SEARCH JOBS   ENTER TIMESHEET  

STEPHEN CARTER | Partner - Sharp & Carter

Trust Title2.png
Carts Image.png

In previous articles I have written about the first two pillars of our culture – Care, and Generosity. In this article I want to write about our third – Trust.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “If you trust, you will be disappointed occasionally, but if you mistrust, you will be miserable all the time.”

I love this quote and try to live by it in all my personal interactions. At Sharp & Carter we utilise trust as a way to increase the engagement, motivation and the positive mindset of our team. We also utilise trust as the primary way of controlling our business which, from my understanding it is another behaviour that is fairly unique to Sharp & Carter and rare in the marketplace.

Generally, in life, and in a new job, people will be used to “earning” the trust of those around them, or of their employer. At Sharp & Carter, the moment we hire someone is the moment they have our trust. It is not something anyone has to earn, rather it is something that each and every person receives automatically. The onus on the team member is purely this: to retain it.

IMG_7110.jpg
WFH.jpg

Trust is not a tangible benefit, it’s not something you can physically hand to someone, it is something that you need to show through your actions as an employer. Probably the most tangible example of an employer showing trust is allowing employees to set their own schedules, or to work from home. Our office is very rarely entirely full, we have two offices in Melbourne which our staff work across, as well as a working from home policy, and some weeks there are staff I may not even see as our paths simply do not cross. To some employers this would be worrying, to me – it is just a by-product of trust.

One of the highest performers we have had at Sharp & Carter, and who we were sad to lose to a move overseas, was Hadleigh Fischer - a.k.a “The Chief”. An employee who was rarely in the office, Hadleigh was often out on the road meeting clients or working from home. Literally every day someone would ask us “Where’s The Chief?” And we would always answer “No idea”.

Our experience was that the more we trusted Hadleigh to do his role, and the more we gave him the flexibility he craved, the better he performed. To this day he holds a number of records around performance in our business and is a testament to the positive impact trust in our staff can have.

Now, it’s no secret that the vast majority of businesses are run and controlled using processes and systems – and of course these do also have their place at Sharp & Carter - however, in meeting with thousands of businesses across my 20 years in recruitment, what I have seen that invariably happens without a trust element being incorporated is that these processes and systems are structured to suit the lowest common denominator. I hear a lot of people within businesses talk about things like “Oh we used to be able to *insert work privilege here* but someone took advantage of the situation, so we had to shut that down”. It seems in most businesses that the masses pay for the sins of the individual, and it ends up that everyone gets managed like the one person that broke the trust.

Handshake.jpg

I actually struggled to start writing this article because I was asking myself “Can a business be fully controlled using trust?” And after pondering for a while I was stuck, because in actual fact, our overwhelming experience is that our business of 110 people cannot be controlled 100% using trust. So how can I be recommending this as an approach? How can I have trust has a central element of our culture when we consistently have 2-3% of our team that will take advantage of our trust?

Basically, I was asking the wrong question. What I should have been asking was “Can trust be just as, if not more effective in controlling a business than processes, systems, KPI’s and budgets etc?”

And the answer to that is an emphatic yes.

A real-life example of how there can be a failure of “processes and systems” over “trust”, is the departure of the CEO of ANZ Bank in New Zealand amid concerns he “mis-characterised” his personal expenses.

Banking is certainly more regulated than recruitment, and ANZ Bank’s policies and procedures would definitely be a lot more comprehensive and sophisticated than Sharp & Carter’s, and yet here we have its most senior executive in New Zealand not being “controlled” as they would like.

My point is that regardless of whether you utilise trust or processes and systems to control your business, you will still have 2-3% of people that don’t operate as you would ideally like.

So the question then becomes: Do you manage the remaining 97-98% of people like the others that have broken your trust? Or do you keep leading with trust? At Sharp & Carter we understand that there will be 2-3% of people that will take advantage of us, but that if we accept that and trust everyone, we will have 97% of people that are really engaged, enjoying themselves and who will guard what they have fiercely.

We have 105 people protecting the leaders of Sharp & Carter against the 5 people that are not doing the right thing. We have people that give discretionary effort in order to maintain an environment they value. It also increases innovation, teamwork and creates an environment where people will feel comfortable to admit to the mistakes they have made and ask for help.


Stephen Covey wrote a book called “The Speed of Trust” in which - among other things - he contrasts a typical command and control business with businesses like Sharp & Carter which have trust at their core. He succinctly summarises the advantages we have experienced as follows:

Table.png
Speed of trust.jpg

What we know after 10 years of Sharp & Carter is that trust is no LESS effective in controlling our business than a more command and control model – it does not harm our business. But what we also know is that trust has been overwhelmingly integral to our growth, our culture, and our success.

I wonder, should more organisations look to adopt trust as a key part of how they operate, and unlock the advantages outlined?

Stephen Carter    Partner, Sharp & Carter 0411 543 833

Stephen Carter
Partner, Sharp & Carter
0411 543 833


THE INTERVIEW | RUNNING FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)


WHO IS NIALL HOOLAHAN AND WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE AT SHARP & CARTER ENTAIL?

I’m 24 years old and have been working at Sharp & Carter for 3 years now. I first started at S&C as a graduate, and currently work in the Accounting Support team in North Sydney. I was born in Bathurst though I have been living in Sydney for the majority of my life. Outside of work I’m a mad rugby and cricket fan.

