Don’t Say It If You’re Not Going to Follow Through

If you’re not happy with how people in your firm are behaving, it’s your job to make a change. No, you can’t change someone’s behavior, but you can train them to behave differently.

I see too many leaders fail with accountability by making commitments, promises or statements they’re not willing to back up. You can talk all you want, but in the end talking is a waste of time. Doing and following through is the way.

Think about it. Up until now, haven’t you just been calling meeting after meeting, and saying the same things over and over about what people should be doing differently? Then, when the patterns repeat themselves again, you’re the one who picks up the slack and takes all of the responsibility (you are the leader, after all).

If you keep “picking up their socks” from the floor, how do you expect people to ever learn to keep their rooms clean? People do what they do because that’s what they’ve gotten used to doing. And you’ve been letting it go on. It’s okay. You didn’t realize. Let it go. Stop banging your head against the wall and make the decision to do something different.

From here on out, you’ll have to spell out everything you want to be different. You’re the leader and people will need to be held accountable for these policies; otherwise they’ll be about as useful as a pile of S&H stamps.

First, be really clear about what you’re laying out – what you want them your people to do. Next, institute very clear consequences for people who don’t do what you’re asking. You also need to be okay with the possibility of people leaving. You need to be that committed to other people’s success and to the success of your business.

Have you ever stood by your word and carried out a consequence you had laid down? What was the result? Leave your story below.