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Be Accountable


As Donna and I await our second child which is due November 20th, I”ve begun to think back to when Mia, our three year old was born.
Past the elation and wonder at life’s miracles it also hit home as I stared into her beautiful little eyes that, nestled in my arms was someone completely reliant on me. While a part of that was nice, the other realization was the increased importance of my ability to “provide”.
Its funny how I tend to act in life. If the only person who is effected by my decisions and action or inaction is me: I tend to take a greater laissez-faire attitude. When someone else is relying on me .. I pay more attention. In the case of Mia, the increased urgency to provide was good. It acted as fuel by providing extra purpose to the speaking & photography businesses I’m building.
In our work lives, accountability serves the same purpose. If we work in a job where we are not accountable to anyone other than our boss, it can be a dangerous place. When work teams are set up such that members are accountable to each other on a regular basis, great things happen:
1) Team Members get regular feedback. As human beings we need feedback. We need it now, tommorrow, the day after. We constantly need feedback. Praise is great, but knowing where we need to improve is also cool. We just need to know where we stand.
While silence should mean “agreement” with a person’s performance, we all know that an extended vacuum of feedback is usually filled with negative doubt and not helpful in motivating employees. I’ve been there. I know many of you have as well.
2) Increased Corporate Profits when misunderstandings are caught sooner than later because employees have expectations of each other that need to be met on a regular basis. Regular expectations of team members from each other, act as “check-ups” to make sure your process is on track to success. When it is not, flags can be raised and misunderstandings corrected (sooner rather than later, when it becomes harder to deal with).
3) Purpose. You’ve probably all heard of Rick Warren’s best seller book the “Purpose Driven Life”. The title hits a wish cord in many of us. We all need “purpose” to be motivated and sometimes to simply get us off our butt. I don’t know if any of you would say you work better under pressure. I know that is a fact for myself. Regular accountability to each other means regular deadlines which gives me the positive pressure I need to stay focused on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It can do the same for your team. Use it to your advantage.
Accountability is tougher when you deal with remote employees. The danger with remote employees, those you rarely see face to face is that ‘out of sight’ can also mean out of mind. A system of regular structured communication is doubly important. We all probably know someone who feels cut-off and unimportant in their remote office.
The Transportation sector is no exception. Long Haul Transport Drivers can be on the road for weeks at a time. If you are a transport company the question should be: What regular expectations of communication are built into their daily routine? Not just to protect the company but ironically and as importantly, to protect the driver’s sanity and levels of motivation. Regular feedback can decrease your risk of driver dissatisfaction, abandoned loads etc.
Each accountability point can and should be a feedback opportunity to keep the driver focused on success, yours and theirs.
As for me.. a week or less until some increased accountability comes in to my life and I can’t wait!
In the “nesting mode” that parents get into before kids arrive.. I’ve updated my speaking website: www.marketbeamer.com. I have met many Transport Sector friends in the Leadership & Communication seminars I facilitate. See you soon!


