In celebration of our tenth year and with the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now in its eighth printing) we are offering you some of our best insights and practices to create an Accountability Culture in your workplace.
Hi, I’m Henry Evans, founder of Dynamic Results and author of “Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.” Last month, I talked to you about the importance of creating clear visual expectations—a cornerstone of our accountability method—and making sure you get reflection back from people, so that you’re more focused on what they heard than on what you said.
We want to tell you that we have clients that are out-performing their industries in a big way. We have clients that are market leaders in over twenty-eight segments right now. One of the reasons our clients out-perform their competitors and have a competitive advantage is because of the language that they use. I’m going to give you a few ways that different functions in your company can leverage some of the language that we talked about last month to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Let’s talk about your sales team first: What if your sales team saw our video last month and they were going into meetings focused on creating crystal clear clarity and then visual expectations with all of your clients, and getting reflection back from those clients before they write an order? What we mean is, imagine that they never assumed that they understood what the client wanted, and they were constantly reflecting what they heard in their own words in a paraphrased way to get that kind of clarity—and more importantly, to build that kind of confidence in their client’s mind before they wrote an order. They lead the rest of your organization in delivering expectations to your clients, we think these clear expectations go a long way in that capacity. This very simple practice is overlooked by many sales teams.
Your company doesn’t just run on sales. Let’s look at your back end—let’s look at I.T. What if when your I.T. pros have your employees coming to them with these ambiguous requests like, “Hey, can you make my computer work better so I can multitask?” Your I.T. people started to either paraphrase back what they think the person really meant, they might say something like, “What I hear you saying is that you really need to see a split-screen effect on your laptop, and you want to see your training video on one side and you want to be able to make notes in a Word document on the other side.” By creating this reflection, by paraphrasing, they’re either affirming the understanding or they’re clarifying it. They start to bring better service to your team by simply tweaking their language when these requests and commitments are being made.
In executive meetings (and that’s where I spend most of my time, working with the leaders)—if you want to drive results through accountability, you need to change the way you speak when you’re making and requesting your commitments. What if executive meetings sounded less like this, “Let’s get our employees more engaged,” and sounded more like this, “I suggest that we need a 5% drop in attrition by September thirtieth, and the we raise our engagement survey by an average score of 2%.”
Clarity takes time. We know you’re busy—we’re suggesting that if you take a few extra moments to set clearer expectations before the work is done, it saves you a lot of time in the long run. When I was a process consultant, I used to hear in companies, particularly in manufacturing, justify all of these terrible manufacturing practices. They were basically saying to me that they didn’t have time to manufacture something right the first time, but they always had time to redo it or, in other words, to do it twice. That just doesn’t make sense.
We are always focused on giving you ways to focus your communications so you have increased accountability and increased efficiency in your interactions. Our certified facilitators are always ready to bring our accountability method in to your company for training purposes, and I look forward to seeing you next month. Thank you.
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