Tag Archive for: Accountability

accountability
accountability

3X3 accountability is proactive because it helps you set clear expectations and assign responsibility for self, peer, and leader actions.

Accountability shapes behavior so that people do the right things in the right ways without you having to micromanage them, such as:

  • Meeting agreed on expectations
  • Delighting your customers
  • Working together to achieve your organization’s common good.

Without accountability, you find yourself cleaning messes and fixing problems. This kind of work is failure-work, and it sucks your time and energy for innovation and growth.

You may think, “But Chris, why don’t people do what they said they’d do? Why do I have to be the bad guy? I feel like I move from one difficult conversation to another, and it’s exhausting.”

Sound familiar?

What if I told you that most accountability problems begin with unclear expectations? There’s a direct correlation between expectations and results. When people know the expectations — especially when they help you create them — they are far more likely to follow through.

3 X 3 accountability helps you create a virtuous expectations and reinforcement cycle.

1. Identify three behaviors or habits that will improve your team’s work together. Use the “What + So That + Results & Outcomes” formula. For example:

Report bad news as soon as you verify it so that we can take steps to address the problem.

Focus on cause, not blame, when problems arise so that we can quickly take corrective action and improve psychological safety in reporting.

Underwrite honest mistakes and shortfalls and celebrate wins when people try new things so that we encourage innovation.

2. For each behavior or habit, what do acceptable, unacceptable, and awesome look like?

Report bad news as soon as you verify it so that we can take steps to address the problem.

– Unacceptable: hiding bad news, shooting the messenger, flying off the handle, finger-pointing.

– Acceptable: Report the bad news as soon as it’s verified. Receive the news without judgment or finger-pointing, and identify and address the cause(s). No finger-pointing.

– Awesome: identify the problem, diagnose the cause, and recommend ways to address it.


3. Identify responsibilities for people to self-correct, when peer-correct should happen, and when leader-correct should occur.

You’re right back on track with:

  • “I like how you identified the cause and gave me a recommendation. Let’s go with it.”
  • “I didn’t react properly to your report. I should have thanked you and taken action instead of getting angry. I’m sorry about that. What do you suggest we do about the problem you reported.”
  • “You nailed it when you took action to fix that bottleneck. That’s exactly the initiative we need.”

3X3 accountability is proactive because it helps you set clear expectations and assign responsibility for self, peer, and leader actions. You’ll improve psychological safety when you have buy-in for the performance and behavioral standards.

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Get more action steps about leadership and accountability in these recent podcast interviews:

Wake-up Call hosted by Mark Goulston. https://mywakeupcall.libsyn.com/ep-370-chris-kolenda

Modern Leadership hosted by Jake Carlson: https://jakeacarlson.com/288-biking-1700-miles-for-my-troops-with-chris-kolenda/

Wealthability hosted by Tom Wheelwright: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lead-to-win/id1460072138?i=1000559631933

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I have several programs geared to developing leadership skills, such as Becoming a WHY Leader (TM), CEO mastermind groups, and 1-on-1 personal trusted advising.

To see which ones fit your needs, hit reply or schedule a call with me: https://callSLA.as.me/Chris.

Working with Chris has helped me visualize and communicate more clearly, gain the buy-in that inspires greater performance, and put my subordinates in positions to succeed.

Andy Weins, CEO, Green Up Solutions



accountability
accountability

Unfortunately, you cannot completely avoid reactive accountability. You have to tally the metrics and address the mishaps, wins, and mixed performances that are parts of business and life.

To run a successful business, we must hold people accountable to do the things they promised to do, such as:

  • Finishing tasks
  • Following up with clients
  • Achieving sales quotas

Without accountability, your plans can quickly fall apart. You may think, “But Chris, why don’t people just do what they said they’d do? Why do I have to keep track of everything? Why don’t they just tell me the truth? I can’t do anything about the situation after the fact. I need my team to act like grown-ups.”

Sound familiar?

What if I told you there’s a better way to hold your team accountable? There are actually two types of accountability – reactive and proactive.

Reactive accountability happens after the fact: you tally the quarterly metrics, your team had an incident, the report is late, you lost a key account.

Now you’re mad.
You’re embarrassed.
You’re losing money.

With emotions surging, it’s easy to fly off the handle – or to push others out of the way and do the work yourself. The worst part is that you have to have those difficult conversations. Ugh!  

And if you don’t, you know the problem will only get worse. Lowering your standards is not the answer. Having others redo the work is a recipe for resentment. Constantly operating in fire-fighting mode is stressful, leaving little time for innovation, creativity and joy.

Problems that are chronically avoided create a toxic work environment.

Unfortunately, you cannot completely avoid reactive accountability. You have to tally the metrics and address the mishaps, wins, and mixed performances that are parts of business and life. But you can have a lot less stress in your life and business when you embrace proactive accountability.

Proactive accountability reduces the likelihood of misfires and increases the probability of success. It’s also a lot more fun. Proactive accountability is what you do to shape behavior. You set expectations, provide the nudges that celebrate the right actions, and adjust the habits that lead to breakdowns.

Remember when you taught your child to ride a bike? You didn’t simply correct them when they fell over (reactive accountability), you showed them how to ride and encouraged the right habits.

Keep pedaling!
Keep your back straight!
Look where you want to go!
You got it! Keep going
!

If you saw them wobbling or slowing their pedal speed, you nudged them to change their actions because you knew in advance the consequences of bad habits and poor skills.

Your awesomeness in teaching your child to ride a bike is your secret to leadership success.

