The best kind of accountability on a team is peer-to-peer. Peer pressure is more efficient and effective than going to the leader, anonymously complaining, and having them stop what they are doing to intervene.
Clients don't expect perfection from the service providers they hire, but they do expect honesty and transparency. There is no better way to demonstrate this than by acknowledging when a mistake has been made and humbly apologizing for it.
At its core, all authentic growth depends on more customers wanting more of what your company offers. Any other drivers - pricing gimmicks, heroic marketing efforts, forced acquisitions - are ultimately destructive.
The fact is, employees cannot make breakthroughs if they can't openly and honestly disagree with their peers and their leader. Indeed, great leaders don't just permit conflict; they actively try to elicit it from reluctant employees as well.
When team members trust each other and know that everyone is capable of admitting when they're wrong, then conflict becomes nothing more than the pursuit of truth or the best possible answer.
I have many times marveled at how I could feel so good about myself while eating peanuts in a middle seat on Southwest Airlines and yet feel so condescended to in first class on United.
Empty values statements create cynical and dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial credibility.
There is almost nothing more painful for a leader than seeing good people leave a growing organization, whether it's a priest watching a Sunday school teacher walk out the door or a CEO saying goodbye to a co-founder.
When employees feel anonymous in the eyes of their managers, they simply cannot love their work, no matter how much money they make or how wonderful their jobs seem to be.
Team members need to be able to admit their weaknesses and mistakes, to acknowledge the strengths of others, and to apologize when they do something wrong.
You have to build trust among team members so that people feel free to admit what they don't know, make mistakes, ask for help if they need it, apologize when necessary, and not hold back their opinions.
I coach soccer, and my wife and I are very involved in our kids' lives. Our family is busy with doctor appointments, soccer practice, school, work, travel, vacation... life.
Whether we're talking about leadership, teamwork, or client service, there is no more powerful attribute than the ability to be genuinely honest about one's weaknesses, mistakes, and needs for help.
Failing to engage in conflict is a terrible decision, one that puts our temporary comfort and the avoidance of discomfort ahead of the ultimate goal of our organization.
When truth takes a backseat to ego and politics, trust is lost.
You need to make sure you hire people who are capable of being strong team players. Team members should fit the company's culture, be committed to the team, and be capable of being genuinely vulnerable and selfless.
I've seen it again and again in my consulting: Most teams are too large to be innovative, despite their leaders' best intentions.
If you're not willing to accept the pain real values incur, don't bother going to the trouble of formulating a values statement. You'll be better off without one.
Even though I wrote 'The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family,' my life is as chaotic as most people's.
God bless those employees at United who somehow continue to be gracious and patient and generous with customers even while bearing the brunt of a broken company themselves.