Your Business is Dead on Arrival (DOA) without ‘’Trust’’

As a business that supports organisations through their people strategy, we repeatedly deal with the problem of loyalty. Most employers complain and often think they have engaged the wrong team member. Sometimes, this is the case but most of the time, the root cause of the lack of loyalty is ‘’Trust’’; trust in business.

When your employees or team members do not trust you, it becomes near impossible for them to apply themselves sufficiently to the point of delivering excellence. They are neither committed to the person nor the vision and only do the minimum required to remain on the job in order to keep body and soul together. The result being mediocrity and/or a high level of attrition; either one of which is unsettling for any business.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary describes trust as ‘’assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something’’

Every word in the definition of trust is poignant but the phrase ‘’reliance on character’’ stands out. My interpretation of it meaning that I can be 100% sure about the outcome of any input, forgive the mathematical brain.

 

Trust in business is important because when in effect:

  • You can predict an outcome;
  • Prediction breeds confidence;
  • Confidence breeds security;
  • Security breeds loyalty;
  • Loyalty draws out the best in your team and eventually takes you to the bank.

The bank is where business owners want to be, yet, we consistently miss the most critical ingredient of all; building trust.

Trust in business is not easy to build but build it you must because a trust-able system reflects on your customers and your business’s bottom-line.

As a leader, trust goes beyond how you feel or what your personal circumstances are at any point; trust requires that you remain committed even when you get outcomes you do not like; trust is uncomfortable and painful but building trust is growth.

 

How to build trust:

  • Be transparent, be fair and be just in your dealings with your team members
  • Be consistent: do what you say and say what you do
  • Show that you value your team
  • Reflect your values in your day to day operations
  • Do what is right rather than what is comfortable

 

Things to build trust around:

  • Your culture
  • Your quality of service
  • Your processes
  • Your people; from engagement to management

 

If you want to accomplish your business goals, building a trustworthy environment is non-negotiable. The benefits outweigh the risks and our recommendation will always be to stay committed to the process.

 

“If you don’t have trust inside your company, then you can’t transfer it to your customers.” —Roger Staubach

It’s Who We Are

Our organisational culture reflects what we say and what we do. It has become important to us that we constantly remind ourselves why we do what we do and the things that motivate us.  In the early days, we were fortunate to serve clientele who modeled our beliefs and part of our evolution means that we have had to work with people we came to know had differing thoughts. For clients where our beliefs converged, we consulted and implemented with glee and absolute delight even though the outcomes were slow in coming. When they did become tangible, neither the business, its people nor our team remained the same; we grew in ways that only experience can make you grow.

 

Over time, we have come to realise how lucky we were to work with such visionaries as CEO’s of Hatfield Consult Limited  and Maybrands Limited. We know now that the quality of clients we have is more important than the number of clients and how what solutions we proffer we must tie into our core values as an organisation. At some point, we did take on whoever could pay us anything, because after all, bills needed to be paid. As things unfolded, we knew without a doubt that we needed to be true to our organisational culture and who we are. This type of decision comes at a cost; we had to temporarily pause or outright end existing business relationships so that we could focus on making sure what we do tied into who we are and why we do any of it. We needed ‘’intent’’ to reflect in everything we did.

 

Our tagline at UnoCasa is ‘’Your People Are Your Advantage’’; it is our culture to embody that notion in all our practices; in-house in the way we treat each other and externally, in the way we interact with teams in organisations we serve. We believe every single person can thrive if you find what makes him or her tick. Our solutions are human centred, they have to be, people are an organisation’s greatest asset, they transform the intangible into tangible, and emotions make them peculiar and interesting to nurture. When people are watered, they blossom. We love helping clients find the water.

When we served businesses that did not value their people, we struggled. In the end, we made a liberating decision; we would no longer take on any business that was not committed to its people.

In essence, the ying to our yang:

  1. Understand the realities of today’s talent pool and are willing to be creative about pre- or up-skilling potential and current talent
  2. Have a desire for people to grow personally, professionally and financially
  3. Know that growing their people has a direct impact on how quickly and how well their business grows

These people are aware that they may not like some of the outcomes but commitment to the process will yield benefits in ways that only posterity can tell.

We’re working with clarity, we’re working with purpose, we’re working with passion. We’re excited, we’re buzzing and we’re tickled at the thought of all the meaningful work ahead of us; it’s not just words, it’s who we are.

