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But… I Told Them To Do It

But… I Told Them To Do It

By: Ross Paterson

We have been wrestling with the elusive topic of ACCOUNTABILITY with several business leaders this week.  We know we need it, and though it is easy to talk about WHAT, it is very difficult to execute HOW. ACCOUNTABILITY is a complex human interaction that takes time and effort to master.

I am devouring Dan Pink’s new book, WHEN.  An enlightening study on the rhythms of humans.  As individuals and teams, we have a psychological affinity for beginnings, middles, and ends.  Deadlines and midpoint check-ups are powerful focusers.  I frequently see organizations miss deadlines, followed by a leader’s self-condemnation, ‘But, I told them to do it.’

Do more than tell them.  Set hard calendar meetings for midpoint check-ups.  Use these sessions to coach, ask questions, listen, and encourage. “At the midpoint, imagine that you are behind, but only by a little.  That will spark your motivation.”  Dan Pink, When.

Remember leaders, it is our responsibility to provide inspired accountability.  If our direct reports don’t meet their objectives, we don’t meet ours. Even if we ‘told them to do it.’