Accountability is the Secret of Success

Have you ever had a job where you had to meet certain metrics?  I’m sure we all have.  The one that comes to mind for me was when I worked in a call center.  Call centers love stats.   Your entire job performance is based on stats.  Raises, promotions, and general goodwill were all based on metrics.  You had to take a certain number of calls per day, stay on the line under a certain number of seconds, keep your hold time under a certain amount, sell a certain amount of stuff, etc.  Your job depended on it.

When I was being trained everyone in my training class complained about these metrics.  They are hard to meet when you are first starting out.  Keeping your hold time down when you have to ask your supervisor 100 questions is tough.  Keeping your handle time down when you don’t have experience is hard.  Making sales when you aren’t confident is almost impossible.

But the complaints wouldn’t come in the form of statements like “What can I do to get my hold time down?”  Instead the complainers would say “Well, I had to wait for my supervisor to get off the phone!”.  They didn’t say “How can I better anticipate what questions the customer will ask?”.  They said “The customer wouldn’t get off the phone!  They just kept asking questions!”

My trainers always answered these complaints with the same statement.  “Most people out on the floor can meet these metrics.”  In other words, it’s not the metrics that are the problem, you just need to learn how to do your job better.

I was checking out at a store the other day and the checkout person was complaining to a co-worker that she couldn’t meet her metrics.  She was blaming the customers.  She said she couldn’t meet the handle time per order because customers took too long with their coupons.  I wanted to interrupt and ask if other cashiers also get customers with coupons.  I’m sure they do.  I highly doubt that she is just that unlucky and gets all the slow coupon-ers that come through the store.

I wanted to say “The metrics aren’t the problem here.”

She should talk to the other cashiers and see if they have any tricks.  Tricks, like not starting the order until the customer has handed over all their coupons, rather than start it and then wait.  Or maybe they keep a stack of popular coupons by the register in case a customer starts digging for that one last coupon.

Is there anything in your life like this?  Is it someone else’s fault that you can’t keep a budget?  Is it someone else’s fault that you can’t pay down your debt?  Is it someone else’s fault that you can’t get ahead at work?

If so then it’s time to look in the mirror.  Ever hear that saying that when you point a finger at someone else there are four fingers pointing back at you?  Well, three really since your thumb isn’t pointing at you… but you get the point.  You have control over your own life.  Believe me, our customers and bosses aren’t suddenly going to shape up.  The only person’s actions we can control are our own.  When one person succeeds and another doesn’t it’s not because one got lucky, it’s because their actions were different.

You bring success upon yourself by making changes in YOU, not by sitting around waiting for others to change.

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