PATRICK RYAN, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOUR ROLE IS AT SHARP & CARTER?

I recruit mid-level finance roles for Sharp & Carter on the North Shore of Sydney. I have been with the business over 2 years and have progressed from graduate level. Prior to this I studied Accounting and Marketing at the University of Technology Sydney and have grown up on Sydney’s North Shore.

MS -2.jpg

RECENTLY, YOU BOTH PARTICIPATED IN THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD HALF MARATHON TO RAISE FUNDS FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS) – WE UNDERSTAND THIS WAS DUE TO A CLOSE FRIEND RECENTLY BEING DIAGNOSED WITH THE CONDITION. CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT MS IS AND HOW IT IMPACTS THOSE WHO SUFFER?

MS is a condition affecting the central nervous system of the body. This leads to symptoms such as muscle weakness, lack of coordination and balance, vision problems and trouble with thinking and memory. There is still no cure for MS.

IN TERMS OF THE SMH HALF MARATHON, WHAT PREPARATION DID YOU NEED TO DO PRIOR TO TAKING PART IN THIS EVENT?

Luckily, we stay pretty active so we do a fair bit of running already, but we definitely increased the length of the runs over the couple of months leading up to it. Also, plenty of hills and laying off the beers on a Saturday night helped!!!

NOW THAT THE EVENT IS OVER, HOW SUCCESSFUL DO YOU FEEL YOU WERE IN RAISING AWARENESS AND FUNDS?

The initial goal was to raise $2000 but we ended up raising $10,000 which was a huge effort. We had plenty of questions after from people asking about it and also our singlets helped with the exposure.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 8.56.40 am.png

ARE THERE ANY LINKS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US TO HELP RAISE AWARENESS AROUND MS?

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Get-Involved/Raise-Awareness

FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS INTERESTED IN RAISING AWARENESS AROUND MS OR TAKING PART IN FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES FOR SUCH A CAUSE?

Raising money for a charity or a cause definitely helps provide added incentive to finish an event, and also doing it with your mates is very rewarding.

Niall Hoolahan
nhoolahan@sharpandcarter.com.au  

Patrick Ryan
pryan@sharpandcarter.com.au


STEVIE SAYS...

Title4.png

No, I am not talking about having a sausage sizzle outside head office. Nor am I saying for you to jog with the running gait of a giraffe like our now besieged and grossly unpopular leader of the opposition. I am saying you as the hiring manager, should be steadfast in your policies, benefits, and why the people should get behind you and show their support beyond the 9-5.

Is voting something you do with pride, or do you not have the faintest idea what the difference is between the Senate and the Coalition? Do you like short-term benefits, or is it all about long-term, sustainable success?

Federal.jpeg

The current job landscape we see as recruiters often mirrors the merry-go-round in government. Employees are given less than a full-term to prove their worth before the knives come out. The ground beneath them comes shaky and what’s left is a battle for survival at the polls, so to speak. This forces voters (or stakeholders) to go back to the safest option for right now. This isn’t sustainable in the long run.

I urge decision makers to be bold and insist on clear cut policies about what their employees will do once elected (or hired). Don’t fluff about with superfluous benefits and keep the objectives and success criteria simple. Take a risk to let people develop into great employees and leaders, instead of constantly holding by-elections.

Lastly, as an employer don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Keep your policies relevant, and make sure the candidates feel safe picking you for the full-term!

Stephen Christofakakis
Consultant, Sharp & Carter
schristo@sharpandcarter.com.au


STEVIE SAYS...

Title3.png
Stephen C 1.jpg

The elevator doors draw to a close. Your heart is racing. Another soldier crams into line and you huddle together awaiting the crescendo of the floodgates and the enemy. The unknown. The doors fling open. The war has arrived. But have you?

This rhythm of battle hits many people each and every day. The three espressos before 10am are cloaks of disguise, tricking us into believing that this metaphorical sharpening of the axe will adequately fulfill our fear of what is coming. The manning of the wall that is our inbox, where the arrows of fire can come at any moment, one ‘as per my previous email’ at a time. We dance the merry dance of running from meeting to meeting, battle plans a plenty for a war that we are never ready for. We fight into overtime, into late nights, weekends and this permeates our thoughts even when we put our weapons down and call it a day.

GOT+Image.jpg

Aligning a 9-5 office job to war (or a TV series) is far from credible, but whether we like it or not, it is the mental battle many of us face one spreadsheet at a time. Winter is coming, and it is cold and dark like an unhappy and faceless customer. As you look to the left and right of your pod, why is it that some of us are built for war, and others are hoping to batten down the hatches and pray for when it is over?

What war is to one, opportunity is to another. When your day feels like how the above reads, it really is time to assess whether this battle is for you. In that elevator was an eager and ready comrade anticipating the battle of today. They relish the meetings and yearn to show their swordsmanship in times of war. They do not stop until they are victorious.

If this isn’t you, chances are it is time to look for a new opportunity. Your career should not be a battle ground, but an arena to show your craft. Find your non-negotiables and if you are unsure where this should lead you, I would love to help you out. Reach out via LinkedIn or email me at schristo@sharpandcarter.com.au

Stephen Christofakakis
Consultant, Sharp & Carter