Do your damn job…don’t just talk about it!

Here’s the thing, no one wants to really take accountability for “doing” the work so we spew platitudes like:

  • “Our people are our most important resource”
  • “We value our customer/client relationships”
  • “Our vision is…(fill in the blank)”
  • “Our values are…”
  • Any sentence that contains any form of the word strategy, vision, or leader

(If you would like a comprehensive list, Scott Berkun put together a pretty good one and Eric Jackson also created a killer list of things to say that would all score pretty well if you were playing “buzzword bingo”)

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Your actions thunder so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.”.  I believe that if we spent less time thinking about how to tell people what we are doing and simply did it; our lives, and the lives of others, would be more meaningful (for us) and impactful (to them).

Here are some thoughts on how to get shit done:

  • Have a vision for each of the people who report to you and not just a vision for the company
    • Share your vision of them with them and challenge them to see it…and then get buy-in from them to work towards it. If you do this one thing, retention takes care of itself
  • Talk to people and not about them
    • If someone’s name comes up during a meeting in terms of performance demand there be a meeting date set and action plan created to address the issue with measureable goals and then move on
  • Ask customers/clients/employees what they think and don’t assume or spent time trying to figure it out
  • Step out from behind your desk and venture into the world to find out what your competition is doing and where your industry is headed
  • Ask questions you don’t already know the answers and truly listen to the responses AND then take actions based on what you have learned
    • Show your people that you are learning every day which creates the expectation they do the same
  • Focus on creating a sustainable organization and not just making as much money as you can right now (this requires balance and sacrifice in equal measures)
  • Create engaging work that pays well and stop worrying about morale or making people happy (happiness is choice each individual has to make)
  • Be clear and concise with your expectations and write it down
    • Victims love vagueness
  • Hold yourself and others accountable for commitments
    • This one action, if consistently applied, will change people’s lives because it shows them what they are capable of achieving
  • Understand what winning looks like for you, your team, and the organization and ensure there is alignment
    • I don’t know about your company but not many are in business just for practice
  • Focus on output, not time
    • Don’t reward people who work longer hours but get less done
  • Teach your team how to manage their energy and focus (once you can manage your own)
  • Create an environment where people engage in meaningful conversations about important topics because they care about each other
    • If you are uncomfortable having these types of conversations, then you don’t really care about your people…end of story
  • Ensure people can separate themselves from their work so when there are discussions about performance it is constructive and not a personal attack (again because if people care about people, then they will want to help them by telling them the truth)

One last platitude to consider…

“If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

It is not and that is why not many do. 



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Filed under Leadership, Looking in the mirror

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