leadership accountability

Leadership Accountability – A Great Way to Get Better Results

Leadership is something that I talk about quite a bit on this blog. Most recently, I’ve used the Colts and general success in the NFL as case studies. We’ve looked at how the new leadership has changed the culture to one of winning. We’ve also discussed how the “offseason” can be equally important to success as the actual “season” as well.

But how do you get people to buy in and commit to the plan? How do you actually get moving in the right direction?

How do you hold people responsible to obtain the desired results?

There’s a simple word that many teams use to describe the solution to this: accountability.

Why Accountability?

There are several reasons why a person would want to be held accountable for their actions. There’s networking involved, sure. Someone that’s accountable will tend to build better relations than someone who isn’t. But there’s another thing. Accountability makes most of us perform better. Simply put, when we have accountability, we move from intentions to actions. And even more than this, you strengthen a feedback loop that enables you to get better and better.

3 Levels of Accountability

Personal Accountability

Now when we’re talking about accountability, we’re all familiar with the first level: personal accountability. At this level, we leverage accountability with ourselves, another individual, or a group of individuals to achieve individual desired results. So, for example, we use personal accountability when we’re wanting to lose weight by going to the gym more. Or we might use it in mastermind when all the members have different goals in their own business.

Team Accountability

The next type of accountability is team accountability. At this level, not only are you accountable to your own goals, but you’re accountable to the goals of the team. Meaning, not only are you getting something out of what you’re committing to do, but your teammates are expecting you to follow through. For example, in sports, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do in a given situation, then it gets harder for your teammates to rely on you in the future. So it’s pretty obvious, I think, that at this level, it’s imperative for us to meet or even exceed the expectations of our team members.

Leadership Accountability

The next and final level of accountability is called leadership accountability. At this level, it’s your job to manage the team and help its members not only stay accountable to themselves, but to the team as well. A leader who uses this type of accountability regularly will often be looked at as a servant leader. For example, if you were the manager and/or owner of a restaurant, you would have to make sure that the place runs as efficient as possible. Your job isn’t to do a particular job like washing dishes or making the actual food. Your job is to make sure that those on the team who are in charge of a particular job are actually able to do their jobs without you or someone else doing it for them. You need to be able to give 10% with the wait staff, 15% with the chefs, 8% with the cleaning crew, etc. However, when those people need to be relieved, it’s your job to be able to get in there and do their job.

As a leader who wants to practice more accountability, keep this idea in mind: When you pay attention to others and how they’re doing, you’ll get respect. When you expect them to perform at a certain level, you’ll get results.

Characteristics of Accountable People

Now that we’ve looked at why you’d want to use accountability to move your team forward, let’s look at the characteristics of individuals who are accountable.

  1. They are consistent. People who are accountable follow through on what they say they’ll follow through on.
  2. They have credibility. Being consistent with your actions says something about who you are as a person. However, if you ever wain on doing what you say you’re going to do, then there’s a good chance you’ll credibility.
  3. They improve performance of the team as a whole. Have you ever known someone that when they’re a present part of a team, the team just seems to be in a more positive mood when they’re around? That’s the impact that a credible and consistent leader can have!

Easy enough to say that if you or your team members illustrate these characteristics, then they have what it takes to be accountable.

Characteristics of Non-Accountable People

However, on the flip side, there’s some folks that you can’t expect to be accountable. Here are some characteristics of these individuals:

  1. They make excuses. Let’s face it, you probably know plenty of people who are good at making excuses. Would you want them part of your team to actually get something done? Probably not. When people use excuses, it often becomes more of a deterrent than anything else. Even if they’re good reasons for not getting something done, they still didn’t get something done that they said they would.
  2. They play the victim card. If they blame anything or anyone else for not being able to follow through on a commitment, then they’re essentially saying that they’re not responsible. The most accountable people always take the blame even when they’re not the one at fault for bad performance.
  3. They favor appearance above all else. Something else you might notice about non-accountable people is that they have a tendency to make things look better than they really are. They tend to sweep things under the rug as opposed to really dealing with a situation. If you feel that your team is treading water and not really moving forward, it might be because someone isn’t truly pulling their weight.

