The Trilateral Leadership Ledger

25 Jan

The Trilateral Leadership Ledger

One of the best books I have ever read on personal leadership and developing yourself is Launching a Leadership Revolution, by my good friend Orrin Woodward and his colleague Chris Brady.  One of the key things I took from this book the first time I read it was something called the Trilateral Leadership Ledger.  I had never heard of it before, but it made so much sense.

For leaders, growth cannot be optional.  Continual improvement must be present or you will be left behind.  The only way to keep pace with increasing responsibilities is through increased ability.

Personal growth must come before your influence with others because your influence stems from your personal abilities.  The process of becoming a leader starts with a lot of effort, which results in internal improvements the outside world cannot yet see.

Because personal growth is internal, and results show up much later, it is helpful to have a way to self-assess and track progress.  This self-assessment tool is the Trilateral Leadership Ledger.


Leaders can use this tool to measure their leadership abilities in three main categories; Character, Tasks, and Relationships.  The left vertical measures the effectiveness of the leader in the three categories across the bottom horizontal.  Effectiveness ranges from zero (worst) to ten (best).  Every leader’s goal should be to grow in the mastery of each of category.

Three Categories of Personal Effectiveness


Orrin and Chris make a bold, yet accurate statement in regards to character; “Nobody lacking character will succeed in a meaningful way”.  So those looking to be successful in something meaningful in their lives have only one choice, develop their character.  For the purpose of using the TLL to gauge personal growth, character is considered to include:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Courage
  • Proper values based on absolute truths
  • Faith
  • A humble spirit
  • Discipline
  • Self-mastery


This category represents the ability to get things done.  No leader can succeed without the ability to complete the necessary tasks to win.  For assessing a leader’s effectiveness in the task category, the following should be considered:

  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Work ethic
  • Availability
  • Willingness to invest time
  • Tenacity
  • Perseverance
  • Execution


This category measures a leader’s ability to get along with, and form lasting bonds with people.  Leaders cannot experience success alone, they must accomplish things through, with, and for people.  Without the ability to build strong relationships, that accomplishment would be impossible.  Leaders can asses their effectiveness in this category by looking at their abilities in:

  • accepting people
  • approving people
  • appreciating people
  • seeing the good in people encouraging people caring for and about people
  • putting others first
  • seeking win-win arrangements
  • helping people accomplish tasks
  • living the “Golden Rule”

To use the TLL you must first begin with an honest self-assessment.  This will offer your starting point.  You can then estimate your improvement with re-evaluations.  This way, as a leader, you can keep yourself on track and be sure you are always in a state of improvement.

To get your TLL score, estimate yourself in each of the three categories and give yourself a ranking from 0 to 10.  Then to get your overall score, multiply those values together.  For example, character (3), tasks (1), relationships (2), would give you an overall score of 6.  Character (4), tasks (2), relationships (1) would give you a score of 8. But be wary of overestimation, only when you confront the brutal reality of where you are, will you be able to achieve where you want to be.  Asking a mentor’s opinion of your self assessment would be a good place to start to determine if you have over (or under) estimated yourself.

A perfect score on the TLL would be 1000 (10x10x10), which seems daunting considering the examples just given.  But if the individual in the first example goes from a 3, 1, 2 to a 4, 2, 3, their score will increase from a 6 to a 24!  Small improvements can make a huge difference when using this leadership tool.

It is important for leaders to remember to grow in all three areas, not ignoring their weakest points and assuming their stronger qualities will make up for it.  If someone scored a 0 in the task category but was a 9 in character and a 7 in relationships, his overall score would still be 0.  If they even increased that score from 0 to 1, their score would jump to 63!  It is so important to grow in all areas of the TLL.

The compounding effect of the three categories is astonishing.  Real leaders won’t let themselves stay ineffective in one category when it is holding back their overall influence.  If honestly considered, a leader’s score can reveal their blind spots and identify an area that needs improvement.  If there is an area that is holding them back, a plan for improvement can then be developed.

