For many years, I’ve attended the Business of Software conference and I just got back from the 2019 edition. Instead of being a technical conference, this this event draws a community of software entrepreneurs and CEO’s who want to work on their businesses and can learn from each other.
We’re not necessarily taking over the world (although a few folks now have publicly-listed companies), and want to focus on building businesses that are based on positive values and missions. I believe that a focus on values and purpose is what differentiates successful countertop shops from their competitors, too.
There were too many great speakers to rattle off, but I’m going to do some shout-outs anyway. Teresa Torres went through a powerful framework for decision-making. April Dunford gave a provocative talk about positioning your products. I loved the personal stories from Thompson Aderinkomi, Cesar Kuriyama, and the brothers Eric & Brian Dosal.
Then, because of a last minute cancellation, the agenda changed to include Gareth Marlow… which may have been the talk that resonated the most with me. Gareth talked about cultivating trust, something that keeps getting harder as your organization grows.
Trust is a topic that’s been on my mind a bunch. In the last year, Moraware has grown more than ever before and we have new folks on our team that I’ve only talked to once or twice. It’s hard to trust someone you barely know. Plus, in order to scale our company, we had to clarify and change the systems, processes, roles, and tools we use… that also has an impact on the trust within our organization.
Trust isn’t built by accident. Gareth gave some really good tips on how to cultivate trust in a company, and I believe these are worth sharing. If you’re a leader at your company, it’s even more important that you’re paying attention to trust. I know my own blind-spots around this topic have lead to some avoidable chaos and conflict.
- Clear company mission, values, and goals. If you’re a leader in your organization, it’s vital to tell stories that reinforce the company’s purpose. You need to live your company’s values – it’s up to you to lead by example.
- Give credit when due. Different people in your company have different needs when it comes to building trust, but one of the most common is the need for recognition.
- Understand what your team needs to build trust. Even though some people thrive on recognition, others might have different needs. You might care more about structure, clarity, meaning, impact, or relationships.
So what does this have to do with software for countertop fabricators?
Well, you could say nothing or everything. At Moraware, we care deeply about helping our customers. We want to get more customers, solve more problems for countertop shops, and make our existing users even more successful. The way we keep improving the experience for our market is to improve the experience for our team… and if we don’t have open communication and trust at our company we can’t accomplish the rest.
And I think the same thing is true in your business. So, you may want to take a few hours out of the day-to-day work of templating, installing, cutting, polishing, quoting… and consider how to make your team more effective. Trust is the key.