As Donna and I await our second child which is due November 20th, I”ve begun to think back to when Mia, our three year old was born.
Past the elation and wonder at life’s miracles it also hit home as I stared into her beautiful little eyes that, nestled in my arms was someone completely reliant on me. While a part of that was nice, the other realization was the increased importance of my ability to “provide”.
Its funny how I tend to act in life. If the only person who is effected by my decisions and action or inaction is me: I tend to take a greater laissez-faire attitude. When someone else is relying on me .. I pay more attention. In the case of Mia, the increased urgency to provide was good. It acted as fuel by providing extra purpose to the speaking & photography businesses I’m building.
In our work lives, accountability serves the same purpose. If we work in a job where we are not accountable to anyone other than our boss, it can be a dangerous place. When work teams are set up such that members are accountable to each other on a regular basis, great things happen:
1) Team Members get regular feedback. As human beings we need feedback. We need it now, tommorrow, the day after. We constantly need feedback. Praise is great, but knowing where we need to improve is also cool. We just need to know where we stand.
While silence should mean “agreement” with a person’s performance, we all know that an extended vacuum of feedback is usually filled with negative doubt and not helpful in motivating employees. I’ve been there. I know many of you have as well.
2) Increased Corporate Profits when misunderstandings are caught sooner than later because employees have expectations of each other that need to be met on a regular basis. Regular expectations of team members from each other, act as “check-ups” to make sure your process is on track to success. When it is not, flags can be raised and misunderstandings corrected (sooner rather than later, when it becomes harder to deal with).
3) Purpose. You’ve probably all heard of Rick Warren’s best seller book the “Purpose Driven Life”. The title hits a wish cord in many of us. We all need “purpose” to be motivated and sometimes to simply get us off our butt. I don’t know if any of you would say you work better under pressure. I know that is a fact for myself. Regular accountability to each other means regular deadlines which gives me the positive pressure I need to stay focused on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It can do the same for your team. Use it to your advantage.
Accountability is tougher when you deal with remote employees. The danger with remote employees, those you rarely see face to face is that ‘out of sight’ can also mean out of mind. A system of regular structured communication is doubly important. We all probably know someone who feels cut-off and unimportant in their remote office.
The Transportation sector is no exception. Long Haul Transport Drivers can be on the road for weeks at a time. If you are a transport company the question should be: What regular expectations of communication are built into their daily routine? Not just to protect the company but ironically and as importantly, to protect the driver’s sanity and levels of motivation. Regular feedback can decrease your risk of driver dissatisfaction, abandoned loads etc.
Each accountability point can and should be a feedback opportunity to keep the driver focused on success, yours and theirs.
As for me.. a week or less until some increased accountability comes in to my life and I can’t wait!
In the “nesting mode” that parents get into before kids arrive.. I’ve updated my speaking website: www.marketbeamer.com. I meet many of you of you in the speaking that I do across Canada. See you soon!


David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind wowtrucks.com and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar.
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4 Comments » for Be Accountable
  1. I think that you hit the nail on the head. From my perspective as a safety consultant on the outside of organizations looking in I see that the only communication is the bad news and limited praise.
    Expectations is something that should be on every carriers “Orientation Agenda”
    1. Let the new employee know what the company expectations are.
    2. Ask the employee what their expectation are of this job and the carrier.
    Review it on a regular basis and make sure that you are on course to a healthy working relationship.
    Responsibility will take its own course from here.

  2. Success Attitude says:

    I’ve been searching for different success formulas and principles for several times now. I have read a lot of tips, quotes and stories about this subject and your post stand out. Sometimes we are thinking too much about success and how to be one and we fail to realize that our “attitude” is a big contributing factor and most of the time our problem is not ignorance but inaction. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post. Great stuff to think about. More power to you.

  3. David Robson says:

    As a driver I have my own set of expectations I request from a trucking company and frequently state and exercise them. More than once I am sure I have bent some noses out of joint. Never have I been fired for my standards by which I do my job even after threats from dispatch. Safety is at the top of my list followed by communication. These issues I find are highly deficient in the trucking industry at the company level by many trucking companies.
    I believe that committed safety and compliance officers can’t do their job because it will reduce the profit margin to fund proper and successful enforcement.(ie. logbooks, vehicle inspections, proper sleep periods,trip planning)
    Another issue is communication. Tons of revenue is lost due to the lack of communication from driver to dispatch to customer. This results in lost accounts, late loads, late fines, layovers and bad attitudes.
    I have seen perfectly good drivers terminated because their professional attitude did not work well with the unprofessional practice of the company.
    Look on the bright side. Trucking has come this far in 100 years. Maybe in another 100 years our industry will be what it should be. Profitably safe and professional.

  4. David,
    Thank you for your post and for asserting regular lines of communication back to your office team. It is so crucial for companies and individuals to be able to grow. Many times the only thing worse than badly given feedback is no feedback at all. You are bang in recognizing that the situations you describe are all too common today. As i mentioned in my conflict blog.. too often people quit giving feedback because it creates “noses out of joint”. I really like your attitude of communication.
    Next week I’ll be posting a blog specifically on feedback. The main point will be that when people separate emotion from thoughts in giving feedback it actually becomes a really positive thing to do and helps feedback be received. When people separate thoughts from emotions in feedback to me it means my nose doesn’t get in the way of actual listening to their words for the power they might have to make me better.
    I’ll use some of your examples around safety and compliance to drive home the topic.
    Safe Travels this holiday season.
    David

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