Thursday, January 21, 2016

Career Transition...

After 25 years of full time corporate job and half of that in one of the best companies in the world Wipro I am making a career shift to become an independent consultant.  Will divide my time between education sector and leadership development for corporates.  I thought of sharing my experience of how I prepared for this shift, the support from my family, the long period of mixed feelings of joy and hollowness as I worked thru the separation with my boss, peers, reportees and the organization.  Instead of sending a regular good bye email I thought of writing this blog on my career shift which can become a useful reference to be saved for future use.

Anchoring your career transition with a cause :  The desire to contribute beyond self can come to us at any stage of our lives and one should look for that cause before making a shift. While it may come at any stage, it is seen that usually it comes or amplifies in the forties and that is what happened to me few years ago when I was invited to a college to address the students on their graduation ceremony.  I was escorted like a king to the auditorium, welcomed on the stage by the principle, flower bouquet by impeccably dressed student, thunderous claps every few minutes on anything I said and a momento (mostly lord ganesha or goddess saraswati) at the end by the chairman (mostly in white Lenin shirt with more gold than the goddess). Very soon I got invited to another college (principles have their own private network) and in a span of 2 months I had been to 4 colleges. It was great to be treated like a king every few weeks in a new college but all this joy started to fade into sadness and concern.  I came to know that most of the students who were giving me those thunderous claps will have nothing to clap after their graduation as only 10% of them will get placed from campus in those colleges and rest will be on their own to find a job.  I started declining new invitations as those thunderous claps were hitting me hard inside.  I could feel the hollowness in those claps from the helpless students.

The Porcupine Story : Most of you may have heard about the story of the porcupine who puts his head in the hole thinking that the storm will pass and I thought I was also behaving like a porcupine.  The storm of unemployed youth will not go away by me not going to the colleges but if I really have to do something I should start taking some action.  So I started accepting those invitations again and at the end of my speech I offered the students to help with guidance, coaching, training on weekends. As I started helping the students I saw their confidence go up and many of them clearing interviews/getting jobs.  I started experiencing the joy of helping which cannot be described but has to be experienced.  It then become a regular affair to go to colleges, help students and feel the joy. : As more and more students started seeking my support I was lucky to get few volunteers who joined me in this cause and we created the website which has all the things that a student will need to prepare for getting a job.  We started using this website as the base for the sessions with the students and the whole approach became very structured.

Faculty Program : Looking at the way we helped students in a nice structured way many colleges started asking for a similar structure for their faculty development.  The idea was that if we can make the faculties better at teaching, the student will become better and it can help improve the employability. Wipro has already done  phenomenal work on this through their Mission 10X initiative. This was the time I felt that I should attempt to make a bigger impact by creating a deep structured journey based program with some like-minded people who I got associated over the period of time.

Our Identity : The organization we work for becomes a major part of our identity over a period of time and we should prepare ourselves for loosing that identify while making the shift. It will take a while for us and the people around us to be seen without the organization. I come from a Marwari community and in my community most people know me as "Yogesh Wipro Wala" instead of "Yogesh Agiwal".  For many years my last name has got replaced by Wipro and imagine me without my last name Wipro. While in long run you will once again relish the time you spent with the organization but there will be a period of hollowness without the organization tag with you.  

Enrolling your Family : I think one of the most important thing while one plans to make such a shift is to enroll the family. While one may be passionate about the shift, the family may not necessarily have the same intensity.  They will need to make many adjustments from time to time on daily routines (they will start seeing you more often than before) to financial spending to our identify in the society.

Financial Commitment : Most of us love the thrill of buying properties and the thought of paying multiple EMIs does not really bother till we hit our forties.  Having too many EMIs will become a hurdle in the shift so keep a watch on this from early years of our career.  So for last couple of  years when people asked me in Hindi "Kuch liya kya" (did you buy any property) I would tell them "Lene ka nahin ab dene Ka Time hai" (it is time to give and not buy anymore).

