The joys of accountability, and the lack thereof.

For the past 8 months, I have updated this blog with a little voice that whispers in my ear, "Try not to offend the masses, but more specifically, actively avoid offending specific individuals.."

I guess I should dive a little further into this mindset. Most of my posts are reactionary responses based off of interactions I have throughout the day. These interactions could be an interpersonal connection at school or at work, or they could be impersonal, based off a disturbing news article. But the fact is that these interactions typically make me think of one person specifically that I would potentially feel uncomfortable around if I were to truly speak my mind.

And then today, I asked myself the following question. "Does the relationship I have with any specific individual hold enough value to warrant the damage I would potentially cause to the relationship I have with myself by not speaking to the conviction felt in my heart?"

If the answer to that question is "no", then let the verbal vanquishment begin.

Saturday, I stirred the pot at school. There is a guest speaker coming on Wednesday, and at 4:00p, a learning leader went to the middle of the floor to announce an impromptu meeting at 4:10. After showing up late to her own meeting, she said, "We want to take a little more pride in our school and make sure it has been deep cleaned for his arrival." At this point, it's 4:18 in the afternoon, 12 minutes before everyone at school leaves for the weekend. The amount of work could have easily been delegated throughout the day, but what was more frustrating to me is that the system was broken because there was never any accountability from the individuals (read into this as students) who were responsible for maintaining the professional image of the school. I asked in front of the entire assembly "Wouldn't it make far more sense to have pride in our school on a daily basis and have a process in place that keeps the school pristine instead of having a reactionary response to a special visitor that requires everyone to play catch up? This is a rhetorical question, so you honestly don't need to answer the question." I then walked off to start cleaning.

Within minutes, another learning leader talked to me as though I was a five-year-old who would back down at the first sight of confrontation. They apparently don't know me the way they thought they did. I refuse to back down or apologize for speaking out against a broken process. I wound up staying a half hour late getting the school cleaned up with the learning leaders because I recognize that as unfair as it was for them to throw that on students in the 11th hour, it also wasn't fair that the students were not keeping the school presentable, and there was obviously a need felt to get the school presentable. The problem wasn't the fact that I stayed late cleaning, it was that the learning leaders have never created a true culture of accountability where students felt obligated to live up to the expectations of the school that was set in the financial aid office at the time of enrollment.

Hailie prefers the term "throwing a wrench in everything you get involved in". At first I took offense to the statement. It initially came off as though I like to ruin everything good I touch, and to be fair that's probably more of the sentiment she wanted to convey. But then on second thought, I took it as a compliment that I took immense pride in. I don't like to sit quietly on the sidelines for very long. If I see that people have been wronged, or if a system is broken, I speak up. 

Almost 20 years ago, as my dad drove me home from the principle's office, he looked at me and said don't take anything at face value, find out why people make the decisions they make, and call them out if they are wrong. I'm paraphrasing at best (what do you expect, it was 2 decades ago and I was 10) but that has been the bedrock of my professional career and will always be a cornerstone to my mentality. Earlier this evening, I spoke with pride about how every company I had ever worked with up until this point had a bridge burned so brightly it could be seen from the ISS. But the burning bridge was a beacon of light towards the underlying issues.

T-Mobile - I sent an e-mail to the CEO of the company about why that call center had consistently spent 2 years ranked in the bottom 5 of 20 sites due to the poor practices of local management. I didn't get my job back, but within 2 weeks there was a 'surprise' visit to the center from members of the board of director's to investigate certain practices that were mentioned in my e-mail. 

Connexions - I inadvertently called my boss a bitch. I meant to message my coworker over IM, but I was so upset at a situation that I was thinking about my boss, her name was running through my mind, so when I typed the message I addressed it to my her. It quickly prompted a conversation with her boss and HR. I didn't apologize for my actions, although I did say I probably could have been more professional, but I held my ground that the sentiment remained due to an unfair practice that was being forced upon an entire department. Within 2 months, I had completely revamped a process, and 30+ individuals were given back pay on bonuses they were overdue, based on a metric I built from the ground up to replace the current process, based on fair and balanced workload.

MAXIMUS - I've already made an entire post on my feelings about this company.

A friend of mine that I've known for years was fired this week from DirecTV. As a supervisor, he made the following post on his facebook. "Work is draining me in the worst way lately. I forgot how stressful it can be to be responsible for other people's numbers. It's like WDS again, except it's not just rep resolve, it's like 9 metrics. I need to adjust my workload in a way I have not yet figured out. And apparently I need to be a little more mean. I guess I'll pack my puppies and rainbows away for a while." He was fired because a company took the stance that "the post could have a negative impact on the agent's that read it."

I work for DirecTV, and I will publicly say this decision is detrimental to the ability to trust a company that I spend more time with than I would like to admit. This individual has had years of supervisory experience, and not a single word of his post was speaking out poorly to the company he was working for. Instead, he went to social media, the same way millions of individuals do, to air his frustrations. While I don't think facebook is a place to air dirty laundry, simply put, this was not dirty laundry, this was the emotional response of an individual human.

The fact comes down to this. If nobody is held accountable for the lack of ethical action, it is the front line individuals who suffer. I would far rather be a scapegoat with a voice than a fly on the wall. It was brought to my attention this week that I radiate the personality of a revolutionist that others will follow, and it greatly intimidated the individual that had that perception.I don't believe I am a revolutionist. I do believe I have a voice, and I believe my voice is only going to be getting louder the more I recognize how much a voice can create necessary change. I honestly believe that speaking out at school will spark a conversation that will be had behind closed doors, and after I graduate on Saturday there will be changes that will require the leadership to hold individuals accountable for what it is they aren't doing. Regardless of if my voice was used appropriately or not, change will come because of the words spoken.

It is now 2 in the morning, and I have ranted on long enough. Sumo couldn't keep up with my pace and I will only be getting a few hours of sleep. But before I sign off, I want you to think about this question.

What will you use your voice for?

Chris BentleyComment