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Are you encouraging the wrong habits?

“What you tolerate, you encourage”

I have no clue where this originated, but when Ken Proctor, Coach and my Vistage Chair, first said it to me I thought I hit the wisdom lottery. How true is that quote? What you tolerate, you encourage.

Think about what that means. Your child misses curfew for the first time, you say “traffic must have been heavy” or “he must have lost track of time.” What your child heard was “curfew doesn’t really matter, I’ll come home whenever I want.” What you tolerate, you encourage.

You overhear an interaction between your teammate “Billy” and a customer. Billy is snippy, rude and unprofessional during the exchange. You dismiss it as “Billy is having a bad day, we’ll see how he does next time.” What Billy heard is “its okay to be rude to our customers, no matter what our guiding principals say.”

“Jane” does not follow the proper approval process on a big deal she is closing. Once the deal makes it to the your office, it is apparent that the deal would have never been approved the way it is written, and you realize its because you didn’t see the full proposal before the deal was signed. This leaves you on the hook for things you cant deliver. You let it slide because you closed a deal and you’ll “make it work.” What Jane heard was “don’t worry about our proven process for work, you just do you, and we will pick up the pieces next time.”

What you tolerate, you encourage.

If you want to run a smooth, easily managed business you must keep three things in mind always.

  1. Right People

  2. Right Strategy

  3. Accountability

The term “right people” just means you are surrounding yourself with people who share your Core Values. Core Values ensure your team follow very similar guiding principals. This way you know how your team will interact situations. This does not mean the same background, or personality. It does, however, mean the team will share same values.

The right strategy just outlines what the job is and how the job is done. In EOS®, we talk about Roles and Responsibilities and Core Processes™. These are the defined way your process flow works ensuring that each time a customer interacts with you will be the same, no matter who is doing it.

A strong sense of accountability is tougher to do, because you cant do it at all. Accountability lies within ourselves. Only you can hold yourself accountable. A manager cant hold you accountable. A leader cant hold you accountable. It is part of your work ethic, or part of a desire to be your best. As a Leader or Manager, you can provide all aspects required for personal accountability: Systems and tools, Inspiration, goals and direction, guidance and time. And lets not forget, boundaries (See Right People and Right Strategy).

With boundaries in place you have a measurement tool, allowing you to see things out of place immediately. This is where feedback comes in. Providing immediate feedback for the good and the “not so good”, will help your team know you wont tolerate anything outside of what your business needs.

With these things, you can ensure you aren’t tolerating anything “below your bar.” You will have your business running they way you expect it to, and they way your customers or clients do too.

Lets encourage alignment, accountability and achievement with in your organization!

If you are struggling with any of this, lets talk. We can help you eliminate the chaos and create amazing clarity for you and your business. Go to to schedule a call.

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