Accountability is Not a Four Letter Word

I went into business for myself in part because I continually found myself frustrated while working for someone else.

Meetings felt like a waste of time, most of my bosses continually asked me to do things then never acknowledged my accomplishments, quickly moving on to the next project.

Frequently I found myself focused on something only to discover my manager had abandoned it and forgot to tell me they were going in a different direction.

And then there’s that, the changing directions, which left me feeling uninformed, behind and frustrated.

Going into business for myself seemed like freedom from meetings, confusion and having to answer to someone else. You know the answer to the question “Why’d you decide to start your own business?”

“So I could work less, make moreDuh money and not have a boss.” Yeah, well, most of you know how that goes. The lessons having your own business delivers are seemingly endless, frequently surprising and followed by more face-palm moments than I care to admit.

One of my earliest connect the dots moments was the discovery that other people actually want to be told what to do. Not only did they just want me to tell them what I wanted they actually appreciated being held accountable.

Huh.

accountability

This realization, that accountability makes people feel that what their doing matters was to say the least, surprising. Who knew that telling people what you want them to do, being clear about your vision and your expectations was mostly meaningless without following it all with accountability.

Turns out holding people accountable to what you’ve asked them to do let’s them know you meant it, you didn’t change your mind a week later, gives them the satisfaction of completion and a sense of accomplishment. It builds their trust in you and each other.

Turns out accountability is a big part of getting things done. Not only that but providing accountability helps your team to have clarity around what they’re doing and when you want it done by. It gives them the opportunity to ask for clarification, confirmation and to share their accomplishments with you.

Now imagine my surprise and frustration when I became an advisor to business owners and discovered how little accountability they were using in their companies. More connect the dots moments for me when I realized this lack of accountability was a large part of why so many businesses are struggling to get things done and accomplish their visions.

It seems that many business owners having disliked being held accountable themselves have assumed that accountability itself was the issue and not who or how it was being employed. The experiences they’ve had with accountability makes it difficult for them to learn the lesson of it’s importance. It causes them to resist it sometimes at all costs (their business goals) and leaves them and their teams struggling and frustrated.

Instilling some healthy accountability into my clients businesses has proven to be one of my biggest challenges as an advisor when trying to help them turn their visions into reality.

Accountability is not a four letter word.

Huh.

 

Continue reading Accountability is Not a Four Letter Word

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2016, Is It Going The Way You Planned?

Have You hit your goals so far? Are your initiatives for the year on track for success?

targetIf you’re disappointed with your results so far there’s still time to make some critical changes and ensure your team is pulling in the right direction.

If you were to ask the key people on your team if they knew what you saw as the top priority for your organization this quarter what would they say?

If you asked them to rank the items on their to do lists would their number one priority match what you see as their number one priority?

And if you asked them if they felt like they received clear guidance and direction from you so that they could do their jobs well, what would they say?

Reaching your financial goals requires the work and efforts of the entire team, but frequently leaders don’t communicate with their team as well as they think they are.

No matter how great your vision is it won’t become a reality unless your team members are all pulling in the same direction with the same end goals in mind.

If they are focused on the wrong things or have different priorities than you do, well then it will take you longer to reach your goals. Picture a relay race where your team starts with one runner carrying the baton and that runner decides to keep the baton himself and run all the way with it or he does hand it off but the next runner heads off in the wrong direction taking the team off course. They may eventually finish the race but they won’t win it and it won’t be very impressive.

Entrepreneurs often take their ideas and run with them forgetting to hand off to others who can help get them to their goals, or they do hand them off but they forget to tell the next person on the team what direction the finish line is.

communication-planning
“Oh, you wanted it done this year?”

A communication plan is the key to getting the right things done!

A defined communication path will set clear direction that ensures your team members understand what you want them working on and when. Team alignment is a key part of winning your race. Never underestimate the importance of communication & alignment in reaching your goals.

A communication plan will:

  • Share your vision with your team and ensure everyone knows what the company mission is
  • Deliver clear directions and expectations from you to your team.
  • Get questions answered solve issues and provide clarity and support for your team.
  • provide consistent follow up on expectations; that includes recognition as well as redirection.
  • Keep your team running for the right finish line and on schedule.

If you leverage your vision with talented people receiving clear communication from you, everyone will be racing in the same direction and crossing the finish line a lot faster.

And that is a win for everyone.

It’s not to late to design a communication plan that will put you  on track for a successful 2016!

Call or email to schedule a communication assessment and let me help you hit your goals for 2016.

Suzanne Lyon Mollerud

suzanne@lyon-sfocus.com

612.801.9320 

The Hurrier I Go, The Behinder I Get

In this age of abundance, time is the one thing nobody has enough of. Perhaps that’s why Google receives 111 million searches a month for Time Management. Few people recognize how time management depends upon the emotional intelligence skills of self-management and relationship management.White_Rabbit_nobackground

Creating a good schedule is a very rational thing, but sticking to that schedule is decidedly emotional. Many of us start out every day with the best intentions to manage our time wisely. But then we receive a complicated email from a co-worker, a consuming phone call from a friend, or otherwise get sidetracked until our well-laid plans go up in flames. We spend the rest of the day trying to put out somebody else’s fire, or working to resolve issues that weren’t there in the morning. Before you know it, the day is gone and you’re completely off schedule.

When the distractions are your own, sticking to a schedule requires self-management. When the needs of others try to impede upon your plans, it takes effective relationship management to finesse the relationship while ensuring that your priorities are still addressed.

