The reality is that, no matter how informative, persuasive, or “right” you may be, you won’t be able to be 100% effective in convincing people to do the what you want them to do, to select the best thing for them, to make a sound business choice, to stop expecting different outcomes from doing the same things, or to see things your way.  Whether it is a matter of perception, experience, willingness, choice, or some other factor or influence, what someone else does or doesn’t do is up to them.

Now it isn’t unreasonable to expect that if someone enters into an agreement, they will make an effort to uphold their end of the bargain.  For instance, if a company accepts funding with terms and conditions from an investor, a creditor, or the government, there are always expectations and strings attached.  The investor expects (and hopes) there will be a return on the investment and the funds will be used wisely to generate that return.  The investor will also expect a degree of risk associated with the investment.  The creditor, let’s say a banker, will expect the business will use the funds for the purpose specified in the loan and will meet the covenants (conditions) put on the loan, such as not taking on any additional debt without permission.  The government will expect the company will keep accounting records in a manner that is consistent with the rules it has prescribed and that no funds will be spent on any items which aren’t authorized.

Those seem to be pretty straightforward situations and rules.  Company X agrees to do or not do Y in return for money to build the business and agrees to the stated terms and conditions.   Those terms and conditions translate into business practices and activities which management and employees must document, observe, monitor, undertake, prevent, or otherwise ensure happen or don’t happen, depending on whether they are permitted or prohibited.  The agreements make them the responsibilities of the company and its team.  They cannot be viewed as “too much work”, “someone else’s job”, “too complicated”, “unfair”, “fill-in-the-blank excuse” for the organization, because the company accepted the rules.

Now in the new tradition of looking for someone else to be responsible, not everyone will “get it.” – if you take on a leadership, management, or accountable role in the organization which has accepted the strings, those strings get tied to you in your role.  Even if you look to subordinates, consultants, or “someone else” to do the work, you cannot pass the responsibility and liability on.  If you are in “the seat”, then whether you choose to understand or not, when the music stops in the game of musical responsibility chairs – you may be the one left standing and that is NOT a good thing.

If you are the one with the task of conveying the message, of getting everyone to “get it” and they seem not to be, chances are they do, but don’t want to admit it.  They are attempting to grab a seat and leave you standing.  Don’t get knocked out of the game by those who do not want to acknowledge the strings which are tied to their roles.  Instead, be sure to communicate clearly, frequently, and directly, the roles, responsibilities, and expectations related to any activity, agreement, or relationship which is undertaken.  Ignorance is bliss only until it bites you in your accountabilities.

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