It was 1996. I’d promised my recently employed sales manager my BMW if he hit certain targets.
He did, so I had to be true to my word.

I took him downstairs to the front of the building where I was parked, and gave him the keys. He was overjoyed. Little did he know I had the spare set in my pocket ! So, with a glint of mischief, every time he unlocked the car, I locked it again. This went on for a few minutes where I managed to convince him that he must be doing something wrong. Well, I suppose you had to be there, but even with my sense of humour, I couldn’t keep this up for too long, and it was all smiles and laughs as I admitted my prank.
The important thing is to never, ever go back on your word. Never argue the toss, or try to imply that you meant something else. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There is nothing so disheartening as a boss who doesn’t stand by what he says. I’m not saying that you should never change your mind on anything, god I’ve done that plenty of times, but never change your stance on a deal. A deal is a deal as they say, and that’s that.

Changing your stance is the worst thing you can do with someone you employ. It is demotivating and upsetting, and a great way to lose someone vital to you. It’s amateur, and shows you can’t be trusted, by anyone.

I recently made Lisa, my sidekick, the person who runs my companies, and runs me, a director and shareholder. I didn’t have to, but I did have to. I really couldn’t stand by and see all the work and effort she was putting in without her having a share. It’s a surprisingly hard thing to do, with our current tax rules making it needlessly hard and complicated. After all, they’re hardly going to lose out. But it’s done now. At one point through it all, even she said this was too hard and shall we just go back on it, but I was determined that there was a way, and eventually we found it, and she is now deservedly a director.
And it was important that we did this. It’s important to be true to your word and mission. Never undervalue this point.

Nobody can do everything alone, and you’re only as strong as the team around you. You can shout, stomp and lead by fear, but surely it’s better to inspire and be an honest leader? Sure you have to read the riot act on occasions, and spot a poison (a person that doesn’t believe in your message or purpose, and tries, sometimes inadvertently, to spread ‘a poison’) that can affect you, your team, and a business very badly. But if you lead by fear and lies, one day you’ll turn around and won’t find anyone following you.