By encouraging the behaviors and habits that lead to success and nudging ineffective practices in a better direction, you dramatically increase the chances of superior performance — and joyful high-fives when it comes to measuring results.

You’re right back on track with:

  • “I like how you made the customer feel heard and addressed his problem immediately.”
  • “You did right by raising the red flag on this safety concern. Now we can fix it before someone gets hurt.”
  • “You nailed it when you took action to fix that bottleneck. That’s exactly the initiative we need.”

Proactive accountability improves results and creates more opportunities for joyful reactive accountability.

Schedule a call with Chris

Better accountability increases performance and reduces corrective action, so you have the time and energy to innovate and grow.

The 3 C’s of Accountability

1. Clarity. Your expectations must be so clear that an 8-year-old could say them to you perfectly. People need to know the why behind the expectations. All you need to do is add “so that we achieve x. y, z outcomes.”

Checklists are terrific ways to make expectations clear. If they’re good enough for astronauts to use, then they’re probably intelligent steps for me and you.

2. Consistent Consequences. Recognize when people are doing the little things right and be specific. “I like how you took the initiative to pull the irate customer away from Jim.”

Apply the right nudge when you see indicators that the person has not yet mastered the proper habits, “Here’s a different way to defuse tension. [Practice] How does that feel to you?”

Step in when you notice someone is distracted, “You seem pre-occupied today. Am I wrong about that?” If necessary, give them the time to deal with whatever’s on their mind so they can rejoin the workday free of distractions.

Standards are arbitrary if you only address them on certain days of the week or with some people and not others. If the rules do not apply to you, they should not apply to any other employee.

Model the behaviors you expect from everyone on your team. When you don’t do that, people see you as a hypocrite.

At the same time, people expect you to account for extenuating circumstances with sound judgment.

3. Caring. People respond well to feedback when they believe you have their best interests at heart. Otherwise, they feel like you are picking on them or playing favorites. Use your weekly 15-minute check-in with your subordinates and quarterly counseling to build your relationship, help them develop and use their superpowers, and set them up for future success.

accountability

You can tell whether you have accountability by the number of skill breakdowns that occur.

Inadequate accountability leads to high error rates because people do not know what right looks like. Even after corrective action, they find new ways to achieve skill breakdowns.

The reason why is pretty simple: there are infinite ways to screw up something and only a few ways to perform it correctly.

Jim was a yeller. He would fly off the handle whenever something did not meet his standards. “I’m holding them accountable,” he told me.

How’s that working for you?

“I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’ve seen the employees do it right before, so I know they can do it. They choose not to, and I cannot figure out why.”

When do you hold people accountable?

“When they screw up.”

There’s the problem. That’s lazy accountability.

“What do you mean?”

Any amateur can tell when a skill breakdown occurs. That’s easy. What’s difficult is to notice the little things that point to success or failure.

The #1 myth about accountability is that it is punishment or corrective action.

Eighty percent of accountability should be a celebration of what’s going right.

When you were teaching a kid to ride a bike, did you yell at her when she fell over, “What’s the matter with you?”

Or did you encourage successful behavior? “Keep pedaling, focus your eyes on where you want to go…”

Accountability is the art of bringing about the desired behavior. You need to let people know what right looks like and encourage the habits that lead to success.

You also need to notice the little indicators of things going astray and address them before the skill breakdown occurs. An early nudge in the right direction is far easier and less costly than cleaning up a problem.

The pros in any endeavor know the little things that lead to success or failure and focus on shaping desired behaviors.

Accountability is what you use to build greater load-bearing capacity. If you don’t build an accountable workplace, you’ll experience repeated breakdowns and feel trapped in a game of whack-a-mole.

The good news is that fostering accountability is a learnable leadership skill.

Click HERE to schedule a call with Chris

Better accountability increases performance and reduces corrective action so that you have the time and energy to innovate and grow.

The three C’s of Accountability

1. Clarity. Your expectations must be so clear that an 8-year-old could say them to you perfectly. People need to know the why behind the expectations. All you need to do is add “so that we achieve x. y, z outcomes.”

Checklists are terrific ways to make expectations clear. If they’re good enough for astronauts to use, then they’re probably intelligent steps for me and you.

2. Consequences. Recognize when people are doing the little things right and be specific. “I like how you took the initiative to pull the irate customer away from Jim.”

Apply the right nudge when you see indicators that the person has not yet mastered the proper habits, “Here’s a different way to defuse tension. [Practice] How does that feel to you?”

Step in when you notice someone is distracted, “You seem pre-occupied today. Am I wrong about that?” If necessary, give them the time to deal with whatever’s on their mind so they can rejoin the workday free of distractions.

3. Consistency. Standards are arbitrary if you only address them on certain days of the week or with some people and not others. If the rules do not apply to you, they should not apply to any other employee.

Model the behaviors you expect from everyone on your team. When you don’t do that, people see you as a hypocrite.

At the same time, people expect you to account for extenuating circumstances with sound judgment.

Without clarity, people are groping in the dark. The lack of consequences indicates a lack of seriousness. Inconsistency means the expectations are random.

Are you ready to improve accountability so that you soar to new heights?

schedule a call
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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.

Are you looking for a Keynote Speaker at your next event? I use my past experiences and knowledge to show you how to be the best version of yourself, surround yourself with the right people, and build highly productive teams. 

Book:

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. 

[email protected]

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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

BREAKTHROUGH OPPORTUNITIES

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?

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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

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]