Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Thriving or Dying Through Change

Posted by Orrin Woodward on May 9, 2012

All improvement, by necessity, requires change. For if a person never changes anything, nothing will ever improve. Interestingly, although everyone knows this intellectually and accepts it as a fact of life, most people still resist change. Why? Having been in a people business for nearly 19 years now, I have a couple of points for people to ponder.

First, recognize the truth in the statement that techniques may change, but principles never do. For example, the team community has been built upon character, community, and leadership from the day it was formed. In 19 years of business, this has never changed. However, the techniques utilized by the community to communicate the message of character, community, and leadership will constantly change since society and the team continue to grow and change.

Second, equilibrium ought to be sought from the resolutions/principles within a person, not the external circumstances experienced. In my life, the 13 Resolutions (covered in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE) are non-negotiable core principles that won’t change regardless of how much external change swirls around me. Peace, in other words, must be sought on the inside, not on the outside. Those taking the Mental Fitness Challenge will quickly realize that the internal achievements precede the external achievements, which precede the leadership achievements and legacy. These principles have stood the test of time.

Third, looking back on my life, some of the biggest blessings that I have are things that I resisted at first. Why? Because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I have learned to trust God and his plan for my life, even when I don’t understand it.

The movie Karate Kid demonstrated a beautiful example of trust. When the wise Mr. Miyagi told Danny to wax his car, Danny was incredulous at first. Even so, he waxed the car because he wanted to learn Karate so badly that he was willing to do what he didn’t want to do in order to be able to do what he did want to do. Danny began with the end in mind, knowing that by learning Karate, he could defend himself from the bullies. Here is the dialogue between the mentor and student:

Miyagi: First, wash all car. Then wax. Wax on …

Daniel: Hey, why do I have to? …

Miyagi: Ah, ah! Remember deal! No questions!

Daniel: Yeah, but …

Miyagi: Hai!

[makes circular gestures with each hand]

Miyagi: Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off.

At first, through lack of trust, Daniel thought he was being taken advantage of, but in truth, Miyagi was teaching him the basic skills of Karate and improving his hand coordination and muscle strength. However, the most important principles Daniel learned from Miyagi through this process were earned trust and self-discipline. In other words, Daniel’s mentor had proven himself by displaying character and results over his lifetime, so Daniel didn’t have to understand the why to do the how. He trusted Miyagi had a plan even though he couldn’t see how the end result would be achieved through the beginning actions. In truth, he didn’t need to because Miyagi did!

It’s called “Speed of Trust” in the business world. Indeed, an organization’s health and vitality directly correlate to this “Speed of Trust” within it. It’s similar to a principle I teach called “slow to go fast.” A team, in other words, cannot run together until it has learned to walk together. Unless the team has trust (a combination of character and competence), there is no point in attempting to execute plans to achieve objectives, since everyone will question everything. In contrast, when trust is high, changes can occur quickly because the organization knows the character and competence of its leaders in the given field of operation.

Trust, then, is a two-way street. If the leadership team has exhibited character and competence over time, then trust and execution constitute the reciprocity given by a thankful team. Daniel, in the end, reciprocated to Mr. Miyagi because he knew he could trust his mentor to lead him to the results he desired. Admittedly, in today’s pragmatic world, where character-based leadership is on the decline, it’s hard to trust; however, the two ways to ensure failure are to trust no one or to trust everyone. Trust must be earned!

Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, and Dan Hawkins have earned my trust by displaying character and competence over time. We have all learned from the 13 Resolutions in our own lives; that is why we developed the Mental Fitness Challenge to share with others. Have you earned “Speed of Trust” leadership with others?


Orrin Woodward

26 Responses to “Thriving or Dying Through Change”

  1. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Claude Hamilton said

    Great post !

  3. Great morning, Orrin! The original ‘Karate Kid’ is one of my all time favorite movies. Anytime I hear you, Tim, or any other leaders talking about this movie from stage and/or on system/subscription CDs, I smile — this movie teaches a lot, although just like this particular scene and Daniel’s initial (emotional) reaction to the stimulus, it may not be immediately obvious 😉 Additionally, the lack of a ‘speed of trust’ is crystal clear in many of the old line, industrial age institutions in our culture (i.e., the conveyor belt/common schools, federal & state level political organizations, big businesses/corporations ) – just taking a look at how much paperwork is required is one sign, let alone the lack of leadership (or confusion with management). Thank you for insightful post & its excellent perspective 🙂

  4. codynewton said

    Orrin thanks for teaching about speed of trust, I believe now I am just discovering the truth of it.

    • Cody, I have no doubt about that. You can tell the size of the trust you have with your leaders by how quickly they adapt to change. You are in the process of breaking 3 power players in less than 2 weeks so I would say you and Tim have massive Speed of Trust! Great job by the way!! 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  5. Raymond said


    You article reminds me of the Israelites in their magnificent trek to the promised land, at each turn in the road they were required to adapt, at each obstacle they had to dig deep and trust God, but the objective of reaching the promised land never changed. Some died in the wilderness because of doubt, but the next generation did eventually possess their promise. To posses our personal promised land, we must trust in God, and be willing to keep moving when we are afraid. The goal of 1 million has never changed, but the path just took a left…keep walking for we are well able to possess the land!

