Accountability is Awesome!

I’m re-reading a book called The Oz Principle. It’s all about accountability and staying ‘above the line’. I’d really encourage you to read this one. Today, I covered a passage that really, really hit home with me.

Before I finish that thought, let’s cover the definition of accountable. According to Webster’s online dictionary: “Required to explain actions or decisions to someone.”

OzEven the language of this one makes you feel like a victim. “Required to explain…” makes you feel like you’ve got to tell someone why you couldn’t/didn’t do something. I think that’s wrong.

The book defines it, “A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results…”

I like this one way better. It makes me think, “Hey, what else can I do now to make this happen?”

See the difference? Now, back to my earlier epiphany.


It’s the part about what can I do NOW. It doesn’t matter that things didn’t go as I thought they should, the question is what can I do now? Anything that happened is, by definition, the past. You cannot change the past. Even if it just happened. What can I do now?

crying baby“But you don’t understand! I lost my job, my spouse is a dufas, my parents were nut jobs, I’m too old to…” Sound familiar?

Okay, now to my epiphany (really this time).

There are people all around me that are stuck in the victim cycle. I recognize it because I’ve been there. I’ve been stuck. It was always “their fault”. I was right. Circumstances beyond my control made that job a dead end. I was a victim and until I chose to ask the question “What can I do NOW,” it didn’t change.

You know those people too. There’s always a reason/excuse why…

Question is, in what part of your life are you stuck in the victim role?

  • Did you have a crazy parent? That sucks. What are you going to do NOW? They were crazy – can’t change that – it’s in the past.
  • Are you sick? That sucks. What are you going to do NOW? Can’t go back and keep from getting sick – it’s in the past.
  • Are you broke? That sucks. What are you going to do NOW? Can’t go back and make better financial decisions – it’s in the past.

Get it? Sometimes life is cruel. Can’t change that. What are you going to do NOW?

Branding – it’s there when you’re not

I’ve got a great job working for a great company around some great people.

Last week, I took off for the beach. I spent the whole week thinking about non-work related things (even though I dreamed our CEO was at my house for some reason…creepy…). I was gone a total of 10 days. It was great.

While I was gone, a little magic sign fairy stuck this sign on my door.

ImageA. You’re welcome for the visual of me on the beach

B. It occurred to me that while I wasn’t thinking about anyone here, they were thinking of me


Apparently, I’m known for whistling around the office. I’m also known as Mr. Sticky Note. When you walk by my office, you’ll notice the excessive flipchart pages on the wall and the many sticky notes that I use to help me think (Don’t judge me…I’m spatial).

The key takeaway here is that in a few short months, I’ve built a reputation (completely unintentionally) for these 2 things. The fact that people would hang that on my door speaks to my brand. The fact that the people who work for me (and I’m pretty sure my boss was in on it) hung this up speaks to my brand.

I wonder what kind of brand I could build intentionally?

No, not the LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter perfect profile where you write it in the 3rd person like someone else is lavishing praise on you, but the one where my brand comes to mind even when I’m not there.

What kind of brand are you building?

A different view

ImageIf you’re smart and self-aware, you have a good idea of what people think about you. Seems simple enough, right?

Problem is, what people see is always based on their perspective. It’s idea that if you hold your hand in front of your face, and then extend it to arms length, it looks like it’s a different size. Realistically, it isn’t but the view is very different based on perspective.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been leading a 360 feedback type leadership assessment. As I’ve interviewed people from all around the participant, there are certainly themes developing. Today, I spoke with a top level executive. 

Man, was the perspective different! Sure, the themes I’d seen were there, but the view of this person from someone who is at that high of a level was very different than what their peers and reports see.

There’s the challenge. I should always be asking myself how others see me, but I should really be concerned with how people above me see me. 


Because their perspective is unique. I can see from here; I cannot see from there. They’ve already accomplished great things and think differently.

To get where they are, I have to think like they think.

Am I concerned with how my friends see me?

Am I concerned with how my boss sees me?

Am I concerned with how my people see me? 

Here’s one for perspective: Am I concerned with how God sees me?

