When I had my vending business one of the pillars we had in our company was the following statement:
You are the expert at your job.
We expected and after several years people believed that they were the experts at their job. There was no one in the company who knew more about their particular job than the person doing it.
To make this expectation real on our employees part the following had to happen:
- We needed to stop telling people what to do. Instead we needed to learn to ask questions about what was the best way to deal with an issue.
- We had to require that people show personal responsibility about their expertise. Employees who were not willing to be personally responsible would have to leave the company.
- We had to include our employees in solving problems that came up in their work responsibilities.
- We had to learn to let employees make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
- We had to trust that our employees had an interest in doing a great job and provide our customers with quality food service at a reasonable price.
- We had to let our employees own the consequences of their decisions.
- We had to make sure our employees didn’t blame others when things in their work area didn’t go as well as they might have.
The bottom line with allowing our employees being experts at their jobs was we needed to stop telling and start listening. We of course asked questions, but the people who really knew what was going on were the people doing the job.
It took us years to make this change. Not because we didn’t want to, but because we had some people who wanted to tell and not ask in management. We had to break old habits and old habits are hard to break. We had to learn to trust our employees and realize that mistakes they made were not malicious but just honest mistakes.
These changes took a long time because we would take one step forward and two steps back. Then we would take two steps forward and one step back. After several years we learned that we really did trust our people to do the right thing. That was when everything changed.
What about your company? Do you trust your people to do the right thing? What happens when they make a mistake? Do you allow them to learn or do you shoot the messenger?
I’ve put together a special report on hiring for unique abilities. This report talks about a hiring system that I’ve used for over thirty years that helps get the right person the first time. If you’re going to trust your employees it helps when you start with the right person. Click on the button below to get this report.