Sunday, November 17, 2013

3 Steps to Building an Accountable Organization

"He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."  Benjamin Franklin

Today we hear a lot about accountability, but it appears that holding people responsible for their behavior and their actions is a lost art.  Accountability, too many times, seems like a corporate buzzword. True accountability is when you are held responsible for your actions and the decisions you make.

Accountability may not be as easy as 1-2-3, but here are 3 steps that can result in an accountable organization.

1.  Provide Clear Expectations - You cannot hold someone accountable if they do not know what they are being accountable for. The clearer the goals and expectations, the less time you will spend managing poor performance or misaligned expectations.

2.  Monitor and Measure - Setting clear goals with the appropriate metrics allows employees to know how they are doing and whether they are meeting expectations. You need information if you are going to measure their performance. It also allows them to know how they are doing against stated goals. This is also a good time to provide constructive feedback.

3.  Don't Compromise - If there are consequences for not meeting expectations, you must, for the good of the organization, hold people strictly accountable for the results.  However, if they are consistently meeting expectations, they should be rewarded for their performance.

Lastly, before you can hold anyone accountable you must hold yourself accountable. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hate or Hazing

It really bothers me when I hear the way some commentators or sports figures talk about leadership. Just because a player can hit a lot of home runs or throw a football sixty yards from his knees does not make him a leader. When I see players in the news for a DUI or for getting into a bar fight and then hear all of his teammates talking about his leadership on the field it just drives me crazy!

Leaders lead both on and off the field, in and out of the clubhouse. For those of us who work for a company, we must demonstrate leadership both at work and at home. I think some who call themselves leaders believe leadership is like a hat you can put on or take off.

Currently, there is a scandal going on with the Miami Dolphins in which one of the so-called leaders on the team is accused of hazing a fellow teammate. This same person doing the hazing was elected to serve on the team's leadership counsel. REALLY! This person that is accused of the hazing has a history of misconduct and yet, someone thought he had the qualifications to serve on the counsel. What's worse is that he has the support of the majority of his teammates.

With all of this being played out in the media, what is the message being sent to our young people, especially ones playing organized sports? It's ok to haze a teammate, spew all kinds of racial epithets all in the name of toughening a player up. Is that the message we want to send?

Some say this has been going on, and is going on right now on many NFL teams. I DO NOT CARE!  Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about harmless traditions like having a rookie carry a veteran's equipment or buy donuts for the team. What I am talking about is the malicious and downright evil abuse of a person. I do not see how using racial name calling is going to make a person better or tougher.

What if the person who was being hazed hauled off and knocked the teammate out and hurt them where they were unable to play football? Or worse yet, what if the player got sick and tired of the abuse and went to his car and pulled a gun and shot the bully? 

Would he be justified? NO!  What would happen is that the media would start the whirlwind of trying to figure out how this happened and would begin to speculate as to what would motivate a player to shoot one of his teammates.

Well who is to blame? I blame the league and the team who allowed this type of behavior to take place. I blame them for a lack of leadership. I blame them for not going after this behavior with the same vigor as helmet to helmet hits or "Bounty Gate." From what I am hearing from current and former players, the teams and the league know this is going on.

For those of you who condone this type of behavior, let me ask you this question, how would you react if someone called you a vile name? What if the person said they would slap your mother or kill you? If you can honestly say that it would be okay with you...let me stop there.

I normally don't vent like this, but I just could not hold back. Bullying must stop! If you are a leader on a team or working in a company and you witness this type of behavior, step up and be a real leader and demand that it stops!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Employees vs. Profits

“I wish I was older so I could retire.”
“The company just isn’t what it used to be.”
“The company has lost the vision of the founder.”

These were just a few comments that I read in a string of Facebook posts.  The company that the employees were referring to will remain nameless. The name isn’t as important as the sentiments of the employees.

This once great company, although still profitable, has lost its way.  Some might say, “As long as it is profitable what’s the issue?”

I have spoken with current employees of the company, and they say it is not the same as it once was. It is all about the numbers and no longer about customer service or proper treatment of employees.  IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT LEAVE. YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY JUST TO HAVE A JOB!

Although these statements may be true, using them as a tool to silence employees is not the way any of us would want to be treated.

That’s the issue.

It’s my opinion that most employees understand the importance of profits and are willing to work hard to produce them. However, they also know that in order for any company to succeed, it needs a solid team of employees who are aligned with the goals of the company in order for the organization to achieve them.

Most employees want to be proud of the company they work for, and they also want to feel that they are a valued part of their company’s success.  When leadership is focused primarily on profits and productivity as most important, employees, instead, get the message that the company does not care about them.

Examples of poor leadership are all around us. Many of us can point to numerous individuals who demonstrate extraordinarily poor leadership. With the current up and down state of the economy, there is a lot of pressure on companies to perform at a very high level. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with profits, they sustain jobs and fuel growth. However, if a company is to remain sustainable, it will need a team of individuals who are engaged with the vision and mission of the organization.

If you are a leader of a company, what do you think current and former employees say about your organization?