As an employer over a variety of business ventures what did I want from my employee?
Sure I expected competence, and demanded a great work ethic, but more than that I was always looking for the ones I could trust.
My stand out people were ones I didn’t have to worry about, they had my heart, always gave to me and the business, they were trusted.
Being trusted is a two way situation and it’s not ‘soft stuff’. It has real financial and time impacts for both sides.
As I write this I remember two shopping incidents which show degrees of care, but in the end changed who I will trust. The first was last week when I was looking for a dress shop for my wife. It was a new shop and I couldn’t find it. So I popped into a jeans shop and asked the girl if she knew where the shop was. She said ‘no’ but 2 minutes later as I was 100m away I heard her behind me saying ‘excuse me I’ve found out where the shop is for you’.
My other incident (which is 15 years old but I still remember) was being in a so say posh department store in the UK and being served by a girl who barely could take her mobile from her ear while packing up my jeans and talked to me in gestures.
Guess which store I will be always shopping in? Guess which one I actually trust to give me great service and no problems. Which one gets my money?
Trust exists in a space that is genuine and respectful. It’s based on clarity of intent, keeping your agreement, and core personal values of integrity and competence.
For 15 years I imported from a German supplier on the basis of this trust. We had no written agreement. I didn’t need to consider they would go behind my back. Each side extended trust and commitment to each other and avoided endless legal and accounting procedures, which saved us both a lot of money. Naïve you say? Well I don’t think so as our trust was based on clear decisions between us, with regular contact and if necessary problem solving for our mutual benefit. We knew what each other needed and delivered these results. It was great and easy.
How different from other experiences were I have had to keep complex records and written files to ensure we can always say ‘well you said, we agreed…..’ to ensure we maintain business and get a good result. OK, but tiresome, costly, and in the end I would not do business again with this group because I can’t trust them.
Being ‘stand out and trusted’ isn’t a given. You have to earn it with historical results, respectful transparency, straight talking and unambiguous expectations. The great news is you can increase trust in many situations building on your personal qualities.
My belief is that in a world that has swung through massive distrust of political and financial systems what we are looking for now is this core quality. And we look for it in every contact and personally need to be alert to spending time on this ‘soft stuff’ for long term success.
Recommended book ‘The Speed of Trust’ by Stephen Covey