Joy Kilgore

Q: In growing your business, how do you know when to let go and trust your key employees? —Campbell Custom Construction, Rockledge, Fla.

A: Today would be a good day to let go. Or you could play a quick game of Russian roulette.

For example, one business owner my company consulted with came to us distraught because his close-knit family was in shambles and he was in danger of losing his business. His trusted sister-in-law had embezzled a quarter of a million dollars in just two years.

Did he trust her? Absolutely. Did he have sound business practices, processes, and systems in place? Absolutely not.

Trust is built over time and comes with experience and knowledge. Work with your key people to put into place sound business principles and procedures along with checks and balances. Express and document guidelines for the decision-making process and at what point you want to be included. Base these principles on what is in the best interests of your business, not on the person in front of you.

In transitioning from manager to mentor, examine your tolerance for trust. You must achieve a balance between your ability to trust and your ability to let go. Does the person consistently make sound business decisions? Do peers trust these decisions and are they willing to follow?

To move forward, you must loosen your grip. Trust is a conclusion, not an emotion. It is a process, not an overnight decision.

—Joy Kilgore, president of Executive Business Approach, delivers a fresh and optimistic attitude to creating business excellence. 757.344.4569, Send questions for Ask the Expert to senior editor Stacey Freed at