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Apr 16 15

Take Accountability for Your Career Development

by The Authors
Executive Coaching

A middle manager with a large consumer products company took his direct reports through an Accountability Training and Executive Coaching process. During an Executive Coaching session a few weeks after starting the process, the manager admitted that he was allowing “pressing circumstances” to distract him. He wasn’t modeling Focused Feedback or Solve It behavior when it came to his own professional training and career development. He resolved, once again, to take accountability for his development and asked his direct reports to do the same. This time he modeled the behavior and attitude he wanted to see in his direct reports. After a few months, he and his team had moved to a whole new level of development and performance. The leader described the transformation this way: “Once I decided that seeking feedback, taking accountability for my development, and coaching others had to become an integral part of my daily leadership, I began seeing real movement in the team. It made me realize that I had to become the change I wanted to see in my team. Not only did I become a better leader in the process, but everyone on the team also became better—they actually started taking greater accountability for their own development.” Today, every member of the team has moved on to positions of greater responsibility and leadership.

Many people in organizations today feel limited in their ability to exercise real power or meaningful control over their own professional training and career development, so they react to circumstances instead of creating their own futures. Just as the foregoing story illustrates, one manager can turn things around for himself and his team by taking accountability for his own personal development and holding others accountable in a positive, principled way to do the same.

The first step to helping others take accountability for their development is to make sure you are modeling and practicing the powerful principles of ownership and accountability relative to your own development. To learn more about taking accountability for your development and holding others accountable in a positive and principled way to do the same, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at www.partnersinleadership.com, where you can review actual client case studies.

Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to learn how to better take accountability for yours and your team’s development.

Accountability Training, Focused Feedback, and Solve It are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Apr 10 15

Coaching Accountability

by The Authors
Workplace Accountability

How do you help an associate or other colleague take greater accountability? How do you help them when they get stuck Below The Line on an issue or problem, situation or relationship, without offending them or coming across as self-righteous?

We suggest you begin by asking this simple, yet focused, non-threatening question: “Why aren’t you making the progress (or improvement) you really want to make on this issue?” An alternative question would be “Why aren’t you achieving the benefits (or growth) you really want to achieve in this situation? Listen for their perceived obstacles, stumbling blocks, barriers, and impediments. Encourage them to talk openly and honestly about how they perceive their circumstances. You may need to further enable them by asking: “What else is getting in the way of your making improvement or achieving growth?” When they have had sufficient opportunity to identify and describe their perceived obstacles or barriers, ask one of the following questions: (1) “Which of these obstacles do you most need to overcome, and why?” (2) “What will happen if you don’t try to address and resolve these obstacles?” or (3) “If your life depended on it, what else could you do to address at least one of these obstacles?”

Allow the conversation to flow naturally into a discussion of solutions (this may require multiple conversations). Remember, you’re trying to help them take ownership for at least one of their perceived obstacles, so they can start sincerely asking the question: “What else can I do to influence the obstacles and barriers that are hindering my progress (resolution of an issue or problem; improvement in the situation or relationship). Be patient but persistent. You can offer assistance, as appropriate and feasible, but don’t try to resolve things for them. Of course, you should plan to follow-up to see whether they are moving Above The Line and taking results-oriented actions.

To learn more about helping others to take greater accountability and ownership, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at www.partnersinleadership.com, where you can review actual client case studies.

Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to learn how to better coach accountability in your team and organization.

Below The Line, Above The Line, and Accountability Community are registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Apr 2 15

Tools for Getting the Results You Want

by The Authors
accountability-conversation

Have you ever asked yourself this question: “What is the most effective way to hold other people accountable when they aren’t getting the results you expect of them?” Not surprisingly, many people are asking this same question or a similar one, so here’s our answer.

Desired results never automatically materialize just because you expect the best from your people. Desired results are only achieved when you (1) clearly define those results, (2) ensure that everyone involved becomes genuinely aligned and assumes full accountability to deliver the specified results, (3) actively and frequently monitor progress toward each of the results, (4) make the needed course corrections along the way, and (5) stay completely engaged until all of the desired results are realized. That’s how it works.

So, to the question above, if you’re doing all of that and still not getting the results you expect, what should you do? First, make sure you really are doing all of that by applying the Accountability Sequence—FORM, Communicate, Align, and Inspect. If the Accountability Sequence is solidly in place and the desired results are still not forthcoming, find out why by holding the LIFT Accountability Conversation with the person or group who is your Critical Link, i.e., the person (or group) who has the greatest potential for not delivering on his or her Key Task. Begin by asking this person, “Why aren’t you making the progress you really want to make?” Then have a conversation about that and use the following questions to drive the conversation:

“What are the obstacles getting in the way of making progress?”
“Which of these obstacles do you most need to overcome, and why?”
“What else can you do?”
“What actions are you going to take?”

Having this conversation with people is important because it helps them realize what obstacles are thwarting their efforts, gets them to identify the ones that they can influence, enables them to figure out a way to overcome these obstacles, and finally makes sure the they have a plan and are engaged in implementing it.

Here’s an example of how this conversation can produce results. The VP of operations at a manufacturing company was frustrated with what he saw as an apparent lack of concern for a serious process design problem from his young engineering staff. When he finally took the time to hold the LIFT Accountability Conversation with a few of his engineers and asked them why they weren’t making progress on the process design problem, he discovered that the obstacles they were facing were their own lack of engagement and their perception that the operations leadership was resistant to their new ideas. Once everyone was aligned around solving their process design problem, a new team was created that was made up of junior staff engineers and a senior operations mentor. This team solved the problem so well that the company not only increased productivity but also saved millions in operating costs. Once the motivation problem along with the associated cultural barriers had been addressed, the VP’s desired results were quickly achieved. As you might expect, the VP implemented a new policy of deploying teams of junior staff engineers and senior operating mentors to attack other issues throughout manufacturing operations.

To learn more about how to apply the Accountability Sequence and the LIFT Accountability Conversation whenever you’re not getting the results you expect, we invite you to join the Accountability Community at www.partnersinleadership.com, where you can review actual client case studies.

Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to learn how to hold others accountable and get more from your team.

Accountability Sequence, Accountability Conversation, and Accountability Community are all registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other registered trademarks and trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.