from the Blog

They Respect What You Inspect


  • Do you follow the posted speed limits on roads and highways in your community (most of the time)? Why? How attentive would you be to those speed limits if there was no law enforcement present to inspect your actions? Be honest.
  • Are their people on your team that routinely roll in to work 15 minutes late? How attentive would they be if there was a time clock to record (inspect) their actions? (Note: I am not suggesting that every type of business use a time clock, but it is certainly an effective way to control tardiness if that is important to your business). 

  • Many businesses – restaurants and fast food – post cleaning schedules in their public restroom facilities. Have you noticed? These restrooms are generally cleaner and better maintained than those without this public display. The persons responsible for this know that their work is being inspected. 

When you give it some perspective this is such a crazy simple concept. People respect what you inspect. 

We work diligently to create company policies and business processes to guide our teams. This is pretty simple stuff, or so it seems. We have expectations that everyone will comply. We have expectations that our fellow co-workers will comply.

It has been proven over and over that expectations are not enough. People pick and choose what they comply with based on their personal values of what is important.

Whether it is an employee, someone else on your team, or even your boss, if you want to effect compliance with policies or influence change you have to inspect the work. How can we make this happen?

Some ideas: 

  • Help a team member be accountable to a deadline by creating a calendar event for the due date and inviting them. Using calendars is an incredibly useful tool. Create advance reminders as appropriate. Not only does this reinforce the deadline, but will impress upon the team member the importance of the task. This is something that can work really good with your supervisor – if you have a supervisor that routinely drops the ball.
  • Checklists, sign offs, can be an important part of your processes (the restroom example above). What type of sign off opportunities might be appropriate in your business – a second set of initials on a contract or proposal review or Q/A Q/C checklists.
  • Measurement and regular publishing of team sales, production, or performance objectives. Measurement (inspection) signals that something is important. These types of reports can be motivators for the team. They provide the basis for celebrating successes and identifying weak links.
  • Set clear, measurable goals and expectations. Publicly visit (inspect) quarterly goals weekly or biweekly. Are you on track or off track?

This is not necessarily about being a watch dog. The things you are inspecting must have meaning. Your team must understand how or why the inspection adds value. Their must be a basic buy in for policies and processes. At the end of the day this is about accountability. Most of us have extremely good intentions, things just slip through the cracks. Creating a system of inspections is a way to help you and your team be more successful.

This Week

Think about your own situation. Is their a part of your work, while inherently valuable, would probably slide if it weren’t for somebody looking over your shoulder or creating a deadline? Is this oversight, or inspection, helping you to be more successful?

If you need to change a behavior, instead of trying to force it, try influencing it by creating a process that includes inspection.  People respect what you inspect. 

. . . go have an Awesome Week!

Tom Trabue