The Accountability Factor

Accountability (actually, the lack thereof) is one of the more challenging issues the workplace. How do you get people to do what they commit to do – especially when often they don’t stand by their commitments?

Creating a culture of accountability takes work and dedication by the leaders of an organization. You can’t just post rules and guidelines and expect people to follow them. They won’t. And you can’t expect behavior to change overnight.

It’s incumbent on leaders to model the behavior that they want and expect from their employees. If you aren’t accountable, why would you expect your people to be?

The Pope as Leader

Pope-mania has hit the US, and his visit has caused nothing short of a media frenzy. By the time he leaves Philadelphia this weekend, we will have heard the good, the bad, and the ugly from the pundits.

I’m intrigued by the pope as a spiritual and global leader. Earlier this week, David Brooks commented in The New York Times that Pope Francis offers a model based on two questions: “How do you deeply listen and learn? How do you uphold certain moral standards, while still being loving and merciful to those you befriend?”

Some of the characteristics highlighted in these questions are leadership attributes that many people emulate. The ability to really listen and stay in the moment is a characteristic shared by many great leaders. And upholding certain moral standards reflects a person of character.

The Power of Consistency

Do you add so many tasks to your to do list that it becomes unruly? Many people have this challenge, especially with so much pressure to do more in less time.

Most people keep up (or try to keep up) with urgent activities, such as client related deadlines, internal deliverables, or follow up from meetings. If you have a hard deadline, you’re more likely to get it done.

Items that are important but not urgent can fall through the cracks, especially when you have a boatload of deadlines. These actions include things such as planning, keeping in touch with key people, or networking.

Back to School

Ah, it’s the time of the year when millions of students in the US return to school. On my morning walk, I’ve seen everything from fresh new uniforms to the latest colorful backpacks. The students express both excitement and trepidation as they enter the unknown of new teachers and experiences.

Teaching has changed dramatically in recent years as technology complements conventional methodology. I was intrigued by a recent article in The New York Times which described yet another new dimension, which is how the sharing economy has been applied to the world of teaching.

The web site is a virtual market place where instructors can buy and sell course materials (most for less than $5) ranging from lesson plans to course-specific activities to quizzes. The materials are created by teachers, for teachers.

The Denouement of Summer

I know that summer is not over officially until the wee hours of September 23, but Labor Day weekend has always been the unofficial end of the season for people in the US. This year we had a full 15 weeks between Memorial Day (which fell on the earliest Monday possible) and Labor Day (which falls on the latest Monday possible).

Did you miss it?

New Mistakes Are Always Welcome

Too many people are afraid of making mistakes. They take the safe road and try to stay under the radar. “Good is good enough,” because if they stretch they may make mistakes.

Simply put, they play it safe.

This is a recipe for failure in any innovative, growth-oriented organization. If your employees are timid about expanding into unknown territory, they may stymie your ability to achieve your goals.

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A Laser Focus

Something that differentiates top performers is that they stay focused on the end result. They don’t just write a report or complete an assignment; they think about how their work can have the greatest impact on the end user.

The work place is filled with busy people, and some might offer the excuse that they’re just too buried to bring project x to the next level. Although this may be true, those who break through the busy-ness barrier do it regularly.

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Take Control and “De-Whelm”

The volume of “stuff” crossing our desks seems to get worse every time another time-saving device is introduced into our lives. How do you deal with the barrage of email, texts, IMs, and tweets in a given day?

(Notice I didn’t even mention phone calls or voice mails. These have become practically irrelevant as the other methods have accelerated!)

No matter what is going on in your world, you need to take control, or it will certainly control and overwhelm you before you even blink.

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Just Ask…

You know the challenge of inspiring those who work for you to competently complete their work in a timely manner at your company’s standards.

That’s the baseline. What really makes a difference is to develop people so that they willingly move beyond the baseline to achieve more, especially if you need to complete a big project in a short time frame.

Extroverted achievers possess a level of self-motivation to do this with the slightest encouragement. But what about your employees who are less outgoing, in effect, introverted achievers?

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Become a “Recovering Perfectionist”

Are there any perfectionists in your workplace? You’ve probably come across some over the years, and will agree that being around them can be tiring. They create the same level of urgency around everything that crosses their desks, and often drag their staff into the muck of whatever they’re obsessing over.

If this sounds a bit like you, I’d like you to take heed and give you and your staff a break. Perfectionists can be highly critical and excruciatingly picky. Working for a perfectionist is not only depleting, it can be demoralizing. And if you’re a perfectionist, you are continually exhausted from the never ending barrage of things that are “wrong”or don’t work correctly.

People who work for perfectionists flounder in a pool of not knowing when the next criticism is going to come and how they’re going to handle it when the assault occurs. Importantly, their productivity plummets because they spend more time scurrying to fix whatever irks the boss instead of the work they’re supposed to be doing.