One of the greatest causes of conflict in any organization is the issue of respect. We are bombarded by pleas to be respectful of others, or demands for respect, or threats of withholding cooperation if there is no respect. That all sounds so simple, yet it is anything but.

The thing that gets in the way of true respect is that many people think that what they do is the foremost skill surrounded by the “necessary evils” of other skills. An example is the controller who creates state of the art reporting structures, technologies and the best information for capturing tax credits, avoiding penalties etc etc. That is truly a tough job, never ending challenges and truly one that the peers do not really understand.

A job done well by the controller, in my experience, is appreciated and respected by peers UNTIL . . . the controller loses sight of the fact that there are other important jobs too, like revenue production, client development, team building and the like. When a controller makes the leap past accurate and strategic reporting to trying to drive activity, vision,and priorities to FIT their processes, they quickly move into a place where all of the great work they do becomes a stranglehold, and the more choking they do on the freedom to act and innovate, the more respect they lose.

An example in a recent client company occurred when a company’s leaders and managers lost track of the myriad of tax credits they were due and the controller set up earnings directives based upon their errant reports. When the actual results were in, it was an additional $1,000,000 to the company’s benefit. But, it “threw off” the controller’s projections! OMG!!!

She flew into a fit like a banshee and eviscerated the hapless managers AND producers, for messing up her numbers!!!! An extra million in the coffers to hire people, improve production and marketing and she wants to kill somebody.

True respect cannot be mandated, nor demanded. It is earned. The greatest obstacle is to the person that does not realize there is no one skill or contribution that can create a successful company; that it takes many different skills and disciplines, all of which must contribute at a high level of commitment and dedication. The things one least likes to do must be done by someone who likes doing those things.

When people demand respect, they seldom get it. If there is no production, no customers, there won’t be any numbers or reports to generate.

We all need to be mindful and watchful of the temptation to think that our job is the hardest, or the most important. They are all important or hopefully the company would not be funding them in the first place, but that is a subject for another time.

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