Several hands all holding a growing plant in soil

BOOST ACCOUNTABILITY, DRIVE PERFORMANCE!

Poor accountability could be the single greatest threat to your company’s future – creating a culture of excuses, confusion, and inefficiencies – ultimately resulting in poor performance.

According to Gallup, only 30% of employees are “engaged,” 50% are disengaged (just going through the motions) – and an incredible 20% are actively disengaged, or working against you every single day – all of which directly impacts a culture of accountability.

The Gallup survey uncovers a secret – employee engagement significantly boosts accountability leading to organizational performance. Why? Because engaged employees have an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. They don’t just work for a paycheck. They care about their work and their company.

So why let poor accountability become an obstacle in the path to achieving better engagement and results?

10 Tips to Boost Accountability

Take action today to change the company’s DNA by creating a new culture of performance by embracing more accountability! Here are 10 ways good leaders foster accountability to grow great teams and strong cultures:

  1. Clarify your people’s roles – Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in the company’s success are more likely to become disengaged. Take the time to create the right structure for your organization, clarifying roles and responsibilities, so you have the right people in the right seats. Remember the rule of thumb: When 2 or more people are accountable for a position, nobody is accountable!
  2. Set great goals – Employees want to see how their work contributes to larger company objectives. Setting smart quarterly goals aligns everyone around what’s most important. In EOS® language, we call 90-day goals, “Rocks” – 3-7 top priorities that align everyone around what’s most important. Because “if everything is important, nothing is important!”
  3. Walk the talk – You and your leadership team have to be role models of accountability – because as you go, so does the rest of the organization. Never play the “blame game,” which is usually a ploy to control others or hand off responsibility. Accept the fact that all the company’s problems were created by you and your leadership team. But you must believe that the same team that created all the problems together can solve all of the problems together. That’s demonstrating 100% responsibility. That’s what inspires others to do the same.
  4. Communicate continuously – Make sure your expectations are clear and consistent. Remember the “Rule of 7” says people need to hear something 7 times before it sinks in. Eliminate the “I didn’t understand” excuse by using both verbal and written communications.
  5. Measure objectively – Accountability must be based on facts, not distorted by opinions, politics, and desire for power. Make sure to create a Scorecard, Dashboard or key Measurables to ensure your goals and objectives are creating the right impact. Remember, what gets measured, gets done!
  6. Give control before expecting accountability – If several levels of approvals are needed for a specific decision, no one will feel accountable, and no one can be held accountable. If more than one person is ultimately accountable, nobody is accountable.
  7. Align functional groups with business goals – If key functions aren’t under the control of the proper team, accountability will suffer. For example, if your sales group is measured on profitability, but is required to process leads from outside sources paid by volume, you have a conflict where everyone loses.
  8. Provide timely feedback on performance – High performers need regular quarterly coaching on how to improve, as well as annual full reviews. Help your people look in the mirror and see reality. Coach them to greatness!
  9. Use a process to solve your issues – Your ability to be successful and grow is directly proportionate to your ability to solve your issues. Getting to the root and solving problems should never be a “name and shame” game. Leaders need to provide a safe haven where difficult issues can be discussed and solved without assigning blame. The goal should always be to solve problems, not hurl accusations. (At EOS, we use an Issues Solving Track™ called IDS: Identify, Discuss, Solve – to knock down issues and make them go away forever).
  10. Improve trust – While accountability tools that measure data and results are important, you must also trust the people. Absolute dependence on tools leads to the abdication of personal responsibility. Build trust through strong and consistent leadership and management – all of which improves accountability!

Boost Engagement with Accountability

Can you imagine having employees who are “engaged?” Who are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and take positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests?

If you and your leadership team are willing to be the best, you’ll realize that accountability makes it all happen. You’ll have more control over your business, build a strong, engaged and accountable culture – ultimately increasing the value of your business AND your peace of mind!