Commitment with your Boss and Organization : It is very unlikely that your timing of career shift and the completion of projects in the organization will match.  So one should make a conscious effort to complete all the projects on hand and slow down on taking new projects.  It is also important to enroll your boss and keep him/her updated on the work you do on weekends over the years so that when you decide to make the switch there are no surprises. Similarly enroll your reportees and peers over a period of time.

Few other Things : The support systems like travel desk, IT help desk, facilities management support etc. that we take for granted will no longer be there. It is important to plan on creating a office space with printer, scanner, white board and so on when you are on your own.  The idea is to think thru each small thing that you will miss once you leave the organization.  While the desire of career shift may be really strong and driving you to make the shift but not doing proactive planning on each such thing can become an irritant / speed breaker on the momentum with which you can otherwise work.

Hope you find this blog useful.  Do share your thoughts. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Magician’s Illusion…

I lived in US for many years and had a chance to watch the show of David Copperfield (one of the world’s top magician) and recently two performances of Ugesh Sarkar (one of India’s top magician).  We know that what we see in the magician’s performance is an illusion and not reality but it looks real to us.  For few moments we cannot believe what we see and what we believe is not seen.  I was thinking if we can flip this magician’s illusion to our competence and confidence in life meaning we may be living in the illusion that we cannot do certain things but in reality we may be able to do anything that we may want.    This may sound little philosophical but when I look at all those people who have flipped the magician’s illusion in their lives; there are some common aspects which I would like to share.

Deep Practice – I could not speak to David Copperfield but got a chance to speak to Ugesh Sarkar.  What he said and what I read in few interviews of David Copperfield is that they do many months of practice for the few hours they come on the stage.  Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outlier” has talked about Deep Practice where he says that one can achieve anything if he or she puts in 10000 hours of practice and Daniel Coyle in his book “Talent Code” builds further on this that there is a part in our brain called Myelin that strengthens if we do deep practice.  So if you always wanted to become the chief architect of a particular platform or a pricing expert or a leader in a particular domain you need to put a plan of deep practice.  You can see that this deep practice can flip the illusion that you cannot become the chief architect or that expert.  You can even look at some of your hobbies like playing a musical instrument or learning to write code and apply the deep practice to achieve whatever you always had desired.

Meaning before Money – While money is for sure very important in our lives but most people who have been able to achieve great heights (make money) by flipping the illusion have always looked for meaning before money.  In almost every speech of Guy Kawasaki who worked very closely with Steve Jobs he brings this point very strongly.  It took 5 years for Steve Jobs to launch iPod (meaning) before Apple made billions (money).  Meaning can inspire deep practice and not money.  So as a manager if my meaning is to take care of my team irrespective of what salary hike I get I will continue to stay motivated (meaning) and eventually the organization will give the required hike (money) or as a service provider if my meaning is to provide world class services irrespective of my organizational or market constraints the customer will give new contracts (money).  This meaning before money is important for deep practice as deep practice needs lot of energy and energy comes with meaning and not money.

Passion and Fun (PF) – There are times when our Passion goes down or we loose sight of our Purpose and that may lead to reduced or no Fun in the things we do.  It is natural and human to all of us but we need to keep a watch and bring back the PF as soon as we see it going down.  We need to put a rhythm of reminder that will help us create PF even before it goes down.  One suggestion I have is to look at the PF in our salary slip every month as a reminder.  For my global readers PF is a component in the Indian salary structure.  The employer puts in equal amount in a secured account which most employees use it post-retirement.  Usually this is not a big percentage of salary so most people don’t pay attention to the PF column.  However you can now look at PF column in salary slip every month to check whether you are having enough of other PF (Passion and Fun).  So if you are a facilitator you can check whether you are bringing in enough Passion in delivering the sessions.  If you are a support function you can check whether you are bringing in enough Passion in understanding the needs of the internal customers and providing solutions that helps achieve the Purpose of the organization and finally are you having Fun in whatever you do.