Action Steps

So that’s what accountability can do for your team and how to spot it. If you’re working with a group to do amazing things, be on the lookout for these signs from potential or current team members. It will help you determine if you’re going to go places or simply spin your wheels.

the power of focus

The Power of Focus – Why Intentions Aren’t Enough

Many people talk about the power of intention. It sounds good, but it’s kind of a vague phrase. Intention in what? Intention to having an awesome life? Being successful?

People intend to do all kinds of great things. But they keep getting sidetracked and never get to the destination they intended to.

Here’s an analogy: it’s like having a scope on a firearm and not using it while taking the shot. The person holding the gun intends to the hit the target, but they choose not to use the best tool they have to do so. Sure this is cool in a video game, but in reality, it’s just bad practice.

They don’t focus.

To Focus, We Need Clarity

In the last 6 months or so, I’ve been making it a point to figure out how people made it big before the advent of internet. In other words, how did people become recognized as gurus or thought leaders before there were all these platforms to circumvent the traditional routes?

What were the traditional routes?

After speaking with a handful of upcoming guests on the show, I’ve come to realize that the best methods of building a successful business start off with:

Knowing yourself,
knowing your industry,
and knowing how you can help others in it.

Leverage Your 3 P’s

In my resource, Uncover Your Personal Mission, I refer to these as your 3 P’s:

Passions,
Purpose,
and Process.

If you haven’t downloaded the resource yet, when I refer to Passions, I’m talking about the things you find interesting. Topics that you naturally gravitate to. Skills that you’ve been naturally learning.

When it comes to Purpose, I’m referring to how you interact with those around you. What is a group of people you feel a bit of a calling to or you love to help?

Then, your Process can be thought of like this: what is the unique way that you can help people in that group? What do they need help with the most?

For many, the first two Ps are pretty straight forward. They’re your Why and What. But your How is something that many of us don’t necessarily know how to determine on our own. In fact, many of us don’t do the right work to figure out how we can truly help others.

In fact, often times, we’re creating content or performing work similar to what we’ve heard others create.

This simply isn’t how you go about finding your How.

Stop Living Vicariously

Interestingly, I’ve been doing some research to get ready for a guest I’m happy to announce will be on the show in an upcoming episode: Jordan Harbinger. I listened to a couple of his recent interviews where he and his guests were talking about two topics that I felt were pretty interrelated. Focus in a Chaotic World (with Cal Newport) and Why Self-Help Makes People Feel Terrible (with Gabriel Mizrahi).

Talk about a coincidence!

In both conversations, the idea came up that many of us who are in this creative entrepreneur/thought leader space are exercising a simple “monkey see, monkey do” strategy. We see how certain people have risen to where they are and we try to be like them to get the same results.

We feel that we have to do everything that the successful people are doing, or we won’t be successful ourselves.

The problem is that when a generalist approach simply isn’t as effective as a specialist’s approach.

As generalists, many of us just starting out don’t realize that these big names with the thousands of followers actually have their own teams. Or if they don’t have a team, they’ve just been doing what they’ve been doing for so long that they now have reached a point where they have exponential growth.

Trying to duplicate those results as someone relatively new to an industry, shouldn’t be what we’re focused on.

What to Focus On

Instead of trying to do all these different tasks to try and get your name out there and recognized, you need to focus on a few things. The things that really are a value for others.

For example, Jordan has specifically focused on his show for… 12 years.

Funny thing is he still hasn’t really used the different social medias like many of us think he should based on his influencer (fyi – he hates that title) status.

Sure, in the last year he’s completely rebranded himself from scratch, but he did that because he had the connections in place to do so. People knew him from the previous 11 years of being a great host on his old show. They knew what his niche was and, to an extent, continues to be.

If we want to be as successful as Jordan or other influencers that we look up to, we have to find our own track to do it. No amount of learning how to do Facebook ads or learning some other skill is going to have an direct impact on your success. What has worked for others, more than likely won’t work for you.

However, if you start out on your own path of creating value for others, you’ll make the right connections along the way. Find out what’s needed and find a solution for those needs.

