Do you kid yourself about the times you’ve failed to deliver?

Whilst considering the launch of a new business venture it isn’t unusual to regularly go through phases of euphoria to downright depression. This is quite understandable; you are considering a massive shift in your life and potentially putting time, effort and (generally) cash into something you don’t want to fail. so, it is quite right that you should be considering every aspect of the venture and this includes the highs – what happens if this grows to a be a massive success? To the lows – what happens if I can’t deliver on everything I thought I could?During a pondering stage, somewhere between these two phases, I fell upon an article on the Management Today website by Rebecca Alexander. The article entitled ‘Effective leaders need more than good intentions’ discussed a scenario where managers start with best intentions, don’t do what they should do for whatever reason, but frame their actions in such a way that they perceive they are doing a great job; however, the outside world just view them as ineffective or non-performers. Bet you know a few of those operators, I certainly do. But is it fair to judge a manager based on non-delivery of their best intention?

I recall a manager who was senior to me quoting “perception is reality!” This was his stock quote and whilst I admit this statement fitted certain situations, others it did not. The story is long and winding, but the manager was eventually fired from his position because he got drunk at a client do and went totally over the top (enough said). Now, if perception were reality from those present, he is nothing but an aggressive drunk (?) See what I mean? It doesn’t always fit, all of the time. Seems that life isn’t that simple and can’t just be categorised by single quotes.

Ok back to the article, I must admit that sometimes I too have best intentions that I do not deliver upon. I am sure that my colleagues would be able to point the finger at me saying the word “you said you were going to do that and didn’t” pointing out my misgivings; as the article says no one is 100% perfect and I agree.

Ah, but business is more complex than this one dimensional view. Something I believe which needs to be considered in the mix is the ‘forward motion’, the ‘ever onward’, the constant grind (you get what I mean) needed to make business’s successful. Simply, things change and business’s need to change with it and sometimes we forget to inform employees of these changes, or the previous commitments just don’t add-up anymore. Then they feel left out in the cold, unadvised and disempowered due to the lack of information.

So communication is the key, no matter what actions have or have not been taken; we need to communicate more. Communication engages people; it empowers them and encourages them to take control. So, in my humble opinion, it is ok to make mistakes, to have the best intentions and forget certain things, but it isn’t ok to forget to explain to people the whys and wherefores; the reasoning why things are why they are, and the need to alter your commitments.

The Light Bulb Moment…

Whilst considering Rebecca Alexanders article I arrived at a conclusion relevant to me, it might not resonate with you (sorry). The point is that I tend to lean towards the new venture depression when I am not doing anything to ever advance my current position. This scenario reminded me of a quote I banded about when I started a business 15 years ago – ‘Nothing happens until YOU do something’. In a way I had discovered an answer to the article primary statement, best intentions or not, a forward motion is vital for business success and, in my opinion, a vehicle to bring everyone along for the ride.

Business is too fluid to make excuses – ‘you snooze you lose’ the saying goes. The ever onward motion of business is a necessary evil, without it organisations stagnate and are quickly caught up by the competition.

So, in response to Rebecca Alexander’s article, I agree! It is what you do that counts, but just as important is the way that you do it. Loyalty of employees comes from honesty, integrity, openness, fairness and exceptional interpersonal skills. If you don’t have all these qualities, and I don’t pretend to be a world leader in any of them, then being human and understanding the employees position and communicating effectively will have to suffice.
Here is a link to the article:

*All comments are based on my personal experiences and given freely. That said, you need to make your own choices. I can’t and won’t accept liability for you employing any recommendations. Business is all about risk. It’s your choice.

Nigel stone has, over the last fifteen years, started, led, consulted and nurtured both UK and European businesses to achieve quite outstanding results.


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