How to Address Resistance to Accountability (or to any change)

Last week I heard from a teacher in the Boston area in response to my piece about accountability. She said, “Wow! This is what I do every day as a teacher!”

Many managers and executives tell me that their people aren’t ready for accountability, or have a negative response to the word ‘accountability.’ Is that the case in your organization, and if so, why?

Here’s what works when you encounter any sort of resistance to change:

  1. Do not ignore the resistance – it will only build in strength. They’ll think you did not hear them.
  2. Do not force compliance – the resistance will become covert and continue to grow for the same reason as in #1 above.
  3. Do take the time to listen to people who are resisting. Often just the act of showing that they are being heard will significantly reduce resistance.
  4. Do explain why the change is both needed and in their own best interest.
  5. Move ahead with the change, continuing to be open to feedback, and with the resolve to keep it moving forward.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
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I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is http://www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob@boblegge.com

Do You Have An Accountability Absence?

 

A significant challenge for management today is accountability. You must count on people doing what is expected of them, and doing it on time. But despite how important this is, many managers don’t know how to hold people accountable without seeming to be dictatorial. And employees today tend to ascribe negative connotations to the word “accountability.”

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Establishing an accountability-based organization involves two fundamental parts:

  1. Establishing expectations, and
  2. Following through

Both parts are important, and making sure both parts are in place is the responsibility of the manager. If a sound accountability system is agreed to and implemented, most people will respond positively. In fact, high performers like having both responsibility and accountability, and they can feel slighted if others are not being accountable.

When someone is not doing what’s expected, it needs to be addressed. The key is to focus on the difference between the expected performance and the actual performance as well as the poor performer’s behavior, not his/her character traits.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.
My website is www.boblegge.com

Sharpen the Focus on Results

Here is one of the most common, yet astounding, things that I see in organizations: Direct reports often aren’t clear on what their jobs are. Yes, they are busy all day, but if you ask any of them what, specifically, their job is, you get a job title, or a general explanation.

Do this: Ask each of your direct reports to write-down the top 4-8 ongoing results that each of their jobs is designed to accomplish. Focus on the results the job is intended to accomplish, not the activities the person does. Ask them to bring the list to your next one-on-one.

Chances are, you’ll have a very good conversation, one that will help both of you get clearer on both outcomes and priorities.

Unless you, and especially your direct reports, know what each person is expected to accomplish, work is just a constant stream of busy-ness.

Activities aren’t what matters; results are.

 

When Development Stalls at the Top

The need to continually develop knowledge and skills is important throughout an organization.  You’ve got to have people who are capable of handling new and bigger challenges in all aspects of the business.  If they stall, thinking that being competent today is going to be enough for tomorrow, they’ll get relegated to lesser roles and more knowledgeable and experienced people will be brought in over them.  I see it happening over and over again.

It’s particularly troubling, when development stalls at the top of an organization.  When senior leaders neglect to invest in themselves, it creates a mini-crisis.  Often times, the situation continues on indefinitely, hurting the organization’s performance, position in the market, and reputation with employees.  No high-performer wants to work for boss who isn’t keeping up and is unable to lead, challenge, and stimulate the organization.

What are you doing to invest in your own knowledge and skills?

I offer executive coaching and selected invitation-only leadership experiences for senior executives who are successful, and want to stay up-to-speed.  If you are interested in learning more, contact me.

Copyright 2017  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge has an unmatched ability to help clients achieve competitive advantage, leaving competitors in their dust.  He has worked with companies across industries and geographies to align critical elements, dominate their markets, and achieve dramatic results, such as 600% revenue increase in three years.  Personally, he enjoys sailing where both his strategic abilities and tactical skills help him see interesting places while having a fabulous time with friends and family. .

Contact him at:   bob.legge@leggecompany.com.

I Don’t Want to Hear “Hopefully”

The foundation of accountability is commitment.

When one is committed to accomplishing something, the hesitation and fear are replaced by resolve and energy.   When one is not committed, they tend to produce long stories and excuses.

During one of my senior executive stints, a manager who reported to me had a standard reply when I asked when a task or result would be completed.  She would say, “Hopefully….”   She was not committed, nor was she accountable.

Sometimes a person will say, “I cannot be accountable for that because I don’t have full control over it.”  He or she is confusing being accountable with being in control.  Hardly anyone is fully in control:  A sales person does not have full control over buyers buying, but they are still accountable for the result.  A manufacturing manager does not have full control over efficiencies or safety, but is still accountable for both.  The challenge of accountability is to take whatever actions are necessary (within the values of the organization) to get the result.

Accountability is being answerable for results.  Responsibility is being answerable for actions and behaviors.  Both rest on commitment.

© Copyright 2016  Bob Legge

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Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals.  I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.  Contact him at  bob.legge@leggecompany.com

How leaders’ behaviors affect their people

Someone (I think it was Woody Allen) said that the role of the leader is to demonstrate how to act to his/her people.  It’s sound advice.  The most admired leaders show a focus and determination on achieving goals, getting things done, welcoming ideas, generating enthusiasm, using data and evidence to make decisions, being compassionate with people concerns, valuing honesty, and so on.  I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders and thousands of managers each of whom had their own way of positively influencing their organizations through their actions.

I’m concerned that our national leaders and candidates often demonstrate deleterious and lamentable behaviors that negatively affect the nation.  Make no mistake:  People do take their cues from their leaders.

My advice to leaders is this:   Your people watch your actions and behaviors and use them to legitimize their own behaviors.  If you want them to be honest, positive, innovative, engaging, and productive then be that way yourself.

Emphasize results, not deliverables

I don’t know where this came from, but I hear way too many people talking about deliverables.  Maybe it’s because a deliverable is better than lots of activity, but what you really want is results. Would you rather have a report, a study, a training session, a meeting, or do you want higher productivity, increased sales, more profits, less turnover, reduced costs, etc.?  And while we’re at it, are your employees rewarded for business results, or just actions?