I’m not referring to an old TV show with Johnny Carson for anyone like me old enough to remember it. I’m talking about who you can depend on when it comes to advice or to complete a task well and on time. An old Harvard Business Review article said it comes down to integrity. Some of the interesting findings reported in the article, which I think are still true today, are:
- Power corrupts
- Confidence often masks incompetence
- It’s okay to trust your gut
So what do you do? How do you make decisions?
Here are some ideas to help:
Business News Daily said “happy, loyal employees need to feel trusted at work.” It goes on to say that “one of the best ways to build trust is by trusting.” This is all well and good, but one survey found an astonishing 75% of employees have stolen from their employers. This can be theft of inventory items, cheating on time sheets, or embezzling from the company. What can employers do?
- Track inventory carefully.
- Review the bookkeeper’s work.
- Consider monitoring employees who work remotely. It’s legal to do so and there are many tools to enable this.
Xero has a list of 10 tips to prevent employee theft.
Your professional advisers
Most small business owners rely on an attorney, a CPA, and perhaps other business advisers…a coach, a marketing company, etc. How do you know their advice is sound? There are no guarantees, but if you choose wisely, you’re likely to get solid advice. It’s up to you to decide whether to follow it.
Don’t take anything for granted. Just because you’ve worked with someone for a long time with good results, don’t assume that this will always be so. Stay on the alert.
The media—traditional and social media—present an array of conflicting information and advice. Who do you listen to? Which outlet or source can you trust? There’s no easy answer. Bias today is in just about every source, so you have to be careful.
For example, there’s always statistics to back up claims. But are those statistics reliable? Benjamin Disraeli, a British Prime Minister in the 19th century, said: “There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” How can you make business decisions based on statistics? For example, last October, 63% of economists predicted we’d have a recession in the next 12 months. Are we in a recession yet? You can find statistics supporting economists who suggest we won’t have a recession or that one can be averted.
The bottom line: You need to gauge what’s happening in your industry and in your location, regardless of what the “experts” say. While big companies may be doing layoffs, as reported in the media, you may not have any need to do so.
As President Ronald Reagan said, “trust, but verify.”
Before you trust anyone, do your due diligence. Check a job applicant’s claims. Read reviews online about companies and professional advisers you want to work with (although you have to be somewhat skeptical of what you read). And, as Harvard Business Review said, trust your gut.