Time Out!

August 21, 2013

ListeningHave you ever been challenged in business with maintaining sustainability and then finishing a project or task on time under budget?    The plans and strategies seem to work so well to start the process and then it seems to fall apart.  Do you wonder if it is the process, system, people, or maybe it’s just you?  What makes it worst is when you discuss it with people, friends, peers, subordinates and leaders and they all seem to have an answer.  Then, in your quick analysis, all of the answers seem to be incomplete.  It just seems so complicated when we all wish it would be simple.

Last week I was sitting with a CEO who was frustrated.  “We just cannot seem to get over the hump,” he exclaimed.  Why is it so difficult?  Does this sound familiar?  As I started to ask questions, many of the issues became clear.  It is not usually just one “big” thing, but instead it is a series of mistakes due to a lack of communication, a clear execution plan, or a lack of accountability with each other.  To solve the issues, it will take a committed high performance work team working together with clear alignment to accomplish the mission. Ah… that is where it gets complex.

The following is not the answer to all problems.  However, in the past two weeks it seemed to really resonate with several executives I have been coaching; trying to get their executive teams to collaborate.  One of the keys is to build a lasting and enduring culture around the concept of accountability.

Here are four steps to leading a culture of accountability:

  1. Communicate often – clear expectations and what good and excellent looks like when completed.
  2. Monitor the progress and measure the outcomes.
  3. Take corrective action through coaching, mentorship and partnering.
  4. Discipline continued non-performance.

Hint – Steps 2 & 3 are the hard ones. They usually get skipped or quickly touched upon and then ignored.  Instead, we need a leader to serve; settle down and live in steps two and three.

Coaching Checkup:

Summer is almost over … how was your summer vacation? How about the people reporting to you – how were their vacations?  The fall is a great time to refocus and introduce new initiatives while everyone is feeling refreshed. This will help you finish your year strong!

Human Relations Principle of the Week:

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

–       Dale Carnegie

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