Join John Ullmen for an in-depth discussion in this video Ensure invigorating accountability, part of Executive Leadership.
- After you establish priorities and set appropriate goals to advance priorities at every level in the organization, the next step is follow through. Accountability, to often accountability is used as a crude control technique. A blunt instrument that implies, "You better do this or else." Wrong, accountability is about progress on your shared purpose. It should be invigorating, satisfying, and a source of pride. Here's how to ensure accountability that gets the results you really want. First, focus on achieving results, not controlling people.
I was asked to work with an organization whose CFO had his assistant walk around the building in the morning and take attendance on his direct reports, senior executives. One day the CFO sent them an email, "I'm not a clock watcher but several people aren't here." They weren't in their offices because they were all in a conference room, already working together on important issues. The assistant hadn't checked the conference room. That fast the CFO sunk his credibility and lost trust with his entire team. Follow through discussions and check ins shouldn't be about keeping people in line but rather the great results people are reaching for.
Remind them how enthused you are about the great results they're going for and why they're so meaningful and ask them how it's going. Set milestones on projects for check in meetings and have regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. Biweekly is typical for senior leaders and turn those meetings into partnering dialogues instead of command and control evaluations. How's it going? What road blocks are you running into? How can I help? Let's discuss how to deal with the challenges that you face. If results fall short, you'll handle those discussions with fairness, dignity, and respect.
But don't gear the entire accountability system toward worse case scenarios. Second, use three types of team meetings. As an executive, in addition to your regular one-on-ones with your direct reports to discuss their progress on performance and development goals you should use three types of performance accountability meetings with your team. Tactical meetings, typically weekly or biweekly to deal with current operational issues. Strategic meetings, typically every four to six weeks to address matters that concern progress on strategic priorities.
Long-term planning meetings, typically every four to six months often held away from the office to separate people mentally and physically from being distracted by day-to-day matters. These meetings are to provide a fuller assessment of industry trends, relevant developments in the competitive landscape, technology changes, government policies, and so forth. At the end of each meeting, all three types of meetings, ensure you devote time to clarify action items. Who does what, and by when. Set the expectation that in the next meeting people will report on their action item progress.
This way disciplined accountability is seamlessly ongoing, for everyone at every level. Tactical, strategic, and long-term planning. Third, always connect accountability to shared purpose. Accountability needs to be invigorating, energizing, motivating. How do you do that? The way you always do it as an executive leader. By connecting it to purpose and vision. Those always reliable sources of energy. The more you connect peoples efforts to shared purpose and compelling vision the more energy they have. You can do this in your planned meetings and also in ad hoc situations.
For example, when Scott Cook CEO of financial and tax preparation firm, Intuit gave out his firms first bonus checks he added some inspiration to the appreciation for work well done. He said, "I told everybody look at those checks, "they came from Intuit but the money comes from the customer "and we only win if we delight customers so much "they're willing to part with their money "and tell 10 friends." I love that last touch, "and tell 10 friends." He reframed the management occasion of giving a well deserved reward as a leadership opportunity to connect with their purpose of empowering other businesses.
And that leads right into an ad hoc opportunity for still more healthy accountability. All right everybody let's get creative to keep the momentum going. To help customers be so happy that they refer 10 more people. I want everyone to come up with one thing each of you can do in the next three days. Anything at all to help that happen. Write it down and do it. Accountability done well isn't a chore. It's invigorating. The specifics of your situations will differ but you can count on both planned and ad hoc opportunities to use invigorating accountability.
Accountability that emphasizes purpose not punishment and is motivating not mechanical. As an executive leader always make follow through a want to do.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Understanding the four disciplines of executive leadership
- Thinking strategically
- Creating shared purpose
- Inspiring confidence—even under pressure
- Motivating and communicating
- Establishing priorities and focus
- Leading change
- Developing yourself<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.