Action Steps

So, here’s a bit of advice that I learned all the way back in 2012. We collectively need to practice Idea Extraction (a phrase coined by Dane Maxwell who I had on the show in session 56) in our businesses. We can’t just sit back and hope that we can find what other people need by being on our keyboards or browsing on our phones all day. We need to actually get out there and find out what’s needed. If we can do that within an industry we love utilizing skills we have (or can learn) then, we’ll have it made.

To get you going on the right path, here’s 5 questions that anyone who’s starting a new business needs to be able to know about their clientele:

  1. What keeps them up at night, staring at the ceiling?
  2. Are they upset about something? What do they find frustrating?
  3. What do they desire the most?
  4. Are there any trends that suggest something will change in their lives or work?
  5. What other solutions have other companies tried selling to them. Were they successful?
  6. Are there any weird idiosyncrasies about this group of individuals. For example, if they’re an engineer, do they use a lot of jargon in their working day? If they’re a performer, maybe they tend to work better in chaos?

Once you get an idea of what it’s like to live in the life of someone in the group you want to work with and could probably write a journal entry for them, then you’re onto something. My recommendation is do this at least 7-20 times so you can definitely start seeing a pattern of issues.

Once you get a fix for one of those issues, then you can easily take it to others and start being known as “the person who does X”. Then, from there, you’ll start to build a following as more people hear about your successes. Just don’t forget to constantly update how you do things. I’m still learning everyday!

increase confidence

Expect to Win – 3 Ingredients We Need to Increase Confidence

Confidence is something that is discussed quite a bit in entrepreneurial and self-help circles. It is extremely important in almost every part of our lives, but yet so many people struggle to find it. Without it, it’s almost impossible to find true success in what we want out of our lives.

In fact, it’s a vicious cycle between confidence, goal setting, and success.

When we have low confidence, we find it hard to set goals. We think that it’s useless because we won’t achieve them. Then, without setting goals, it’s almost impossible to be successful because we’re not defining what that success looks like.

So, how do we turn this cycle around? How can we become more confident in what we’re doing to eventually feel and be more successful?

Let’s take a look.

It Starts with Action

When I was active in LTD, I really enjoyed the training that was available. I’ve posted about much of what I’ve learned in past blog posts. But one of the things that was taught pretty frequently to new members was this simple idea:

Taking Action yields Results which yields Belief. The more Belief we have, the more likely we’re going to take further Action.

While this might sound like confidence, it’s only a part. Through taking Action and gaining more Belief, we’re actually building Competence in what we’re doing.

What’s great about building competence by practicing a certain skill set is that it’s pretty straight forward. Just start and learn from the action you take. Do it again and again and you’ll gain not only a feeling of confidence that you can do that particular thing but you’ll also gain a bit of appreciation of the work you’re doing.

Believe in the Mission

While we gain confidence through simply performing simple actions, we start to also gain a bit of an identity of ourselves through this work. It gain even more confidence when we start out with a perception of who we are and what we’re about. When our actions and results start fulfilling that perception, then we start building confidence through Congruence.

As you guys know, I’m a fan of the Colts and have been since I was in junior high. Over the years, I’ve gone from a fan who was only excited about watching the games, to a fan who analyzes the team as a whole. Not just paying attention to the players but what the leadership is saying as well. Not just through the games, but listening to what the coaches say and what the players are saying as well.

This past weekend’s game (and this past season) is a great example of seeing Congruence at work. Rookie head coach Frank Reich has installed a winning identity into the team. From the preseason where the leadership actually focused on winning games to this past weekend, there has been an expectation to come out of games with a win.

Even though they started the season at 1-5, they have rallied to get into this season’s playoffs. While they’ve been competitive and played pretty good ball all year, they definitely weren’t getting the results they were going for early on. However, the leadership didn’t lose faith and kept an even keel.

As they started to win, many members of the team started to realize that when they had that losing streak, it was mainly because they were sabotaging themselves. They weren’t living up to their own expectations. With a combination of this new belief in what they’re doing and performing their individual jobs correctly, they have dug themselves out of a hole. And they are now the 3rd team ever to get into the playoffs after starting with one win and five losses.

