business ownership

Jeff Gamble – Gaining Perspective through Business Ownership: How One Entrepreneur Survived the Ride of His Life (AoL 156)

Business ownership comes in many forms. The goal of this show has always been to expose the listener to as many ways to start earning 6 or 7 figures a year. In the last session, our guest, Chris Prefontaine, built his income generating machine through real estate investing. Then, in session 150, we had Corbett Barr on who told us about how he managed to make Fizzle from the knowledge he knew about monetizing traffic online.

In this session, I had the chance to speak with an influencer here in the Indianapolis area about his background in various businesses including multi-level marketing (MLM).

As you guys probably know, I’ve been a fan of properly ran MLM groups for years. For instance, way back in session 23 of the show, Laila and I had the opportunity to interview soon to be Amway Diamond Mark Nathan.

What he and today’s guest, Jeff Gamble, can tell you is that a large part of being successful in the network marketing arena is affiliating yourself with great people.

Pair this experience of his with traditional business and the result is someone that knows a lot about what it takes to be successful entrepreneur and leader.

But don’t think that this journey of his has been easy. He’s had more major setbacks than anyone I know.

Even if you’re not interested in getting involved with an MLM company, let his story be one of inspiration to you in whatever you’re pursuing.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How was Jeff initially exposed to the multi-level marketing industry? 9:14
  • What life event made him change his perspective and look at other ways of making income? 16:02
  • When it comes to network marketing, what kind of benefits does Jeff believe associates get? 44:14
  • What are some things that people should consider when getting started with a MLM company? 53:21
  • What’s Jeff looking forward to in the not too distant future? 58:57
  • Who are three influential people who have help get him to where he’s at today? 1:01:39
  • What job or business would Jeff like to try out for a day? 1:01:49
  • What’s the smallest decision he’s made that’s had the most impact in his life? 1:02:05
  • Is there something that every high school student should know? 1:02:25
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 1:02:45

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

How to Fix Your Credit:

John Maxwell’s Law of Leadership #20 – Explosive Growth

Going Executive Director Show Episode 78

Jeff Working Out and Getting Max Gainz!


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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

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

Cheers!

team culture

5 Ingredients in Developing a Strong Team Culture

This morning I had the opportunity to go to the Next Level Indiana Fund Summit. It was an event where members of the capital venture arena addressed what the scene looks like here in Indiana. These members included government officials, representatives from the various funds, and entrepreneurs who had successfully built their businesses through funding. As I listened to these talks, a particular concept came up to me again and again. Each organization had a strong team culture.

What’s a Strong Team Culture Look Like?

When you think of a team culture, you might think of a particular sports team. I’ve written about various examples of sports teams with great cultures in the past. Duke Basketball, Duke Football, and the Colts are recent examples.

From these examples, we can see that culture is made up of certain parts. A culture has values, beliefs, attitudes and the certain behaviors that are important to the team. We can also see that if culture isn’t intentionally defined from the start, it will likely be defined by the weakest link.

If we let it get this far, then that’s when we feel we have to implement all kinds of precise rules, processes, and systems.  When this happens, members of the team feel like their personal perspective doesn’t matter. It demotivates your A-Team members. That becomes a much bigger problem REAL quick!

Essentially this is what we saw with the Colts when Ryan Grigson was General Manager. While he might have been a great talent scout and brought in a few good assets to the team, unfortunately, he didn’t set the right culture. Therefore, when then coach Chuck Pagano had to do his job, he practically had to babysit the players for every play. Unfortunately, he wasn’t too great at being a micro-manager and we ended up with plays like this. As a result, over time there was an overall feeling of distrust between the players, coaching staff, and the front office.

When Chris Ballard came in to take the reigns, he knew this had to change. So, from the very get-go, he started to define the new culture of the team. Add in Frank Reich last season, and you have a team of high trust, where the effective players believe in each other, the organization, and where it’s going.

Building a Strong Culture

So now that we have a bit of an idea of what a bad culture can yield vs a good culture, how do we build a strong one?