I know many of you must have put resolutions for 2015 and I can guarantee you that if you can bring the Deep Practice, Meaning Before Money and look for the new PF every month you can achieve much more than the resolutions. You can flip the magician’s illusion and achieve anything that you want.  If you like please share with me your resolutions and plan of Deep Practice with PF and any support you need from my side to achieve them.  

Friday, November 21, 2014

KICK - Part II

I got many responses on the new KICK that my readers have started to give to their supervisor, organization, spouse and to themselves.  Many of them also watched the movie KICK after my last blog and started seeing Salman Khan in a new light (beyond item number).  If you have not watched the movie yet please do so and notice the last dialogue of the movie where he says “Mein Dil mein aata hoon, Samajh mein nahin” which means you can understand me with your heart and not with your intellect.  If I draw a parallel to this “Dil” is the emotional bond that we have with people around us and “Samajh” is the systems, policies, processes. 

You must have seen managers with whom people not only like working but they enjoy and then there are managers with whom people just work because their job / role demands.  In the first case there is a combination of “Dil (Heart)” and “Samajh (Processes)” whereas in the second case it is only “Samajh (Processes)”.  While it is absolutely critical to respect “Samajh (Processes)” but most people get embroiled into that so much that they loose the “Dil (Heart)” connection.  This happens on the personal front also.  I have seen some of my childhood friends when they were getting married they use to be on the phone with their fiancée for hours together “Dil (Heart)” connection) and now after a decade into their marriage they only call them once they reach their destination while travelling or if they are getting late when stuck in traffic as per “Samajh (Process)”.  The “Dil (Heart)” connection got lost somewhere in the process of upbringing of kids, taking care of ageing parents, worrying about the EMI and so on. 

On the professional front reflect on why the customer with whom you have been working for last five is not giving you more business or demanding a steep discount on renewal of contract even when all the SLAs have met.  The reason is that somewhere we lost the “Dil (Heart)” connection with him.  The monthly or quarterly reviews are done only with “Samajh (Processes)” and not with “Dil (Heart)”. One of my friend recently shared a very nice “Dil (Heart)” story with his customer where he said that his customer came from a country where most of the year it is gloomy and they don’t get enough sunlight.  It was the month of March in Delhi and it was a bright sunny day.  So on the day of review as per “Samajh (Process)” the meeting was scheduled in one of the conference rooms but his “Dil (Heart)” said we should do the review in sunlight as that is what the customer misses in his own country. They setup the tables in the open area where the customer enjoyed the sun (his “Dil”) while doing the review as per process.

If you speak to any of the music composers they say that they immerse into the character for whom they are going to compose the song with their “Dil (Heart)” so much that there is a time when the music just emerges and then it is just a matter of composing “Samajh (Process)”.  I think if we can do this “Dil (Heart)” connection with our customers where we deeply think about their problems and challenges, many deep insightful solutions will emerge.  If we do this connection with our spouse and children a united family will emerge.  If we do this with our supervisor a partnership of supporting each other with their strengths will emerge and finally if we do this with our organization and the country a new world will emerge.

This blog is a reminder to bring that “Dil (Heart)” back in everything we do both on personal and professional front.  Call your spouse even when you have not reached your destination or even when there is no traffic jam and halt yourself together with the times you had halted once.  Hope I was able to make a “Dil (Heart)” connection with you and this blog inspires you to make those connections with your customer, supervisor, spouse and the organization.  Share with me the “Dil-Heart” connections that you make till I meet you again with my next blog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


This is my second blog based on reflections from a movie (first one was Dabangg and now KICK both featuring Salman Khan).   In this movie Salman Khan enjoys the thrill (kick) of doing new things, challenging status quo and fighting the system for a cause while his girlfriend Jacqueline wants to lead a life of 10 to 5 secured job, almost no risk and a stable non challenging life (a life without any kick as per Salman).  So one day Salman says to her that we will need to part ways as we think so differently of our lives and he says to her while parting "I want to get old with you and not old because of you".  While Salman made this bold move to part ways before he got married when I look around I see many people not making such moves and are getting old because of each other (life without kick) and not old together (life with kick).  This holds true in the relationship not only between husband and wife but also between father and son, between two siblings, between managers and their reportees as well as between colleagues. 