So, here’s the takeaway from this: Know and be clear on what you’re going for. Find your own personal mission. Take action and learn from past mistakes. As you get better at your skills and start fulfilling your mission, you’ll gain even more confidence.

Connect and Work with Others

When thinking about people who are successful, most of the time we look at them as the reason that they were successful. However, that usually isn’t the case. Great people are successful because they’ve built a great network. They’ve built a team. They have learned how to Connect.

In fact, the most successful people in the world aren’t those who have worked the hardest and it’s not those who have the most talent. While those are great things that can most certainly help, the real catalyst is knowing how to meet others, work with them, and elevate them to achieve things they couldn’t without you.

When you’re executing the best you can in a mission you believe in and doing so with other people, then there’s probably a good chance you have a certain level of confidence that will help you achieve anything you set out to do.

If building this network is something you want to develop, check out Jordan Harbinger and his podcast.

Action Steps

So if you want to build confidence in yourself and in what you’re doing, I first suggest finding out what your own personal mission is. Once you know that, you have the biggest part of achieving success – clarity.

At this point it’s up to you to build the skill sets you need to achieve that mission as well as figure out those who you need in your team to help you succeed.

After all, it doesn’t matter how good a Quarterback is if he doesn’t have a supporting cast. He needs other players to have a chance at winning the game.

Kristian Aleixo – Escaping the Clutches of Fate: Building Resilience to Life’s Speed Bumps (AoL 137)

To succeed in life we’re all going to have obstacles get in our way. Sometimes it’ll be people telling us we can’t do something. Other times it might be a lack of knowledge about a certain topic.

Today’s guest, Kristian Aleixo, is all about taking obstacles head on. However, he looks at them as challenges. And while he might not necessarily have the solution to dealing with the challenge right away, he doesn’t make any excuses and makes it his mission to figure it out.

This attitude is helped him in his career as a race car driver. And because of his resilience, he’s looking to become an IndyCar racer in the next couple of years.

In this session, we hope that you’re inspired to learn how to appreciate challenges. Because once you conquer them, you can use them as part of your story in helping others!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How does Kristian compare to the stereotypical racecar driver? 6:31
  • What kind of mindset does it take to dig deep when obstacles get in his way of being a high performer? 12:42
  • What is the importance of building relationships with organizations around the community as a professional athlete? 17:06
  • Are there any pointers that Kristian would recommend to help assimilate into a new city or community? 23:09
  • What was the catalyst for him to write his first book? 29:41
  • How did he find the time to actually write it? 32:34
  • How many versions of the book did he end up going through? 38:57
  • What does the future look like for Kristian? 40:45
  • How does training work for today’s racer? 42:32
  • What is his top 3 favorite books? 47:26
  • Is there something he’s become good at saying no to? 48:34
  • What’s something that lot of people don’t realize is a huge waste of money? 49:11
  • What on his bucket list might surprise people? 50:48
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 51:38

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Kristian’s Fuzion Magazine Interview

Kristian with Engel Jones on 12 Minute Convos

Kristian on Amplify Indy Podcast

Simulator Driving with Kristian


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

high performer

Giving Your A-Game – What it Takes to be a High Performer

When it comes to labeling common sense and things that happen in an everyday working environment, the Organizational Leadership (OLS) department at Purdue is my standard.

During my studies, I remember thinking “that makes sense” to so many concepts that we learned about. From the importance of the transition period in organizational change, to mentorship, to even something as simple as communication. There was a name for everything.

Since then, I’ve run across a number of topics that have blown me away. I find it amazing that something which originally seemed relatively vague and difficult to comprehend can be simply explained by a label and a quick explanation.

It love it whenever something just clicks into place.

Recently, as I’ve been preparing to be better version of myself in 2019, I’ve been reading several books that I’ve been meaning to in the last few years.

One of those books is Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. And I have to say I’ve gotten a ton of takeaways from this book. In fact, I wrote about one of those takeaways in the last post.

And in this post, I have one more to share with you. It’s all about realizing if you’re bringing your current project, your current role, heck – even your current relationships, your A-Game.

