By David Power
Exact Medical Manufacturing
Trust: 1: firm belief in the character, strength, or truth of someone or something “He placed his trust in me.” 2: a person or thing in which confidence is placed. 3: confident hope “I waited in trust of their return”. Definition of Trust by Merriam-Webster
How do I get some? What do I need to do to get others to trust me and our company?
Certainly, everyone should automatically trust me; after all I’m perfect…….
Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble,
When your perfect in every way,
I can’t stand to look in the mirror,
As I get better looking each day.
To know me is to love me,
I must be a hell of a man,
Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble,
But I’m doing the best that I can.
When you observe such perfection in me Trust should be automatic, shouldn’t it? But it isn’t…………
So, what’s to be done?
Ultimately Trust is a perception or belief and touching, changing or altering a person’s belief can be a daunting task. It is hoped that a first interaction with another person is to a perception of neutrality. i.e., the person has no preconceived impression or perception of you, but that is seldom the case.
It is almost universal that upon first contact there is already an opinion that we encounter. Perhaps good, perhaps bad, but there is almost always a perception at the starting point. Perhaps the person has had positive history or interacted with people with positive history for working with companies that manufacture in China or perhaps they have had a negative history or interaction. There are literally thousands of past experiences and beliefs that causes a person to have a starting perception about us.
So, we must begin at the beginning which is to understand the person we are contacting with. We must listen and learn what they believe and why they believe it. As the advice we received from Covey, “Seek first to understand before you can be understood.” And follow that up with, a problem once understood is half solved. Whatever the initial starting point of perception whether it’s negative, neutral or positive the building blocks of creating trust takes time, energy and perseverance but to start it takes a clear understanding of the person we are interacting with.
From this point of understanding, trust building is a step-by-step performance-based activity. Performance based doesn’t necessarily mean perfection but it does demand honesty. We must communicate effectively and honestly what we are capable of doing and also what we are not capable of doing. We must communicate what we are going to do and then we must do it with precision and professionalism. We can never raise false hope of performance that later cannot be achieved. There can be no unpleasant surprises when people deal with us. To this end we must be very clear about who we are and what we are doing.
Trust is built through a process of making deposits into a person’s emotional bank account. If we communicate our actions often enough in an exact and honest manner and then deliver as promised each occurrence builds trust little by little.
In this manner Trust must thereby be earned a little bit at a time and is never given automatically.
Years ago, trust was thereby built with personal interaction and over time confidence building. In recent decades however I’ve noticed an additional layer in the trust building activity. We all learned a valuable lesson from Ronald Reagan when he coined the phrase “Trust but verify”.
Almost all companies now visit and audit formally our company’s efforts, procedures, documentation and performance results. Whereas 10 years ago this was once in a while now it is constant and routine. While we of course are audited by the US FDA and TUV for ISO and CE mark compliance, now seldom does a month go by that one or two customers don’t come for a formal audit visit. Over time these audits have also become more in-depth and sophisticated. Not only do we see our Quality System being audited but it is common now to be audited for good corporate citizenship activities. Many companies dread and complain about the burden of such constant auditing; however Exact Medical does not view these activities in a negative manner. We support any and all activities that raise the bar of acceptable company performance and we strive to be the best among many in the work we do.
Let us remember that Exact Medical produces many millions of units of various products each month. It is therefore obvious that we touch the lives of many millions of people throughout the world each month. We have a responsibility that the interaction those people have with our products be a positive event. Afterall as a medical products supplier the people we touch are sick or injured and the responsibility that they have a positive interaction with us is not to be shrunk from.
In the end if we want to be trusted, we must be worthy of trust; this being a goal we take very seriously every day.
As the leader of Exact Medical, I demand that all of our associates follow the path of precise honesty and conduct themselves with the highest level of performance-based professionalism.
After all, we are EXACT and do every day live up to our corporate name.
David Power is the President and primary stock holder of Exact Medical Manufacturing. He is a graduate of Cornell University with degrees in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics. He has been doing business in China since 1978 and has long studied the culture and psyche of the Chinese People. (Seek first to understand before you can be understood.) Throughout the years the corporate culture of Exact Medical has been directed and developed to combine the best of both Western and Eastern Culture and such efforts have gained significant success.
A quick update on the Virus Status here in China.
We are now but one week away from the normal start of the traditional Lunar New Year and Spring Festival Holiday. There is currently a Virus Hot Spot in the City of Hebei (approximately 800 kilometers north of Exact’s facility). The government has taken extremely aggressive efforts to contain and stop the spread and the Hebei area is in total lock down. Exact Medical has taken aggressive steps to protect our manufacturing capability and currently has safety stock of up to 90+ days of raw materials. We have one major supplier in Hebei and they report to us that their facility is in lock down. Many workers remain in the factory and never leave and are keeping their production going. No one is allowed in the gate to enter the factory so workers that choose to leave are then not allowed to reenter. As a result, most have volunteered to stay. While shipments of raw material from this supplier are not allowed to travel, production of our material is continuing and will be released when the hot spot subsides. Currently virus cases in the closed area are on the decline so we expect materials to begin transport again within the week.
The government is taking other strong actions and trying to discourage citizens from Holiday travel. Traditionally the holiday is the time for everyone to return to ancestral roots and for large family gatherings to take place. Many destination towns and villages are requiring returning visitors to quarantine, prove they haven’t visited virus hot spots and/or present negative virus tests.
Currently we expect approximately 10% of our 500-person work force to travel during the holiday so most of our people will remain in Changzhou and should have an additional layer of safety as a result. (normally 50% of our people would depart and travel)
Exact Medical has also implemented some safeguards. We have arranged for the local hospital to send staff to our factory each day for a few days before we reopen and they will administer virus testing at our factory gate for all of our people. The company of course handles the cost of this testing and no employee will be allowed to enter the gate to begin work without having a negative virus test report.
As we continue to monitor and should the virus situation in China worsen over the holiday we will implement further and stronger actions and controls to safeguard our valued team members and assure our factory continues production and support to our trusting customers.