Every year I welcome the opportunity to attend Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting and listening to Warren and Charlie respond to a wide range of questions.
One question dealt with what they look for in people.
Charlie Munger was quick to respond that he says trust surpasses knowledge.
In responding to another question, Warren stated the value of human behavior.
Think about this for a moment and, more importantly, what these two people represent.
Warren and Charlie have created a machine worth more than $343 billion, per their closing stock price on April 15.
You don’t get to this size without being incredibly smart with money and where to invest it. All that said, they still rate trust over knowledge, and they feel if you exhibit trust, you will be more successful.
Even more impactful is who they were making this comment in front of. Sitting in the second row was a person who I think we could all agree is incredibly knowledgeable — Bill Gates (along with 20,000 other people in the crowd.
If Bill Gates can sit there listening and absorbing what Warren and Charlie have to say, then I think I can too.
If these two guys say trust is more important than knowledge, it calls into question why we place so much emphasis on specific work experience and knowledge when hiring someone.
It may help explain why so many people who are hired based on what they know and the impact they can have quickly wind up busting.
In talking about trust, Warren was quick to reference the experience he had in 1991 with a key investment of his — Solomon Brothers. In case you don’t remember, here is a memorable quote from his testimony before Congress: “Lose money for the firm and I will be understanding. Lose a shred of reputation for the firm and I will be ruthless.”
This helps explain why in the afternoon session, Warren talked about the value of one’s reputation and how by the time you get old, you wind up with the reputation you deserve.
You deserve it because you’ve earned it. Time has a way of revealing so much — the highs, the lows, the good, the bad. Each one reveals a little more about your reputation and the importance of trust.
Trust is the core tenant of one’s behavior. Trust the result of one’s action, one’s beliefs, one’s values.
Hire on trust. Train the knowledge.
Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.