TRUTH OR CON­SE­QUENCES?

Fiona Blayney

Elite Property Manager - - CONTENTS - FIRST PER­SON FIONA BLAYNEY

Suc­cess isn't as sim­ple as set­ting a KPI and go­ing for it. We of­ten for­get the other side of the equa­tion – the con­se­quence for not hit­ting that tar­get. Fiona Blayney ex­plores how we can achieve more by be­ing clear with the out­comes for both suc­cess and fail­ure.

Last week I over­heard Michael (my hus­band) hav­ing a ‘dis­cus­sion' with Miss Six about the chew­ing gum that con­tin­ued to find its way into her mouth and, in her hurry to hide the ev­i­dence, was now sit­ting not so elo­quently in my mother-in-law's car­pet. My kids have no chance at suc­cess­ful ly­ing, thanks to the look they get on their faces teamed with my hus­band be­ing a bar­ris­ter. The kids have ex­pe­ri­enced cross-ex­am­i­na­tion from an early age and you could see the heat ris­ing through Michael's face, es­pe­cially when he found the de­vice used for smug­gling in the con­tra­band was not a boo­gie board but Miss Four, who was

tasked with car­ry­ing the gum in­side a jew­ellery box, in­side a shoe­box (go fig­ure). So now we also had an ac­com­plice. Feel­ing ig­nored, Michael did what most par­ents have done at this time of year when ev­ery­one's ly­ing, there's chew­ing gum in your mum's new car­pet and your frus­tra­tion has gone to 100. You go to the ex­treme and pull out the ul­ti­mate pun­ish­ment. “Hand over all the chew­ing gum or I'm call­ing Santa and there will be no presents this Christ­mas.”

Boom! Mic drop mo­ment. Or is it?

Michael's con­se­quences for telling the ‘truth' were about to get tested. Miss Six is get­ting smarter ev­ery day; her lit­tle mind was tick­ing over the im­por­tant ques­tions. What are the chances they'll find that hid­den chew­ing gum? Would Dad ring Santa and tell him not to bring me presents? No doubt she came up with a re­sound­ing ‘no' to each ques­tion.

And there you have it. We were told there was no more chew­ing gum, de­spite her face telling a dif­fer­ent story. You see, we'd given her a no-con­se­quence-con­se­quence; as adults, we tend to do this quite a bit.

It doesn't take an in­ves­ti­ga­tor to find lines be­ing set, crossed, blurred and ig­nored in homes and busi­nesses ev­ery­where. Why? When it comes to busi­ness, de­spite hav­ing KPIs and one-to-ones, we tend to miss the next step: the clear con­se­quences for poor per­for­mance. When we as­sume peo­ple know what will hap­pen if they don't fol­low the process or achieve the re­sults, there is a sur­prise when our ex­pec­ta­tions are misaligned. Typ­i­cally, it cul­mi­nates in an emo­tion­ally charged re­sponse.

As a mother, man­ager and leader I've found that, aged six or 66, no one likes sur­prise con­se­quences. Tak­ing the time in the calm of the day to cre­ate your plan, de­velop the rules and set the con­se­quences for lack of ad­her­ence or achieve­ment en­sures there is a clear pic­ture of ex­pec­ta­tions for those in­volved.

Whether you're sit­ting at the board­room or the din­ner ta­ble, hav­ing ev­ery­one buy into the process, through agree­ment or sim­ply un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance, al­lows ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tions, and the re­sults they bring for our­selves and oth­ers.

It would have been far eas­ier for me to send Miss Six off to school this morn­ing with­out re­duc­ing to­day's funds for the Year 6 Lunch Stalls by $1. It near killed me as I took that money back, but we'd had a chat and agreed that it would be a fair con­se­quence for not be­ing ready on time. So when the time came, and Bar­bie had been cho­sen over pack­ing our bag, there were no tears but a mu­tual sad­ness over the loss of that ex­tra dough­nut, and a dis­cus­sion over how we could do bet­ter to­mor­row.

WHEN WE AS­SUME PEO­PLE KNOW WHAT WILL HAP­PEN IF THEY DON’T FOL­LOW THE PROCESS OR ACHIEVE THE RE­SULTS, THERE IS A SUR­PRISE WHEN OUR EX­PEC­TA­TIONS ARE MISALIGNED.

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