How often is the leadership of yesterday forgotten today? In at least some instances, it’s probably like the artwork in your home or office.
When’s the last time you really paid attention to your art or decorations? Not just a quick glance, but really taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of a piece or remembering what attracted you to it in the first place. Most people admit that the only time they take notice is when someone asks them where they acquired a particular object OR its significance. Simply put, after a while everything blends in, even things that are especially meaningful to us. This is Artwork Affliction and it’s negatively impacting the work of many leaders.
Smart product manufacturers understand this concept, which is why they change their packaging from time to time. Last year, I remember seeing a Pepsi can that had the colors of a Coca Cola product. Just above the Pepsi label were the words “Great new look. Same great taste.” Did they new packaging work? Well, it got my attention enough to mention it here.
Artwork Affliction happens every day in corporations across the globe, and it’s not only the art that’s being overlooked. Those signs espousing your customer service best practices haven’t been noticed in months. The sales process document that you ask people to keep on their desks is collecting dust. Even the main page of your intranet barely gets a notice even though the content may change from time to time.
Radical Accountability, an unwavering responsibility for getting done what matters most, includes a number of methods that eliminate the need for heavy-handed leadership. Leaders all too often have to remind people to do the very things noted on the wall, sales process document, or computer screen because of Artwork Affliction. When leaders do this in the most positive way, it still can feel like micromanagement even though people haven’t been paying attention.
The cure for Artwork Affliction is relatively simple: change the look, location, or liability. You can alter the design, color, or formatting—the look. Moving the location, just like moving furniture, often recaptures attention. To shift the liability, delegate responsibility to team members for regularly modifying the look or location of key totems of workplace significance.
You’ve worked hard to build a company with processes and systems that drive your business. By avoiding Artwork Affliction, you’ll have your best practices doing what they are supposed to do. Now that’s truly unforgotten leadership.
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Pick at least one key process this week and change the look, location, or liability of the supporting systems or documentation.
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