The Cross-Cultural Relevance of Accountability

A competitive world is opening up new opportunities and challenges to all of us. One of the most powerful levers of accountability that transcends nationality or culture is cross-functional teaming ? our getting beyond the silos Read more

Increase Your Influence and Value


Based on “Be Indispensable” article that originally appeared in Leadership Excellence July 2012.?Click Here to read PDF version.

Make seven clear choices.

Many organizations are plagued by leaders who are making choices today to protect themselves and their turf in a way that makes them dispensable and their organizations vulnerable to customer demands, competition, and recession.

I see seven choices for becoming so valuable to others that you are always in demand?truly indispensable to your company, direct reports and peers.

Choice 1: Purpose-driven or goal-dri?ven. While we all have our performance goals to complete each year, and setting goals is a way to keep people focused, it is purpose that inspires and motivates people to excel. Do your people know your purpose, the context for their hard work and the value of their contribution to a greater good beyond their job and paycheck? Great leaders stand for some?thing greater and motivate their workers because of their purpose motive?their contribution to a greater good.

Choice 2: Play big or play small. Play?ing small can take on different attributes ?not speaking up to voice your opin?ion, resisting change, or micromanaging your direct reports. Leaders can?t afford to play small. They have to make tough decisions, spark innovation, and take calculated risks. Leaders who play big share two qualities: Read more

Needing a good performer to play a larger role, but they resist

I received the following question: “I have an employee who is great at what they do. Reliable and hard working. My challenge is I need them accountable for a bigger picture and it tends to be in an area that the person really doesn’t have an interest in. How would you work with that?”

It is great that you have someone on your team that is reliable and hard working. That in itself is a blessing. However, in today’s business environment, everyone’s role is needing to expand and that means we sometimes have to do things we don’t like doing. However, since this person has a history of being a hard worker, than there is probably another issue at play besides adding to someone’s plate.

Because you describe the larger role as not “their interest,” then it is important to first explore what about the new role is distasteful. For instance, is it because they lack skill to do the new role? Is it because the new role involves an aspect of their make-up that isn’t a match? For instance, if the new role involves a lot of detail and that is not their strength then that could be a problem. Or, if the new role involves a lot of project management and they are more of a people person then that could be a problem…or of course, the opposite could be true as well. Maybe they don’t know how to prioritize the new role and their existing or old role.

Once you have a clear understanding of their challenge you can work on creative ways to develop solutions. For instance, if they are lacking an inherent capability like not detailed enough, or requiring analytical skills they don’t currently have, then maybe you can couple them with someone else who has those natural capabilities. If they need development because it is a new skill set, then you can give them time to get trained and maybe supply them with a coach until they are more comfortable. Sometimes, people resist new tasks because they don’t like the discomfort of the learning process, but once learned they are fine to perform that new role or task. This would fit for people who don’t like the process of change, but once through it, they are completely supportive and even excited about the change that was made.

Ultimately, regardless of how you seek to understand the person and devise creative solutions to address their lack of interest in the new role, it is important to provide the “context” for that added role you are giving them. This involves describing the external drivers related to competition, economy, customer demands, technology changes and the internal drivers of growth, restructuring, new processes and improving efficiencies as the reason for the change that is “bigger” than either of our roles. Linking how you see this valuable person fitting into the organization as it changes based on external and internal drivers allows the person to get glimpse of their importance and helps them prepare for change.

Let us know what happens as you find out more about what is behind their lack of interest and any creative ideas you came up with since I would guess there are a lot of other readers having similar challenges.

If you have a question you would like to get answered, write you question below…

Turning Overwhelm and Fragmentation into Focused Success

By Mark Samuel

Why is it that most people don’t like change, but do like to make a difference (in their job) that is valued and respected by others? Why is it that organizations are questioning the work ethic of younger employees, while many employees are putting more effort and time into their jobs than ever before? Why is it that many people are bored or tired with the monotonous routine of their jobs or problems on the job, even though they are constantly faced with change? Why do organizations spend considerable time developing clear vision statements and strategies, yet have no sense of purpose or a way to identify accomplishments from the previous change effort before embarking on the next flavor- of-the-month change? Read more

Starting the New Year with Gratitude

For more than a year now, people in all levels of the organization have been involved in continuous change efforts. Many have been concerned with losing their jobs or changing positions in the organization. Others have been working hard to keep up with increasing demands while their resources have been cut. In other words, people are tired of pushing.

While we can’t stop the fast pace and changing environment and still stay competitive, we can acknowledge people for their effort, courage and dedication Read more


By Mark Samuel

Since Accountability-Based Training is still a relatively new concept within the organizational Training and Development community, we thought that it would be helpful to clarify its purpose, characteristics and application.

It is important to note that Accountability-Based training is not intended to replace traditional skill-building, which is used for the enhancement of skills to improve one’s effectiveness on the job. This is still necessary and very valuable. In fact, participants do develop skills during this implementation approach.

There are two purposes that are interconnected for the use of Accountability-Based consulting and training. First, is the application for each individual. Read more

Culture Change… A Soft Issue?

By Mark Samuel

The biggest mistake made by organizations as they restructure is thinking that by restructuring they will create a new organizational culture. This is especially true when organizations move from a functional organization to a business unit structure. Some will support this illusion of a new culture by providing she people affected by the change with awareness and skill-building training. Sometimes, the processes involved in the change will give the appearance of a new culture, but this hardly the case.

What is the culture? Read more

Designing Accountability-Based Trainings

By Mark Samuel

Skill-building training programs are developed by identifying the objectives and skills required to satisfy a need, which may come from a needs assessment. Then, the designer of the program will identify the tools and awareness activities that will assist the person in developing competence in using the skills. Finally, concepts and information are added to the materials to provide participants an opportunity to gain more cognitive information about the subject matter.

In Accountability-Based Training, however, a different approach is used, since the training is geared for accomplishing business results while learning skills. In addition, traditional exercises based on behavioral modeling, role-playing or case studies are not used, since all activities deal with actual work-related issues. Thus, the process of designing an Accountability-Based Training differs significantly from traditional approaches. Read more

Making Empowered Delegation Work: Creating Successful Culture Change

By David Rodgers

At some time or another, each of us has been in the position where we have decided that delegating to a team, sub-team, or individual is the best way to approach a particular decision. We begin by chartering the group or individual to create a proposal for the rest of the organization. We do all the right things to get them started; we determine the outcomes, communicate the boundaries and provide the resources. We establish the project milestones, the team rolls up their sleeves and takes their best shot at the task. So far, so good. Right? Read more

Recovery Strategies: Key to Successful Projects

By Mark Samuel

As the leader of IMPAQ, I am familiar with the feeling of angst in the pit of my stomach when I discover a mistake in our program materials, or a potential client doesn’t receive a proposal that I had prepared. Of course, I want everything to be perfect – no mistakes, no problems, no mishaps and most importantly, no surprises!

Understanding that mistakes are bound to occur as part of human nature, my next concern is that our team doesn’t become paralyzed by those mistakes. Have you ever seen a person or team stop their progress on a project, because of meeting an unsuspecting snag or problem? Read more