In the spirit of transparency, this blog is a couple of weeks late. When I say late, I don’t mean in regard to any external factor, but rather, in the context of our internal editorial calendar- a document that has been thoughtfully designed and meticulously maintained by members of the TMG Team. So, it is particularly annoying for me (and my team) that it is late because, well I helped to create and (typically) continue to help enforce our office’s culture of accountability. I’d considered a few other topics for this blog- I’d even gone so far as to start them, but a combination of writer’s block, and well, other priorities meant that it just wasn’t getting done. And that’s when it clicked- maybe the way through the block was by explaining why getting this blog finished was important to me and to my team. Would the world keep spinning if I never wrote this? Probably For sure. But it’s not just about what’s in it. It’s really the principle of the thing.

Fear can be created quickly; trust can’t. -Ed Catmull

Come January, The Moak Group (or TMG as most call it these days) will have been open for 4(!!) years, but we still very much consider ourselves a startup. We’re a small team, and that means the role(s) that each member of our team plays are essential. Part of what makes TMG work is that everyone feels invested in the outcome of the work that we do, we each pull our weight, and we work together and support each other when we need an extra hand getting things across the finish line. I trust my team to get things done, they trust me to help prioritize and focus the work that we’re doing. If we didn’t have this, we wouldn’t be able to produce at the level we do or support our clients in a way that was sustainable long term.

Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team. ― Jocko Willink

One of the core tenants of our office culture here at TMG is accountability. We’ve tried to create systems and structures that promote teamwork and accountability and reduce/remove processes that may, in some other offices, be organizational barriers to accountability. We have clear chains of custody for deliverables- everyone understands what their role is in a project, and as that role shifts between team members, it is documented and confirmed so that everyone is on the same page. We have whole team meetings at the beginning and end of every week, so that the entire office is aware of what is going on with our clients and internally, regardless of whether the information directly applies to them or not. We are able to have constructive and challenging conversations with each other about growth and learning and improvement.

On good teams coaches hold players accountable, on great teams players hold players accountable.”   ― Joe Dumars

Accountability isn’t just a top-down company expectation- a “do as I say not as I do” culture doesn’t breed trust or teamwork. Accountability comes laterally amongst colleagues, and often means managing up as well. This isn’t a new discovery- every management/leadership book or article will tell you the same thing. And it’s critical for success.

So, my blog is overdue.  I know it, and one of our team members, Jody, the keeper of the blog editorial calendar, has also reminded me (TBH- more than once). While she has worked with me to find constructive solutions to the problem, she’s also made it clear that, like every member of our team, I am expected to turn in my deliverables when they are due. As well she should. Because that is her job. And that’s how our team works. If I want my staff to get their work in on time, I sure as heck better be getting mine in on time as well. For, as the old adage goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link (and yes, in this case, c’est moi).

Sarah Heine