Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can a garden produce top fruit if it is never weeded?

There is an eerie phenomenon going on in our society. It is starting at a tender age and creeping into the business world as well. If left alone, it will eventually lead us to mediocrity.

It is the idea that people can learn accountability without ever having correction. That would be like saying you could work two years at your job and not be given feedback on what you are doing wrong but we want you to assume accountability for doing it right.

In schools today they are wanting to preserve a child's self-esteem so many schools are not correcting spelling. They believe that spelling will be corrected by the computer so there is no need to "deduct" points or to correct spelling. What happen to red pens? Do you remember getting your story back with the red corrections on it? Do you remember having to rewrite it without to correct the spelling? I do. It didn't demoralize. I KNEW it was expected. I KNEW it happened to EVERYONE. And the funny thing is, I learned to spell!

You can't grow a top level garden without pulling weeds. To simply ignore the weeds, or work around them undermines the fruit the garden is trying to grow. The weeds actually suck up some of the good nutrition from the soil and DETRACT from the actual outcome you desire.

I don't believe you can have accountability without correcting. The correcting is what TEACHES us the accountability. For if we never know what is the highest standard how can we ever reach it?

The 4 minute mile wasn't ever broken because every one believed it wasn't possible to achieve it. Then one man, one time, broke that record and the next year tons of people ran the mile under 4 minutes. Nothing changed except people's BELIEFS. People learned that it wasn't correct to assume you couldn't run the mile in under 4 minutes.

So why do we limit by trying to teach accountability without correcting? We need to strengthen self-esteem not by pampering it but by making it okay to make mistakes, to learn, to grow, to stretch. Accountability isn't learned in a vacuum and yes at times it hurts. It does mean at times you do your best but you still mess up. That is okay. All you need to do is stand up, dust off, and move on.

So this next week, take action. When you are about to let something slide, realize the message you are giving the person is that you believe that is the best they are capable of. It means if you don't correct it now, don't expect them to be accountable for it later on. If you want accountability you need to expect it is your job to help correct and fine tune so that success can be achieved. Now, of course, the flip side of this means you must always be coachable yourself.

Anne Warfield,