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Accountability to get things done e book v3.0

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“I promise to…”
BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY
TO GET THINGS DONE
By Tom Krekel
Execution in your organization
This	eBook	is	for	leaders	frustrated	with	coming	up	short	on	
results	that	are	seemingly	ju...
Page	3
In	their	2007	Harvard	Business	Review article	“Promise-Base	
Management,”	Donald	N.	Sull	and	Charles	Spinosa	call	“...
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Accountability to get things done e book v3.0

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The principles of building accountability in business settings where you get engagement instead of merely compliance.

The principles of building accountability in business settings where you get engagement instead of merely compliance.

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Accountability to get things done e book v3.0

  1. 1. “I promise to…” BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE By Tom Krekel
  2. 2. Execution in your organization This eBook is for leaders frustrated with coming up short on results that are seemingly just outside their grasp. Many of these leaders suspect that they don’t have adequate buy-in or engagement from their employees. Often they are disappointed that their people aren’t more accountable. They’re frustrated when their expectations aren’t met. These difficulties are not only common in organizations ….they are widespread. When it is happening to you, it feels like a singular experience….but it is not. It is that slippage you feel between the ability to create a plan and the ability to execute it fully. A basic tenet of improving organizational execution involves developing personal accountability. When employees have a say in making their own commitments, instead of being told, you have at least a foundation for success. We believe in applying Promised-Based Management and we’ll explain this later. Page 2 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  3. 3. Page 3 In their 2007 Harvard Business Review article “Promise-Base Management,” Donald N. Sull and Charles Spinosa call “promise- based management the essence of execution.” They write “improperly executed strategy, lack of organizational agility, disengaged employees, and so on – stem from broken or poorly crafted commitments.” “Practicing promised-based management is about cultivating and coordinating commitments in a systematic way.” Promise-Based Management The “systematic way” is the need for an execution management process, which we’ll describe in this eBook. But beware, there are obstacles ahead. Warning: One of a leader’s challenges is push back from those who fear being held more accountable. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  4. 4. What to expect: Get ready for: “Why tried that once and it didn’t work….” or “That won’t work here…” or “We’re already doing that….” Don’t believe it. Within each and every management team there is at least one person who is deathly afraid of the notion of accountability. That person fails to understand that accountability does not have a dark or negative connotation. The naysayer thinks the organization is practicing “accountability” without knowing what a truly effective execution management system looks like. A leader must drive the adoption of an effective execution management process. Well…what is that exactly? Page 4 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  5. 5. What an execution management system? Execution management is a term thrown around too loosely in business. In short it is: “Clarifying, deploying and achieving an organization’s initiatives” q Execution management is not an HR process. It is a leadership process. q It is not a replacement for a performance appraisal system (though many appraisal systems ought to be replaced). q It’s not a project management tool. q While individuals may have professional development goals (recommended), this process isn’t about employee development, per se. It is about the organization achieving its goals. q Software can only support an execution management process. Software is not execution management. Page 5 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  6. 6. “The best performance management programs are designed to stimulate the right kinds of conversations around the right topics. That’s all.” Patrick Lencioni from “The Advantage” q Software supports an execution management leadership process, by providing reporting progress towards goals throughout the organization. But this is a leadership process that does not require software. You’ve just got to commit to the habit. Page 6 q Software is just a tool to document & track individual’s commitments and monthly one-on-one meetings, that we’ll describe later. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  7. 7. Execution Management Systems The components of the process are based on: ü Individually negotiated commitments or what we call Performance Agreements that are drafted in the employee’s own hand (and then approved by the leader). ü Performance Agreements go beyond goals and clarify the day job, or what you’re counting on the employee to accomplish for on an ongoing basis, as distinct from their goals. ü Goals tied to the company’s top initiatives. ü Monthly one- on-one meetings between each leader and each employee which discuss the employee’s implementation of day- to-day responsibilities and progress towards the goals. Page 7 Day job Goals “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  8. 8. Only 15% Consider these findings from recent research from: “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by McChesney, Covey and Huling based on hundreds of organizations surveyed (2012) Is execution really a problem? of all employees could name even one of their organization’s goals! ______% Page 8 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  9. 9. said they weren’t held accountable for regular progress on goals 81% From “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”…… 87% said they had no clear idea what they should do to achieve a goal. Page 9 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  10. 10. #1 “It's rarely for lack of smarts or vision. Most unsuccessful CEOs stumble because of one simple, fatal shortcoming.” Authors Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin’s in their June, 1999 Fortune cover story. “It’s bad execution. As simple as that: not getting things done… not delivering on commitments.” ACCORDING TO FORTUNE MAGAZINE’S EPIC COVER STORY, FROM JUNE 1999 WHY CEOs FAIL Page 10