In most of my earlier blogs I have talked about taking ownership, responsibility of creating anything you want and on similar lines I would like to share few thoughts and ideas on creating a kick and becoming old together without parting ways.

Kick with your spouse: In many of my sessions participants say that they are not able to do many things (kick) because their spouse does not support them.  So I ask them few questions like how many times in last 30 days have they thanked their spouse for keeping their breakfast ready, packing their lunch box, packing their travel bag, managing kids and taking care of their ageing (sometimes ailing) parents.  How is this connected to kick?  It is a very simple math that to get kick you need to give kick.  The most basic kick of every human being is recognition and appreciation. While at work the HR R&R policies, engagement initiatives makes you appreciate (kick) your team members but at home there is no such HR group.  So start giving the kick and see how you get the kick back as the whole atmosphere changes where the spouses start seeing each other's kick and start giving kick to each other. You will soon forget the current kick that you are giving to each other.

Kick with your supervisor: When was the last time you gave the kick to your supervisor? You now know the kick I am talking about and not the kick that you are thinking right now.  Some of the kicking ideas are asking your supervisor on taking up some of his load, understanding his point of view and not always going with a view that he will not agree to what you say, appreciating and accommodating that he has his own limitations on why he does not approve certain request, becoming his high support system and not a high maintenance system. Once you start giving him the kick you will stop getting the kick you got all along and start getting the new kick.

Kick with your organization: Abraham Lincoln once said "Ask not what your country has done for you but ask what you have done for the country".  Just replace country with the company you work for.  I know such patriotic thinking may not get a buy-in in today's environment but remember that your performance is directly correlated with the way you think about your organization.  So even though your promotion (kick) has not happened in the timeline you expected it will never happen unless you give the kick back to the organization (delivering to not what was signed up for but much more than that as the market, customer and other stakeholders get their kick by getting more than what they signed up for under the banner of value addition).  So think about this and come up with at least 4 kicking ideas that you can give to your organization, your supervisor and your spouse in this quarter.

Kick with yourself: In almost all scriptures it has been written that before you win the world you need to win over yourself (kick with yourself).  In almost all leadership programs that I facilitate when I ask participants to come up with two positives and two negatives almost all of them start with negatives first despite my clear instructions to start with positives. This tells me that we humans are wired to look at negatives first and that in a way derails the journey of kick with yourself.  If you don't love (kick) yourself you can never love the world (spouse, supervisor, colleagues, organization) around you. I agree that you may not meet the expectations of the world around you but remember that even a defunct clock performs right twice every day, so when you feel defunct like the stopped clock remember that you are doing minimum two things right every day. These thoughts will help giving you kick and the more you give yourself the kick the more endorphin will get secreted in your body to give kick to all others I talked about earlier.

My kick is writing blogs that can give kick to readers and I hope you found value (kick) in this blog too.  Do give as much kick as possible to as many people including yourself during the long weekend and do share your kicking ideas with me so that I can share them in my sessions, future blogs and help create a kicking world for all of us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The (D)ance of possibilities with Atten(D)ance…

Many readers wrote to me on my last blog “Attendance and the Dance in the Atten(d)ance”  that they ideally want to dance but with the past experiences they had with their supervisors, head of the department and with the organization as a whole they did not feel like dancing most part of the year except during the DJ at offsite.  This blog is the third sequel and like Dhoom 3 movie this will be my third and last sequel on this topic.

To begin let me request you to read two of my earlier blogs “Inside Out or Outside In” and “The Obvious Issue” as they will help create a good warm up to the (D)ance of possibilities I am going to talk about in this blog. 

As you start reflecting on the two blogs you start seeing that the past issues have been because we did not understand the obvious issues of our supervisor or our head of the department and the reason we did not understand them because we were not “Inside Out” but were “Outside In” in the interactions.

