Yesterday a potential client asked me why he should trust an outsourced team with his company’s technical IP, saying it was like outsourcing his wife. The latter disturbed me, but he is right about trust. Trust is something you gain, and integrity should be there from the start.
Let’s begin with what trust is : a firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
What then is integrity?
Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. Integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions, it is consistency. To me, without integrity there can be no trust. They go hand in hand.
There’s a lot of things that make up trust and those can only be measured through time and interaction. When you first engage in a business partnership you spend time getting to know each other, enough time to work out if you share the same values, moral principles and then start measuring whether your potential partner has a level of consistency. But can you trust them?
We do these things every day. Without the ability to trust we never form new relationships, nor business partnerships which can help our dreams grow a lot quicker than going at it alone. This is easier said than done. I believe in trust and integrity and have built my business around these core beliefs. One of my earliest business mentors taught me that your name travels with you everywhere. “Temptations come and they shake money at you, tempting you with promises of quick wins but leaving you with a tainted name. Leave them”, he said, “Walk away, keep your name clean and be known as a person with strong integrity and the one who can be trusted”. I have always kept these words close to my heart and there have been times when I was shocked and saddened by others who don’t show the same level of integrity.
Early on in my business of connecting with software development partner companies, I had two potential partners undertake deals with my clients behind my back. It hurt; not the money loss ( well, that stung), but the fact that they could undercut me and lacked the integrity and trust that is imperative for successful business. The lesson was a good one as I quickly learnt how to eliminate those chancers from my partner pool, and both clients soon learnt that these development companies could not be trusted.
I expect everyone to adhere to the same level of integrity and trust that I do and I am always surprised when they don’t, which leaves me with no inclination to work with them any further. I make it my number one aim to form strong relationships with development partners so that I can understand their level of integrity and start building trust; trust which is then passed onto my clients with confidence.
How to establish trust?
Start small – give your development partner a small project which entails commitment, communication, predictability and a value exchange. Predictability being the ability to predict what other people will do when a situation occurs. Value exchange means making an exchange when you do not have full knowledge about them. Delayed reciprocity by giving something now with an expectation that it will be repaid. And most of all, exposing your vulnerabilities to people who can potentially take advantage of you with the expectation that they won’t. This will help you determine whether you can build a long-lasting partnership.
Trust is a two-way street; my partners have to trust you too. All of this takes time, but once it is established it leads to an incredible partnership that will help you succeed. A team that is loyal, honest and committed to your business’ growth. Once you have this trust, the initial testing time will have been well worth the journey.
At getDeveloper we pride ourselves on our integrity, proven quality and trustworthy track record. Let’s work together to build your trusted offshore team.
By Leon Coetzer, Co-Founder getDeveloper
Leon has more than 20 years in the software development industry, successfully delivering both enterprise and greenfield software projects. Responsible for strategy and operations, Leon brings a unique blend of technical and business knowledge to getDeveloper. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.