Written by Chris Naylor on October 5, 2017

A image showing an illustration of a road turning into an arrow

6 KEY DRIVERS OF SUCCESS

Photo by Artur Aldyrkhanov on Unsplash

An article by New York Times business columnist Adam Bryant poses this question, “In your experience, do these six ‘success drivers’ make sense?”

The article summarizes extensive interviews Bryant conducted with leaders of successful companies whose names you would recognize. He was looking, he says, for “the things that, if done well, have an outsized positive impact, and if done poorly or not at all, have an outsize negative impact.”

If you’d like to read the entire article, you can see it here: Management Be Nimble.
Or we can save you a little time. Bryant’s six success drivers are:

  1. Have an extremely simple plan (narrow, with an exceptionally clear focus on where you’re going, supported by a small number of key goals)
  2. Be clear about the ‘rules of the road’ (a small set of core values that are authentic, which means they truly define and differentiate your culture, and that you really live by them)
  3. Treat people with respect (so that they feel free to challenge each other and pursue the greater good of the business)
  4. Build a strong team (roles are crystal clear, right people are in right seats, and the team embraces a culture of trust and accountability)
  5. Have adult conversations (an outcome of the two previous points – the ability for people to speak openly and honestly, without fear of repercussions)
  6. Deal with difficult issues face-to-face, not via email (or other technology that makes misinterpretation and distrust more likely)

Those principles are timeless. They’re described in dozens of business books from authors like Bryant, Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, and many others.

And of course, they make sense. If your company has a simple, clear plan that everyone understands, a strong culture based on a few key principles that everyone embraces, a rock-solid team, and an environment in which you’ve replaced politics with open, honest conversations focused on the greater good of the business, how will you not do better?

The question is whether you know how to make it happen – to do these things really well so that you enjoy the ‘outsized positive impact’ Bryant describes.

The good news is that you don’t have to figure out how to make it happen by yourself – explore the EOS Model™ and experience Vision, Traction and Healthy in your business. We are here to help.

Written by Dan Wallace on March 3, 2014 – with edits by Richard Price

a picture of The Beatles, the rock band

A GREAT HABIT IS HARD TO BREAK

After a client’s recent EOS session, an owner of the company made a comment about the importance of repetition in mastering a skill. Specifically, he was talking about the weekly Level 10 meeting and, after just six meetings, how much better his team was becoming at identifying, discussing and solving issues, getting things done, improving communication and team health. He told his team, “Imagine how much better we’ll be after 52 weekly Level 10 meetings?”

Good Habits Yield Great Results

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell challenges the impact that intelligence plays in determining success and points to repetition – putting in the hours necessary to succeed. He mentions the “ten-thousand-hour rule” … that it takes about 10,000 hours of doing something to truly master it. He retells a well-known story behind the Beatles “sudden” success. By the time they played the Ed Sullivan show, they had completed 1200 live performances. In Hamburg, Germany, they played 270 nights during an 18-month stretch, often playing 8 hours per night – talk about “A Hard Day’s Night!”

Gladwell also points out that the child prodigy Mozart, who began writing music when he was six, developed late in life, producing his greatest works after he’d been composing for over 20 years. To become a chess grandmaster takes about 10 years. To become an expert at anything requires about 10,000 hours of practice.

So, whether you aspire to be a chess grandmaster, an elite athlete, an artist, a welder, a baker, a chef, or a successful entrepreneur and business owner, you must develop great habits and repeat them often. Combine repetition with a pursuit of what you truly love doing and you’re on your way towards mastery. And, the longer you repeat great habits, the harder they are to break.

Written by Rene Boer on December 26, 2016

Five professional people smiling both male and female

WHY MILLENNIALS WILL LOVE EOS® – PART 2

In Why Millennials Will Love EOS® – Part 1 we said that millennials, who were raised in a different time than we Boomers and Gen-Xers, think differently. They have very specific expectations for information and for their work environments. TheVision/Traction Organizer™ and the Accountability Chart provide the vision, big picture, and culture that millennials need to understand and to be engaged.

In Part 2 I want to share specific EOS Tools that will help you lead, manage, and hold millennials accountable, as well as the rest of your team.

