On Being Dependable

Are your employees dependable? These are people who fulfill their commitments accurately, on time, and with no excuses. They come to work on time and work as long as it takes to complete an assignment.

Think about your staff and honestly evaluate their dependability. During the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard all kinds of stories that demonstrate a lack of dependability. Here is a sampling:

– A senior staff member attended a meeting with her partners and not only was completely unprepared but didn’t “get it” as to why this was a problem.

– A former employee approached his previous employer to return, was rehired, and resigned with no notice by text two weeks later.

Consensus or Collaboration

Leaders often talk about achieving consensus. If you look at its definition, it is “a general agreement about something: an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group”.

Be honest: how easy is this to achieve? How easy is it for everyone to share the same opinion about something?

Consensus involves a lot of give and take, and depending on how strongly the stakeholders feel about their individual positions, it can turn into a no win situation where a decision is made that no one really believes in.

Compare this to collaboration, “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something”.

This distinction is important. To collaborate focuses on working together to achieve a common goal, where consensus requires everyone to agree on an opinion. It’s subtle, but important.

Go for the Gold

Unless you have disconnected from all media in the past couple of weeks, you’ve at least periodically tuned into some Olympics activity. People get wrapped up in their favorite events and feel that they’ve won a little something personally when their favorite team or individual wins. It’s not just an exciting time, it can be an inspirational time.

How can you use the Olympics frenzy to connect more closely and effectively to your team? I’m confident that if you use an Olympics metaphor to drive people to their goals in the next few weeks that you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Whether you are leading a company, a construction crew, or a group of teen volunteers, the message is the same: Go for the gold!

This is a great way to get engagement. Brainstorm with your staff about a particular goal and how you can work together to “get the gold”. They’ll provide ideas that you might not have thought of. Come up with a plan and put it into action.

Check It Off

Productivity suffers when your staff’s organization skills are weak. I’ve been studying this because it’s rampant in the workplace and an issue that many clients face. People are overwhelmed by the volume of tasks that cross their desks, their lack of knowledge of how to become better organized, and how to handle the technology that invariably creeps into the equation.

A checklist, for example, is an old tool whose form has morphed from analog to digital to apps. Any version will work, and as I’ve said repeatedly, the best system is the one that you actually use and helps you to stay organized.

Checklists can’t be stagnant tools. One person told me that he reviews his checklist first thing when he arrives at work. But he also revealed that often this review is derailed because other things require attention immediately.