  6. Good morning Orrin. Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your mentorship, wisdom, and knowledge. People will ask me how this is possible that I am being mentored by the #6 leadership Guru in the world they are amazed when I tell them, through the LLR series, team training system, 13 Resolutions, Twitter, blog sites, and now through the incredible MFC. The Life opportunity has had a very positive impact on myself and my families lives. I look forward to continued personal growth and growth of my team. Thank you. Raging RHINOS

  7. Marshal said

    Change is a real battle, especially for us German Lutherans from Wisconsin! But that aside, there is nothing like trust and what it can do. I have learned to trust from a loving family, close friendships, an amazing God and now a great new start with Team ACTION and a great mentor Chad Sutkay! Your words are very encouraging, Orrin, thank you!

  8. Trent Crane said


    Orinn, working in a day job where the understanding and acceptance of “Trust” as a core principal is almost nonexistent, it’s extremely uplifting to read a post like this.

    Thank you for the work you and the Policy Council continue to do!

  9. Monica Mathes said

    Thanks Orrin! So many great points and things to think on. My sister and I were just discussing our mother’s resistance to change and “that’s what my mother did” mentality. I’m going to continue to strive for excellence and be the example!

  10. Amy Clark said

    Absolutely what I needed to read. I do believe the next book I need to add in is Speed of Trust. Thank you Orrin for being that fabulous jar of clay.

  11. Scott Staley said

    Great article! The Speed of Trust is 1 of my favorite books and I believe that the Mental Fitness Challenge is an excellent tool to help people improve in all areas of their life – 1 of which notably would be improving relationships and fostering speed of trust and making continuing improvements and changes faster and easier to bring about. Thanks for everything that you do!

  12. Great article Orrin, Love it….slow to go fast, and cant run until they learn to walk together…Speed of Trust…its so true, you can see this throughout teams, businesses, and even families for that matter…Trust is the key component…and having the adaptability to change and grow…

  13. Troy Gallant said

    Trust in all of our key relationships is a must. Thanks for another great post Orrin!

  14. Patrice Caldwell said

    We appreciate your words of wisdom once again Orrin. The speed of trust is definitely needed in our culture today. It is so encouraging to see you helping restore our culture by you and Laurie setting the example along with all the Policy Council members of Team. Thank you!

  15. Great explanation of the speed of trust Orrin. Thank you.

  16. Great post! You can never go wrong quoting Miyagi!

  17. Maureen Lirette said

    Great article Orrin, Thank you!We needed that reminder.

  18. Tony and Sharon Hoffman said

    We are so excited about the direction the LIFE/TEAM community is going! We know that the LORD has brought us here…’for such a time as this’! You, as well as the other policy council members, have earned our trust! We have watched first hand the LIFE that you and Laurie live! You exemplify the Resolutions that you write about in your book…! Thanks for being the Mr. (and Mrs.) Miyagi in our life! We believe and welcome the change….Be the change you want to see in the world.~Gandhi. We MUST be products of the teachings that we so strongly believe in!

    Sharon and Tony Hoffman

  19. Nick Quinn said

    I also love the concept of walking in the middle of the road and getting “squished like grape”. It is similar to what Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” In business or in life, we must commit to our purpose and our dreams. Thanks for another great article, Orrin!

  20. Thank you Mr. Miyagi…:)

  21. Joseph Keller said

    Amazing as always thanks Orrin you got me thinking right from the get go again. Without the speed of trust just where would we be? Thank you for leading by example and stepping out and being the difference that society needs and teaching it forward. Every relationship relies on trust, just so many have become blind or just unwilling to listen to the truth and once trust is gone just whats left. I believe that the mental fitness challenge will help change a lot of stinking thinking and bring trust to many a relationship restoring the family unit. Thank You for all you do.

  22. Fantastic Post Orrin! Last night we had the opportunity to be with some of Wayne and Raylene MacNamara’s (http://waynemacnamara.wordpress.com) Power Players and watched amazing talent with the Broadway Play called STOMP….. Talk about “speed of trust”!! It amazed Rhonda and I how they can co-ordinate and be totally in tune with the other performers and developed music from nothing but old garbage cans, plastic bags, news papers, rubber hoses, and anything they could get their hands on. This is another great example of team work!

  23. Change is the only constant!! Thanks Orrin for teaching me to not only embrace but take advantage of change!!

  24. Barry Quinn said

    Thanks for the great article, wonderful timing. Just got the “Speed of Trust” book in the subscription, can’t wait to dig in. Build trust.

  25. Jon Butler said

    Many people fear change which is ignorant because change is occurring all the time all around us. Thanks for your leadership.

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