17 Oct

Be accountable

Moliere said that, It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. This really resonated with me as I’ve been reflecting for the past couple of days on accountability, and how it can positively or negatively influence your business.

What does that it actually mean to be accountable and what does being accountable look like in today’s business world?

People’s definitions of what accountability is will vary, depending on who they are and where their focuses lie. I have a fairly “old-fashioned” view of personal accountability. When I look at doing business with someone I look at how accountable they are to themselves, their potential and existing customers, and their own businesses. It’s not necessarily the big things that I always look at, but its the small things that matter sometimes.

Accountability rule #1:  Commit to what you say you will do –  So many people are so busy being busy, that one of the first things to fall off the accountability wagon is the ability to follow through on tasks. Remember that your business, which includes you, is constantly on stage and in the public arena for all to see. Your actions or lack of actions show your customers and potential customers how you operate. In order to send the right message such as “Im dependable and not a flake” and to build the right reputation, focus on being accountable for the small things in your business. Answer your emails, follow up on enquiries, return phone calls and arrive at meetings on time. Honestly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do that! This doesn’t just show that you are accountable and dependable but it also shows respect and how serious you are about your business.

Accountability rule #2: Accept the consequences for your actions –  When you make an excuse for not completing a task you need to accept the consequences, big or small. Making excuses doesn’t miraculously remove the consequence, your accountability, or the inconvenience for the other party. Therefore if you cannot deliver on a project, don’t just arrive with an excuse and think you are off the hook. Be accountable and be the first person to offer a solution.

In the business world, your customer doesn’t really care about your issues. They don’t want to hear your excuses. They just want their product or service delivered to them at the right time at the right price and in the right condition.

Accountability rule #3: Never pass blame  – This can be a tricky one, especially when someone else has really stuffed up. But passing blame and shining the spot light on someone else’s imperfections makes you look like an amateur. This is where you should bite your tongue and move on. Rise above the situation and focus on solutions instead of excuses, sob stories and drama. Perhaps there is a need to build some safety nets in your business?

Accountability rule #4: Be honest – So the paw-paw has hit the fan, or you are unable to deliver on a project. Drop the ego and be honest about what’s going on. Getting into the habit of making excuses, dodging irate customer calls and passing blame doesn’t serve you and definitely doesn’t boost your reputation with your customers.

Most people in business have the best of intentions when starting out, so don’t let a lack of accountability, responsibility or ownership ruin your chances of building a strong and successful business. Be accountable.

08 Jun

Decisions, decisions, decisions

We live in a constantly changing world. Everyday without fail we are faced with having to make decisions. Apparently, as adults we make up to 35,000 decisions everyday, which range from what to eat for breakfast, to more life altering decisions such as what you want to be for the rest of your life. According to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007) 226 of those choices are focused on food alone. No pressure.

With the need to make thousands of decisions being a constant in our lives  one would think it would be an easy process. We get 35,000 chances to practise everyday, we should be naturals! Gather the necessary facts in order to make an informed decision, weigh up the pros and cons of the various options and make the decision. Easy? Not quite.

So to complicate our lives and to add a dose of self-sabotage into the mix we can get into the habit of not making a decision.  This could be leaving “things” up in the air or  sticking your head in the sand and praying that “things” will just blow over. News flash, “things” don’t blow over.

The funny thing is, whether we like it or not, change will always happen. Whether we make a decision or choose to not make a decision, there will always be an outcome. There will always be consequences. Don’t be fooled into thinking that by not deciding everything will remain the same. By not making a decision, all that has happened is that you have given your power away and the change is controlling you, as opposed to you controlling the decision, choice and consequences of your action or inaction.

Yes, certain decisions can be extremely difficult and avoidance seems so much easier. However ask yourself these two question the next time you are thinking about ignoring to make a decision.

  1. “What would happen in your life or business if you didn’t take control and make a decision?”
  2. “Can you live with the consequences of not making that crucial decision?”

Know this, if you don’t take control and make decisions, some one else will and you may not be their first priority or concern. Take charge, take ownership, be proactive and make the decisions.

Need clarity and a professional coaches assistance? Contact Nicole @ nicole@tikumu.co.nz





23 Mar

4 Easy steps on how to manage consequences

Newton’s third law says, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. In simple terms if you push on anything, it pushes straight back. The bigger your push, the bigger the push back.

Taking that learning into the workplace can be very beneficial for any business owner or manager. Whatever you do within your business, there will always be a push back. Whatever decisions you make or strategies you implement regarding your people and teams, there WILL always be a push back. It becomes your choice as to whether that push-back is positive or negative. Unfortunately tough decisions have to be made from time to time, to enable business growth and survival. Tough decisions will inevitably affect your team members, however the negative push-back can be controlled and managed. This is where you step up and decide how this will be carried out.

Think about the last tough decision you had to make, which ended up negatively affecting your team. What was the initial outcome and did you notice any effects weeks and months after the decision-dust settled? Were you aware that you would receive negative push-back or did it come as a complete surprise?

In both scenarios you are walking into a storm with no safety net. Being aware of the negative consequences, or being taken by surprise, you still land up on the back foot. So how can you prevent yourself from landing up with your picture on the staff break-room’s dartboard?

