I don’t think I am a man of aggression and violence, I don’t believe myself to be dishonourable or dishonest, I don’t believe I am scheming or wish to gain an advantage by exploiting others, I have no wish to advance myself at the cost of others. I have known many people in work, in business and in my personal life that the same could be said of, and in business I learnt that some would exploit people on their deathbed if it gave them financial gain. I have known people that search to find the vulnerable in order to exploit them for personal gain, some form of egocentric power kick I surmise, bringing out the near sadist in them – horrid people that worm their way into your business and personal life looking to ingratiate themselves with the unwary. I recall one such incident where a couple of people had over a few years made themselves out to be their boss’s friend, the person’s colleagues, the people they relied on, turned to in all matters of business, become part owners of the company. They portrayed a public image of professionalism, compassion and integrity, only to find out it was a shell as hollow as their sense of morality and humanity. They turned on their boss when the person was at their lowest ebb, attempting to take everything the person had worked for by rather foul and underhanded means. Such means included falsifying documents, emails and the like, all for the pursuit of power and money, nothing more than this. These people remain in a so called care industry and I am shocked at what I know they have done, yet they have spun a web of lies to cover their disgusting behaviour towards someone that trusted them. Perhaps this web will one day be exposed and the same web will hang them high for the world to see what they really are.
Now I tell the reader this shameful tale of betrayal towards another to demonstrate that in business one must be so careful, so cautious, so guarded and always protect that which is most valuable to you, your loved ones. Money can be replaced, friends can come and go, history shows empires rise and fall, but loved ones are your true allies, your true friends, will stand by you without the thought of rewards or gain – well in most cases. And this is where it overlaps with business, as one has to find people to work with that you try to trust, every business or commerce is about engaging with others directly or indirectly.
If and when your nucleus of an idea develops you will face the inevitable need to increase your level of employees. One always tries to keep the overheads to a minimum, and even with increased functionality and intuitiveness of IT the business person will at some point need to employ others to help. It’s a huge responsibility and a huge risk as demonstrated above, but it is unavoidable, so how can one minimise the risk? There are a few tricks that can help:
- Make sure you have a list of the essential skills you need the person to have and if anyone does not have this essential skills list then for heaven’s sake don’t employ them. If you do employ them then don’t moan when they can’t deliver what you want;
- Make sure you are clear about the tasks you want them to complete within the business and interview them as to whether or not they can evidence they have a basic ability to fulfil such tasks. If they can’t evidence or don’t have the abilities you need, then you have to ask again what are you doing giving this person YOUR money (as that’s what it boils down to) every month;
- Never be put off by someone’s outward sign of disability, if they have the skills set you need, if they have the ability to fulfil the tasks you need completing then what does it matter what disability they have. In fact some research shows that people with disabilities make the most loyal and reliable of employees for the following reasons:
- The person is really grateful that someone has been perceptive enough to see past the outward signs of disability;
- Grateful someone has been insightful enough to see the person and not the disability;
- Grateful that someone has seen the person’s ability and not their disability;
- Often the employer has had support from Access to Work to make sure the environment is conducive to the person doing their job, so why would they leave this behind;
- Often there is a special bond created because you have put your faith in the person, their ability and not seen the barriers;
This final tip is the clincher. Have your loved one as part of the interview process; make sure they know what you are looking for re skills and abilities. The reason to me is clear, they only have your interests at heart, they know you better than you know yourself, they will know the person that suits you best and fit in with your personality, your machinations. It has worked for me and involves including your dearest in what you are trying to achieve, as often you are trying to achieve success for them. It also helps to have someone watching and weighing someone up when you are busy asking questions, listening to answers, engaging intently with the candidate. To have someone looking in and seeing the things you miss is invaluable and for that person to be someone you know you can trust is essential;
Having the right team is crucial to success, the right skills mix, the right balance or abilities, core knowledge, experience, etc. These first few employees will make or break your aspirations and you will be investing a lot in them in terms of time, resources and money. So do what you have to do to make sure you get the right people in, as these will be the foundation of your future in commerce. But remember they are employees, and with that comes a needed barrier. You can be friendly with your employees, heck I would strongly encourage it, but they are not your friends. They rely on you to make the right decisions so that they can pay their mortgage and bills, you may even need to deal with performance and disciplinary matters, so to maintain a slight distance of impartiality is really useful and much needed.
To breach this barrier and allow them to be your friends, to be emotionally connected and invest in them on this level is to invite trouble. How on earth can you maintain impartiality and act in the best interests of your company and in this respect also the best interests of your family if you are compromised emotionally. It’s just a train wreck waiting to happen and your employees will respect you much more if you stick to clear communication, passing of your vision onto them, inspire them, lead from the front and take the company forward with them. These are the aspects of your role that are important to your employees and it is important that you get this right; you can always make friends down the pub if you need to. One last thing, be careful who you trust and who you allow into your company, as it is you and your family that may pay the price for your openness, this is business so keep it that way.
Smiling Cat Ventures and Innovations Group
Smiling Cat Ventures Ltd (www.smilingcatventures.org)
Innovative Minds At Work Ltd (www.innovativemindsatwork.org)
Moments in Time Ltd (www.momentsinmind.org)
Innovative Business Consultancy Ventures Ltd (www.ibcv.org.uk)
Systems of Equality Ltd
Passport to Care Ltd (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Spiritual Inclusion (Social Enterprise – Not For Profit)
Disability In Business Centre (in development)
InnovationG3 (commenced February 2013)
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