Do you tend to confuse consequences with punishment?
Worse, do you confuse them with regards to your people?
The former is a part of a strong, healthy culture, while the latter is a major factor in an abusive one.
- Consequences are the result of an action; they may be good, bad or depend on your point of view.
In other words, cause and effect—doing A results in B.
- The consequence of studying hard is a good grade on the test.
- The consequence of writing a check with insufficient funds in your account is having it bounce.
- The consequence of not immediately responding to an email may be neutral for you, but not for your company.
Even if you don’t like the idea of consequences there’s no way to stop them. Everything you do, say, even think has at least one effect—if not more.
Startups, obviously, are hot beds of cause and effect—both little and large and often with a domino effect.
You land a spot at Vator Splash to introduce your new product, but you’re caught in a massive traffic jam, aren’t available to do the demo and a junior developer ends up talking with your most interested potential investor.
Nobody fault; you can’t even claim responsibility. Stuff happens.
There was no way to predict the accident that created the traffic jam.
Everybody knows that actions have consequences and you’ll lose credibility if you ignore them or claim there are none.
Just remember, consequences have nothing to do with punishment.
Flickr image credit: Oran Viriyincy