[This is part of the series: 7 Tips To Make You Better At Business]
We know businesses that try to grow themselves out of problems are going about it all wrong.
In addition, trust is an important issue.
Trusting others can be hard, and unfortunately, for people that have been burned badly in the past, learning to trust again can be almost impossible.
The problem with this in the business world is that trusting others is a necessity.
Ever have a boss that didn’t trust you to complete the simplest of tasks? Who was always looking over your shoulder? It’s awful. Isn’t it?
We can all intuitive understand starting a business. Working twelve hour days to get it off the ground. Talking with customers. Haggling with vendors. Fretting over the bottom line. The back and forth with CPA’s and lawyers.
However, if a business is to have much of any growth beyond a one-man show, some of these tasks that were originally done completely by the founder will have to be delegated out to others.
The best way, I believe, to let some of the control go in a business you own or manage is to realize that you are already delegating a number of functions.
What about your attorney that helps you with the legal aspects of your business? You don’t file and draft all of your legal documents and contracts do you?
What about the CPA that you use? You probably don’t audit your own company and file your own business taxes.
How about cleaning services, or building repairs?
Now take these ideas to a few other areas of the company.
If you can trust a lawyer to manage the legal aspects of your company, and a CPA with the auditing and tax responsibilities of your company, can someone you hire with five years of accounting experience and an accounting degree not be trusted to handle accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, etc.?
Can someone with education and a previous marketing portfolio not be trusted to work independently on marketing projects?
Of course, all employees have oversight and deadlines, while having their final work subject to someone’s approval – that is not the issue here. Everyone is accountable.
Being accountable to a manager that trusts you is one thing, working for someone that does not trust you at all is something else entirely.
The issue of trust is clear in one particular encounter of banana magnate Sam Zemurray with the board of a company he would soon be running, as told by Rich Cohen in his book: The Fish that Ate the Whale. Cohen writes:
“The corporate officers then discussed a request from a plantation manger, who wanted $10,000 to build an irrigation ditch in Guatemala. The executives called on experts, who detailed the costs and benefits of the project. Zemurray grew restless. To him, such a debate was symptomatic of a greater problem. The executives running United Fruit did not understand their role, what they could and could not do. He raised his hand as stood to speak. This man in Guatemala, he’s your manager, isn’t he? Zemurray asked. Yes. Then listen to what the man is telling you. You’re here, he’s there.” said Zemurray. If you trust him, trust him. If you don’t trust him, fire him and get a man you do trust on the job.”
The fact is that executives, or business owners, that are unable to trust others are generally horrible managers.
Have trust issues? Get over it.
Unless you are a one-man shop, you need to learn to delegate. And that requires learning to trust people.
Like the banana man said: If you don’t trust who is reporting to you, fire them and hire someone you do trust.
It is as simple as that.