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9 August 2013 - 23:30, by , in Leadership, No comments

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” was the most successful advertising campaign ever waged in the war against drunk driving. Some people suggest it worked because it appealed not to the drunk but to his or her sober friends. The message worked because it appealed to the power of friendship.

Implementing Activity Based Management (ABM) can attract both friends and foes. When you begin measuring activities, time, value, workloads and profitability, you immediately draw a crowd. Fortunately, for me the crowd has been comprised of more friends than foes. But a recent phone call from a customer who was experiencing “foes” to ABM in the workplace caused me to consider: “How do you find a friend?”

Four Friendship Facts (1)

  • Friendship is born out of freedom.
Your parents probably told you in kindergarten, “Go make friends.” Friendship cannot be forced. Instead, friendship is born out of freedom. Without freedom, friendship becomes an obligation — tolerable at best and slavery at worst. Lasting friendships are “pulled”, not “pushed”. To get people to “pull” for a lasting friendship with ABM or ABC, relate it to their needs. Give them the freedom to discuss and define their fears and needs. And most important —- listen.
  • Friendship is built through communication.
Many of my valued friendships were forged from mutual experiences or common interests. On the other hand, I formed many others during times of great trial and tribulation. In either case, true friendship grows through open communication. Ralph Waldo Emerson said a friend is “a person with whom I may think aloud.” To build ABM friends, openly communicate the purpose, plan and process. Keeping ABM a “secret” is sure to create “foes”. Friendships are alliances. An alliance will work only if there is mutual benefit and mutual risk. Implementing and sustaining ABM requires an alliance of preparer and user.
  • Friendship is based on sacrifice.
True friendship comes with a cost. Because friendship is a mutual agreement, we must be willing to make sacrifices for a friend, such as giving a gift without expecting one in return. Implementing ABM or ABC calls for sacrifices. To make friends, the person responsible for creating and maintaining the ABM system needs to be willing to make sacrifices for the people involved, e.g. flexible deadlines, user friendly reports, brief training sessions. And the people receiving the ABM information need to be understanding of the needs of the implementer, e.g. meet deadlines, provide facts instead of fiction, use the ABM reports. Friends want outcomes, not just output.
  • Friendship is preserved through accountability.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “The wounds of a friend can be trusted”. It’s not difficult for someone to applaud your accomplishments or share a word of encouragement. But it takes a real friend to take you aside and say what you don’t want to hear, but need to hear. Maybe it’s constructive criticism. Or maybe you need to be rebuked for something you’ve done or said. When it comes to Activity Based Management, accountability is a prerequisite for sustainable success. To read my two-part series on accountability (click here). If you would like a copy of accountability questions to ask your ABM friends, send an e-mail request to

ICMS has many, many “friends” worldwide. It is our desire to strengthen those relationships plus add more. “Only 10 percent of all men ever have any real friends,” says Alan Loy McGinnis, author of The Friendship Factor. No matter whether you’re a man or woman, if you have one or more real friends, you should consider yourself lucky. Men’s friendships typically center around activities, while women’s revolve around sharing. Activity Based Management combines activities with sharing. I encourage you to use Activity Based Management to share common needs, knowledge and experiences with other people, both inside and outside your organization. The sacrifice will be small, but the payback significant.

(1) Based on ideas from Until I Return by Jeff Walling

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Tom Pryor
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