Take the time to consider your actions. Take the time to consider the consequences. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What would the consequences (negative and positive) be if I implemented this particular change or action? Write these down on the attached worksheet. (Action and Consequences model)

2. What would the consequences (negative and positive) be if I didn’t implement this particular change or action? Write these down.

It is always good common practise to consider the “What if we didn’t implement” scenarioIt provides you with a different perspective, an objective view of things.

3. Go back to questions 1 and 2. If you have documented the consequences of taking and not taking action, what would the consequences of each consequence be? Remember, that you are documenting negative and positive consequences, not just the negative.

Write these down.

This exercise can include as many  consequence levels as you like, it just depends on how far you wish to take it.

4. Once you have outlined the consequences for each level, start looking at how the positive consequences can be leveraged and how the negative consequences  can be managed. You may discover that just by managing the initial negative consequences you can nip them in the bud and prevent further damage from being caused.

Gone are the days of making tough decisions, ignoring the backlash and expecting for your people to “suck it up”. If you want to alienate your people and destroy your business and corporate culture, go ahead and continue with this mindset. However, with the right strategy in place and by taking control and being proactive, you can start thinking and working smarter.

Action and Consequences model

01 Oct

When last were you hijacked?

Emotional hijacking can either save our lives or cripple them, depending on the situation and the emotional trigger of either fight, flight or freeze.

The problem we face today according to Daniel Goleman, is that our brains and specifically the amygdala cannot differentiate between actual physical threats and complex symbolic threats. In other words, to the amygdala there is really no difference between the fear of being eaten by a hungry predator, and the fear we may feel towards a demanding, dominating and over-bearing boss.  The overall feeling is fear and the amygdala goes into over-drive, attempting to hijack us in order to save us from this scary situation. Do we run, fight or freeze?

It is probably safe to say that most of us will not be dinner for hungry predators any time soon, but the threat of a dominant, terrifying boss who triggers stress and fear in us can be very real.

With both scenarios mentioned above we narrow our attention and fixate on the emotion. Our thoughts become pre-occupied with the emotion of fear. The danger is when we act on that emotion. Unfortunately applying any of these actions of fight, flight or freeze towards the scary boss would probably cause more harm than good, especially the fight option. Therefore, what we do during this hijacking phase can redeem us or damage us.

We do thankfully have the ability to rationalise these impulses and control how we act. It is  our choice on how we act. How self-aware we are will decide the final outcome.

Viktor E. Frankl stated in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

So the next time you feel a strong emotion taking over such as fear or anger try asking yourself the following questions.

  1. What would the consequences of my actions be if I acted without thinking them through?
  2. Would those consequences “save” me or damage me?
  3. How can I eliminate that feeling of fear or anger? What would I need to change about myself to move past this emotion?
  4. Is there a common trigger in my life which evokes this emotion? What measures can I put in place to control my reaction?

Don’t allow the emotional brain to manage and control you. Focus on being more self-aware and learn to self-manage and use the space to process your response. In this awareness you will find a happy balance of emotion and rational thinking.


02 Jul

Smile, you’re on stage!

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, says that “we learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instructions”.

To illustrate this point I would like to carry out an experiment with you. Think back to the time you supervised someone for the first time. It could be recent or many years ago.  Honestly, how did that work out for you?  I bet that with the responsibilities and added stresses in this new role your default management style was similar to your then or previous supervisor’s management style?  So your first management role was either a success or a disaster?

Whether you like it or not, you subconsciously mimic your superior’s behaviour. You follow their lead and depending on how influential or dominant they are, you often fall into the trap of becoming a “mini-me”. An unwritten rule develops that certain behaviours are tolerated within the organisation, whether they are good or bad, and a “that’s how things are managed around here” culture develops.  It gets passed on from one manager to another through direct experience and example setting.  Incorrect behaviour is justified and made acceptable, just because a superior behaved in that manner.

Remember that you are not just influenced by your direct superiors, but you also influence the people you are suppose to manage, lead and support.

Are you happy with how you are influencing the people who look up to you? If not, how do you break the cycle?

Perhaps consider the following pointers, which will encourage you to become more self-aware:

  • First and foremost  you need to realise that you are permanently on stage within the working environment. Your conduct is continuously on show for all to see and is being imprinted in the minds of your trusting employees. The  behaviour at the coffee station is just as important as the behaviour in the board room.
  • Ask yourself these question.
    • If I behave in a certain way, what will the consequences of my actions be?”
    • “How would I like to see my supervisor handle this matter?” – Then do that.
    • “The behaviour I see in my subordinates, is that my behaviour?” – Stand back and evaluate yourself. Look at improving your own behaviour before trying to change everyone else’s.
    • “Does my behaviour reflect my core and aspirational values?”
    • “Am I able to recognise the difference between my own behaviour choices  vs. previous behavioural influences?”
  • As Vikor E. Frankl says in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.  Remember that “the space” is your ally use it to your advantage. Think before you act.
  • Ask a trusted and respected colleague to provide honest feedback should there be a need for it.

So think before you act or react and always put on a good show!