Friday, December 5, 2014

Interview with Julie Miller and Brian Bedford, authors of Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What's the Fix

Culture without Accountability Title: Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What's The Fix? Author: Julie Miller & Brian Bedford
Publisher: Criffel Publishing
Pages: 142
Genre: Business
Format: Kindle

 What happens when businesses, families or individuals fail to be accountable for their actions and decisions? It can be devastating for business results, relationships and reputations. Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What’s The Fix? is full of real life stories of what accountability looks like, what can go wrong without it, and offers a proven process for installing an accountability-based culture—a platform for success in business and in everyday life. Drawing on their combined years of experience in senior global leadership roles at Motorola, Julie Miller and Brian Bedford founded MillerBedford Executive Solutions in 2001. MillerBedford addresses issues that are limiting the progress of organizations, and increases business success by improving strategy, culture, and leadership. And their clients actually report having fun in the process!

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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
We don’t really sit back thinking of the things we are proud of – but we do feel that others trust us to do what we say we are going to do.  We can be counted on.  People trust us and they know we are positive people always ready for a good laugh!
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
Our book on Accountability is actually dedicated to our parents.  From an early age we both learned the importance of doing what you said you would do.  We learned that “your word” defines who you are and what others think of you or can expect from you. 
When and why did you begin writing?
Other than a few articles that we wrote when we first started our business together in 2001, we really only started seriously writing a few years ago.  Over the past several years, we noticed a decline in accountability in the world around us:  many companies, as well as in organizations, sports, and even families.  It seemed that every time we read the news there was another story of someone vehemently denying that they did this or were involved in that, only to later be proved otherwise.  That combined with when we work with companies to help them establish the kind of culture they needed to be successful, each of them listed accountability as one of the things they would like to improve.  As we thought more about the topic, successful families, economies, communities, and organizations all have accountability at their foundation. We weren’t raised in a climate where accountability didn’t exist and didn’t really relish the idea of living where accountability doesn’t exist, so we thought we might be able to help make a difference.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It really began as an attempt to solve a problem that existed.  We are experienced hi-tech professionals groomed in a culture where if you see a problem, you try to figure out if there are ways you can help resolve it.  So at first we looked around to see if anyone else had written something that scratched our itch about accountability, and when we didn’t see anything like what we had in mind, we decided we’d write a book on the topic.
When did you first know you could be a writer? 
Probably when people started reading some of the things we’ve written: our book and our blogs and saying that they really appreciate what we are saying and look forward to the next things we post.  Many have shared what we’ve written with their co-workers or children.  Having what we’ve written get passed on to others is really the highest compliment to us.
What inspires you to write and why?
I guess we have an eye on all stories about accountability these days and like to share them as examples for people to use to improve aspects of their life whether their personal lives or their professional lives.  Usually we’ll get aggravated about something we see or hear on the news or notice in our everyday lives and feel we need to chime in!
What genre are you most comfortable writing?      
What inspired you to write your first book?
Well, we actually tried not to be inspired!  We hoped what we had wanted to write about had already been written, but no such luck!   The stories kept piling up as did the problem that needed a solution, so the writing began! 
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
We would say the need to be relevant and practical.  First of all capturing all the ideas and stories we wanted to share and doing it in a way that is helpful to others rather than critical was very important to us.  The other thing that was important was for our book to be something that was a quick read and immediately gave the reader action steps to take if they wanted to fix accountability in their own area of influence. 
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The challenge for us is agreeing on how things should be stated.  Brian is Scottish and Julie is American, a Texan to be more specific, and how we each would choose to say things is different!  Depending on who the audience is has a bearing on who wins the argument!
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Since this was the first book we’ve written, we learned all about the process of getting a book to the point of being published.  It taught us that we could do this together without killing each other!  Seriously it’s pretty tedious work for two raving extroverts – the editing, the editing, the editing  - thankfully we had a great editor, Jan Williams working with us and she was so patient!  We also had a great book designer, Mayapriya Long who brought her professional expertise to layout and so many other areas of design.  We were also guided by a book shepherd, Stephanie Barko that translated all the new terms  and really led us by the hand on what to do and with whom to partner.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
As it facilitates our consulting practice, yes.
Have you developed a specific writing style? What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
We would say our writing style is practical and to the point.  We believe we are guided by our many years of worldwide business experience – so that’s what the reader has to gain from us.  We think our strength is we aren’t theoretical about our suggestions.  We highlight practical, real-world examples that people can clearly learn from and we speak from a place of actually having done the work - so our readers can get a sense of our practicality as well as the fact that we like to have fun when we work. 
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
We both really enjoy people.  We have fun with our clients and enjoy developing lasting relationships with them to help them with issues they have as well as learning from them along the way.  Some people are much too serious.  We believe you can be serious about the results, and have fun as you achieve them.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Knowing when enough is enough.  We tend to get really invested in our clients and sometimes find ourselves working harder at solving their problems than they do.  This is always a good time to back away a bit and assess if we are on target.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
As above, so below – We like to say that Brian said this first…Certainly it is one of his favorites.  Basically, the idea is, people will look to their leaders to see how they behave or how they act and pattern their own behavior according to what they see.  So employees will watch their leaders, children will watch their parents or teachers and pattern their behavior based upon what they see.  A good reason to model the sort of behavior you expect of others!

 In 2001, drawing on their respective years of experience in senior global leadership at Motorola, Julie Miller and Brian Bedford joined forces to establish MillerBedford Executive Solutions. MillerBedford helps businesses and organizations improve strategy, culture, and leadership, while addressing issues that limit success. And their clients actually have fun in the process! Their latest book is the business book, Culture Without Accountability - WTF? What's The Fix? 

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the interview and for posting it on your site. We appreciate it!