A TAIPAM once told his treasurer, “You know, when we started this company, we were always starving for operating funds. Now that we have grown so big, cash is no longer a problem. Our problem now is to find people we can trust with all that money.”
Trust is the oft-forgotten factor for career success. One can graduate at the top of his class, be blessed with killer looks or sell ice to Eskimos. But if nobody trusts him, he can’t get hired, let alone land in sensitive positions. Therefore, one’s future soars or sinks to the extent of his trustworthiness.
Your first task is to get an employer to trust you. When we think about it, pretty much of our interactions are based on sheer trust. When I step into a taxicab, how can I know the driver won’t pull a gun and haul me to who knows where? Not much. Yet I take a chance anyway that he will bring me to my destination safe and sound.
Getting hired is like that. Suppose you are the applicant in a job interview. Your goal is to sell yourself, that is, give the potential employer evidence that he can trust you with the job. The evidence includes your resume, past experience and character references. A savvy employer knows that there is always the risk, no matter how small, that you may look good on paper but will turn out to be a liability once aboard his organization. When he decides to take you in, congratulations, you have won his trust. He is taking a chance that you will turn out to be an asset, after all. The job offer is his vote of confidence in your favor.
Your next task is to increase that trust. Once hired, many people “just do their jobs.” No. Make your employer think and feel that he has made a wise decision in hiring you. He has invested a certain level of initial trust. Now validate that trust and enrich it. Don’t let him down. Let the higher-ups (the business owner, the CEO or the Board of Directors) tell your boss, “Where did you get this guy? He’s pure gold!” rather than “Why did you get this guy? He’s dead weight!” Be a source of pride, not derision.
The strategy is to fulfill your responsibilities or, better yet, exceed his expectations. Keep your promises. Meet your targets. Respect timetables. Be scrupulously honest. Do things before you are asked. Such behavior, consistently done, will make the boss be more confident to entrust you with bigger roles. For you, that means career advancement and professional growth.
Don’t stop with your job description. Identify the valuable things the employer is entrusting you with. If they were not valuable, there is no need for trust. Then protect and improve them. For example, if you are in sales, the employer is counting on you to enhance the company’s reputation, strengthen customer relationships, expand market share and generate more revenues. A similar case can be made if you are in manufacturing, finance, quality assurance or human resources.