Letter From The Editor: Trust Everyone; Trust No One; But Always Trust Yourself
In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson said, “The first casualty of war is truth,” but in 2010 I say that the first casualty of our great recession is trust. In this dubious recovery, many business owners tell me they plan to expand their businesses if they could only trust:
- Their customers to pay on time
- Their bankers to guarantee lending terms even at higher rates
- The political insanity to stop
Well, they and it won’t. But I am watching the most successful business owners learning to run their businesses like a game of “wack-a-mole.” They don’t know where the next menace will pop up, but they do know one will appear and they have learned to trust their ability to beat any threat down.
What and How to Trust
As a younger executive, my bosses told me to “trust everyone, trust no one.” Because I took it literally, it seemed so insincere. But later, after starting out as a naïve business owner risking everything, I learned what it really meant, “Follow the golden rule but protect your assets.”
But now after these last 24 not-business-as-usual months, “Trust everyone, trust no one” is insufficient because:
- Lawyers say a contract is less of a promise and more a guide for resolving a dispute
- Government voids time-honored commitments but then create new ones with little rhyme or reason
- Buyers will save themselves first at any cost to their vendors
But trust is an essential ingredient to profitably grow a business. An owner must trust there’s a demand for their products, and that loyalty among their staff and suppliers will come through. So how and what can a business owner trust? My advice in 2010 is to trust yourself and remember the old saying; Age and experience will always beat youth and energy.
Recognize that your intuition and judgment are only getting better. No one can take away your experience, education and expertise. It is more valuable than the news, money or even a consultant!
Develop the confidence and conviction you need to profitably grow your business in 2010. And trust yourself. The best reason why you will make good decisions is that you will believe in them!