Those of us who have raised, or are raising children end up needing to have a conversation with our kids about money realities. Such a conversation will likely go very deep if we are to ensure an understanding that leads to viable, responsible action. This includes sharing our own personal finances. Recently one of my children received the dreaded Overdraft notice and its $35 charge. This kind of trigger event needs to be a wakeup call for whoever it occurs to whether they are young or old. It also needs to remind professionals / parents about the importance of equipping ‘our flock’ with the ongoing training, execution and follow up which helps to ensure success in whatever activity / value needs to be learned.
This particular trigger event caused me to cover a host of items that could help our child manage their own finances. Our deep dive included things like; reviewing the cell phone bill, sharing my own credit card statement, acquiring their personal credit report, making sure to conceal the key pad when entering the passcode at the ATM, understanding pricing at the store ($3.99 vs. $4.00), understanding automobile insurance policies, budgeting and the list goes on and on. My goal is to equip them to take personal accountability to succeed, stay engaged on this topic and avoid paying (or me paying) unnecessary penalties in the short and long term. In the end, each of us, whether mentor or student, has a personal responsibility and accountability to do our own part.
And it struck me that a personal responsibility, accountability and maturity to live a culture of correct with respect to an individual’s finances is not really any different from how we should approach safety. It’s called Accountability and the same four key characteristics apply:
- Define: Explain in simple terms your expectations and what measures will be applied to demonstrate learning, progress and excellence. Ensure any necessary training clearly maps to the defined value added expectations.
- Train: Engage with others using tools which allow them to apply what they need to learn in a practice setting whenever possible (a video that delivers ‘check in the box’ training doesn’t count).
- Measure: Check progress on defined expectations. This goes beyond observation and focuses on defined activities which lead to value added downstream results. Asking open-ended questions is a process that always seems to work well (i.e., “Tell me about…?”)
- Recognize: Deep down we all appreciate a little genuine recognition. When people complete tasks as defined, we need to take the extra minute to acknowledge their efforts.
- Mark Dowsett, Caterpillar Safety Services