When Harry Crashed His Plane: Ideas for Increasing Resiliency and Accountability
Harry pulled back on the throttle in a last-ditch effort to ease his single-engine Cessna onto the razor-thin beach. His plane skidded, then tumbled end over end on the fine black sand, coming to a stop inches before the jungle's edge.
Hours later he awoke, gingerly stepped from what remained of his only transportation off the island, and cast his eyes across an endless swath of surging waves.
Harry assessed his situation and figured that he had three choices. Choice one was to accept his fate, find what food or water he could, and live out his life on the island. A second option would be to construct various means of communicating his predicament to passing ships or low-enough flying commercial airlines that he knew had flight paths directly overhead.
A third option included options one and two, and would employ every bit of knowledge Had about boat construction, sailing, and navigation by the stars.
Which option would you have Harry choose?
Building Resiliency and Accountability in your Organization
A less resilient Harry would live a short, but hopefully contented life on his island. If presented with ideas for being saved, he'd respond, "Yes, but…" You probably know or have known your fair share of "Yes, but…" people. They can bring entire teams to their knees.
A resilient person assumes that any problem will have a solution. He or she won't accept that "this is the way it has to be" or "we've always done it this way." Resilient people are accountable, reliable, and responsive. They don't wait for instructions, and they don't make excuses.
You can accomplish almost anything with highly resilient people. Practice these ideas will to help build more resiliency in yourself and your company:
Watch your language, buster.
YOU, the leader of your company set the tone for the rest of the organization. Words are everything. Instead of "Yes, but…", say "Yes, AND…". Replace "Can we?" with "HOW can we?"
What's normal and natural is never what's possible.
Be like Captain Picard: if they say they'll have it to you in two weeks, tell them you need it in one week. If I asked you to do as many pushups as possible, you'd stop at your "max." If told you to do five more, you and I both know that you could. Assume that people can do more than they say, and they will. (This goes for you, too.)
Communicate by listening more.
Leaders tend to do most of the talking. Resist this urge, and listen at least 70%, and talk no more than 30%. Listen for signs of low resiliency (excuses, setting a low bar, excess complaints). Then, help to build resiliency by asking for more and pressing for solutions.
Remove "Yes, but…" people from all leadership/management positions.
As you listen to those in leadership or management positions, you'll quickly discover which people drag down their departments because they lack resiliency. You can be assured that a low-resilient manager will have a low-resilient department.
Resiliency can be learned, but it can't be learned if leaders and managers aren't resilient. It begins with you, as the leader, believing that every problem has a solution and no person is incapable of far greater performance.
When people are more resilient, they are more productive and accountable
A natural consequence of resiliency is productivity and accountability. More resilient people are naturally more accountable because they don't make excuses and they gain pleasure from solving problems. Getting things done creates a rush. They want more, and want to do more. As you build your resiliency muscles, you'll naturally create a more productive, more accountable, and more functional organization.