10. Not Trusting People
People who work best alone or in start-up businesses sometimes find themselves turfed out as the business expands and they require different skills. Steve Jobs is probably the most famous example of this. A larger business means depending on more people, over whom no one has direct control. Many people struggle to give up direct control. Working indirectly with people to achieve your goals is a skill like any other.
While anyone who works at a senior level nurtures and regularly applies a cynical approach to their decisions, this is an essential but ultimately limiting approach. Even small businesses need assistance to keep running. A degree of trust is the foundation for all working relationships. At some point, one must let go of the cynicism and rely on trust and with faith.
People who have earned the trust of a leader deserve to have them give that trust unreservedly. They will repay that trust many times over. With all the training and coaching they do, there is a point where business owners and managers must rely on their junior staff to interact with customers. Tom Peters calls this, “the last two feet.” In this small space with the customer, people can and will disappoint or exceed expectations.
These days, where online shopping is common, it has become necessary to trust customers. Where retailers have some control over what happens in their stores, online retailers have little to no control over what happens on someone’s doorstep hundreds of miles away. As with staff, businesses can put control systems into place. But in the end, there is a need to rely on other people to ensure a mutual success.