Encourage Productivity and a Better Business Culture by Blocking the “Pocket Veto”

Published: September 7, 2017

Every successful organization follows a set of norms which allows it to have a thriving business culture and productivity rate. It’s definitely true for us at Tierney Brothers, where my predecessor created the “Tierney Foundational Structure” many years ago to ensure the entire organization understood what it would take to make sweet music together — individual and members each playing their part to create that music. This is an analogy the entire organization understands, relates to, and embraces.[related]

One of the major building blocks in our “Foundational Structure” is “Do what you say you’re going to do.” Doesn’t that seem simple and easy to accomplish?

It is my contention that in business today, both within an organization and when working with customers, too many organizations allow their employees and leaders to fail.

Who hasn’t seen the classic “pocket veto” by a fellow peer? They sit in the meetings and nod their head, affirming that they plan on executing what was decided at the end of the meeting. However, they know ultimately they won’t follow through. Whether they don’t feel like doing it or don’t believe in the decision – they will not move the needle for your organization because they will not honor their word.

And worse yet – nothing is done about it. The pocket veto employees are never hastened towards productivity because other team members have been burned over and over and they know this person is not reliable.

Worse than that, an internal “pocket veto” is giving empty promises to a customer. A perfect example is the classic “I will follow up with that” – and the employee never does. This isn’t good business culture — this is anti-business culture.


They may have promised to call early next week with updates and answers but that call never happens. This inaction may jeopardize a relationship that took months or years to foster. The customer has invested time, money, and faith into working with this company, and now the company will have to work harder than ever to regain that trust they had at the time the deal was consummated.

How Leaders Can Bolster Business Culture and Eliminate the Pocket Veto

To succeed at this crucial building block and create a business culture that ensures employees strive to always do what they say they are going to do requires:

  • The leaders of the organization show by example in their everyday interactions with their team members. The leaders need to be honest with themselves and with their employees.
  • The leaders hold themselves accountable and also hold their employees accountable on all aspects of business and productivity. From what is communicated to the customer to what was written and agreed upon in an employee annual review — all of these steps need to be accounted for.
  • Communicate the importance of this building block. Continue to communicate its importance over and over. Use examples employees can understand and reward good behavior.

Read next: 12 Classic Movies with a Message for Your Business

The employees that seem to reach the top at organizations and specifically at Tierney are the ones who are true to their word. They strive everyday to accomplish the agreed upon task and they are comfortable communicating when they are struggling.

Every employee can make a difference to a client and bring up the level of the organization if they simply do what they say they will do and stop using the pocket veto.

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