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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #65

The 11 (foolproof) Words That Produce an “Own It!” Mindset.

"Sorry I'm late ... traffic was awful this morning ..." (for the third time this week). "I didn't get back to you because Marketing hasn't replied to my email ..." "These errors are because people are making a lot of noise and distracting me ..." "I have more work to do than everyone else ..." "I didn't know you needed it today ..." "No one told me what to do ..."

Did the dog REALLY eat the homework?

One of the wonderful opportunities I have as a consulting psychologist is working with different management groups within disparate industries. This stimulating work has uncovered an interesting dichotomy; the many employees who have what I refer to as an "Own It!" mindset—and those who ... well ... don't.

What I've learned through this is fairly basic ... if you want to identify employees who don't have an Own It! mindset, all you need to do is listen to the excuses they make. It's that simple. Behaviors speak the truth™. Conversely, employees with an Own It! mindset are accountable and don't fixate on problems or make excuses; they look for solutions and workarounds to overcome obstacles and get things done.

This issue of CORE Bites will introduce a simple (but powerful) concept I call 100:0 which, when fully expanded, means 100% Ownership:0% Excuses. This may sound harsh, but excuses are simply an individual's failure to accept responsibility for his/her actions (or inactions). Think of it this way ... saying anything other than, "I own this" is an excuse.

Now, before you berate me with situations that are clearly out of the control of an employee—thereby exonerating him or her—please allow me to define what I mean by "excuse." An excuse is an attempt to affix blame for any non-deliverable on poor processes, uncooperative peers or other departments, limited time and/or resources, or any other convenient target WITHOUT first exploring all possible options and workarounds, and communicating with and to all relevant constituents. Granted, "realities" can happen. But how people embrace these bumps-in-the-road determine whether they are coming from an Own It! mindset ... or not.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

I promised in the title that I would deliver eleven words that produce an Own It! mindset. The HVA listed below demonstrates how to use this approach. While these are simple words on their own, when strung together in a seamless sentence, they become very powerful and help individuals learn to be accountable and ... Own It! Consistency of use will be key.

  • Own it! Statement/Question: When people make excuses (as defined earlier), they're absolving themselves of responsibility and transferring the ownership to you to fix and/or figure out what to do next. Instead of resigning yourself (with a big sigh) to now owning this issue, try this 11-word sentence (it will keep ownership in its rightful place and generate an action plan to remedy the situation): "In light of that [the disclosed problem; discovery; challenge; learning] ... what's your plan to resolve this issue?" I frequently change out two words depending on the situation which gives me a good variety: "In light of that ... what's your plan to address this challenge?" or "In light of that ... what's your plan to overcome this obstacle?" or "In light of that ... what's your plan to fix this problem?" This sentence works so well because you are acknowledging the excuse or reason given for the non-deliverable but then leveraging that same excuse or reason into a learning/growth challenge that you are expecting the individual to solve (own).

For additional drill-down questions that can lead to enhanced commitment, see HVA 42.

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"And once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them."

— Charles Duhigg —