In the first part of my resume I list accountability as one of my greatest strengths. I also pride myself on my ability to listen to feedback and act on it. Recently I encountered a situation that showed weakness in two of my greatest strengths.
As a project manager I often have to gather troops to meetings they don’t wish to attend to work on things they have no interest in working on so our client gets what they want. It was a Sunday morning, my day off, and I had scheduled a meeting with our senior offshore team. I checked their acceptance in outlook shortly before our 8am conference call and they had all confirmed so I dialed in and waited. 5 minutes into the call the cofounder of the company joined and was visibly unhappy that I was the only one on the call. The other attendees had forgotten and we cancelled the call.
After the call, the cofounder IMd me “please prepare better for the next meeting”.
Are you serious? This really ticked me off. Here I was working on my day off taking extra effort to get things accomplished and still I needed to prepare better?!
It turns out, after some reflection and rewriting this post a few times, he was right. H is the cofounder, he has full accountability of the company’s success. If people don’t show to a meeting it’s his duty to lead them to show up. For me, as his second on command, it is my job as well. In a startup, “i did my job, I setup the meeting” just isn’t good enough. You’ve done your job once the meeting has happened. If I am to be a leader, scheduling a meeting is certainly not leading. Setting expectations, meeting expectations and following up when these expectations are not met are all parts of true leadership.