drills, and an appendix that acts as a user's guide and glossary for the book, among other everyday tools and lessons that are both wonderfully mundane and immediately useful. But, being a former Marine and spy chief, he can illustrate these lessons with wildly entertaining stories—like, these-need-to-be-made-into-movies kind of stories. It may not be a spy novel, but it's anything but boring.
We tend to take trust—in our home life as well as at work—for granted. But when we dig deep down into the topic, we find that it isn't that easy, that it can be hard to trust even those we love most—and to inspire trust of us in them. The truth is that trust isn't soft. It's the hardest thing of all. And it's the most important element in our daily lives—even if we're not spies.
Oddly, it may take someone who worked in a field more commonly associated with deception to hammer home the importance of trust. And if that remider is all the book did, it would be worth the price of admission to its pages. But Robin Dreeke does more than that. In The Code of Trust, he gives us a system forged in a field more fraught with danger than any to help all of us build trust and lead humanely.
We have 20 copies available.