Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Knowing the answers

Knowing the answer to a question is nice, but it's only valuable if that answer is acted on. If the person who knows what to do, doesn't do it, what does it matter that they know the answer?

An assumption I used to make was that if something wasn't happening as I expected, then I needed to make sure the person responsible understood the big picture or even the small picture of why it was important. You know what I found out? Most of the time, that person fully understood what was important and why it was expected. They just didn't do it...

So what do you do? Well, I pondered that and of course the usual answers were to take aggressive action (a warning for example) or remove the person from the position or to just give up. I'd guess these are what happen 99% of the time.

There is another approach if the previous answers are not appropriate: You just change the game. You no longer allow that action (or inaction) to take place—it's just not an option. That can be accomplished by eliminating, for instance, the person's authority to make certain decisions alone or it could be a checks and balances system that detects early on if something is off kilter and stops everything until it is solved correctly. Over time, the person learns—either that he or she can't cut it or that a bad decision is a lot worse (and harder) than doing the right thing. And it ceases to be a personal thing; there's no emotion. It's pretty simple actually.

No matter the solution, if we remove the power or temptation to take the wrong actions, we might just have a better answer.

Barry LaBov
LABOV Marketing Communications and Training

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