As we may now be heading into yet another round political campaigning, whilst I admit that I do not like the majority of politicans and I am left as speechless as the next person over the recent political shenanigans. I do have a sneaky admiration for the way our professional politicians combine their undeniable intelligence and quick wit with the dexterity and speed of a world champion boxer to avoid being cornered to skip away from every knockout punch question.
Even the most skilful interviewer grudgingly allow our professional politicians to sidestep key questions, fail to get firm commitments or to hold them accountable for their past results or current actions which ultimately lets the politician off the hook.
It’s a wonderful piece of theatre; like a game of chess.
Now what’s this got to do with business?
Well, I have witnessed this game being played out in many, many companies. In Board Meetings, Sales Meetings, Production Meetings, in every department at every level, everyday.
In fact just as skilfully but probably not so intentionally!
Consider your own business for a moment.
When thinking about accountability, how do you and your staff react?
Do you really embrace it or when push comes to shove do you avoid it?
Just like the interviewer do you let yourself and others off the hook?
So here are a couple of behaviours to watch out for. Although not as blatant as the tactics used by our wily politicians they still effectively sidestep accountability.
1. Smoke screens!
When put under pressure to perform a smokescreen is put up so that the issue gets lost. For example, a classic smokescreen may be to question the basis of the numbers or call into question assumptions made. Anything, that gets the discussion away from accountability and before you know it you have run out of time and probably resolve. Perhaps you agree to look into the numbers and rearrange the meeting. Accountability has been deferred but beware that this can lead to another behaviour…
2. Curve balls!
If given warning of an accountability meeting then it’s time to pitch a curve ball. Before getting onto the potentially thorny issue a problem or issue is raised that suddenly becomes very important. Perhaps some else’s behaviour is questioned or an issue at a customer is put up for discussion. The distraction, curve ball, effectively diverts attention and quickly the purpose of the meeting i.e. accountability is effectively side stepped.
Keep any watchful eye out for these two tactics in your business.
Watch out for their skilful use during this election campaign.
It may make it more interesting!