He was monitoring their work habits closely and even checking in with his employees after they went home for the day, recalls Stephen M.R. Covey, the Utah-based CEO of consultancy and trust practice company CoveyLink.
The effect he had on workers was just the opposite, Mr. Covey said. "All this time and money finding them and training them, and they'd leave in a couple of months."
Mr. Covey will be in Ottawa June 11 to speak about what he calls "smart trust." In the business world, this can mean believing in your workers or that a deal will close. The key is to do enough due diligence to protect yourself.
OBJ and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce will host the event with two national magazines, Canadian Government Executive and IT In Canada. (Tickets are available here.)
Mr. Covey's new book, Smart Trust, uses examples in the business world ranging from Warren Buffett doing a $23-billion takeover on a handshake, to a bicycle shop in Connecticut allowing its customers to test-drive bikes without giving a security deposit.
For Boeing, which has a presence in Ottawa, Mr. Covey says the company has a special relationship with Southwest Airlines. Through years of working together to get an airplane ready for service, Boeing demonstrated such a high standard of airplane construction that Southwest now combines its safety tests with that of Boeing's, saving time and money.
The son of the author Stephen Covey, who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, cautions there is a great example between smart trust and blind trust. Mr. Buffett can well afford to take the hit if something happens with the company he acquired. The bike shop determined that the amount of theft is far less than the amount of business it will obtain through trusting its customers.
"The idea is to trust and verify," he says, urging all business owners to always keep three things in mind:
- The situation - What it is you are considering trusting a person with (e.g. letting employees work from home);
- The risk - How likely it is your business will be negatively affected, which depends on the situation (e.g. working with clients in the military carries a higher risk than working with clients as a street vendor);
- Credibility - The history of the person or firm you are dealing with.
In most situations, Mr. Covey says he prefers to start with trust at the beginning. This is true of everyone from customers to new hires at his company.
"I generally think in such a situation it's better to start with trust. Why? They are part of the same company that hired you, and we hire winners."