I’ve been in the Arizona desert for a winter break to play some golf and get a change of scenery from dreary winter in Minnesota. I’m coaching clients on my working vacation and one topic that comes up again and again is that Accountability, or rather a lack of accountability, is getting under the skin of some of my CEO and Sales Leader clients. I thought I would take a crack at helping you to drive greater accountability into your business organizations. I don’t care how long you’ve been in business, accountability problems will eventually creep up and impact all of us. Unless you are relentlessly clear with your teammates and colleagues about virtually everything that you are trying to accomplish in your business you will struggle to get traction and make things happen according to plan. Read on….
Be Crystal Clear, About Everything: Employees need to know what is going on, and what you are trying to accomplish. Start there. Tell your employee associates about what you’re trying to accomplish, starting with your core values and principles. Then talks to them about your long-term vision for the company. Bring them up to speed about your strategy to get there and your timeline. Make sure your teammates understand your goals and objectives and also know as much as they need to about the reasons behind what you’ve selected as priorities. The context will greatly increase their commitment if they want what you want for the same reasons. Bring this home by talking about measurements and how you’re going to determine if you’re reaching your goals or not. In my experience, people want to excel at work. Discuss incentives, rewards, and what will happen if the results don’t happen. The idea is to be very open and candid with your team, and to transparently discuss anything and nearly everything with them. When they know what you know, they are in a better position to understand what you need to do and why, leading them to be more likely to drive the results that you need.
Anticipate and Act On Opportunities Quickly: Lots of folks talk about problems, I like to choose to talk about things more positively to get me into the right mindset. I choose to look at problems as opportunities to affect positive changes that propel us forward. Know this, life is coming at you, and won’t stand still. Crank up the level of your game, and whether you want to watch for problems or opportunities, you will see them coming and then have the possibility to deal with them early rather than later. I’ve noticed problems do not get easier to solve if you age them like fine wine. If you fail to address challenges and opportunities, you are doomed to live with the outcomes that arrive randomly. I want to be in control of my destiny, and hence, I discuss situations with candor and deal with them quickly before they get a chance to fester. Do it; you will be glad you did.
Reduce the Drama: I’ve noticed something about business. Too many people get hung up on fears and insecurities when situations challenge the status quo. Put the brash criticisms and emotional outbursts aside, because they don’t help to solve problems or to maximize your ability to seize the value in an opportunity. Take the opinions and facts and be clear about which is which, and develop a plan to maximize your ability to capture an opportunity, or to solve a nasty problem. When you set the expectation that everyone is going to support one another and develop solutions instead of pointing the finger of blame, your team will get busy solving problems and seizing opportunities. I’ve seen a lot of companies that got stuck, badly stuck, because they couldn’t get out of their own way. Get out of your own way.
Don’t tolerate dysfunction and ineffective behavior. Help your associates develop an attitude that we’re about seizing opportunities around here and solving problems quickly. Tell them that you won’t tolerate negative conflict or blaming. Then don’t tolerate it. Ever. Accountability starts with these simple steps, and when people begin to see accountability, they always prefer it over inconsistency and chaos. Get on the right side of this thing, and let me know about your experience. I’d like to hear about your journey, so drop me a line and tell me how you implemented accountability in your organization. I’ll write about your journey in a future post.
Michael Beach is an award-winning Executive Development Coach who works with mid-sized Technology companies to help their leaders to avoid becoming bottlenecked and to develop proactively, their next generation of leaders so that they can become industry leaders and highly profitable. If you’d like to speak to Michael about coaching your Emerging Leaders, reach out to Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.