When we start practicing “Inside Out”, many new possibilities start opening up and we begin to start practicing new ways of living.  So one of the possibilities in the new ways of living is to start every day as a new day and every conversation as a new conversation.  When this possibility starts manifesting in our lives, no matter how bad (because of your “Outside In” thinking) your boss was yesterday you don’t see him as bad in the new day, no matter what kind of conversation you had yesterday but in the new day you start every conversation as a new conversation .  There is a possibility that you are still thinking that it is easy to give such gyaan and I have no idea of your boss but this is the first possibility you have to start creating that there does exist such a possibility of starting every day as a new day and every conversation as a new conversation which eventually will lead to the (D)ance of possibilities with Atten(D)ance. 

The second (D)ance of possibility that I want to you to consider is about making a Choice on how you feel every moment.  It is very common we hear people saying that he or she makes me angry, he or she puts me off, he or she spoils my mood.  In reality nobody makes you angry or puts you off or spoils your mood but your response to those situations makes you angry or spoils your mood.  Stephen Covey’s 90/10 Principle is a very powerful concept on understanding choice.  If you reflect deeper on this you will see that your boss does not get up everyday morning to make you angry but the anger comes because most of the times you are not able to see the way your boss looks at things (The obvious issue).  So let me talk about two bosses and I think most of you would have experienced one of them.  Your first boss always likes you to go thru the report with him even though you have given everything in the report.  So at 11 PM in the night when you send the complete report with all the supporting documents/annexures you get an immediate response “Lets go thru this report tomorrow morning” and you become angry on what else does he want.   The second boss becomes very upset when you go and meet him next day morning to walk him thru the report.  In fact the second boss becomes angry and says very harshly that don’t think he is stupid that he cannot read the report on his own.  Now let’s look at the two bosses from a behavioral science perspective.  In case of the first boss there is a possibility that he was the only child and his father always helped him do his homework and also read the report card for him.  In case of second boss there is a possibility that he lost his father at a very early age and he always had to do everything by himself.  In general you will not be able to make such a deep connect of childhood of the boss and his behavior today but if you start practicing the (D)ance of possibility that nobody makes you angry but there could be some past issues that is making them do the way they do things and the way they don’t do the things you will start getting new insights.  These new insights will help you become a person who can (D)ance with anybody.

I always take inspiration from Jesus Christ especially on the two powerful concepts of “looking within” and “forgiving every day”.  First concept of “looking within” is when people were throwing stones at a prostitute he picked up a stone to throw at those people and told them that only those people can throw stone at her who have not committed any sin in their lives.  To bring the learning of Jesus we should first look within ourselves and we will find that most of the time we don’t pin point at ourselves before pin pointing at others.  The second concept was when he was nailed and he said that Oh lord please forgive them as they don’t know what they are doing.   To bring the second learning if I were to forgive (because of obvious issues of others) and start a new day every day and a new conversation everyday (with inside out thinking) there is a possibility that we can make a better world every day for ourselves and people around us.  Finally remember that the Sky is same every place in the world and it is only because of the “Obvious Issues” and “Outside In” thinking we have created deep rooted differences.

I hope the above thoughts will trigger some new thoughts of possibilities and help you create a new day every day, a new conversation in every conversation,  a choice of looking within and forgiving every day which obviously will help you constantly (D)ance with Atten(d)ance all the year round and not only during the DJ at offshore.

Do share your (D)ance experiences with me and share this blog with your boss in one of the (D)ance sessions.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Attendance and the Dance in the Atten(d)ance

Most of the organizations today have attendance recorders where employees swipe in once they arrive at office and many now also have biometric attendance recorders.  These recorders can only record the physical arrival of the employee but cannot record whether the employee has arrived with their heart and soul to work.  