Quarterly Rocks

Millennials need to see progress, completion, and evidence that they are building new skills. Setting priorities for the few most important things that must get done each quarter at the company level, by department, and for individuals creates clear alignment that everyone is rowing in the same direction. This quarterly rhythm shows completion of tasks more often, develops job skills and can provide a variety of work. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to lead without changing positions.

Weekly Level 10 Meetings™

Maintaining human connectivity is critical for digitally native millennials. The weekly pulse of reporting, holding each other accountable, and problem-solving is frankly the lifeblood of any healthy team regardless of the ages of its members. For millennials, using the IDS and the Issues Solving Track™ during this weekly problem-solving session gives the team opportunities to be creative, share, and be exposed to new ideas

Scorecards

A powerful currency for millennials is flexibility — when, where, and how to get the work done, as long as it gets done. Working remotely and flextime don’t work for everything, but they can work for certain roles. The key is how to hold people accountable. A weekly scorecard of activity-based metrics that track specific job responsibilities will provide the tool for many to self-manage their results and keep their boss and teammates plugged in.

Process

Documenting your handful of Core Processes brings consistency and scalability to how the work gets done. When followed by everyone on the team a consistent process also gives additional autonomy.

In addition to these tools, you need to master the Five Management Practices™ that speaks directly to the kind of feedback and direction millennials need to get.

  • Practice 1. Keeping expectations clear – yours and theirs
  • Practice 2. Communicating well – more listening than talking
  • Practice 3. Maintaining the right Meeting Pulse™
  • Practice 4. Having Quarterly Conversations – 1:1 meetings to talk about what’s working and what’s not
  • Practice 5. Rewarding and Recognizing – within 24 hours, open and honest, be their boss, not their buddy

Written by Clark Neuhoff on August 14, 2017

an image of a circular cloud formation from above

GOOD PROBLEM SOLVING IS LIKE FLYING THROUGH THE EYE OF A HURRICANE

I often remind my clients that an issue is just that… an issue.

In other words, there is nothing they can’t solve. It’s simply that some issues are bigger and more emotionally charged than others.

People issues usually top the list as the toughest to take on. Many leaders delay addressing these problems because they fear they will be painful and result in unpleasant outcomes. Good problem solving is like reaching the eye of a hurricane.

Enter The Danger

Most of us would not willingly hop aboard a hurricane bound flight. That sounds crazy!

Working through your big issues is like taking a flight through the hurricane. It can feel dangerous, you may encounter strong turbulence, and the outcome could be catastrophic.

But the truth is hurricane flights are quite safe. What begins as very turbulent quickly shifts to beauty and tranquility as the airplane reaches the eye of the storm. Most of the turbulence is in the eye-wall, which must first be penetrated before reaching the eye.

Experience The Tranquility After The Turbulence

Good issue solving starts with the willingness to fly through the eye-wall with confidence that you will reach the eye. The EOS Issues Solving Track™ (IDS™) will get you there:

  • Identify
  • Discuss
  • Solve

Ninety percent of the battle is the willingness to take on the storm. This is true whether confronting hurricanes or getting through your most difficult issues.

Trust the process and experience the exhilaration of getting to the other side filled with beauty, tranquility, and clarity!

Written by Randy Taussig on November 21, 2019

two people in a meeting room talking

IS YOUR BUSINESS GUILTY OF DYSFUNCTIONAL PARENTING?

My son didn’t like what he heard from me, so he went to his mom and got the answer he wanted. We call this “the end-run,” — it also happens in business.

For example, have you ever experienced dissension in your organization where employees sided with one leader over the other? It’s like a reality show where alliances are created to overtake the other party.

How Are Your Business Parenting Skills?

As “parents” of the organization, the leadership team has to be on the same page and speak the same language, especially the Visionary and Integrator.

If they are not, similar to children in a family, the troops will divide and conquer. For a company to be healthy, the Visionary and Integrator have to be on the same page. It’s a Process issue and it starts with communication. 

In EOS®, we recommend the Same Page Meeting™. 

