The business is now heavily networked and we operate with many different partners. The partnership is based on trust, not agreements, although those are needed sometimes too. I am not quite sure that we have the courage to trust to our partners, staff, each other or customers.
Just to give a few examples:
- Do we enable our staff to adjust their tasks or working hours. The staff performance should be evaluated by results, not hours spent in the workplace.
- Do we provide tools and authorities for our customer service staff for solving the practical issues in the customer service independently or have we created a heavily controlled hierarchy.
- Do we start building partnership by starting lengthy negotiations for creating agreements or do we start by mutual discussions about how we can add value and improve the customer experience.
- Are we prepared to share our contacts in places like LinkedIn or do we restrict the view for our contact network. The purpose of LinkedIn is to find and contact new possible partners, as far as I have understood it.
- Do we inform our customers openly of the mock-ups we have made and inform them our actions to stop further problems. Or do we cover our bad operations in order that the customers do not need to know them.
I confess that I am a positive, naïve person. I believe that people mostly want to do the right thing and do it in the best possibly way. When the organization has been successful in informing its mission to all employees and has also been successful for convincing the staff about the mission, it is easier for everybody to do the right thing. The company’s goal should not differ of the staff’s goal – if they do there is a constant battle going on and that is not good for anybody. If the organization – whether it is a company, network or any other combination where people work for common goal is based on mistrust and cover up, it is impossible to build the spirit of trust. The trust is earned by deeds not by words.
An essential topic in building trust is fully transparent operation. We are living in a networked world, where customers, employees, media and also other stakeholders are interested in companies operation. If the company does not want to be transparent, it has totally different value base than the society around it. It is perfectly clear that every company has some business secrets that should not be open to everybody. However, I believe that there are not so many business secrets as some companies believe. Since nowadays there are enormous amount of data available from different sources, a professional – for example a journalist – can dig most of the data from public sources and figure out the rest.
I strongly believe that in the modern world openness and trust to other people, customers, colleagues, network partners, business associates and to everybody is an essential part for doing business. We all should build a business environment where trust is the starting point.
So you should ask yourself: do you want to be a cynical pessimist or a naïve positivist.
I proudly sign up as the last one.