This of course assumes you are clear about what your priorities are. Many Entrepreneurs find themselves feeling like Alice in Wonderland, chasing white rabbits and more than a little lost. Running a business is filled with daily distractions, urgent but not important things to do are around every corner or at the end of the email trail in your in box.

Before Emotional Intelligence can help you manage your distractions you will need to create a strong road map of the priorities and milestones that will lead you to your intended goals. Invest some time clarifying your goals and identifying the important milestones that will help you achieve them. Like Alice you will come across many white rabbits along the way but you will find it much easier to get back on track with your priorities identified and a clear plan for action.

To learn more about emotional Intelligence get the book.

To learn more about ensuring your priorities are addressed and your goals consistently achieved make your next priority a conversation with me.

Suzanne helps business owners develop the foundations that turn their visions into reality, contact her today

Suzanne Lyon
Suzanne@lyon-sfocus.com
612.801.9320
EQ 2.0

When is it Time to Hire a Consultant?

Are You on Track to Meet Your Quarterly & Annual Goals?

goals2I’m not just referring to your sales goals (although those are critical), I also mean goals of the mission and vision of your company, employee satisfaction and engagement, awareness, and everything else that indicates a strong and successful business. If you’re not quite on target, it’s time to make a change. Bringing in an outside consultant may be the breath of fresh air (and new set of eyes) your business needs to have a strong year of target hitting and growth. Even the largest, most successful companies turn to consultants; maybe it’s time you consider it too!

Here are seven signs it’s time to hire a consultant:

1. You feel stuck or stagnant.
Simply put: If you feel like your business is in a rut, it probably is. If you’re not growing, you’re dying, and now’s the time to take matters into your own hands. Hiring a consultant can help address these concerns and get you back on track for growth.

2. You need help identifying problems, issues, or areas for improvement.
It’s a hard truth that people “on the inside” often don’t see things as clearly as those “on the outside”. Sometimes executives and business leaders may be blind to areas within their organizations that aren’t functioning optimally, or opportunities to enhance their business both externally and internally. Consultants bring the fresh, objective perspective that can open up new ideas and avenues that weren’t identified previously, and enhance a business.

3. You’re unsure of which direction to go.
Even if you have identified areas for growth, it may be tricky to decide on how to move forward. Consultants can help strategize as well as implement new plans, programs, and procedures to move forward and help your business grow.

4. You want someone to supplement your staff, but don’t want to hire a full time employee.
Let’s face it- hiring a full time employee is expensive. Consultants are an efficient way to get temporary expertise and support when you need it most. By hiring a consultant, you will get a relatively low cost, low commitment solution to a project or problem you’re facing.

5. You want insight into your market.
Many business leaders think they know their customer, but their knowledge is often biased and subjective. It’s tough to remove your “business” cap when trying to understand your customers. Consultants don’t have the same biases, and are able to conduct the research necessary to provide honest insight and feedback that will help you relate to your customers and better serve them.

6. You want freshness and creativity.
Every company does things differently and has their own creative process for operations, marketing, production, etc. Because they have been around other businesses and been exposed to innovation among different industries, consultants will bring new ideas and creativity to your business that you may not have had access to previously. In an ever-changing world, innovation is critical to stay afloat.

7. You want to bring new life to your organization.
Companies get stale, but consultants can bring a freshness and excitement that may have been lacking. Mixing it up and engaging new professionals with your team can liven up the work environment, spark new ideas, and create a critical collaborative environment.

If you find yourself identifying with any of these seven signs, do your business a favor and consider bringing on a consultant to help. Amazing results come from collaboration, and recognizing the need for improvement is the first step in achieving your goals.

 

Originally  posted by;

Breanna Bremer

Mastering Email Productivity

A few months ago I introduced you to “The Secret Weapon” Evernotes solution to email mastery. Here are some additional tips to help you get focused with your email. The steps outlined below fit well with Evernotes process, when you look at the Focused Flow Chart For Email remember that “To Do List” and “Evernote” are the same (if you followed my earlier advice that is!)

3 Steps to Mastering Email Productivity for Your Entire Life

The concept of developing productive email habits is simple. So, we’ll jump straight to it now:

1. Set a schedule

When I first set out to make email as productive as possible, I made the mistake of simply telling myself to check email less than five times per day. I didn’t define a schedule. I ended up checking email less frequently than I normally did, but I didn’t develop the productivity that I could have developed. Thus, in order to actually make this process work, you’ll need to clearly define two times per day when you’ll check email.

Here’s the authors schedule:

Monday through Friday: 10am and 3pm (I check mine four times a day since the majority of my work communication is by email)

Weekends: Check personal email once per day, and don’t check work email at all

2. If you’ve left an item unread, you fail

Before outlining the principles of effective email use below, please understand that the key with avoiding procrastination centers on processing every single email, and taking a specific action with it. Choosing to not do anything will hurt your productivity. There are four actions that you must take when processing email:

1. Delete

2. Delegate

3. Add to your to-do list (Evernote)

4. Do it now

The action you must avoid is leaving items marked unread. If you’ve left an item unread, you fail. You’ve procrastinated.

3. The three questions

Below is the process that will allow you to conquer email, and make email a productive, swift time for getting things done.

How to Stop Getting Distracted by Emails

That’s it. It’s simple, yet takes some practice to implement effectively.

From  How to Get Focused by Scott  Scheper

 

How have you done at mastering your inbox?