  11. 11. More than half of business leaders recognize this gap but even more disturbing, 64% lack confidence in their organization’s ability to close that gap. The Strategy to Execution Gap According to Fortune Magazine less than 10% of strategies effectively formulated are implemented fully. If you’ve felt as if you are struggling with execution, you are not alone. Page 11 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  12. 12. ü Too many managers confuse communication with engagement. Just calling an employee meeting and sharing the plan doesn’t enlist individual buy-in or commitment. Employees are spectators. Why is there a disconnect? What are the reasons that carefully crafted strategic plans fail to get fully implemented? ü Managers assume employees clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. ü Many leaders believe execution is intuitive and that they should know how do to it automatically. ü Often, executive teams treat planning as a task. They finish, check the box and move on. ü Meaningful, intentional conversations on progress are infrequent, and unstructured (if they happen at all). ü Strategies and goals get lost in the day to day. Page 12 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  13. 13. 2 reasons strategic plans are not implemented fully ü There are too many company initiatives ü Often those initiatives are not clear or understood at all levels q We recommend no more than three initiatives with one designated as #1. Companies with too many priorities have no priorities. q Lose $3 words, and write in a way that everyone can understand. You MUST be able to clearly determine whether the initiative was achieved. q For your #1 initiative, pick a Critical Number. This Key Performance Indicator is the best measure an initiative’s outcomes. (See Verne Harnish’s “Scaling Up”) Why so many initiatives? Page 13 Download a sample chapter >> “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  14. 14. “Every organization, if it wants to create a sense of alignment and focus, must have a single top priority within a given time period.” “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni On too many initiatives….. “If you’re trying to execute five, ten or even twenty important goals, the truth is your team can’t focus.” “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by McChesney, Covey, & Huling Page 14 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  15. 15. Initiatives need to be tight Express your company’s clearly and succinctly. One convention to follow is: “From X to Y by when” Page 15 Examples of ambiguous initiatives: • To improve our customer care experience • Develop a world class engineering staff • Increase operational efficiency through training Poorly conceived initiatives create more confusion than clarity. RECOMMENDATION: Company initiatives need one person designated as the accountable owner. While many may have responsibilities for achieving the initiative, (through their individual goals), someone needs to “count” or keep track of the initiative’s journey toward completion. That person is responsible for raising a red flag when issues arise. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  16. 16. There are really two basic types of activities in every organization: Maintaining and Improving. Maintaining is everyone’s day job. Getting orders sold, produced, recorded and revenue collected. Maintaining customer service, vendor relations and inventory levels. The big miss: the day job Initiatives and goals are improving activities. They facilitate enhancement of a process or capability. They result in the organization or its employees trying out new things, or learning to do the same things differently. Agreeing on the outcomes you expect from someone in their day job is central to building accountability. This is often totally missed in execution planning. Page 16 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  17. 17. Goals have a finite life. They need a finish line. They need a well- defined measure of success. The day job doesn’t. It is ongoing. As long as I am the CFO, for example, I’m responsible for the cash position of the company (to name one outcome). That is different from a goal for example of “design a collections process to reduce our accounts receivable days from 60 to 45 days by June 1st.” Here is an improving activity…which once the process is implemented requires ongoing maintenance (now someone’s day job). The focus of a strategic plan is naturally on things we are going to improve. For this reason, the BIG MISS in executional planning is NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THAT PEOPLE HAVE DAY JOBS. Yet the day job is where we expect most people will spend the majority of their time, while goals are added to their responsibilities. You must reconcile the competing demands or time in advance. Goals have a finite life Page 17 Goals have a start and a finish. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  18. 18. it might surprise managers to learn that so-called stretch goals quite commonly produce poor outcomes. Dr. Aubrey C. Daniels is one of the world’s foremost authorities on applying scientifically-proven laws of human behavior to the workplace. His academic research and many years of consulting experience has led him to this conclusion: “Stretch goals are an ineffective management practice and, as such, waste time and money.” In his book “Oops, 13 Management Practices that Waste Time and Money” he concludes: “Stretch goals are based on the faulty assumption that you have to pull performance out of people and, without repeated challenges, people will settle for something less that they are capable of doing.” What is a stretch goal? It’s an imprecise term but roughly we’re talking about goals that far exceed what’s likely or possible. Stretch goals: Little boost, mostly backfire Page 18 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE Stretch goals not only fail to drive superior performance but they have unintended consequences managers should be on guard for.
  19. 19. “Stretch goals are based on the faulty assumption that you have to pull performance out of people and, without repeated challenges, people will settle for something less that they are capable of doing,” according to Dr. Daniels. As an alternative he suggests ways to make goals work for you. Set many mini-goals. Allow the goals to be attainable with our Herculean effort. Daniels says in his book, “This is because positive reinforcement accelerates performance and small goals provide more opportunities for acceleration.” Display the progress visibly in graphic forms – and with frequency. Think: dashboards. Daily if possible, weekly when daily isn’t workable. Plan positive and frequent feedback. By plan, we mean the conversation needs to be scheduled, not something you do casually when you think to. The monthly progress meeting we advocate accomplishes. Stretch goals: Little boost, mostly backfire Page 19 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE If you are going to error when goal setting, better to set the goal too low. Negative reinforcement defeats motivation.