As the Visionary and Integrator, this could be the single most important thing these two individuals can do – to represent a united front so the vision is crystal clear. Then the team can determine how to get there and what everyone’s role is in getting there.

Getting on the Same Page

The Same Page Meeting has a simple agenda with the main objective of ensuring the Visionary and Integrator hash out differences and getting on the same page instead of arguing in front of their team or giving mixed signals.

As illustrated in this video by Gino Wickman, the three agenda items in a Same Page Meeting are:

  1.     Check-in: Start on a personal note and see how each of you are doing
  2.     Build An Issues List: Be open and honest on what the issues are and list them out
  3.     IDS™: Follow the Identify, Discuss, and Solve process

When you follow this simple process, it helps to resolve any open issues that are creating friction in the company, resulting in more alignment across the organization and a clear direction for the team.

Written by Don Maranca on November 25, 2019

a woman jumping from one ledge to another

FACING THE UNAVOIDABLE WITH UNCOMMON COURAGE

Recently, one of our client teams found themselves facing a difficult decision.

They realized that two functions they’d always kept separate really belonged under one leader. Keeping them separate created unnecessary complexity, causing extensive debates about overlapping resources, workflow and priorities. Combining them would eliminate confusion, increase speed and quality, and make the company more responsive to its customers. That part was easy.

The hard part?

The people who ran the separate functions were both terrific. They were both long-time team members, great fits with the culture (absolutely “right person” for the organization), and fully capable of running the combined function really well (absolutely right for the seat). And they both wanted the job. A classic “how do you split the baby” moment.

If you were in this team’s shoes, what would you do?

Use Uncommon Courage to Make Great Decisions

What they did was to demonstrate uncommon courage. Instead of dodging the issue, deferring it, or trying to split the baby, they made a decision. None of them wanted to make it, but they all realized it was in the company’s best interest.

They combined the two seats into one and put one of the candidates in it. With genuine love and respect, they told the other candidate that he was very important to the company and that they would find a great seat for him, but it wouldn’t be a seat on the leadership team. They acknowledged unanimously that it was a very close call – one that easily could have gone the other way. And they did all of this openly as a team, with everyone – including both candidates for the combined seat – in the room.

Great Decisions, Great Results

As a result, their leadership team is leaner, more nimble, and more effective. Decisions get made faster and better. The entire leadership team agrees that it was the right thing to do.

They also agree that it actually wasn’t as hard as they thought it would be, which has made them even more courageous.

A month or so later, it became clear that another member of the leadership team – who also is a part-owner of the business – was struggling to do his job. The rest of the team told him that what he offered as explanations they saw as defensiveness. They made it clear that they like and care about him personally, but that their first obligation is to the company. They promised to support him in every way they could, but made it clear that if he didn’t turn things around in 90 days, they would remove him from the leadership team and put someone else in the seat.

Again, they did this as a team, combining love and respect with absolute openness and honesty, and with the best interest of the company at heart.

Never Fear the Unavoidable Again

These are bold examples from a team that is strong and getting stronger. But we find ourselves in this situation all the time – facing issues we’d much rather avoid.

Are you and your team facing – or avoiding – one of those issues today? If you are, don’t worry. It just makes you normal. What will make you uncommon is finding the extra bit of courage that lets you deal with it. You’ll be glad you did!

Written by Dan Wallace on December 5, 2019

 

5

THE MAGIC AND CURSE OF PUTTING YOUR BUSINESS ON AUTOPILOT

The autopilot can be an aviator’s best friend. It’s precise, alleviates workload, and provides good peace of mind. All positive factors, but if the pilot isn’t careful, it could lead to big trouble!

Take the case of Eastern Airline Flight 401 where the crew was preoccupied with diagnosing a gear light problem and didn’t notice the autopilot was inadvertently set for a gradual descent, causing the plane to crash (CFIT) and kill 86 on board. The crew relied on their autopilot system as they had done thousands of times before. Only this time, their reliance turned into a deadly mistake.

