How to create a Culture of Accountability…

For the fourth year in a row, “Holding key people accountable” has been in the top 2 challenges that CEO’s have cited on our Growth Strategies Survey of small and mid-market businesses throughout the region.

When one CEO in the audience, somewhat perplexed asked, “Why does that keep coming up?  Aren’t you helping them to do something about it?”  I was a bit stumped for a minute.  The answer seemed obvious to me – but maybe not to him.

“Actually”, I said, “Yes, we are.  But not everyone who answers our survey is a client AND for those that are, it’s a process.  It requires an incredible discipline – and perseverance – on the part of CEO’s AND their leadership teams.  And, as our speaker and former Inc 500 CEO Kevin Daum quipped, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”

Developing a robust accountability system involves three key components…starting with solid meeting rhythms (Chapter 8 of “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits…). 

Meeting rhythms, especially the weekly tacticals and daily huddles are the anchoring mechanisms that bring everyone in the company back to what’s important – and what’s not…or at least, not important yet.  A great daily huddle has two purposes:  to share successes and recognize people for their acomplishments (shout outs) and identify obstacles that are getting in the way of achieving the plan.  NOT problem solving those obstacles.  Just identifying them so that the right resources can be allocated to solve them.  Off line.

In fact, at Hawks and Company, some of their employees refer to the Daily Huddles as their “daily obstacle” meetings.  As one of their field supervisors says, “It’s the meeting where we identify any major obstacles to the plan and are able to find the time to take it off line and eliminate it.”

At CBI Group, where they’ve been using the Habits since 2008 to run the company, everyone gathers at 8:45 for their Daily – sometimes 45 people strong. Kelly Murray, one of their marketing folks writes very simply, “During this meeting, we are held accountable.” Pretty powerful stuff.

The other two components of GREAT accountability?  Stay tuned for those in my upcoming blogs and more on the CBI Group’s best practices too!   And if you need a little boost with adopting some of these accountability practices, sign up for our upcoming “Four Decisions: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” workshop coming up on November 8th!

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