  20. 20. Paradoxically stretch goals can put a limit on what’s possible. They can set a perceived ceiling. By pre-determining success, people sometimes become satisfied when they reach the level of management expectation, also known as the “safety plateau.” Dr. Daniels suggests a way to make goals work for you. This is not to say you shouldn’t set lofty goals. It’s just that unrealistic goals disempower people. You want to create the sequential mini-goals or steps that breed the experience of success with positive reinforcement. Performance ceilings Page 20 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE Avoid pressure to throw the Hail Mary In the Jan/Feb 2017 of the Harvard Business Review, a feature article points out that organizations most prone to use stretch goals are often those most desperate. Why? They need a bold play to get out of a pickle or current circumstance. “ The Stretch Goal Paradox: Audacious targets are widely misunderstood and misused” recommends more measured determined mini-steps. The article’s authors Sitkin, Miller and See, advise against the stretch goal lottery bet.
  21. 21. Make it their goal Common goal mistakes or shortcomings ü They are not formulated by the individual employee Do not hand an employee a goal you have established for the employee and then expect the employee to treat it as his or her own. Instead have the conversation with the employee about the goal. Think of this process as iterative. They will be questions at the beginning but this is where clarity occurs. Explain what you are expecting and discuss. Then ask the employee to write his or her understanding of the objective so you know the employee is committing to what you had in mind. Page 21 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  22. 22. Goals vs Tasks Common goal mistakes or shortcomings ü Having too many goals Page 22 Thus over the course of a quarter, most people should only have one or two goals, plus a professional development or learning goal. For the same reason we advise against “stretch goals” having too many goals increases the likelihood that some will be missed. Lots of missing leads to what behavioral scientists call extinction, which means the loss of reinforcement for previously reinforced behavior. This diminishes motivation. (See Aubrey Daniels, book “Oops” for more). Some of this stems from people confusing tasks with goals. Think of little steps taken to move the ball down the field as tasks. Things such as setting a meeting or issuing an request for a proposal, or writing a letter, don’t rise to the level of a goal. Tasks are just a means to an end: not the goal. A goal (in the sense we’re using it here) is not the kind of thing you can do in a week of two. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  23. 23. üThe criteria for success is ambiguous There are two types of criteria generally. Quantitative and qualitative. Page 23 In our experience most “success” criteria are ambiguous; in other words an independent observer couldn’t reliably determine whether a goal has been achieved. This is especially true with non- quantifiable goal criteria which require careful construction. Defining the success criteria collaboratively creates clarity and buy-in and results in a most realistic definition of success. Peer accountability As a Certified Gazelles Int’l Coach, our clients apply the Rockefeller Habits from “Scaling Up” as an “operating system’ for improving execution. We find the rhythm of daily huddles enhances execution due to the peer pressure that results from these tightly focused meetings. For more get a copy of “Scaling Up” and read chapter 11 on Meeting Rhythms. <<<Link to DOWNLOAD THE ROCK HABITS HERE “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  24. 24. Validation of the process Kim Cameron is the William Russell Kelly Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan and author of Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance. In “Positive Leadership” Professor Cameron describes the “Personal Management Interview” (PMI) program, which closely describes the outlines of the execution management process we follow. The work Cameron cites is important because it lends independent academic validation to our approach. In “Positive Leadership” Cameron describes the PMI program. 1. An initial role negotiation session. “The goal of a role-negotiation session is simply to obtain clarity between both parties regarding what each expects from the other, what the goals and standards are.” How you get clarity on roles Page 24 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  25. 25. One-on-one’s 2. As with our practice, the PMI program relies on ongoing monthly “one-on-one meetings between the leader and each direct report. Professor Cameron advocates “a collaborative meeting – not a top- down, micromanagement mechanism.” We agree. These monthly check-in’s are not performance reviews. They should not be backward looking judgmental critiques but rather coaching conversations focused on the future. Forward looking coaching Page 25 “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE
  26. 26. Tom Krekel is a Gazelles International Certified Coach. “We teach a proprietary approach to building execution as an organizational competency by using a process that is supported by Keyne Insights' execution software,” he explained. Tom has thirty years of experience as a founder and CEO in building and operating businesses. The companies he ran ranged from a start-up that he founded, to an organization of 175 full- time employees in central New Jersey. For more resources go to www.FullSailStrategies.com The author Page 26 Tom Krekel Four Guiding Principles of Accountability o The first right of every employee is to know what is expected of them. o Execution happens at the individual level. (No department or company ever achieved a goal. Somebody or somebodies did). o Employees must create their own commitments. o There must be a regular cadence of communication. “I PROMISE TO” – BUILDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO GET THINGS DONE

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