Accountability in Business: Are You an Imposter?



By Angelina Spencer

Accountability In Business

Who is your favorite person to work with in business? Why?

I’m sure you can quickly come up with a myriad of acceptable answers, but its highly likely that this favorite colleague follows through with what he or she promises to do, and does it well, making you look good in the process too, and sharing the credit.

Alternatively, have you ever done business with a person who told you everything you’ve ever wanted to hear, only to have the relationship, idea or program fall apart before it barely begins?

Business people come in three forms: The Accountable Action Taker, the Aloof Amateur and the Animated Imposter.

Animated imposters make plausible and exciting propositions about how much they are going to support and increase your business. They are masters at figuring out your “ego weakness” and building it up.

For example, I once heard a saleswoman tell a potential client that she was related to Bill O’Reilly and could likely get this man on O’Reilly’s show if he used her product. She successfully hit the right button and he was glowing with ego expansion, until he realized months later that her words meant more in closing a deal than her ability to follow through and build his business.

An imposter may or may not be a bad person; they just happen to be moved by emotions, attention or the excitement of a situation and get carried away, saying things that later won’t be backed by action.

People who care about a business relationship, the Accountable Action Takers, “show” you over time what they can do and are consistent in both word and deed.

How do you tell the difference between an Action Taker and an Animated Imposter?

Example No. 1

A. Words: A new vendor claims that what they’re going to give you in support/product/service is better than they have ever given to anyone else.

B. They bash or drop subtle hints about how your current vendor/service/product isn’t up to standard; successfully planting doubt in what has always otherwise been a positive relationship.

Watch out: The animated imposter feels flooded with good feelings that they are smart and clever and about to close a sale. The good feelings are about them getting into your fold not about you in particular.

Instead look for: A business colleague who takes the time to ask what your biggest needs and challenges are and offers credible savings, ROI or genuine support. They show up at your meetings, pay attention and are there through both fair and foul business climates they don’t show up after the waters have been tested trying to usurp the people who have already proven their integrity with action.

Example No. 2

Words: A new service provider says he or she wants to be committed to your business without really knowing much about it?or taking the time to research your challenges.

Watch out: He or she feels important getting an audience with you and wants to always feel this powerful. Unfortunately, even the best professional relationships don’t feel good or fun all of the time. When good business ebbs and flows, so may their desire to support your organization.

4 Key Things to Ask or Keep in Mind:

1. Is this business person respected and influential in his or her field?

2. Reputation means more than riches don’t get swayed by swag.

3. A person can be enchanting but not necessarily enhancing, to your business.

4. Action, Stability, Vision, a good sense of Humor and Business Compatibility mean more than hollow words?no matter how poetic or promising they may initially sound.

About the author: Angelina Spencer
Government Relations and Political Advocacy through Media, Analytics and Research