My job as the national field sales manager for the largest particleboard manufacturer in the country entails that I manage field-based sales people across North America. I was in Canada this week, one of three destinations in three days, and my customer asked how I managed eight direct employees all in different regions. This is a question I get fairly often; probably because managing is hard enough without adding in the barrier of distance. Whether you are managing people within the same space or out, and I’ve done both, not much changes if how you manage is based on one thing—trust.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. In the real world, trust means different things to different people but it usually boils down to one thing: trust is critical to your success, both personally and professionally.
When I have trust in my employees, chances are their careers will flourish as long as their performance remains worthy of my trust. I am always willing to support them, challenge them, and mentor them, if they demonstrate trustworthy character and reliability. Building that trust which takes time and consistency.
I am happy to say that I trust my people, and I trust my process.
The process part is easy and indispensible. It can work in different industries and situations. Trusting my people is made easy when they follow the process. When I hire someone my expectations are simple and clear—follow the process to hit our goals. The process involves budgeting, a plan to hit the budget, scheduling work, executing that work in the most efficient and effective way possible and following up on whether the plan is making the budget. As their manager, we work together to set up their road map of activities to reach their budget and I am by their side in execution when they need me.
A common oversight is when managers do not follow-up regularly to see if the plan is on track. The follow-up is the critical part. I put a matrix together to allow the organization to see where each person in my group ranks vs. their budget and this shows where I am vs. my total budget. So it is simple to trust your people if you have the right process in place.
The most incredible thing about trust is that it makes things, all around, better for everyone. To explain the benefits I’ve entrusted myself to these words from another article around What is trust? “Trust forms the foundation for effective communication, employee retention, and employee motivation and contribution of discretionary energy, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work.”
Trust is seen as being critical to organizational health. And when an organization is healthy in today’s market that’s saying something.
Richard Goering, Guest Blogger, Roseburg Forest Products
Richard Goering, Guest Blogger, 3C Network
Richard is a top performing sales and operational leader in the building industry backed by 18 years of experience. He currently is the Executive Vice President of 3C Network. His previous position was as the General Manager, for BlueLinx Corporation (a leading national wholesale distributor) presiding over the entire northwest & mountain regions of the US including Hawaii and Alaska. Richard’s career path has encompassed various positions held across the nation and abroad. He has a B.S. in Sport Management and a minor in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University. Richard currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Shiloh and children.