In my last blog on “Accounting of Accountability versus Account of Accountability” I talked about ownership and responsibility from a leader’s point of view and in this blog I am sharing how employees can take ownership and responsibility (bring their heart and soul to work).   Let me ask you to recall your company’s last offsite meet where most of the employees danced till late night and next day morning on the breakfast table you hear the conversations like “I never knew you can dance so well” or “You really have great energy to stay on the floor for so many hours” or “You made others also dance with your energy and enthusiasm” and so on.  Now fast forward to the Monday morning after 2 weeks of the offsite meet and you see the same set of employees swiping the attendance recorder without the energy and enthusiasm of the dance floor.  The Atten(d)ance now does not have the (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm) in them.  Imagine if each employee like in the offsite meet were to bring (D)ance along with Atten(d)ance to work.  I was thinking about this and was wondering why do many employees don’t dance at work and following are few thoughts that I would like you to consider.

They don’t (D)ance with the Organizations values: Each one of us have been brought up in different environments and carry different experiences from home and at work from various organizations that we have worked in the past.  Many a time because of these varied experiences, our values may not align with the organizations value and this may bring down the (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm).  However if you think deep there is nothing wrong or right about values. Values are values and one should either align or find some other organization but not continue without the (D)ance.  For sure it may take time to learn to (D)ance with the organization’s values.  So if you thought that the values of previous organization were like “classical indian music” that you liked and the value of the current organization is “hard rock music” then you may want embrace the new “hard rock music” by telling yourself that “indian classical music” made you fluid from inside and now “hard rock music” will make you a rock from outside.  So being patient and learning to align with new values will help you become rock solid and bring (D)ance to work.

They don’t (D)ance with the Head of the Department: Very often we hear employees saying that the Head of the department does not understand the ground realities, his vision, his ideas are not connecting with what happens in day to day work and so on (in some extreme cases employees may even say who made him the Head). These are the employees who don’t (D)ance with the Head of the Department.  They usually are on 2nd floor of the building and can see only a small radius whereas the Head is sitting on 12th floor and can see the Tsunami of change in the market and how competition has already started to (D)ance.  So it is quite obvious that the employees on 2nd floor are upset with the changes the Head is asking to make.  Imagine if each employee were to put in their offsite energy and enthusiasm in implementing the changes, ideating with the Head of the department and not pulling each other’s energy down they all can have the party with the Head on the 12th floor almost every day.

They don’t (D)ance with their G&O and their Supervisor: In continuation to the above since they don’t (D)ance with the Head they don’t dance with the G&O set by the Head and the spiral effect of no (D)ance with the supervisor. 

They don’t (D)ance with their peers: Finally the whole (D)ance floor is empty as the peers are also swiping the attendance recorder without the (D)ance in the Atten(d)ance.
Imagine if one were to start dancing with all the above starting from organization values to Head of the department to goals & objectives to supervisor to peers, what an environment of energy and enthusiasm can get created.  Which customer would not like to work with such an employee, which father would not like to have such a son, which brother or sister would not like to have such sibling or which colleague would not like to have such a colleague who can dance with any music on any floor.  The concept of dance is the same in business world or under world.  In underworld you cannot say that I will not kidnap jewelers and I only prefer to kidnap builders when the realty market is down and jewelers can give you a better top line. 

I hope this blog will trigger thoughts on why we and people around us don’t dance and bring dance in Atten(d)ance from the time we swipe in the attendance recorder.  Do share with me your stories as my (D)ance (energy and enthusiasm) is seeing people (D)ance to transformation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Accounting of Accountability Versus Account of Accountability

I am an Accountant by education and then became a software specialist by profession and now an individual and organizational behavioral specialist by passion.  For me understanding of Accounting came in very naturally because besides the education in Accounting I was born in a Marwadi family where Accounting is part of most conversations.  However the Accounting that I am going to talk about in this blog is not about the accounting of profit and loss but about ownership, taking responsibility and adding value to oneself and to the organization. 

