Lacking Accountability

Have you noticed lately that there are more people out there in the workplace and our communities that lack the ability to be accountable.  Actually they don’t lack the ability, they are choosing not to be accountable for their actions and circumstances.  It is just a whole lot easier to blame someone else, or fake ignorance to avoid reality.

If you buy into the rhetoric these days, it isn’t our fault that emails are not returned.  It is not our fault that we don’t return calls, or keep appointments.  And didn’t you know that the reason that assignment was not completed on time was someone else’s responsibility?

While some companies encourage accountability from everyone, it gets down to the individual person being accountable.  We must take personal part in this or it doesn’t work.  No rule or law can make people take responsibility.

From the very top of our government it is a regular routine to blame someone else for things not getting done.  Even those that are deliberately responsible for screwing up cannot take any responsibility.  It amazes me that they can look the camera in the face and not only avoid accountability, but lie to make themselves look better.  And the media is no help if they support the person as they will not hold them accountable either!

The lack of accountability in our governments and businesses all boils down to things not getting done.  Well let me back up a step there for a moment.  These folks are all getting a paychecks whether they are accountable or not.  I wonder what would happen to productivity if people where only paid on what they actually accomplished?

Being Prompt

The other day I had a 4:00pm phone call appointment, and I called at 4:00pm!  After confirming this was still a mutually good time to talk, my client responded with nearly a round of applause for being prompt for our call.  He went on to say he was the same kind of person and that being on time means a lot to him.

I must say that I do my very best to be prompt to any kind of event.  I am usually plenty early to arrive when in person, and try to have the phone ring for a telephone appointment to be right at the agreed time.  I appreciate the same consideration when others do this for me, but just like my client expressed, it doesn’t happen often.

For some reason today’s business culture is less than considerate of other people’s time.  If I am on time for an appointment, then I am showing respect to those I am meeting with and it is also a sign of professionalism.  If I am late, then I am demonstrating a lack of respect, and sending signals that I may be late with other promises I plan to make.

Although being prompt is emphasized in sales training, I have to state that I think being prompt is just plain good for any kind of business or for that matter even a personal relationship.  Someone once said, “Say what you will do, but make sure you do what you say.”

Being prompt to an appointment starts to create trust.  When later in the conversation I make a promise to get back to someone, or send something to them, they already believe I will follow through.  And you know what, I do.

Paying Employees to be Social

How many employers actually have written in their job descriptions, and performance plans that they should spend several hours a week being connected and actively participating in social media?  I’m going out on a limb to say somewhere around 5% and they are in marketing or sales.

Yet with LinkedIn just announcing that they hit the 200 Million mark this past week, a lot of people are connected.  Now I realize that LinkedIn is not the only social environment out there, there are at least a few billion on the others, LinkedIn is known as a professional social environment; where people post and apply for work, the online resume if you will, and connect with people they wish to do business with.

Yet on any given day, a lot of people are spending a lot of time catching up with what their connections are doing and saying.  I have to wonder how much time is devoted to online social versus performing the task the employer is paying the employee to do.

Certain jobs need to be connected to these environments to facilitate sales or increase marketing presence, and yet for the rest of the workforce they rob from the available time to get things done.  Even an hour a day is a half-day a week not spent working.  Can we really afford to pay employees to be social?

I know one company that monitors internet activity and reports hours monthly spent on particular websites.  They also have a policy in place that allows for a set amount of time to be social, and employees are counseled when they abuse the privilege.  Although it is sad to have this in place, it has been an effective tool to keep employees focused on working.

What are your thoughts?


Never Make the Customer Feel Dumb

Imagine you own a house in the mountains that you visit once a month.  When you purchased this house about a year ago the home inspector said the water heater was shot and you should replace it.  Yet when you had the local appliance and repair shop look at it they replaced a part for less than $100 and it worked fine.

Because this is a vacation home, you don’t leave the water heater on high when you are gone you turn it down to vacation when you are not there.  Each time you return it has hot water ready as soon as you turn on the water, and to the best of your knowledge everything is working just fine.

Now, imagine that this past weekend you ran out of hot water.  In fact the heater seems broken and you begin to feel that the home inspector was spot on after all.  It is a Sunday so no repairs, but you schedule another appointment a few days later that week.  You take time off work, spend gas money to drive back to the house and when the repair guy asks why the switch is on “pilot” and not “on” you stand there like a complete idiot.  You know that you read the dial incorrectly and never moved the switch since the first date of repair.

The repair guy could have laughed, made fun of your stupidity, or simply did as this guy did and shrug it off.  He made the customer feel okay, and did not make them feel dumb.  Kimbro’s appliance and repair shop has earned a customer for life, and the customer even found time today to write about it in his blog.