Follow Through Credibility

You may be the most credible professional in the world, but if you promise to call me at a given date and time and then miss the appointment without even a peep as to why, you have lost a significant amount of credibility with me.

The same goes for promising to email or mail me something.  Do it, or suffer a loss of credibility.  Actually anything you promise to do and fail to do it loses credibility, and especially if you fail to explain why you dropped the ball.

Yet, for those of you that are plum full of excuses for not following through on your promises, after awhile I just stop listening.  I rarely believe anything you tell me, because you rarely come through on anything you say.  Some would call this flakey, or incompetent, but I just call it unreliable.

While there are days that you may wonder if anyone is able to do more than just make promises, I have experienced plenty of people that work overtime to maintain and increase their personal credibility with others.  They often just need to have a system in place that reminds them of tasks to be done and to follow up.  The sad reality is that they don’t have to go overboard just to stand out.  Thanks to the many that don’t do much to increase their personal worth to others, just a met performance makes you look like a far exceeds performer.

Last week a professional I work with asked to schedule a telephone call yesterday.  He named the time, and even confirmed via email.  The time came and went without a word from him.  You may ask did I follow up?  No I didn’t because this is the typical behavior for him.  If I followed up, he would set a new time, and miss that appointment too.  He may email me minutes before the time and push it out again, but it takes several times to get on the phone with him.

You may ask why this happens.  It is simple.  His time is worth more than my time in his mind.  Yet when he makes grand promises for what he can do for me, do I really believe him?  What do you think?

Honesty in Job Recruiting

A friend of mine is an internal recruiter for their company, and was frustrated by what appears to be a revolving door.  Too many people are resigning, and even when replacements are found, too many of them are resigning within a few months.  It was after something she said that had me both laughing and crying that I realized may be a good reason for some honesty in recruiting.

She said, “I want to tell everybody that applies here that they must be able to deal with daily insanity.”  She wasn’t trying to be funny, she was just stating a rather inconvenient truth.  This company happens to make a lot of irrational decisions, are very reactive, and treat employees as disposable items.  To further complicate her job, you need to understand that this is a bank, that recruits often from other banks.  So if you hire an employee from another bank, there are certain assumptions that are not covered in the interview process.  One exiting person said, “I feel like I landed in the Twilight Zone”, because they operate so differently.

My friend said, “if I could only warn them ahead of time that this place is insane most of the time, maybe they wouldn’t be so shell-shocked after coming on board.  Maybe they could last longer.”

She has a valid point, which is why I thought that honesty does fit into the role of a recruiter.  There will always be some surprises in a new job, but why not talk about the ones you know exist?  Minimize the surprises.

I suggested she work on how she would describe the working environment without saying “insane” and that she should have a serious talk with her manager and come up with a strategy that previews the working environment and maybe reduce the resignations.

Of course I’m also thinking that if the place does require someone to deal with daily insanity, then we need to work on other areas to improve working conditions for all employees.  Ya Think?

Are You Afraid of Your Boss?

Let’s be honest. At times we have all worked for a boss that we were just afraid of for any of many different reasons. The outcome of that fear created a poor working relationship, and neither of your performances were as good as they could have been.

Whether the boss is intimidating, mean and nasty, or egotistical, they hold the keys to your financial situation. You endure until either they move on or you find a different job. Neither conclusion is a winning option for your career or the company’s success. So what do you do?

When I was a lot younger, I let people intimidate me. I learned over time that it served no purpose other than job retention (and I know how vital that can be) to let things remain the same. I learned that I needed to choose my fights, and at times fall on my sword for the right causes.

An Example:

There are two companies in my area that hired a new Chief Human Resources Officer last year. I happen to know the two finalists in both cases.  A stronger talent with more experience lost out to another candidate both times that were less experienced and more importantly both very passive in nature. In both companies, the CEO is a very strong personality with an intimidating presence. The people chosen can be easily manipulated and the person who lost both times would have stood his ground.

It has been fascinating to watch both companies as they build their infrastructure. Both are building very weak HR functions that are more clerical and less strategic. It was not surprising to learn that when they hired their respective training managers they went for potential over experience. One hired a facilitator and the other an instructional designer to build a training function from scratch. Both have created disastrous results to date because they lacked the right competencies. What they did bring to the table was the inability to be challenging to the status quo.

In these two examples, the CEOs hired HR people that would do as they are told. The best candidate would have challenged how the CEO wanted to perceive the world. The HR people then went on to hire training managers that would not challenge them. Because all of these managers want sheep for employees, and the employees are afraid to challenge their manager’s thinking, everyone is failing.

Both of these companies compete in the same industry, and both CEOs see each other as direct competition. Can you imagine what would happen if one of them replaced their HR and their Training leaders with competent, experienced and at times challenging the status quo talent? That company would exceed expectations and capture the market share of the other.


When we are fearful of our boss, we cannot do the best job possible. If we are leading functions where employees never question the status quo, then we should be the ones that question our own actions. To have success, we need all talent to work to their potential, and at the same time we should be open to yielding to expertise, and not just to a title.

Why Your Employees are Resigning

If when you resign, your manager’s response is “Great!” you may think at first they are happy for you.  But then it dawns on you that you hadn’t got to the part where you told them why, and where you are headed.  Hum, they are just thrilled that you are leaving.  Upon further reflection, you see the joy in their face and realize this same person who just gave you a good performance rating two weeks ago, is actually happy you are resigning.

As the training guy, I can tell you that there is definitely not a single leadership training program that would encourage a manager to be visibly thrilled when an employee resigns.  It is inappropriate behavior to say the least, unprofessional, and downright sad.  And yet this happened to a friend of mine last week.

She was part of a couple of hundred employees that were part of an acquisition late last year, by a company that seems hell-bent on replacing most if not all of these employees with their choices.  In 4 months, nearly 40% of the managers have resigned.  Not a single one was terminated, they all resigned.  At the current pace they will have lost all of the management team in another 6 months.  One is left to wonder if that is the goal?

But let’s move away from the current conspiracy theory and ask if all of these resignations are not by design, and are actually not desired.  What is this new company doing that is causing so many people to jump ship?  I can answer that question in one word.  Culture.

The culture of this company is cold.  It is not focused on customer needs or employee needs, and thus they make decisions that impact the lives of both of these groups.  They have been made aware of their choices, by customers that are leaving with the same gusto as the employees.  Yet it has had no impact.  The culture says we know better what customers and employees need, and they must change to fit the culture.

I will admit that at times I have been happy when an employee has resigned.  Usually it has been a performance issue causing the disruption and a failure to change the performance.  So when the employee has resigned, I am glad the stress is over.  Yet I have always seconded guessed what I or my team could have done differently to prevent losing this talent.  And yes, even the worst employee has talent that you lose when then resign.

All managers should spend a little time finding out why someone is resigning.  When it is for a better opportunity, then support them and visibly show that support.  Don’t be an arrogant jerk and lash out.  Chances are if it was because the working conditions made them leave it was your fault.  We must always remember that employees go to work for the company, but 9 times out of 10 they resign because of their manager.  Learn from the resignation, and do better next time.