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.

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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.

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“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 

“So…what do you do?”

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“I help Entrepreneurs create the core foundation that turns their vision into reality.”

18 years of experience growing my business from the inside out as the first employee to the COO/Integrator. I built the foundation needed to grow our business, Kids’ Hair Inc, to 14 locations, 150 employees and 3 layers of management. Including; training programs, people management, leadership development, quality control and delivered a consistent customer experience across multiple locations.

Over 18 years I provided the clarity, accountability and focus necessary to turn our vision into reality.

For the past 5 years I have acted as a trusted advisor to entrepreneurs and small business owners on a Fractional & Interim basis providing them with the help they need to move their business to the next level.

I will help you to clarify your vision and develop a strategic, focused action plan that aligns your team with your vision. Together we can turn your good intentions into great results.

When would you like to talk?
suzanne@lyon-sfocus.com

More Focus ~ Better Results

“Concentration is the key to economic results. No other principle of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration.”
Peter Drucker

Specialties:

  • Experienced Entrepreneur, Integrator, Owner, COO…
  • Visionary Integrator relationship development
  • Clarifying visions, goals, strategies, priorities & purpose
  • Customized company systems & processes
  • Fluent in EOS systems & tools implementation
  • Aligning your teams actions with your vision and goals
  • Team accountability & acknowledgment
  • Improved work flow for overwhelmed entrepreneurs

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

Visionaries, Integrators and Investors Oh My!

 

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The release of the latest EOS book, Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, has created quite a buzz in entrepreneurial circles. Thought provoking conversations, blogs and articles regarding Visionaries and Integrators are happening all around me.

Having co-founded a business as an Integrator with my Visionary husband, I experienced firsthand the challenges and rewards of a strong V/I relationship for 18 years while we grew our business. In 2007, when Traction by Gino Wickman was released, we had been instinctively dividing and executing for 15 years. Traction was very affirming for us then and when reading Rocket Fuel last week my inner Integrator jumped up and shouted “YES!” with an enthusiastic fist pump (It just feels good to read something that self-affirming in a book that’s hitting #1 on Amazon!).

All this focus on Visionaries and Integrators led me to read an article published in Forbes this week, 5 Shortcomings Of A Visionary And How To Compensate that highlighted the shortcomings of visionaries from an investor’s perspective. The message that stood out in the article caused me to cringe a little on behalf of all the visionaries I know and love. As one visionary most eloquently put it,

“See that Forbes article today. I’ll paraphrase; I don’t want to invest in a loser visionary unless he is teamed with an integrator. Wow that’s straight.”

More than a few trips down memory lane have been inspired by all this. As I think back, none to fondly, of my Visionary and I’s experiences with investors during the 18 years we poured our “blood, sweat and tears” (cheesy quote but I assure you quite literal) into our business, it is difficult to back away from the inclination to write this article; 5 Shortcomings Of An Investor And How To Compensate. But I will, grudgingly, back away; maybe I’ve matured, maybe it’s my Fathers voice in my head or maybe I’m just saving it for another time. For now I’d like to focus on this; Visionaries, Integrators and Investors, where would any of us be without each other?

Without the Visionary’s “unusual energy, creativity, enthusiasm, and a propensity for taking risks” there would be huge gaping holes in place of Apple, Starbucks and Disney.  It’s true that “every organization [also] needs a steady counter-force that is focused on directional clarity”, (another fist pump for all the Integrators out there!). It is also true that many visions succumb to a harsh reality when under-capitalized because “blood, sweat and tears” aren’t enough to turn great visions into great companies. It requires a trifecta of new ideas, execution and capital to make a success out of any startup.

I too am a proponent of capitalizing on your strengths, which requires recognizing them, as well as your weaknesses, so that you can value the strengths others bring to the table. To quote one of our key advisors “Each of you on your own is great at what you do, but together you are unstoppable!”

Visionaries need Integrators and capital to complete their vision, Integrators need a well-funded vision to execute on and Investors need startups created so there is a business plan to execute. Some molds must be broken in order to provide a return on investment that out performs an IRA.

If your strength is being an Investor, use that capital to attract a complementary Visionary and Integrator team that can create the vision and make it happen; then get out of the way and let them create a win-win-win opportunity for all of you. No new start up can succeed without a dose of unrealistic optimism.

Investment without vision is just a tax write off in the making.