The black art of accountability - Part two

In our last blog we discussed how everyone has a set of non-negotiables which become obvious in conflict. See below for a refresh.

Did you reflect on your non-negotiables, and that of others around you?  Non-negotiables sound really straight-forward but nailing them down can be difficult. One of the more common conflicts I have observed in Business is when there is a clash between what is best for the client and what is best for the Business. Often the two are one and the same - if we take care of our clients then they will take care of the Business through repeat Business, referrals etc.

There does come a time however when they may not be aligned. Most Businesses had success in their early days by over-serving clients and offering huge amounts of flexibility. This becomes unscaleable and inefficient at a certain size. For example, a Manufacturer developing a non-standard product or promising quicker turnaround times for 'special clients'. This can cause carnage in the Operations/engine room.

So in this instance, what is the non-negotiable? Our client needs? Or our Business needs? It's a tricky question and involves a few variables. The lifestage of the Business, strategic fit of clients etc. There is no right or wrong, so long as the conversation is had.

This is just one example where seemingly aligned non-negotiables can clash and it is important to get really clear as a team.   Once you have your non-negotiables clear/ aligned and understood by everyone, what now?

Here is a simple tool to keep people accountable to non-negotiables, it's called the 3 C's....

  1. Call it
  2. Coach it
  3. Consequences

Call it - when a standard is not being met it's really important to call it as soon as possible, and always making sure the intervention is honest and respectful.

Coach it - if the non-negotiable keeps falling over, then we move to the next step of coaching the person. That means getting underneath why the current behaviour is happening, helping illustrate the impacts and helping the individual understand the different choices available in their approach.

Consequences - unfortunately at times calling it and coaching it may not be enough and consequences are required to show that the expectations are real….. or to simply enable your staff member a pathway to find another role/home better suited to them. Consequences can range from a change in responsibilities, financial (eg no bonus) to formal warnings and ultimately exits. This is a less enjoyable but important part of leadership responsibilities, often avoided to protect the person even if it comes at the expense of the Business and many other people.

Interestingly, parents don't hesitate to apply consequences to their children and this is arguably the most caring relationship that exists!!

Tune in next time to hear more detail and technique about each of the 3 C's!

Focus: Getting leaders out of the trenches. Leaders who don’t have time to lead are a common feature of growing businesses. Ivan can fix that.

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