The ‘perfect’ score of 1000 is unattainable.  We are imperfect humans and therefore we will never arrive at perfection.  However, we should never end our pursuit of it.  If we think we have arrived at a level that is ‘good enough’, we have already started to slip backwards.  It has been said that if you are not improving, you are getting worse, there is no staying still. Continual improvement in all areas of the Trilateral Leadership Ledger is key to attaining success and becoming an influential leader in something meaningful.

God Bless,



32 Responses to The Trilateral Leadership Ledger

  1. chad waters

    January 25, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hi Wayne,

    Great book! It’s on my list to read yet again as a refresh of any good book and information repeated is information gained! They cover great topics and growth is something we must strive to do daily. Every day without growth is a loss of growth.

    God Bless

  2. Barry Bauman

    January 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Awesome post Wayne!
    I like this so much that I have printed it out so I will have it for reference.
    I have in the last few weeks been reviewing the LLR book and this post is very timely.
    Thanks Wayne for the Leadership and Mentorship through the written page.
    I look forward to your posts.
    Thank you for being a Leader that always goes that extra kilometre in everything you do.
    About Changing Lives

  3. Wade & Rhonda Hamblin

    January 25, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    A fantastic way to check the scoreboard on our leadership abilities!! Thank you for sharing you insight to this Wayne.

  4. Aaron Knelsen

    January 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Wayne, always good to read your post! The book, LLR, is AWESOME! Continual growth is for sure a must and is fun. Thanks Man.

  5. Matt Carter

    January 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I enjoy your weekly blogs Wayne. They’re a great refresher for all of the great information we’ve been reading and listening to. Thanks a ton for your awesome leadership!

  6. Carrianne Hall

    January 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Fantastic article Wayne! I can still remember the day you gave me a copy of the LLR as a gift. I was just brand new in the business and we were still building our friendship and trust. So touched by the gift, I went home and read every page. Little did I know at the time, how a gift of some new information would totally change my life! Thank you to you and Raylene for being such great friends and mentor’s. Loving me just were I was, and giving me the tools to become (and still working on it) the best “Carrianne” I can be.

  7. Stu Hall

    January 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Your posts are awesome, Wayne. One of the many reasons I consider myself blessed to be in business with you. You lead from the front. A great reminder to revisit the awesome LLR book by Orrin and Chris. Character x Tasks x Relationships = Leadership. Love this.
    Thanks Wayne. Great job.

  8. Patrick Clowater

    January 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Great post Wayne, I admit I had never heard of trilateral leadership either until reading the amazing Launching the Leadership Revolution book. I believe I have always tried to lead a life of good character and positive relationships , however I have always struggled in the completing tasks area of my life. I have learned from you and Claude Hamilton how to not only start the race but to finish the race strong! I have watched you both grow in all areas of your leadership journey and I will continue to do whatever I can to follow in your footsteps. God Bless you and thanks for being the leader or leaders all the way to 1 MILLION and beyond!

  9. Rob Duxbury

    January 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Hello Wayne.

    I was taken back when I first read LLR. A great book and a must read for all. It is a good reminder that progress is not instant but gradual over time.

    God bless,

  10. Scott Staley

    January 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Great blog Wayne. I can remember the 1st time I read that book – and talking to you about it (how I was disappointed in my score). I still remember that conversation and how impactful it’s been in my life.

    Thanks for all you do – keep leading from the front!

  11. Joce Dionne

    January 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Wayne, this is so good. I love the Trilateral Leadership Ledger. I remember when I first saw it, and read about it. It’s one of those slap in the faces that we all need. Probably one of the most “eye opening” moments for me personally. It’s a great tool for personal growth. Thanks for the great post bud!

  12. Michele Lewis

    January 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Great post Wayne.

  13. Joseph P Keller

    January 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Launching a Leadership Revolution is an amazing book and really shows us what it would take to step it up and lead. To not fool ourselves but to really measure and to inspect in order to expect. We are all called to lead at one time or another in our lives and this is a must read. Give it a read and see where you stack up with regards to your leadership for when I did it was a real eye opener. Lifelong learning starts with the right materials and LLR is one of those to put on your must read lists.
    Great Blog Wayne thanks for reminding me its time to read this one again!

