A Guest Post by Drs. Kevin & Jackie Freiberg
The industries, companies, teams and executives we speak to these days have this in common; they want and need all people to be accountable and to exercise leadership even though resources, time and human talent are all limited. Here is a summarized bullet list of 7 leadership and accountability strategies to help you make a powerful impact between now and the end of the year:
1. Think and act like a connoisseur.
Become an expert on something important to growing a piece of the business. Connoisseurs are “go to” knowledge experts, they are on the cutting edge of innovation. Connoisseurs are leaders who are known for bringing something new to the game. Do you have a reputation for being a connoisseur in your field? If not, how can you increase your knowledge to add value, spark innovation, generate a new lead, or save some money?
2. Find a trigger point, a place or point of focus for your day.
Is there a morning ritual, a time of reflection, a cup of coffee, a daily drive to the office that becomes a daily “trigger point” a visual reminder to focus and become more conscious of HOW you want to be more accountable and to be a better leader each day? For example, everyday commit to living a value or a virtue out-loud, big and bold. Or identify a leadership quality, listening skill, time management tip or attitude you want to be known for and commit to modeling and practicing it all day long.
3. Be interested and interesting, great leaders are both!
They do not monopolize the conversation, or take all of the airtime to share details no one cares about and just talk, talk, talk, tell, tell, tell. Nor do they control the discussion by asking all the questions, forcing others to carry the conversation. Great leaders plan, they prepare for events and networking opportunities, they do their homework. They share helpful insights, tell “interesting” stories and ask “interested” and thought provoking questions. If you tend to tell more than you ask or if you ask more than tell, shake it up — change, practice both! Make a commitment to becoming a better leader and purposefully plan and engage in the next social situation by being both interested and interesting.
4. Keep / Be great company, your reputation as a leader depends upon it.
We have three children, two daughters, ages 19 and 15 and a son almost 10. There are countless times in any given week when we remind our children that, “they are known by the company they keep.” The same is true in business. Be very purposeful about who you spend your time with socially and the team you run with professionally. Your business associates, professional groups and friends have incredible power, they can draw you up or drag you down. In the spirit of being personally accountable to improving your reputation as a leader, do you need to make any professional or social adjustments in the company you keep?
5. Replace “yeah but” with “what if”
Inspiring a culture of accountability is about encouraging people to innovate, stretch, grow and challenge tired models and processes. Great leaders monitor their language, avoid using “yeah but” and challenge others to do the same. Anyone can “yeah but” an idea to death. If we’re honest, we’re all guilty as charged and sadly most organizational cultures lean toward “yeah but” more than “what if!” It’s the leaders who provide the freedom for others to think big and “what if” ideas to life that will take our businesses in new and innovative directions. The freedom to “what if” ideas to life will inspire a culture of accountability, so why not boycott “yeah but” and replace it with a “what if” contest to bring cost savings, lead generation, process improvements, and other innovative ideas to life! Please keep us posted on your progress.
6. Shake it up – train like an athlete.
Professional athletes only stay in the game and on top of their game by constantly trying to re-invent themselves. In his prime, LaDanian Tomlinson was known for his rigorous workouts. He’d always train by doing three things together—standing one legged on the bosu ball he’d practice catching a pass or throwing a medicine ball. Go for it, try it just once. When Tiger Woods was at the top of his game he decided it was time to re-invent his swing. People cried, “why change what’s working?” Because you can! Bruce Bochy re-invented his underdog team and lead a very unexpected club to become the 2010 World Series Champions. It’s pretty standard to have batting practice before each game, its not standard to bring the team into the club house to watch Mel Gibson perform at his best in Braveheart. What did Braveheart do for the San Francisco Giants, it re-inspired, re-invented their belief in themselves! Go Giants! As a leader, look around, what SOP or operational skills can you re-invent, re-engineer or just slightly shake-up to do a Bochy and grow your teams’ faith, belief and confidence in themselves?
7. Just do it….Get to YES Fast!
A couple of years ago we were racing to the airport after doing an event in Vegas. Our driver was very excited to tell us he was training to drive for the Wynn Property. From the training our driver learned there are three answers to every client question: “Yes, absolutely and, of course!” As a leader what can you do to get to YES fast for your team? If you model “yes fast” your team will be inspired to do the same for your customers and clients as well. Too often we let too much of nothing get in our way.
The last quarter and your reputation are counting on you to LEAD BIG! Just do it.