UCCESS CAN BE FLEETING. WHILE TODAY’S
achievements won’t necessarily be forgotten, they will likely be quickly replaced with tomor- row’s higher goals and expectations. Under- achievement, however, can linger for months— and for some, a lifetime. It is commonly felt that employees should be held responsible for their actions and that mistakes should be immediately addressed and corrected. And if this business attitude is considered reasonable, then the mandate of accountability should apply to everyone —management, preferred suppliers, and customers…right? Being described as “accountable” is an important compliment. To hold someone else “accountable,” on the other hand, can carry with it a pejorative connotation. In the book
Change the Culture, Change the Game
, Roger Connors and Tom Smith address the concept of an all-encompassing organiza- tional accountability. Their premise is that greater account- ability can and does lead to game-changing results. They add, however, that “accountability has become something that happens to you when things go wrong.” In
The Oz Principle
, Connors, Smith, and Craig Hick- man list several reasons individuals fail—including fear, insecurity, low self-confidence, resisting responsibility, and being held accountable. Because some of these reac- tions are the outcomes from being criticized, admonished, or ridiculed, a sense of victimization overtakes them. Ulti- mately, these “victims” construct defense mechanisms to deny responsibility and divert attention to others. Unaddressed, victimization can metastasize into a com- pany culture—creeping like fungus, slowly and unob- trusively. Victims become bolder, denying responsi- bility, finger-pointing, fab- ricating excuses, and play- ing the blame game. To avoid this, the authors lay out a four-step process to create a culture of account- ability that is applicable to individuals and organiza- tions alike:
. See it.
Recognize and acknowl- edge the reality of every situation.
. Own it.
Accept responsibility for decisions and actions that are personally created.
. Solve it.
Change reality by crafting and applying new solutions to previously unforeseen obstacles; avoid tumbling back into victimization.
. Do it.
Commit to completing new solutions and always ask, “What else can be done?” The foundation of
The Oz Principle
is not to simply use the four steps to identify past per- sonal and professional behavior. The purpose of the process is to transform personal and organizational cultural dynamics to get “peo- ple to rise above their circumstances and to do whatever it takes to get the results they want.” Even though every employee should de- velop an ethos of personal accountability, its relevance is most effectively suited for or- ganizations.
The Oz Principle
points out that organizational results are the product of com- bined talents and efforts, not an assortment of isolated, unrelated individual activities with different goals and strategies. Consequently, its collective successes or failures are dependent on the shared and coordinated strengths, weaknesses, and interconnected objectives of all employees and management.
Salespeople may be the most immediately affected by the collaborative efforts of all distributor employees who participate in soliciting, creating, compiling, shipping, and billing of an order. If any department or individual fails to achieve his or her job assignment and it results in ser- vices to the customer being negatively impacted, the sales- person will likely be the first one to know. For that reason, sales- people have ideal motiva- tion to observe and per- ceive the interaction and performance of nearly every person or depart- ment whose decisions or actions have bearing on a sales order. Salespeople occupy a unique position, both inside and outside a com- pany. Such exposure natu- rally adds to their influ- ence, credibility, implied authority, and leadership image. As a consequence, n
was recently selected to rep Anamet Electrical in Hawaii. n
now reps Perma-Cote in Virginia (excluding Acco- mack, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Northampton, and Prince William counties). n
Meglio & Associates
is now Hammond Manufac- turing’s rep for east Mis- souri and southern Illinois. n
Strauss Architectural Systems
now reps Nora Lighting in Iowa.
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