Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Trust but Verify

Written by: on September 18, 2018

Judith Glaser’s Conversational Intelligence is an innovative do-it-yourself communication guide that helps leaders learn how to trust others and become more effective. Glaser uses conversational intelligence (CI) lessons from neuroscience to advance three conversation principles regarding exchanging information, controlling power and influence, and co-creating solutions. I plan to focus on Glaser’s TRUST and FORCES acronyms and link her WE shift with the Armor of God artifact and my spiritual warfare dissertation research.

TRUST is Glaser’s acronym for T-transparency, R-relationships, U-understanding, S-shared success, and T-testing assumptions and truth-telling.[1] Trust in communication, according to Glaser, happens when those communicating something shift their focus from all about me to all about “WE”. In other words, when we move our focus from being I-centered to We-centered our communication begins to connect more effectively and “bridges” with the other person.[2] I support Glaser’s focus on trust in communication. I use the maxim, “trust but verify” and think it is supported Scripturally from when Jesus tells His disciples to “be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”[3] Trust in others was often discouraged in the Old Testament[4] but seems to be required in the New Testament in order to bear another’s burdens, spur another toward good deeds, confessing sins to another, sharing our needs.[5] So, trust but verify is a experientially practical and spiritually wise practice, especially considering the evil schemes of the devil.

I shared the Armor of God challenge coin artifacts to hundreds of people in the past 15 years in various multicultural contexts around the world from 12-Step Recovery programs, Bible studies, prison ministries, AWANA, youth boot camps, Sunday school classes, village kgotla, airports, diners, stores, hospitals, airplanes, police cars, FedEx trucks, and to cohort members at LGP Advances to name a few.[6] People ask me, how do you know if it worked? I know it works but measuring spiritual success I think rests with the supernatural indwelling, conviction, and work of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, I believe that healthy CI techniques, like Glaser’s TRUST, does not go to waste in the God’s economy. What I mean to say is that when we put on good knowledge, that has some Scriptural connection or support like Glaser is promoting into our global leadership guidebook, it gives the Holy Spirit more of us to work with, as if He did not know before the beginning of time when, where, and who would learn these principles.

How does TRUST link with putting on the whole armor of God? First, Glaser uses acronyms to help readers remember her principles. Likewise, I use initialisms to remember and learn how to put on the armor of God. An initialism is a form of acronym that cannot be pronounced like a word; for example, FBI, BBB, and IRS.  Simply put, the PPP’s or Triple-P’s form the 3-phase foundation for the entire armor of God challenge coin ministry. The Triple-P’s are Put-on, Pray, and Persevere, which encompasses Eph. 6:10-18. The Put-on phase is further broken down into BBB & SSS to help remember the 6-pieces of the armor of God. The BBB’s are not the Better Business Bureau but instead are Belt-Breastplate-Boots to help remember putting on the Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, and Boots of Peace. The SSS’s are not the Social Security System but rather are Shield-Salvation-Sword to again help remember putting on the Shield of Faith, Salvation Helmet, and Sword of the Spirit. This is not just a lot of BS! Instead, these initialisms serve as a basic memory aide to remember how to put on the whole armor of God.[7] In summary, I think there is room for more “trust” in the CI between Evangelical leaders and their congregants to both understand and withstand the threat from spiritual warfare.

FORCES is an acronym that helps leaders analyze their “vital instincts.”[8] F-fairness, O-ownership, R-reciprocity, C-cooperation, E-Expression, and S-status are the vital instincts to review and evaluate when conducting CI strategies with other people or groups.[9] Glaser says we are “hardwired” with vital instincts embedded into our multi-sensory systems.[10] Coming from 28 years in public safety and criminal investigations I have to agree with Glaser that these instincts are part of our leadership DNA. However, in my experience these instincts do not always turn on automatically and many of them may require additional training and practice. In the Christian leader’s role, prayer and reflection help activate the needed instincts. Glaser’s guide on CI has similarities to Elder’s guide on critical thinking, which is the “analyzing and evaluating” of thinking with the goal of improvement.[11]  I believe Glaser’s vital instincts and FORCE principle have synergy with Elder who describes a cultivated critical thinker as a person who questions, assesses, interprets, reasons, tests, explores, communicates, and finds solutions.[12]

Reviews of Glaser are as follows: Heckman says Glaser’s CI serves as a leader’s playbook on how to identify new paradigms and improve effectiveness on and off the job.[13] Glaser is a very popular and often cited leadership coach who has over 20 positive reviews for her CI work. I only found one negative review from Publishers Weekly who criticize Glaser’s use of “contrived acronyms and unnecessary trademarking” and believes she fails to deliver on her promise of conversational enhancements.[14] All in all, Conversational Intelligence was a good review and supplement to add to our global leadership and perspectives collection. I will keep this book in my electronic data base and leadership guide tool-kit.

See you in HK!

