Business based on Trust

There is something great about businesses and organisations that do their 'thing' based on trust. For example, some WHSmith (the newsagents) shops have an island near the front door that are full of the daily newspapers. The idea is that in the mornings, it gets so busy in the shop that for someone to come and pick up their daily newspaper, then queue up and pay just 30p just simple isn't worth it.

So, this island they have set up also comes with a money slot where customers can put their money in as they grab their newspaper. They are able to pick up their paper before putting money in, and it relies on the integrity of the customer to put what they owe, as it seems nobody is checking. Business based on trust.

Also, ultimately ebay is based on trust, to buy something on ebay relies on you having trust that the seller actually has the item, and will actually send it when they say they are going to send it. I know the percentages of duff purchases on ebay is minimal. Again, a business based on trust.

This week I wondered into Waitrose, who now provide a coffee machine, available to anyone to use for free as long as you have a Waitrose card (available for free). Apparently you need to scan your card wih the cashier before taking a coffee, but this machine could be used by anybody. Again, this business idea is based on trust.

Why do I love all this? I feel that through initiatives that are based on trust, I feel I am being treated with dignity, respect, and honour. Being given the space and trust from companies, I feel that I want to go back. The same goes in companies. When given more autonomy and trust, my reaction is to work harder, more effectively and I have a stronger sense of ownership and purpose in my work, or I have a stronger sense of loyalty to that person or organisation.

As a leader I'm realising this is important in order to build great teams. Give people the space to lead, give them the opportunities to make decisions, to have authority and responsibility, and they will run with it, take hold of it, and ultimately achieve better results and be more fruitful in what they do for longer. Trust people and more often than not they'll turn up for you.

A mentor of mine continually releases me to crack on with things, and often encourages me onto new adventures and new possibilities and when he was my line manager at work, would give me freedom and autonomy in my role. He would release me to get on with things saying “it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” I love this principle. Give autonomy. Trust people, and they'll support you for it.

What do you think? How do you feel when organisations trust you? Do you know times that has worked and it has been a great experience to release people to new things? How easy do you find it? Any bad experiences when releasing people (I'm sure there are some!).

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