Monthly archives: January 2010

Honesty and Integrity

On my recent trip to Jakarta, I was pleasantly surprised by the actions of a taxi driver. Before my trip, I had heard horror stories about corruption in Indonesia. The country is after all number .. On transparency international’s ranking.

When I gave my taxi driver a rp100,000 note (around 10usd), the driver told me he didn’t have any change. I was his first hire at 7am. The fare was rp25000 (around usd2.50). When he informed me he would drop the change off at my hotel, I thought it would be extremely unlikely. I figured this would be a very generous involuntary ‘tip’.

Imagine my surprise that evening when the hotel front desk called me to let me know that the taxi driver had left rp75,000 at the front desk.

This act of honesty and integrity is very refreshing, more so in light of the fact that much of the population subsist on a daily wage of around rp50,000. Some digging with the Bluebird and Silverbird taxi drivers revealed some interesting facts.

1. The position of taxi driver in the Bluebird group is often oversubscribed many times overs.

2. The taxi drivers are paid based on commission and a fixed basic.

3. The company takes complaints seriously and acts swiftly to deal with errant drivers.

Key takeaways:-

1. There are honest people everywhere – never pre judge just because to the surrounding circumstances.

2. Honesty and Integrity can be trained and maintained by the processes of an organization – reward and recognition structure.

Getting the most out of your training provider

Here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of your training provider.

1. Determine your objectives from a company point of view. What does the company hope to acheive with the training? This will help you plan out the training for the year. Eg. If you are looking at a turnaround plan for your team you would probably need 9 days of focused training and not a one day program. List down 3 key objectives of the training.

2. Look at your training providers list of clients. Call up their references. Are the clients from a single group or are they from a diverse group of companies? If the client base cuts across industries and size of companies, this means that the training provider is able to tailor their material according to it’s clients.

3. Look at the trainer. Do they have real life working experience relevant to the training? E.g has the negotiations trainer conducted high level negotiations between companies? Has he/she achieved positive results?

4. Look at the training methodology used. The lecture style is very tired and will induce sleepiness! How much of the training is focused on interactivity and implementation of the theory vs just the theory. For example our negotiation courses are 20 percent theory and 80 percent activity/role-play and de-brief.

By using these methods you will be able to work more effectively and efficiently with your training provider.

A leadership lesson

Over the recent holiday I had a bit of time to think back about my first job. I was a pupil in chambers. In a law firm, the hierarchy begins with the senior partner (also known as God within the law firm), junior partners, senior lawyers, junior lawyers, chief clerks, secretaries, clerks, office boys, tea lady and then the cleaning ladies. Oh, and after the tea lady comes the pupil in chambers!

I had made an error on a particular file that could have been disastrous. My partner in charge, after sorting out the mess made, called the client. I was in front of him when he said these words “An error has been made on the file. Please don’t blame my young colleague. It was my fault and I take full responsibility.”

I worked with him for four years. He was a demanding boss who pushed me really hard. But knowing that he had my back made it easier for me to focus on my work. He took full responsibility for any errors. most managers can learn from this. If you screw up, own up. Take responsibility. You will gain the respect and trust of your team.

As an entrepreneur and father of 2, I now try to make sure that I not only live this value, but also try to instill it in the people around me.