Q & A with authors Dave Porter and Linda Galindo How did you find each other? Why did you decide to work together?
LG: Dave read an article I authored in Leader to Leader magazine shortly after my book, The 85% Solution, came out, and he called me to ask if I would speak at the client event he holds each year. I remember liking Dave immediately because his phone call was short and to the point. He spoke to me like, "Of course you will do this; your concept is great." That event linked me to working with Dave's firm, Baystate Financial Services. Dave impressed me with the quality I look for in all the leaders I work with: a willingness to start with themselves. Dave made the connection that you are not accountable simply because you say you are; it has to be demonstrated. Dave also knew the importance of creating an understanding of accountability organization-wide and what it could mean to the bottom line, but more importantly, to the development of his people. He was giving my book out all over the place and to anyone who came to his office. Listening to Dave make the connection in his very successful world of financial services and wealth management, I realized I was learning a lot and thought we'd make a great team to put our expertise together.
DP: As soon as I heard Linda speak about accountability, I knew I wanted to bring her message to my organization. We both quickly realized that we were singing the same notes, so when Linda approached me about partnering on her next book, I accepted immediately. Dave, you've had big plans from an early age. Where did that ambition come from?
DP: My parents taught me the value of working for the things I want. When I was growing up, I had an $8 pair of canvas sneakers and two pairs of pants. I wanted a $10 pair of leather sneakers, and Mom said, "No problem. Find a way to come up with the 10 bucks." So at age 10, I got a paper route. Later, I worked as a caddy on a golf course. While my friends were sleeping, I was getting up at ridiculous hours to get that stuff done. And I always had money in my pocket. I grew up knowing that I could count on myself to fulfill my dreams. I still believe that today. Linda, you've acknowledged that you were once the complete opposite of accountable. What was the catalyst for your transformation?
LG: The ultimate catalyst was a friend who apparently got sick of my whining and was willing to risk our friendship to speak honestly. Although I outwardly appeared successful, bright and capable, I had low self-esteem and seemed to insist on surrounding myself with those who would affirm that I was not good enough. One day, she had enough and asked me if I ever noticed that I was always there when the stuff I claimed I did not want happened. For whatever reason, I heard my lack of accountability so clearly that it became impossible to un-ring the bell. I was off and running because it was so freeing to think of the whole of my life differently, starting with being personally accountable and what that meant. I had heard it a million times before in different ways, but at that moment in time, it stuck. I owe that friend my life. Becoming accountable seems like it could be a painful process. How do you encourage people to stick with it?
DP: I find that I don't have to encourage people to stick with their commitment to accountability. Their success compels them to stick with it. The more personally accountability we are, the more we get what we want. Someone who is accountable to himself or herself to enjoy a certain lifestyle doesn't have to be convinced to do what's necessary to pay for that lifestyle. People who are accountable to themselves for a certain level of success at work are motivated by that success to become even more successful. That's what a 100 percent commitment to personal accountability does for people. It makes them successful.
LG: I no longer identify with, "becoming accountable is painful." In fact, it is quite the opposite. It does not take long, for example, to use the process outlined in Where Winners Live to see how much better your results are in business. Do you need discipline? Yes. But I'd invite you to consider that you are accountable for the results you produce in your professional life whether you think you are or not. That is how the world is going to treat you. Not using what is there--your personal accountability--is where the pain comes from. So sticking with what is there to begin with can be quite easy. Would you say that a collective lack of accountability led to the current global financial crisis?
LG: I would say that a lack of personal accountability led to the current global financial crisis. It was the unregulated "market makers" using toxic derivatives and synthetic products, who saw themselves as totally, personally accountable only as long as the good times rolled and their personal wealth grew. As is common in our day-to-day lives, our understanding of accountability gets less personal and more externalized when things are not going well. Finger pointing and blame begin. We've ended up in a place where not being personally accountable gets rewarded more than being accountable. Failures are rescued, fixed, saved and compensated. We are all complicit if we are not willing to value personal accountability above all and to understand that you cannot mandate personal accountability; you can only demonstrate it. But I would add that in the financial services industry, a great process and set of tools such as those we outline in Where Winners Live have to be part of the equation to get us on track. Put that process together with personal accountability, and you'll have to work at failing!
DP: The problems resulted from an unfortunate perfect storm of a bad economy, a few bad apples and a bad rap for the federal bank bailout. The fact is, the unending publicity about the crimes of a few unscrupulous financial professionals truly is about just a few and not the rest. And the great majority of those of us who work in the financial services industry are doing everything we can to educate our clients and to consistently demonstrate that we are personally accountable to our clients and for our mutual success. Where Winners Live is a book that focuses on personal accountability. Those who read it will understand the value of committing to 100 percent personal accountability-to themselves, their clients and their companies, and for every decision they make and action they take. The result of 100 percent personal accountability: success both for financial services professionals and their clients.