Trust Yourself

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There are many times in life when it is very tempting not to trust yourself but to go with the crowd, go with the flow. That way when mistakes are made and you come to regret your actions you can rely on the thought that everybody else said or did the same. There are many instances in history which are of note where this has happened and has led to catastrophic events unfolding.

I’m sure that some some who were involved in the slaughter in the Balkans, in Rwanda and in the Holocaust have lived to deeply regret their actions (even if they would have paid a very heavy price for refusal to cooperate). I’m equally sure that there are some who didn’t and some who don’t care either way.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been involved in a business reorganization. As part of any reorganization of a business there had to be some job losses. People with long service histories were made redundant. In some cases people with almost double the amount of service I have (18 years so far).

Naturally the process was mentally and emotionally painful, perhaps more for those who lost their jobs than me, but nonetheless there was pain. Of course what I was doing was right, I absolutely believe my actions to be correct. I had the long-term health of the business at the forefront of my mind when taking those far-reaching and life changing decisions. But do I regret my actions? No, not at all. Less than a week after some of those with long-term service have left and there are already employees trying to make an impression, trying to improve how things are done.

I suppose to some extent this is just showing-off, trying to impress in the hope that they aren’t next. But in so many other ways it frees people to shine, to do what they do as well as they can. A breath of fresh air!

Traditionally when we have made groups of people redundant we have picked out those employees with least service and lowest pay in order to minimize the up-front cost. This has never really made a real and deep and lasting difference to the business. We see cost reductions and then over a period of time the cost creeps back into the business and after 9 or 12 months we then find ourselves back in the same position. Almost like a crash diet and then when the diet is over eat as normal.

What we had to do was find a way of attacking the under-lying reasons for why things just don’t seem to change. Well, I remember on one those tedious management courses I’ve done somebody once saying that its sergeants that run the army, and this gave me a clue as to where to look when making changes. That’s right, I had a good hard look at the middle ranks and this was where the problem lay. They just didn’t want to embrace change, either self generated or enforced. So they had to go.

Its cost a lot up-front I have to admit but its worth it.

Those who had to leave were the ones who blocked progress, who were in the way of change, in the way of improvement. By removing them they way has opened-up for new talent to shine, new ideas to come into the open and new ways of doing things.

We have quite a number of employees from many countries (UK, within the EU and outside the EU) each with a breadth of experience but little in the way of educational achievement or family stability. And 1-week after the clear-out and they are beginning to shine. All those experiences, all those personal struggles they have had have made them a resilient bunch, they have made them into a group of people who can find ingenious ways of solving problems.

To struggle is good, it teaches us how to be resilient, creative in solving problems and to see opportunity when it comes.

So I have to live with my decisions, what I did and why I did it. I find it easy to live with my decisions of the last few weeks, they were the right ones for all concerned.


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