Those are the questions. Answer: I should be…

GenX: Millennials won’t work for it…

Gen Y navigating their careers(Cont’d from earlier post)

Okay, I’m back. Latte in hand.

You saw it didn’t you? I knew you would.

Problems always occur when we try to superimpose our beliefs onto others.  In this case, I suspected Susan was an Xer from the language. She is explaining to people what she has observed in Gen Y. I don’t disagree with her, except that you have to recognize that everything you view is based on your own perspective.

The statement went like this: “There is an expectation within Gen Y that they should get opportunities rather than prove themselves and work hard.”

That’s the disconnect! Gen Y believes they ARE working hard and proving themselves…

As an Xer, most likely Susan holds a view of achievement being supreme. Promotion is the goal because as you move through your career, that’s how you know you’re winning. Gen X typically feels that they’ve put in their time and will be moving into the most important roles very soon.

As a matter of fact, they’re usually very skeptical because they were already supposed to move into those roles but the Boomers haven’t vacated them. They are especially skeptical of Gen Y because Y enters the workforce and expects to bust all the doors down and take the promotions that X has waited so long to get.

To an Xer (and Boomer for that matter), you can’t have expertise without experience. I think you see that evidenced in the grumbling in the workplace as well as the labeling of Millennials as lazy, ME generation, Entitled, etc. Sound familiar?

In certain roles, more experience means more expertise, but I’d argue that those walls are being quickly torn down.

Information is power, right?

Experience vs ExpertiseShould I use leeches to get the ‘bad blood’ out as a new doctor just because a bunch of experienced doctors thought it was a good idea? Of course not! I can read and know it’s a bad idea.

Sure, Y needs your expertise, but we don’t want your experience unless we see how that experience gives knowledge we can’t attain otherwise. If you want us to see things your way, you have to connect the dots. Right now, Seems like there were tons of experienced people who told a certain guy he couldn’t run a 4 minute mile…after all, no one had done it…he didn’t have the experience…

To Gen Y, promotions and advancement should be based on performance…right now, not over the last 13 years…and if I’m killing it more than you, I should get it (Don’t worry, I’ll be bored in 6 months and you can have it then!).

My goal here is not to bash her or Gen X. As a matter of fact, I applaud her for trying to understand what makes Gen Y tick and the more people are willing to put their perspectives out there, the easier it’s going to be to get things done. That’s where we’re headed with these posts.

There are 4 distinct generations in the workplace today.

That’s never happened before. No wonder there’s such grief over Gen Y. Xers thought they would only have to deal with Boomers and then eventually hand over the reigns to Gen Y in their golden years. Uh oh! Missed it on that one.

My goal: Help Gen Y navigate their careers and step on a few less landmines.

Let’s talk about where to go from here, shall we? Xer hang on, I promise I’ll try to redeem myself…

Gen Y: Unwilling to prove themselves and work hard

Gen Y motivationGen Y wants everything right now and isn’t willing to work for it.

That’s the statement I read when reading an article that was interviewing a woman who was responsible for recruiting for an Accounting firm. I don’t know who she is (I purposefully didn’t Google her) but I do know she’s an Xer. How?

  1. The article said she’d been recruiting for 18 yrs.
  2. Most importantly, this is a quote I pulled from her interview:

Gen Y wants more and believe they deserve it,” she says. “There is an expectation within Gen Y that they should get opportunities rather than prove themselves and work hard. It’s great to have structured expectations and ambitions, but they have to be qualified and deserved.

Eureka! (that means STFU in Boomer talk) That’s the problem! That’s the disconnect! That’s the reason there is such conflict in the workplace when it comes to generations!

Do you see it? It’s right there!

Let me stop here and say that she’s being cited because of her expertise on recruiting Millennials. There are some really good points but I want you to focus on the great point I don’t think she realizes that she’s making.

Go read the article Gen Y: Who? Where? Y? and then we’ll talk. No, really, read it…I’ll wait. Matter of fact, I’m going to get a caffeine fix so take your time…We’ll talk on the next post.