I lunched with David, a representative of an outstanding organization. He is one of thousands of field reps with the title of “coach” and he’s quite high up—in the field.
He had read the QBQ! book and told me its message of PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY is perfect for their world.
This fast-growth and dynamic company sells products like Shakeology meal-replacement drink and Insanity, P90X, and TurboJam workout DVDs.
Coaches such as David help customers lead healthier lives through those products, as well as Facebook exercise “challenge groups” and personal consultation. They also support their “downline” recruits in achieving financial freedom.
In our time together, David said, “We need to get some QBQ! books to the execs at the headquarters!”
So I shipped ‘em out.
Meanwhile, I talked with three other field coaches. Their comments:
“All we talk about to our customers is personal accountability. Only with a NO EXCUSES! attitude do we reach our fitness goals.”
“The QBQ! message taught me I’d been ‘hiding behind the team,’ blaming those that I have recruited into the business. I need to be more accountable for helping them succeed.”
“My customers can buy all the products and programs they want, but if there’s no personal accountability for results—there will be no results.”
Emboldened—and still a salesperson after 29 years in the organizational development industry—I contacted the home office to suggest I present my “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” message at the firm’s 2016 mega-event.
I then received this very professional and polite “turn down” email from an HQ-based executive:
“John, thanks for the books. However, we work to align our keynote speakers with our messaging and, at this time, personal accountability is not on our radar.”
This rejection made me pause—and smile. You see, in my biased opinion, personal accountability should be on every organization’s radar!
No surprise to those who follow us at QBQ.com, right?
Anyway, I now was confounded …
The field folks assert that personal accountability is crucial in everything they do with their customers and teams, but the corporate office says, “personal accountability is not on our radar”?!?
Not sure exactly what to call that. Communication gap? Cultural disconnect? A lack of “alignment”? A simple difference of opinion?
In this blog, let’s just call it a “problem.”
What amazes me is organizations everywhere have hired a legion of consultants, purchased millions of books, and held a plethora training sessions, conferences, and “town halls”—yet there can still exist a mile wide gulf in views between the home office and the field …
… in the same organization!
Good thing this problem doesn’t exist in your organization.
Or does it?
If it does, don’t feel bad. Organizations are still a collection of imperfect humans with vastly different roles and responsibilities, disparate personal agendas, and unique job pressures, often located thousands of miles apart.
Getting all these people “singing from the same hymnal” is tough sledding.
To me, the solution to any communication problem is for people to own the problem. When individuals commit to invest time with each other to ask questions, listen to the answers, and learn from each other—everything is better.
Said another way, solving organizational problems requires …
… PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY to be on everyone’s radar!
Like I said, I’m biased.
So, what do you think? Please leave a comment below on these discussion questions:
What practical remedy do you suggest for organizational communication problems?
What have you seen work to close communication gaps and create better alignment?
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