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Accountability – A Four-Letter Word (#11)

The Confident Leader

Recently, Jeff, a client, presented the dismal third quarter sales results to his team. Each member began to blame others on the team for the collective poor performance.

Finally, Jeff asked, “Team, did you even follow our standard sales process?” Crickets. You could hear the deafening sound of Jeff’s accountability.  

Responsibility equals accountability equals ownership. And a sense of ownership is the most powerful weapon a team or organization can have.
— Pat Summitt, American Women’s Basketball Head Coach

This Week’s Edition

As a leader, are you fearful to hold your team accountable? Do you, yourself, have a hate/hate relationship with accountability? The reality is, accountability is how worthwhile projects gets accomplished. It is one of the most powerful tools available to leaders.

Clarify Your Thinking

Chris, a leader inquiring about coaching said, “Robin, I really want to grow, even during the pandemic.”

“What’s holding you back?” I asked.

“I’m afraid that when I call my clients, it will be too painful for me to hear them say they are unwilling to spend anything because of their hardships during the pandemic.”

As humans, we are pain avoidance machines. We take the pain free road every chance we get. It’s a bias in our thinking. The conundrum is that anything worth pursuing often requires us to get outside our comfort zone, running the risk of being, uh…uncomfortable!

For leaders, this can be a challenging cycle:

·      Muster the courage to work on challenging projects, all the while devising schemes to avoid the pain…

·      Experience pain and rationalize why that “thing” is not for us…

·      Retreat to the comfort zone.

Even more frustrating, is that we still want to achieve the worthwhile goal, just without the pain. We’re stuck!

“Chris, how badly do you want growth?” I asked.

“More than anything.” She said.

“Do you want growth more than the pain you will have to endure in order to get it?” I asked.

That one question clarified Chris’ thinking: “When the pain of not obtaining growth is greater than the pain associated with what I have to do to achieve growth, I will be motivated to take action.”

post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

I asked Chris what had prevented her from achieving her goals previously.

“I know what I need to do, I just don’t do it. I’m very motivated at first, but when I hit an obstacle the effort just peters out.”

“You mean you peter out?” I asked gently.

“Yes. I peter out. Thanks for pointing that out,” she said with a slight grin.

“Chris, who’s your accountability partner,” I offered.

“I was afraid you were going to ask that,” she said.

 Many leaders dread the concept of accountability because they think it means someone is going to make them do something they don’t like. While this is one view, another perspective is that accountability is a type of structured support like a fitness trainer, tax accountant, or sports coach. An accountability partner is someone who supports you to achieve something significant.

Chris did the following things to set herself up to succeed.

·      Found an accountability partner

·      Set weekly meetings to review her actions with her partner

·      Honestly reported her activities

·      Confessed anything she did not do

·      Made adjustments to increase her effectiveness

·      Tracked progress for a defined period of time

·      Celebrated small wins

Four weeks into the effort, she celebrated because she had not petered out, and she had learned about her resolve to finally, once and for all, stick with it.

As leaders, you are the accountability partner for your team members. If you are not willing to ask for help by leaning on an accountability partner, how can you expect your team to be open to the support you have to offer them?

Complete the coaching assignment to determine how an accountability partner will move you to consistent action.

Boost Your Performance

Everyone wants to achieve their goals. Very few are willing to do what it takes to make that a reality. Add an accountability partner to your set of resources and watch your performance rise.

What’s Your Opinion?

Let me know what accountability has done to help you achieve success.

Don’t let Doubt count you out. Do your leadership part and commit to a hearty restart. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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