  14. Rhys Plant

    January 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Man, I agree with Chad, the LLR is a great book, and definitely one that stays on my continuous reading shelf. And thank you for going over the Trilateral Leadership Ledger, it is a great re-fresher of some invaluable information

    Thank you

  15. kim ansty

    January 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I have been inspired to reread this book. Thanks for the quick yet informative synopsis of this book.

  16. Phil Wall

    January 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Fantastic blog post Wayne. Some fantastic thoughts u have given. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Krista Debus

    January 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Thank you Wayne for this fantastic blog. What a great reminder. I still remember Orrin teaching this at a major function and how impactful it was. Looking forward to reading it again. Thanks again Wayne for leading from the front!

  18. Dave Smale

    January 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Great post Wayne, your article is a very good reminder of the information in the LLR book and how to keep score on ourselves. like Chad said it will go back on this years books to read. Keep up the awesome work.

  19. Fraser

    January 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Such a simple method to check your status. Love it

  20. Linda Sovey

    January 25, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I love reading your blogs Wayne.

    I remember the first time I read LLR. I thought wow this is good. And then a few months later, I read it again and it was like…..I don’t remember seeing that the first time. And then I read it again after my first year and I came to realize how much I have grown and learned.

    Keep up the great work Wayne!

  21. Steve Kendrick

    January 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Thanks! Your post reminded me of quite a few things I need to rearrange on my priority lists. I’m learning every day better ways to enhance learning, actions & results… figuring out the ways to track results are critical – as are the goal posts! I agree with some others here too… I’m printing this out!
    God Bless…

  22. Dave Begley

    January 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Fantastic information Wayne . Great reminder to grow into a leader in all areas and to make sure we measure our growth .

  23. Dave Robbins

    January 26, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Hi Wayne
    Awesome subject, continual growth and self improvement is the only way to discover what gifts and talents are inside of a person. A way to keep score and check for blind spots, fantastic! It might just be that the key to unlocking our full potential is hiding in one of those weak areas. Thanks Wayne great job.

  24. Alex Stiehl

    January 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Awesome post Wayne!
    The Trilateral Leadership Ledger and the Launching A Leadership Revolution book really give us a way to measure our own leadership and help us focus on where we need to grow.
    Thanks for sharing!

  25. Rick Britton

    January 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Amazing blog Wayne!! I love reading your blogs cause they give nuggets to help self-improve myself! Your an awesome leader that leads by example and from the front lines! Thank you for showing me another way that i can improve myself to get me one step closer to achieving my goals!

  26. Eva Knelsen

    January 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Awesome blog once again, Wayne! The LLR book is so full of invaluable information it was hard for me to really grasp it all on the first read so I am definitely looking forward to diving into it again. The way you’ve dissected it also helps me greatly to better comprehend what leadership is all about. Great job!

  27. Rose MacDonald

    January 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Another great reminder. I also remember reading this book for the first time and wondering what kind of people donate all the profit from their best seller to charity! What a great book, authors and blog!

  28. Page Gebhardt

    January 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Great post! So powerful! I love how you make the information so understandable and straight forward!

  29. Tony Tefel

    January 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Wayne, great job at the open in Syracuse last night.
    The information you covered here is one of the, if not the most important teachings on leadership of all kinds. Our country and the world leave out the character piece of leadership. A leader must be of character, they must do something significant, that helps someone else that they are influencing. Chris and Orrin have proven their leadership through the writing of this book and the results of real leadership by duplicating them through so many others.

  30. John Jinks

    February 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Amazing post Wayne. LLR blew me away the first time I read it and will probably take on more significance the next time through. Awesome job.

  31. Tony Tefel

    February 2, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    This may be a tough topic to get the first time through, but I guarantee it is incredibly important. The TLL is a detailed way to look at what we need to do to become better leaders in every aspect of our lives. The one thing that hit me is that all of the areas covered are easy for anyone to do….on a good day. The importance of this topic is making the skills that are covered in the book more of a habit so that we can be what other people need us to be no matter what our mood is, or what is happening around us. Thanks for covering it as you have!

  32. Marc Page

    February 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I love the insights the TLL provides into my effectiveness. Thanks for the share


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