Tag Archive for: Accountability

Ditch the fear-driven accountability and move into a more hands-off approach with clear expectations.

Crucial conversations with your boss…, evaluation of an underperforming employee…, performance reviews that are behind schedule…

How’s your heart rate right about now? Chances are, these ideas do not fill you with joy or excitement. Accountability has turned into an ugly word associated with anxiety and paperwork. 

What happens when you get accountability right? It turns into a workplace filled with high trust, is purpose-focused, and disciplined. Your Team focuses on growth, commitment, fairness, and consistency. With high levels of accountability, you will set your Team up for success and they will want to contribute their best willingly. 

According to my article on strengths, positive attention is 30 times more effective than negative attention. How are you highlighting things going well and learning from mistakes? As a leader, your job is to take responsibility for pitfalls and give your Team credit when things go well.

What does your accountability look like?

Actions steps to get accountability right in your workplace:

  1. Move towards eyes-on, hands-off: If you maintain a hands-on leadership style, you’re the limiting factor when it comes to your Team’s growth. Find ways to delegate and step away from the details so that your Team can move up and out without your permission every step of the way.
  • Create mutual expectations with your Team: You always want demonstrated behavior > expected behavior. Use this weekly check-in to keep you and your Team aligned with priorities and expectations making accountability an asset while keeping your heart rate normal.
  • Give your Team a sense of Agency: Everyone does better when they feel like they have control. Employees want agency, and oftentimes you want to give them agency. You can do this by explaining the “what” and “why” and leave the “how” to them. With clear expectations, this is a win-win.

Laura Colbert Consulting Programs 

The Trusted Advisor Program is my most intensive 1-on-1 program. Within 90 days, you’ll gain habits that create breakthrough success. You get personalized coaching and support, relentless accountability, and commonsense action steps that get results. Additional Offerings: 

Join our central Wisconsin in-person or online Impactful Leadership Lunch. Join like-minded leaders during this monthly mastermind lunch group to improve your business efficiency, boost employee retention, and get you focused on doing what gives you joy.

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Sirens: How to Pee Standing Up – An alarming memoir of combat and coming back home. This book depicts the time of war and its aftermath. It seamlessly bridges the civilian and military divide and offers clarity to moral injury and post-traumatic stress. 

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Are battlefield lessons useless to business leaders?

More Americans are quitting their jobs, according to WSJ, than at any time in the last two decades. 

As COVID lifts, people’s interests are shifting from job security to professional fulfillment. We’re seeing the beginning of a massive employee turnover wave. You can ride it successfully to gain new talent or get pulled under and lose some of your best employees. How well are you positioned? 

On the eve of the Gettysburg battle, Col. Joshua Chamberlain was told to watch over 120 disgruntled soldiers accused of desertion. Chamberlain’s own force was around 300, and every soldier devoted to guarding the group reduced the number of rifles he could put into the line. 

Chamberlain won their trust and gained their buy-in (hint: he did not offer them better pay & benefits or threaten them). 117 of the 120 agreed to fight in Chamberlain’s ranks. The added rifles enabled Chamberlain’s unit to stand their ground at Little Round Top, counterattack, and win. They saved the Union Army.

The ABCs — Accountability, Buy-in, and Clarity — turned the tide. How well are the ABCs working in your organization? 

We’ll discuss practical steps to get the ABCs right on June 30th at 10:30 am U.S. Central in a live zoom session (Register here https://lnkd.in/d3hWGNy). 

Register here or use this address: https://strategic-leaders-academy.teachable.com/p/taking-your-business-to-new-heights-gettysburg


The next FOCUSED program begins the first week of August. This 8-week group program is for principled leaders who want to grow their businesses in the right ways at the right pace with the right team. 

Click here to see if the program is a good fit for you.

This program’s clarity and focus resulted in more high-payoff work that we love and less wasted time and energy. We expect 33% growth to reach $100k in monthly revenues and expand from there.
Matthew Hargrove and Barry Lingelbach, Black-Grey-Gold Consulting 

Like many Americans, I’m fascinated by Great Britain’s royal family. I lived in London for three years and loved visiting Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. I binge-watch The Crown. Queen Elizabeth II exemplifies The Operator, one of our four PROM Servant Leader Archetypes (TM). 

I’m dismayed by the ongoing tension with Harry and Meghan, which was on display in the Oprah interview. Bigotry and bullying are unacceptable, and I’m troubled by the stories the interview revealed. 