Diversity in the workplace – A new perspective to team working

 

One of the key attributes for organisations in the digital era, is the ability to respond in a nimble way to the requirements of the marketplace in which they operate. To do this successfully, organisations have to adequately understand the issues their customers face, and proffer solutions that tackle them; whilst keeping in view the wide variations in the life experiences of their customer base, which impact on how acceptable a solution might or might not be. Diversity in the workplace often provides the basis for which a wide range of views and solutions can be provided.

 

Ask anyone what they understand diversity in the workplace to mean, and the response would typically be about ensuring gender, ethnic or race balance among staff, but might include, depending on the location of the organisation, religious plurality and blindness to sexual orientation. While these are indeed important dimensions that need addressing through appropriate human capital recruitment strategies, an important element that is currently receiving attention, is diversity of thought within organisations as a whole, but teams in particular.

 

A recent Harvard Business Review publication considers the effect of cognitive diversity on the success or failure of teams. It defines cognitive diversity as “differences in perspective or information processing styles”. Essentially, this relates to the differences in how people consider and address challenges, based on their individual life experiences, backgrounds and culture, and how these translate into how they might consume information or proffer/create solutions to problems.

 

Cognitive diversity presents itself in ways that are easy to overlook. People hire from sources they are familiar with, for example a lot of hires are alumni of the same schools (where the same way of thinking is typically taught), and of similar backgrounds as those that recruit them. More importantly, people hire or build teams of those who think like them, ensuring that there is very little conflict as a result of diversity of thought, but limiting the likelihood of ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions to problems.

 

Having teams with people from different disciplines offers one solution to diversity in the workplace and helps in remediating this issue. However, ensuring that there is diversity in the life experiences of members of teams and organisations, by hiring differently, reduces the inclination to conform to fixed norms, and the improves the likelihood of having successful teams and organisations.

 

Money Quest: The People/Equipment Debacle

We know without a doubt that people are an organisation’s greatest asset; why do most companies continue to treat equipment and machinery better than people?

 

Love people and use things, don’t use people and love things…. John Zedomi, MD/CEO John Zedomi & Associates

 

In my search for what business assets are, I was unable to find any technical document that lists people. Perhaps this is why people are the least considered form of investment in a business and instead often thought of as liabilities.

 

Every equipment requires maintenance for optimum performance; preventive maintenance is usually advised as it guarantees a higher level of return on your investment over time.

The sorts of equipment that require preventive maintenance are equipment:

  1. Whose functions are essential to your operations
  2. That can fail from frequent use over time
  3. That have a failure point which can be prevented from planned maintenance

 

The process for creating a preventive maintenance plan in broad strokes is:

  1. Defining the metrics and process for checks
  2. Determining a procedure that best fits defined metrics
  3. Creating a Preventive Maintenance (PM) budget
  4. Following your Preventive Maintenance plan to the letter

 

If people are an organisation’s greatest assets, why is it so hard for us to be as detailed and dedicated to a process that ensures the maximum ROI? We offer the following suggestions:

 

  1. Buy the right ‘’equipment’’ – buying the right people on your team mean that you have considered the expectations of certain roles and have adequately budgeted the resources required to warehouse them for a certain period.    Typically, businesses want people that ‘’fall within their budget’’ but buy equipment that is needed to deliver the expected results. It is necessary to weigh the considerations before deciding on a hiring approach; budget versus quality.
  2. Create a PM plan that ensures optimum performance – I like flexi hours; it may not be right for every business but every business should consider a number of strategies to reduce the ‘’wear and tear’’ of its employees due to travel and other factors that make up stress.
  3. Allow for flexibility in a way that your people can accomplish their deliverables. Consider a busy city like Lagos with insufficient infrastructure for its population. Roads being the main form of connection, most workers are in unending traffic during the work-week. There is hardly any room for leisure and other activities that make for a wholesome person. What kind of hours do you work? How much time can your people take off? When can they take it? Are they allowed to work remotely at all? Can tasks be accomplished in shifts?
  4. Adhere to the PM Plan – Allow your people get downtime when they need it. This allows them recharge and improves their output.
  5. Apply the budget – PM is an expense that averts the greater expense of either corrective maintenance or equipment replacement. It is cheaper to pay health insurance and leave allowances than it is to continually engage new hires. This is an investment in your people like you do with any other business asset.

 

For maximum ROI, and that’s what every business owner wants, treat your people like they are your organisation’s; they really are!