Stand firm,

M. Webb

[1] Judith E. Glaser. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. (Brookline, MA: Bibliomotion, 2014) 55-56.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Matt. 10:16.
[4] Ps. 118:8-9, Ps. 41:9, Prov. 3:5-6.
[5] Gal. 6:2, Heb. 10:24, Jam. 5:14, 16, Rom. 12:15.
[6] I purposely do not keep formal count but know we have distributed over 2000 AOG challenge coins in 4 languages.
[7] Eph. 6:10-18.
[8] Glaser, CI, 101.
[9] Ibid., 102.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Linda Elder and Richard Paul. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Kindle ed. (Tomales, CA: The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2009) Location 29.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Lucy Heckman. “Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results.” Library Journal 138, no. 19 (2013): 100.
[14] Al Zuckerman. “Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Book Review).” Publishers Weekly 260, no. 32 (2013): 52.


About the Author


8 responses to “Trust but Verify”

  1. I will now and forevermore remember PPP, BBB, and SSS! Memory devices like that really work for me. (I just tested myself on them to make sure I wasn’t lying about remembering them forever, and I got a little mixed up with the SSS because I was trying to put “shoes” of peace in there. Then I remembered that those were “boots”, and got the right three Ses:)). Are there specific ways that you teach people the “put-on” step? And how is that step different from the “pray” step?

    • M Webb says:

      Thanks for reviewing my post and making some excellent observations and questions. Yes, putting on the armor of God, as Paul describes, is a divine process that follows a precise order. It is like a recipe or checklist that must be followed for the intended supernatural outcome and successful defense against spiritual warfare.

      If Paul had meant for us to pray first he would have said that. Instead, in order to pray as God intended, without the harassment and distractions of the evil one, we must be wearing our full armor of God. Only then, are we in the proper position and defensive posture to pray the urges and unspoken desires that the Holy Spirit knows we need to talk with the Father about.

      Putting on the armor comes in 2 phases of 3 pieces each based on wearing Christ as armor like Roman soldiers wore. The 1st 3 pieces are ours when we become a Christian shown by the tense of the verb “Having” put on the belt, breastplate, boots….the next 3 pieces are action oriented, faith based as shown by the tense of the verb “Taking” the shield, salvation helmet, and sword.

      When I share the “putting on” phases there is a lot more context and metaphorical association with Christ to each individual piece of armor. Would love to share with you more at your convenience.
      Stand firm,
      M. Webb

  2. Mark A Petersen says:

    Good morning Mike,

    Thanks for your handy tutorial on PPP, BBB and SSS!

    It keeps striking me that rather than a new technique, yours is a revisioning of ancient practices for spiritual formation. I’ve mentioned before the rosary, but another thought I had today is the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. In those, we are encouraged at the beginning and end of each day to reflect on how we saw God at work, and how we failed to see him at work through our lives. These are called consolations and desolations, and then we offer them up and ask for grace for a new day. I am imagining that in praying the AOG one can move into a place of contemplation in reviewing how one wears the shoes (boots!) of peace in relationships, or wears the helmet of salvation, etc. The Spirit then gently corrects or encourages, and we align with God’s love.

    • M Webb says:

      Thanks for your review, comments, and questions. I so appreciate you and your perspective and insights. I believe the armor is a necessary rather than optional spiritual directive that we must follow in order to “stand firm” in these evil days. Otherwise, the result is spiritual blindness in degrees of severity among our fellow Christians and ministry leaders.
      That is why I am so passionate, because I am an armor of God bearer. The Holy Spirit has given me so much conviction, compulsion, and boldness to speak Paul’s truth to anyone and everyone He puts before me.

      You and the LGP8 Cohort help me further contextualize, frame, practice, and advance this awesome ministry task; helping others both understand and withstand the effects of spiritual warfare.

      Stand firm,

      M. Webb

  3. Jay Forseth says:


    Oh yes! There it is, the phrase that I first learned from you when we first were getting to know each other, “Trust but verify”! Seriously, I have used and tested that phrase a bunch of times, and it works!

    I actually remember saying the phrase to myself when I was reading this book, no kidding. There are so many things that are useful from this book, and it sounds so good, so I will “trust but verify”!

    See you soon my Brother!

    • M Webb says:

      JoAnne and I look forward to our HK reunion with you and the LGP8 cohort.
      Yes, I trust more now than I did 10 or 20 years ago, but there are so many forces at play that I believe we must always apply the Scriptural litmus test and prayer for wisdom and discernment before trust is earned or deserved. Our “gut” feeling, for those walking with the Lord, is the immediate Holy Spirit tool of discernment and wise direction we should exercise on all matters, big and small.

      See you in HK.
      Stand firm,
      M. Webb

  4. Jason Turbeville says:

    Very good insight into Glasser’s book. I loved your ability to take her work and meld it with your own. I have always struggled to remember things in lists (probably as a result of to many concussions). I loved your use of BBB and SSS those are great tools.

    See you in a few.


  5. Greg says:

    I am in agreement with those above, I so value you thoughts and opinions. The reminder of the Armor of God is key to sustainability in His work. So often I have thought of you and it reminded me of the armor at a crucial time. Thank you for communication this concept of the Lord well and often. We all learn by repetition. See you soon.

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