Today we’ll hear from Tim Faller, senior consultant and master of production at Remodelers Advantage Inc. and a podcast host himself. In this podcast, Tim shares leadership principles for how to be a better manager in your company and how to help employees have a sense of ownership in the company’s success. 

Often when we think about accountability, we think about justifying what we’ve done, or having to explain something that didn’t go well. Tim advocates for a different definition of accountability, taken from the book “The Oz Principle”: Accountability is “a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary to achieve the desired results—to see it, own it, solve it, and do it.” 

See it, own it, solve it, do it

It’s easy for us to want to assign blame, but if an issue is always someone else’s problem, we will never own the problem and move forward to solve it. One example is the labor shortage. Many business owners complain about classifieds no longer working, the closing of trade schools, and the lack of quality applicants. Instead, Tim encourages them to do what’s within their control (e.g., building strong relationships with trade schools to recruit labor.) This type of accountability focuses less on what’s happened in the past, and more on what’s going to happen in the future. 

The difference between a reason and an excuse

When we accept an excuse as a legitimate reason for someone not fulfilling their job responsibilities or meeting the standards we’ve set, we allow people to be not held responsible for something we want them involved in. An example is a person routinely saying they’re late because of traffic, or a trade partner saying they don’t use a certain computer program you need them to use. If we don't deal with the excuses, we have weaker, less effective teams. Even when it feels like you don’t have control over a situation, you always have some power.  

Joint accountability

In almost every situation, responsibility is shared across more than one person or team. For example, an estimator may pass down a budget that is unrealistic, frustrating the production team, but the estimator may not have had the detailed information they needed to put together the estimate. If only one person is blamed, the issue can’t be solved. The more everyone is engaged, feeling that they have some responsibility for the success of the company as a whole, the more able the whole team is to address a problem. And when the owner or manager takes their part of the responsibility, it’s easier for their team to take up their part.

Tim shares lots of great stories and examples, so be sure to listen to the full podcast. For more information on attending future educational events, feel free to email me at jimc@dunnlumber.com. If you have additional questions for Tim, you can reach him at thetimfallershow.com.