There’s only one celebrity in the royal family, so I’m also surprised that the young couple did not seem to get the memo. Some of their anxiety appears to come from a feeling of being underappreciated.

This last problem was entirely preventable.

The royal family seemed not to learn a vital lesson from the Princess Diana tragedy: when you treat people poorly, they are likely to return the favor. People who feel unvalued will vote with their feet out of your company or, in this case, out of the country. They won’t be ambassadors for your brand.

There were probably many good ways to give Harry and Meghan causes they could run with that boosted the royal family’s prestige and impact. Harry has been active with wounded veterans, and Meghan’s star power could have advanced that mission and other good ones without overshadowing the Queen.

This story provides some lessons on what to do with the talent on your team:

1. Put them in positions to use their PROM superpowers so that they succeed, and so does your business.

2. Use our weekly check-in questions to keep them focused on priorities, using their strengths, and getting the guidance and support they need. [Reply to me, and I’ll send you the checklist.]

3. Hold them accountable for doing the right things the right way. Every expectation should include what you want them to do, the outcomes you want to achieve, and the date you want the job done.  

4. Follow-up and be consistent about enforcing your standards. 

5. If you find that your team has toxic talent — highly capable people who undermine your company and their co-workers, then fire them. Toxic talent always costs more than the results they provide.

What action steps are you taking to let your subordinates know that you value their work and want to give them opportunities to contribute their best to your team’s success?


Last week I wrote that the UN-heroes of the pandemic award goes to big city public school teacher union officials. 

Amy Mizialko, head of the union in Milwaukee, said in a March 14th television interview, “We will not legitimize this notion of learning loss. Our students in Milwaukee Public Schools and students across the nation have learned skills this year that probably families and educators never anticipated that they would learn in terms of self-direction, organization, working with peers in a new way, so we’re not going to agree that a standardized test is somehow a measure of learning or somehow a measure of learning loss.”

I rest my case.

Buy-in, Accountability, Results. 

The Success Trinity.

I mean trinity in the Clausewitzian sense, not the religious one.

Get them right, and the three elements take your performance to greater outcomes.

Get one piece wrong, and you’ll get a downward spiral.

Buy-in occurs when people contribute their best toward important goals.

Accountability means being answerable for doing the right things the right way so that they shorten your path to success.

Results are the outputs of your work.

Positive results reinforce buy-in and boost accountability, thus generating greater outcomes and impact.

What happens when part of the trinity is missing?

When you have buy-in and accountability but get poor results, you are on the wrong path. Your process is not working. 

If you have buy-in and results but lack accountability, then you are getting lucky. The downturn is only a matter of time.

When you have accountability and results but no buy-in, then you have lip-service. People will do just enough to avoid the stick and get the carrot, but they will not contribute their best.

I was saddened that my Green Bay Packers lost in the NFC Championship last night. 

They’ve made it there two years in a row because they’ve got the three elements in place. 

You can see the difference in the players’ faces, especially quarterback Aaron Rodgers who had his best season ever at age 37. 

Everyone’s bought-in. They hold each other accountable. They get great results.

They’re not perfect. They are human and make mistakes.

They perform superbly because they’re high performing people who’ve got great coaching.

I bet they will be in the hunt next year, too. 


Accountability is a four-way intersection.

Accountability means being answerable to someone for something important.

When you lead with accountability, you keep your commitments to your vision and mission, your employees, your customers, and your partners.

Lack of accountability leads to neglect, poor performance, abuse, and backbiting.

When you uphold accountability fairly, you show that you are sincere, you set the example, and you don’t play favorites.

Accountability improves commitment to your vision, mission, goals, and values.

Accountability reduces your need to micromanage and spend energy on compliance.

Accountability is possible when you make your goals and expectations clear.

Accountability improves when you share your goals and expectations.

An accountability group accelerates your performance because you are sharing your goals with people who are committed to your success.

Accountability gives you the focus to work on your business.

Accountability strengthens your promise to sharpen yourself so you can lead to greater success.

Accountability puts you back in command.

There’s a direct line from accountability to success.

Only you can draw it.

Leadership is the art of inspiring people to contribute their best to your team’s success (check out the free Leading Well masterclass) – accountability builds commitment so that people do what’s right even when no one is watching.

What’s your top takeaway from this article? Write me at [email protected]