 

Bringing Your A-Game

Now, a lot of us are familiar with this phrase. If not, bringing one’s A-Game is about giving something you’re working on or participating in your complete effort – your full commitment. It’s a phrase that I’m guessing originally came from the sport world – but it’s used in all kinds of situations.  

In life, we need to think as every day as game day.  You simply can’t achieve your goals with B-effort.

That being the case, not everyone brings their full focus or a great attitude to what they’re working on. And, since most projects consist of more than one person, I think we need to be able to identify what level of commitment people are at when they’re working with us.

So let’s take a look at these various levels or identities.

 

Game Player Identities

There are 5 identities we can give people we know in some aspect of our life. Whether that’s at work, a sports league, a band, or even in an online multiplayer guild situation. When we find something which is important to us, we often want to know that the other people on our team are putting in the same amount of effort – if not more.

When I think of great players in sports, I can’t help but think of all the extra time they put into mastering their craft. And you better believe that the best players at any competitive online game have a team that they regularly train with.

If this is the case, why shouldn’t we hold those that we work with – including ourselves – under the same expectations?

So here ya go:

Dabblers

They have a passing interest in whatever it is that they’re “involved” with. I wouldn’t even call it being “involved”. They’re basically just taking whatever they’re doing for a test drive and not really committing to it. Unfortunately, a good part of their life is probably this way. They don’t take much, if anything, serious.

Novices

Like Dabblers, they have an interest in what they’re doing. But, unlike Dabblers, they actually see themselves eventually mastering whatever it is that they’re doing. They want to commit.

Problem is, they might not do that well with discouragement. And whenever they hit a wall without the proper support, they might just shelve whatever they’re starting on. Be this for simply a later date or when they feel more prepared to take on the task.

 

Amateurs

These folks have more than an interest – they have a passion – in whatever it is that they’re working on. This passion (also known as a Why?) keeps them more committed to long term goals, but they tend to need more external motivation to keep going.

When I think of this group, I like to remember that the first time I heard of Tiger Woods, he was playing as an amateur. Sure, he had what it took to get to the next level, but how many people did he play with that didn’t move on to the pros? Likewise when it comes to college level sports, there’s a lot of external pressure from coaches for individuals to perform.

 

Players (Professionals)

When people become pros, not only do they have to perform on another level, but they are also in charge of themselves and their actions quite a bit more. As long as these folks feel as if they are being fairly compensated for their efforts, then they’ll do fine.

However, they are also highly dependent on set rules and routines.

I think this is one reason why you see a lot of college recruited players fail at playing professional sports. They’re simply not prepared to make the transition. They don’t see the change of the game and their surroundings as fair. A good example of an athlete failing to make this transition is Ryan Leaf. (Even though he’s realized it since then.)

We don’t see this in just sports either. Many people outside of sports have issues with this transition, too.

For example, a lot of military personnel really struggle with life when they get out.

When they’re in their unit, they’re used to a certain way of doing things. They have a certain job that they’re supposed to do to make the machine work.

However, when they are discharged, they simply don’t have the support to make a successful transition to a civilian life.

When players don’t have things go their way, they find it hard to recover at times.

 

High Performers

Finally, we have the pinnacle of performers. The elite players – the GOATs (Greatest of all Time).

What is it about these folks that makes them so successful? Well, for one, they have greater all-around necessity, skill, and team spirit. In fact, not only do they have such a high degree of personal excellence and duty to their team (which makes them the de facto go-to player), but they have this uncanny ability to make everyone around them better.

When you think of these people in sports, we often think of people like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and for you baseball fans – Babe Ruth. Who do you want to have the last chance to score?

In the working world, people like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs come to mind. Who would you want to run your company?

While these individuals might not have an well rounded life, they’re definitely well known for their work – their game. They don’t want to master just one of area of the game – but want to be known for their commitment in mastering the game entirely.

 

Action Steps

Pretty interesting, huh? Just like last post, my recommendation for your next step is to get this book of Brendon’s and read (listen to) it. In the last couple of years Gary V is credited for saying “Skills are cheap, passion is priceless.” In a nutshell, knowing how to be a high performer is knowing how to act on your personal mission.