Our friend recently graduated with an advanced degree in Nursing. To celebrate, we invited her and her friends over for a party. A week before the party we went to our friendly neighborhood grocery store where a young man does barbecuing out in front on the weekends. We thought, “Why not keep the money in the neighborhood and support a local merchant?”
So, we went to the barbecue guy and asked him if he was going to be barbecuing the following weekend. He said he would start at 11 AM on the day of our event. So, we ordered several chickens and several sides of ribs, enough for everyone. It was a sizable order. We told him we would pick the order up at 2 o’clock on the day of the event. He agreed and took our name and number.
On the day of the event we showed up at noon to add to the order as the RSVPs had increased. But to our surprise, no barbecue guy! We went inside and asked the store manager what was up. The store manager said the barbecue guy wasn’t going to be there that day and there would be no barbecue!
Yikes! Now we were panicked! We had all these folks coming over and no barbecue. We quickly got on the phone and found another barbecue guy who was barbecuing in the next town. Luckily, they could fill the order by 2 o’clock. We had to drive a one hour round-trip to pick up the barbecue. Problem solved.
Then at 3 o’clock we get a phone call from our original barbecue guy. He wants to know when we’re going to pick up the order. We told him that the store where he worked said he wouldn’t be there that day and so we had to go elsewhere for the barbecue. We felt sorry for the guy but felt we had no choice under the circumstances taking the action we took.
We see this is a problem on the increase everywhere. Many folks don’t think to advise those who are depending upon them about the status of their requests. The local barbecue guy expected his customer to blindly trust that he would perform even though he knew that announcements had been made indicating that he could not. He did not feel obligated to call to reassure us. Perhaps he will next time!
To put this problem another way, some may think avoiding acknowledgement, confirmation and proactive status reports is a type of protection. They may think their silence insulates them from criticism. That way, if they perform, great. If they don’t perform, it’s up to the person who’s made the request to get back and ask where they are. That way they don’t really own the job.
The problem with this line of thinking is that most people who have been disappointed in the past assume their request will be dropped if they don’t get acknowledgement, confirmation, and timely updates. They have to! They have taken responsibility for the action whether or not the person they asked performs. They do own the job! And they will take alternative actions to meet the deadlines.
We’ve seen this minimalist approach in other forms like, not acknowledging a request, dropping an assignment until it’s re-requested, getting the requested information but not reporting it. These are all forms of not owning the job.
The key to being dependable is not give anyone who depends on you apprehension. They shouldn’t have to ask themselves: “Are they going to do it? Are they going to do it on time? Are they going to drop it? Can I rely on them? Do I have to go around them? Why haven’t I heard from them? And why do I have to check up on them anyway?” Remove all these types of anxiety with acknowledgement, confirmation, and status updates. When it comes to a job that others depend on you for, just own it!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
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