We Need More Accountability Here, Just Don’t Start With Me
Time after time I walk into printing companies and as I sit down to meet the team, I hear comments such as “things are okay, we just need more accountability around here.” I know that you’ve never heard that line before! Why is being accountable so elusive? Why is asking someone to be accountable sometimes difficult? From my observations, one area that drives this begins with setting clear expectations. Sometimes that is easier to do with new hires than it is with team members who have been with you for a long time. Either way, lack of expectations usually leads to a lack of accountability.
Set clear expectations
Communicating clear and specific expectations is a great way to minimize the drama that can take center stage in some organizations. It could be meant to spell out a task or a specific job within the business. What are you expecting the other person to do, and do they clearly understand what you want? If you are the lead person, make sure that you’ve spelled things out. Don’t leave things to chance and to be helpful, let the other person know how their role is important to the success of the entire process.
In situations that are repetitive, the details can be glossed over as we’ve done this a thousand times before. As a leader, there’s no room for complacency in how you communicate. When re-work occurs, it’s often because the blocking and tackling part of the job was overlooked. Shortcuts were taken because of the “experience” of having done this type of work before. Speaking of shortcuts, how many times is re-work due to not reading the job ticket? Effective communication, whether verbal or written is imperative in a detailed, custom manufacturing business.
That’s right, you’re different
“Clear expectations and effective communication are fine, it’s just that I really don’t need that.” That’s right, you’re different! If there are best practices established for a specific job, a department, or the business sector, are they meant for everyone or only a few? It’s difficult to be a reliable, dependable, and scalable business if you have some folks following the rules, and others freelancing. It’s also difficult to have a strong positive culture if some are held to task and others make it up as they go.
Everything has consequences ...
… or at least they should! What are the consequences of following the best practices within your organization and what are the consequences of not following them? If there is no difference, then it’s hard to hold people accountable for their portion of the puzzle. In continuous improvement circles, the line is “no standard, no problem.” If there is no standard work, or best practice, and no consequence for freelancing, then there won’t be any accountability and you’ll get what you get.
Lather rinse and repeat
Invest in all your leaders to make sure that they understand the effectiveness their position has. They hold the key to understanding the cascading goals sent in from the front office and translating them into clear expectations to the staff. Help them to improve their communication skills so that they can be even more effective with their team. Be clear with the consequences of what non-performance is and show them how to lead, coach, and manage their team to success. A clear and intentional focus on expectations and communication will go a long way to making the accountability part of the job a bit easier. Do this every day and it’ll turn into what the words on the shampoo bottle say: “lather, rinse, and repeat.”
Give these a try in your business and let me know how it goes. And as always, if you have any questions on how to apply these thoughts, just leave a note below or reach out to me directly.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.