When I’m working with clients, one of their main complaints is: No one takes accountability for anything around here! Generally, this discussion moves into a conversation about how well that CEO is setting expectations and then managing to those expectations. More than once I’ve heard this: I tell them what to do. Do I have to babysit to make sure they get it done?
I’m sure you are smiling because if you work with business owners, leaders, managers … basically anyone that manages people on any level, you’ve heard the same things.
Lack of accountability runs rampant in businesses and it doesn’t matter what size. I’ve seen this issue show up in a Stage 1 company with 2 employees as well as in a Stage 7 + company with over 1,000 employees.
The 7 Stages of Growth, the Stages of Growth X-Ray and Zeroing in on Your Company’s Profit Zone, all provide accountability. Here’s how.
Accountability starts with buy-in. The main reason people struggle with accountability is lack of clarity. What better tool is there than the X-Ray or the Profit Zone that allows all voices to chime in to the challenges and the issues the company is facing? And once there is buy-in to those challenges and issues, people are signing up to be responsible for just those specific things. There is no gray area. They have committed to the top five initiatives the company needs to address and each person is accountable for one or more of those initiatives. Done deal, right?
The old saying ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’ comes to mind when I run into a CEO who agrees to the X-Ray or Profit Zone process, but lacks the management experience to then hold people accountable to the initiatives.
Here’s how I’ve learned to deal with that over time.
Prior to the X-Ray or the Profit Zone, I spend time talking to the CEO about the process and I take a great deal of time to explain the outcomes and what is required from that CEO once the process is completed. I help them understand that the X-Ray or the Profit Zone program is the beginning of educating his or her team on how to follow up, how to set expectations, how to hold people accountable. The walk-away value from either one of these programs in certainly the buy-in to those initiatives. However, there is a stronger value in using the process to help a CEO learn how to manage, follow up and hold people accountable. Part of my work usually involves several coaching sessions with the CEO to make sure I’m there to ask critical questions, check in on the progress, help uncover any obstacles and to remind the CEO that follow up isn’t micromanaging. It’s sound management. It’s necessary management. As Dave Ramsey, the financial wizard always says: “To be unclear is to be unkind.”
Here are five steps you can take to make sure accountability is built into your X-Ray or Profit Zone programs:
Step 1: Talk about accountability and how it shows up in their organization today. Get a good sense as to how that CEO manages and how prepared they are to set clear expectations and manage to those expectations. The success of your program really starts here.
Step 2: Explain the process the team will go through, focusing on the outcomes. Let the CEO know exactly what he/she can expect. Explain the process uncovers the top five issues the team agrees need immediate attention. More than likely, what shows up will not be a surprise. There are always issues companies consistently know they should address, but never seem to find the time to address them. Now is the time.
Step 3: During the process, continue to talk about outcomes to the team and as you are facilitating the dialogue from the assessment results, find out if the issue they are bringing up has history. Talk about why there is frustration (because there always is) around a certain topic and help bring the conversation around to what people are willing to do to make sure this time is different. Talk about accountability. Talk about setting expectations.
Step 4: After the five top issues are selected, take the time to identify ownership of the individual initiatives and talk about what that ownership looks like. How it will be called upon over the next three months. I make sure the owners of the initiatives know to get their direct reports involved immediately after the X-Ray or Profit Zone in order to keep the conversation alive and get buy-in from other people in the company.
Step 5: Have the CEO already have set up a leadership team meeting 5 – 7 days after the X-Ray or Profit Zone. The point of this meeting is to have the participants from the X-Ray or Profit Zone have taken the time to meet with their individual teams, share the role those people will play in creating the plan to implement on that initiative, and bring that plan to that leadership team meeting. This is where the CEO can hear how teams will implement those initiatives, address any concerns and make sure the entire leadership team knows what everyone is doing.
I strongly suggest you use the Growth Curve Navigator© or another tool of your choice that clearly identifies those five initiatives, which challenge that initiative will address, what the purpose of that initiative is, who owns it and what are the measurable outcomes once that initiative is resolved.
Find the Growth Curve Navigator here:
Under the Resources and Tools Tab,
Under the X-Ray Tab,
Under Sub Head Growth Curve Navigator
For those of you certified in the Profit Zone program, find the Profit Zone Igniter© here:
Under the Resources & Tools Tab,
Under the Profit Zone Tab,
Called Profit Zone Igniter Worksheet
Know that you have tools that not only differentiate you from other consultants but provide your CEOs with processes that help hold people accountable.
My goal is to help you feel comfortable in explaining these concepts. Never hesitate to connect with me personally.
Your success. My passion.
Laurie Taylor, FlashPoint!