The book begins by describing the well known "Capacity Ladder", which usually has "four basic rungs". According to this model, the progression to competent leadership runs through four stages: 1) discover what you can do, 2) develop your capacities, 3) acquire a title or position, and 4) attain individual potential. What is wrong with this picture? Perhaps not much in itself. "We have a born impulse to better our lives." However, this may not be "sufficient to ensure that our abilities will result in positive influence or an enduring legacy". "Character immaturity" may lead to self-defeating behaviours, or leaders may rise up the capacity ladder, and "have a negative impact on those around them".
The authors therefore present the "Character Ladder" as an alternative. This simple concept underlies the entire book. The ladder has five rungs instead of four. The first is "stepping up through an act of trust". Above all, this means "expressing your willingness to trust God" for the future. The second is "choosing vulnerability". This means the courage "to come under another's influence", not to go it alone. The third is "aligning with truth". This means "to love and be loved as you reach for your dreams". The fourth is "paying the price". At this mature stage of leadership, "leaders face the greatest challenges from without", and need to go about "regaining objectivity" -- in particular spiritual perspective. The fifth rung is "chutes and leaders". This refers to failure, and the temptation to "take the easy way out".
This is a well written book -- a lightweight read which explains some important concepts, building on a well proven model. However, I had the sense that the book elevated "God's standard" -- character, values, and principles -- to too high a status, and placed too great an emphasis on the source of destiny lying in "the heart".