I fly the Cirrus SR22, a high performance/complex single-engine aircraft, operated through multiple layers of automation, including a really sophisticated flight control system! The one big challenge with all this great automation is keeping up basic flying skills, since I rarely need to fly the plane manually. But if the system fails – then what?

Is Your Business Running on Autopilot?

Are you getting too comfortable with certain aspects of your business? Sometimes it’s not obvious. For example, one of my clients recently got out-bid on a long-standing contract they had been servicing for years. It was a shocker. They had become complacent and then, one day, it was gone!

In hindsight, there were signs of this coming, including more competitor bids, subtle hints from the client to cut costs, and the initiation of a new bidding process. But none of this made it to the top of my client’s issues list, and therefore was overlooked.

When things are running smoothly in your business, it can be like flying on autopilot. You get comfortable until blindsided by a sudden failure that you may not be prepared to handle.

How to Recover from Autopilot Failure

Pilots frequently practice emergency procedures with instructors to build confidence and proficiency in the cockpit and prepare for the unexpected.

You can do the same within your business by holding weekly Level 10 Meetings™ and focusing on solving your most pressing issues through IDS™ (the Issues Solving Track™).

Be pro-active to avoid your own preventable crash (CFIT)!

Written by Randy Taussig on October 21, 2019

6

CONFLICT CREATES CLARITY

Some of the best meetings that I’ve been in lately are the ones where members of the leadership team challenge each other.

There’s debate and pushback and the discussions are heated. Each person is actively engaged, putting the greater good of the organization ahead of personal agendas. Sometimes the feedback they give each other stings a little. But, when the dust settles there’s clarity around the root cause. Conflict creates clarity.

Conflict, although messy, is all about going deep

Think about your meetings. Are you comfortable with conflict? What do you do when things begin to heat up? Do you attempt to smooth things over? Have you found yourself playing the peacemaker? Don’t do it.

It takes a while for a team to come together. Within the EOS® Meeting Pulse™, conflict is bound to happen sooner than later. Why? Because every week you’re in a structured meeting where the objective is to solve issues (the real ones) and get things done. There’s no place to hide. You can’t solve the real issues without some conflict – a willingness to go deep, to “enter the danger.”

Conflict creates clarity… embrace it!

Too often we seek harmony when we should be creating some conflict. Don’t be afraid of a little conflict, embrace it. Conflict creates clarity. Without clarity over the underlying issue, we’re at risk of making poor decisions. And, as Patrick Lencioni points out in his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, healthy conflict is a necessary step towards gaining commitment.

Written by Rene Boer on October 17, 2019

 

A woman talking to a business man at a table in a cafe

YOU DON’T NEED AGREEMENT, YOU NEED COMMITMENT

Many of my clients talk about the struggle they’re having with getting agreement on their team. They say things like “my team is just not on the same page” or “I need to build consensus with my staff.” When I hear this, my answer is always the same: you don’t need agreement, you need commitment. Here’s what I mean…

I’ll be having a conversation with a member of the leadership team that goes something like this:

“Jim, wouldn’t it be easier if I got them all to agree with the idea?”

“Absolutely, John,” I say.

“Then why wouldn’t I try to get agreement?” says John.

“Do you think the hard decisions that are needed will be made with this approach?” I respond.  “Do you think you will build the best plan with everyone’s two cents as a part of it? At the end of the day, do you think your team will respect you more if you are trying to get everyone to agree?”

Let me answer this last one. They won’t.

Faster horse or enduring company?

Now don’t get me wrong. I think one of the essential roles of a leader is to get buy-in, or as we say in EOS®, get the Vision shared by all (SBA). The problem lies in words like ‘consensus’ or ‘agreement’. Consensus management doesn’t work. Great leaders set a vision and then get the team to commit to the vision.

We all want leaders that are concise decision-makers. They get the information they need, make a decision, and then build commitment, not consensus.

As Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Buy-in is important, but lead your team. Have the strength to ask for their commitment and not worry about creating agreement.

At the end of the day, it’s the difference between creating an enduring company or just developing a faster horse.

Written by Jim Coyle on September 26, 2019