Accounting of Accountability is keeping a tab or count (Accounting) of what one is suppose to do and keep doing that.  It is like a checklist that one maintains and keeps doing the work irrespective of whether the effort is adding any value to oneself or to the organization.  On the other hand Account of Accountability is constantly checking (Account) of whether the work one is doing is adding value to oneself or to the organization.  On the face of it one may say that we all should be doing Account and not Accounting of Accountability but you will observe that majority of the people do Accounting and not Account of Accountability. Let me share my thoughts on why they do that and what can we do to change that. 

The first reason people do Accounting and not Account is because the leaders or the organization did not do enough conversation with them on WIIFM – What’s in it for me (WIIFM is a sophisticated term for the marwadi community term “Mujhe kya fayda” or in my nearest cousins Gujarati language “Mane su faydo”).  If people are not explained why they should do certain things and the rationale behind the tasks they are suppose to do, they usually get disengaged  soon and get into doing Accounting.  So whenever you run a initiative or define a process it is important to check if you have taken care of WIIFM for all the people involved. I know that with constant pressure to deliver in short time we may at times have hard time finding time to spend on WIIFM but if we don’t do that then we will anyway have hard time with Accounting and no Account of Accountability.  Please spend few minutes as you read this blog to think about why people are doing Accounting and not Account in your circuit and possibly you will find the missing WIIFM.

The second reason people do Accounting and not Account is when they don’t understand the big picture.  To a large extent I think this is the Accountability of each leader and management team to ensure that each one understands the big picture.  I would like to share the story of the NASA security guard near the lift area who use to run around asking the NASA scientists to move into respective queues of the multiple lifts so that they can reach their floor faster.  So one day a scientist asked the security guard what motivates him to do this activity of moving people around with so much enthusiasm (Account) every day.  The security guard said that if he did not do that every day then the scientists may get delayed to reach at their desk and it may impact the launch of satellites.  You can see how the security guard took the responsibility (Account) of value adding to NASA versus just standing (Accounting) there as a security guard.  In the conversation with the scientist the security guard further shared that the head of NASA one day had given the big picture of NASA to all employees and how each one needs to take responsibility (Account) for success of NASA. Please spend few minutes to see if you have given a big picture to your teams and even if you have done that please plan to do it one more time now as it will help enhance the Account of Accountability.

The third reason people do Accounting and not Account is most people don’t have a positive experience in their work lives.  So a new employee who joins us from an organization where the above two situations were present (missing WIIFM and no big picture) then there is a possibility that he will continue with Accounting in your organization also.  As a leader it is your responsibility to give them a new experience and help them forget their past and create a new future with Account of Accountability.  My earlier blog “Inside Out or Outside In” can be a good read when you plan to create giving a new experience to your employees.  Please spend few minutes to reflect on how would you create that positive experience for people in your circuit.

The fourth reason people do Accounting and not Account is they don’t feel safe to challenge the status quo and only when people challenge status quo they can add value (Account) to themselves and to the organization. By feeling safe I mean that a common mistake most leaders do in All Hands Meet or in any regular team meetings is asking the employee who gives suggestions on any change to implement that suggestion himself.  In one sense there is no harm in asking people to volunteer but that is not a safe way to do as many people need time to think about getting involved and asking them right there in the meeting puts them on the spot and people stop speaking in any future meetings.  The spiral downfall of such behavior of the leader is that over a period of time no body speaks in the meetings and everybody gets into Accounting and not Account of Accountability.  Please spend few minutes and reflect on how much safe environment are you giving to your people to speak up.

There may be many more reasons besides the one’s I have shared on why Accounting of Accountability happens more than Account of Accountability and I look forward to your thoughts.  I sincerely hope that the above will help you in converting Accounting to Account of Accountability in your teams / organizations.  While I have talked about only professional setup but the above can be applied in your personal lives as well and you will start seeing why your teenage son or daughter or even your spouse don’t speak much (Account) and speak only what you like to hear (Accounting).  Either there is a missing WIIFM or you have not shared the big picture of how the family should lead the life together or they have not had a positive experience with you when you were busy building your career brushing off most conversations or they don’t feel safe to talk to you.  I would be equally keen to hear your personal experiences also on this journey of turning Accounting to Account of Accountability.