Leadership Without Excuses provides many tips and strategies for building accountability in the workplace. Grimshaw and Baron share real-life examples of highly successful people and companies to illustrate effective means of leadership.
There are three kinds of people. Some people are saints— they never make excuses. Some people are sinners—they always make excuses. Most people are saveables—give them an excuse, and they’ll use it to defend their egos and avoid responsibility.
Make compliance policies and procedures comprehensible to mere mortals. Policies and procedures are most often written for technical and legal exactitude by auditors, accountants, and lawyers. The result: policies and procedures that can be read and used only by auditors, accountants, and lawyers.
Without clarity about who is responsible for performing specific tasks, it’s impossible to have accountability.
Not everyone is looking for the challenging new opportunities. Take this into account if they’re otherwise providing tremendous value in their current role.
That’s a high performer who will stay a high performer. Don’t punish them for wanting to stay at a level they enjoy.
It’s irrational for employees to pay attention to—and invest effort to align with—any new effort or initiative they believe is “flavor of the month” and will soon be forgotten.
Your greatest source of power is your ability to change how people feel.
The measure of any consequence is the extent to which it influences the way the recipient feels.
According to the players of football powerhouse University of Florida, Coach Urban Meyer “preaches family a lot. Our teammates are our brothers. You never want to let family down. The feeling of letting a teammate down is so much worse than letting the coach down—because the coach is still going to coach you. If you let your teammate down, there’s no telling if he can trust you on the field again or not.”
“I reserve the right to get smarter. And I expect you to do the same.”
This is why it’s so important for leaders to take excuses out of the system by creating the conditions of accountability: Communicating clear and credible expectations. Creating compelling consequences. Leading conversations grounded in empirical reality.