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How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization’s resources?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization’s resources?

  • Very well. They’re extremely responsible with company resources: 24%
  • Well. Most of the time they’re good stewards with some occasional waste: 55%
  • Not well. People are pretty cavalier about the use of company resources: 16%
  • Not at all. We’re very irresponsible about being stewards of resources: 4%

Treat it like it’s your own. It’s a little concerning that 20% of you have issues with your people being good stewards of your organization’s resources. A culture of waste can have a tremendous negative impact over time. While it may be $10 here and $20 there, across a large associate pool, that’s a big number. The question is what are you doing about it as a leader? When you see wasteful behavior, do you call it out? Do you clearly set spending expectations and norms? If you’re not saying anything explicitly in these situations, you’re implicitly condoning the behavior. The easiest way I’ve seen for making these corrections is to ask the person “If it was your money, would you spend it like that?” When the answer is an immediate “no” the correct behavior becomes abundantly clear.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”