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This is what's wrong with leadership advice today



A big problem with much leadership advice these days is it's fashionable to focus excessively around feelings and feeling good. What's missing is accountability: to oneself, one's team and one's clients.


Before you come at me with pitchforks & burning torches - let me explain:


In order to exist (and continue to exist), most organizations need to produce something of value (either a physical product and/or intangible service).


These outputs must be created on a timeline and at a quality-level that buyers will accept to the extent that they will open their wallets and hand over money (or some other form of payment).


The only way these outputs can be made and delivered to such standards is consistent *commitment* on the vendor side to meeting these standards.


Now, humans being humans, we do - and will - slip up from time to time.


The only way to uphold such commitments to customers (and continue to get paid by them) is a vendor-side system of identifying, declaring and fixing extant slippages & impediments to said commitments.


And that's where accountability comes in - i.e. to clean up one's slippages so as to meet stated commitments.


Accountability doesn't care if you "don't feel good" or if you're "just not in the mood today".


Accountability is saying "You know what? I forgot to send you the churn analysis spreadsheet last Tuesday, but I own up to it and I commit to getting it to you by tomorrow evening"


It's "I've got the flu, so I'm letting you know that I won't be able to work at my best today. I propose to take the rest of today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) off to recover. By Wednesday I will have recovered and I commit to sending you the marketing copy for our landing page redesign."


In other words, take ownership of the slippage, commit to a solution ALONG with a new timeframe and then ACTUALLY deliver on that solution in the promised timeframe.


It's as simple as that - and it doesn't need to conflict with a pleasant working environment. Or feeling good about oneself and making others feel good.


But I've found that prioritizing "feeling good" as the #1 priority over accountability tends to introduce the possibility of using bad feelings (basically tiny squirts of chemicals in our brains) to avoid delivering on time (and with quality) work we find difficult, or are nervous about


Big companies can afford commitment and accountability slippages because they often have large cash cushions, big marketing budgets, and established product lines to paper over deficiencies.


But as a new SaaS founder you often don't have any of those advantages - heck, you may not even yet have a *single* product that’s ready to sell.


So you better get working, fixing and delivering *in spite* of your feelings.

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