On the first day of my first full-time job, I could have gone and spent £10,000 on my own authority.
That sounds nuts today, doesn’t it?
Well, it probably was a bit nuts and it was reduced not long afterwards.
However, what it told me was that I was trusted. Everyone was. Trusted to use that spending power only where it was needed.
Does your organisation say it trusts its people?
Yet I bet that you have to justify every item on your travel expenses.
I bet there’s an ‘Employee Handbook’ that is several pages long, detailing all sorts of things you must and mustn’t do.
Do these rules say ‘we trust you’?
Or do they say “we think you’re a thief”, “we think you’re lazy” and “we think you will try to damage the organisation”?
As far as I know, no-one ever abused that authority to spend. No-one went off and bought a car, or a big fancy watch or weekend for two at a nice country hotel.
Even if a few did, the benefits of that trust were greater.
Greater creativity and risk-taking; more collaboration and innovation; the ability to move at lightening speed.
The risk is not what people will do if you trust them. The risk is what they won’t do if you don’t.
What things are your organisation doing that unwittingly undermine that trust?