Choosing Organizational Accountability over Entitlement

Headshot of Jeff

Jeff Brown—March 20, 2020 We talk a lot about selfless leadership at Celero, and I hope that I live up to that aspiration as much as possible. But what does that mean, day-to-day, beyond simply giving credit where it’s due across the organization?

I believe my job as a leader at Celero, especially with regard to developing a high-performance culture defined by selfless leadership, is to develop people to their full potential. When people achieve their potential, they are more likely to be engaged with the company’s mission and goals and see how the company’s purpose aligns with their own. 

The first step on the road to developing people is ridding them of any sense of entitlement. I’ll start with myself. I’ve had a long, successful career in payments and financial technology, and that perhaps entities me to walk in the door as co-founder of this company. But after that door closes, it entitles me to nothing whatsoever. I have to earn my place and prove my worth all over again.

That mentality is the opposite of entitlement—it’s accountability.  And if I want to help others reach that mentality and run together with me toward goals with confidence and assuredness, I need to take the time to develop them as professionals within our performance framework. Not everyone will make it down this road, because some folks are not coachable or teachable. But if they are, greatness awaits us all. 

In order to develop people, you start with teaching. And by teaching I’m referring directly to the fundamental training our people receive from day one.  I love our training department, because people like Benji Allsep are passionate about taking our people down the first steps of the path and then rejoining them at later times to refresh or add to their knowledge.

Next comes coaching.  Coaching is about reinforcing that training with feedback—both positive and negative—so that people always know where they stand, where they need to improve, and of course what they’re doing correctly.  Coaching is so important here at Celero, because we demand individual and team performance. There’s no place here for the individual performer who has no regard for the team, whether it’s their department or the company itself. So whether you’re the CEO or the manager of a small department, your title may as well be “Coach.”

The final component of development is equipping. People can’t do their jobs to their fullest without the proper resources and tools. While we are now officially too big for me to do everyone’s job, what I can directly control is that my people have the technology and processes in place that put them on a platform to succeed.

When you meet people where they are and teach, coach, and equip them in ways that are powerful and profound, you position them to succeed for themselves and the company. Good people will happily be accountable to high performance standards when you invest in them with knowledge, guidance, and what they need to do their jobs. When we as leaders approach the set of tasks that add up to development with an attitude of humility and accountability, we can truly unleash the power of our entire organization.