Trust, but Verify

I had the privilege to speak to the scholar athletes at Westside High School (WHS) last month. It has been 26 years since I attended WHS. It was humbling and terrifying to try and share in 15 minutes what I have learned since being a scholar athlete there. Reading my bio that was in the event program was interesting. It highlighted all of the accomplishments I had earned in high school, college and beyond. The event program made it seem like I had it all figured out. Well, I’m here to tell you I don’t.

I shared a story about how I went to Indiana to play football. I was full of fear to tell them I quit the team, but I did and I told them that. I went on to explain that I had to own that decision and the consequences that had come after it. I told them that my parents couldn’t fix that for me. They had to let me own that decision. Most of the time as a parent I am afraid that my children will not OWN their responsibility in their actions, but both of those things had to be true for me to accept it.

As an entrepreneur I love to think about having an empowered workforce. What scares me is that they are going to be empowered to make decisions, BUT not associate their own actions with the consequences. It takes a ton of patience and trust to follow the path of having an empowered workforce. At KB my fear is that someone will screw up and then walk away leaving the customer, company brand, or internal team damaged. It takes a leap of faith to trust what we train is going to happen all the time. I recognize that as a company our job is to trust our people with the decision, but also verify that they are held accountable for that decision, and then recognizing their actions in the process. This is why we tell our teams that we trust you, but we are going to verify that our Mission/Vision/Values are being upheld. It seems easier said than done and that is true. But if it was good enough for Ronald Reagan, we are going to trust that process. You can verify that.