A good example of building a strong culture can, again, be seen in this recent post about the Duke football team.

But if I was to summarize that particular post, there’s a few takeaways that we need to have.

1. Single Team Vision

The first thing we need to realize is that while a team might have many voices, it has one mission and one vision. This means that the vision is a team effort – including the leadership. When they act and do things a particular way, the team will take notice and start to do what they see leadership doing.

Meaning, if the leadership wants the team to put in the hard work, they’ll have to put in work first.

Remember there’s no such thing as leading from behind.

2. Abundant Belief

The next thing we should notice is that a winning team believes that it is a winning team. This means that the leaders believe in the team, the team believes in each other and the leadership, and even more so, each individual on the team believes in themselves.

3. Appreciation of Ourselves and the Team

Many times, we leaders have a hard time appreciating our own little wins. Reason often is that we’re so focused on accomplishing the vision that the little wins we have along the way, don’t really count. They’re what’s supposed to happen. We might feel a little bit of satisfaction, but that’s about it.

However, when something doesn’t go quite the way we want it, that’s when we usually get somewhat emotional. And it’s because of this tendency that many of us tend to get sucked up into a downward emotional spiral.

That being the case, as leaders, we need to so gratitude towards our own accomplishments as well as those of our team members. If you need help with this, there’s a few resources I’d recommend. The first is the Five Minute Journal. If you’re not familiar with this journal, it’s an actual daily journal that helps you appreciate the things that went right during the day. That way you can get in the habit of appreciating what’s going right for you personally. If a hands on version isn’t your style, there’s an app for both iOS and Android.

Then, there’s the 5 Love Languages. And while many think this is for romantic relationships, there’s actually an edition for the workplace. This book is useful when you’re trying to learn how to show your appreciation of those in your immediate circle.

And last but not least is the John Maxwell book called the 25 Ways to Win with People. If you’re familiar with his book called Winning with People, then you’ll want to grab this whenever you need a refresher.

4. Active Participation in Team Discussions

One of the things I’ve noticed with winning teams is that all members of the team have a chance to input their thoughts on what’s going on. As a leader, it’s your job to help the members of your team feel that they’re welcome to offer their input. Of course the best way to get them to do this is to ask more questions. And when they respond, actually pay attention and get clarity on what they’re saying.


When we pay attention to the members of our team, we can bring out the best in them.

5. Live with Intention

As with all things, we need to keep focus on the fundamentals. So, it’s important that we keep our vision in front of us. If you work with your team in person, put the vision somewhere where people are constantly reminded of it. For example, the Colts have done this by issuing a shirt that reads 1-0 – meaning do what you can do now to put yourself in a position to win the next game.

With this focus on fundamentals, it’s easier for leadership to develop and uphold a particular standard of work ethic.

Action Steps

Ideally, the best time to start working on a team culture is when you’re new to a position. It was always so much easier for me to set the expectations of a classroom on the first day as opposed to week 5 or later.

However, if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to develop a culture for a team you’ve been leading for awhile, then there’s no better time than now to get started.

Of course, you’ll have to use a little bit of change management to successfully move the team from where they are to where they need to be.

So, a possible suggestion of this is to give them the new vision and let members of the team help you figure out the details in how that’s going to be accomplished. Then once you have the details in place, work on the expectations. How are you going to do things and how will they do what they need to get done? And then after that is determined, work with them on figuring out a process of accountability. What happens when they don’t get a certain task done a certain way and on time?

Using this type of communication will certainly help your team form and develop a new culture.

personal motivation

Andy Dix – Be the Best Version of You: The Importance of Understanding Our Own Personal Motivation (AoL 154)

Having the knowledge about different personalities is a bit of a super power. When you know someone’s personality and personal motivation, you can understand what makes them tick. However, a lot of people simply don’t have this knowledge. They get frustrated when other people don’t act the way they do or don’t set an importance on various things like they do.

Today’s guest, Andy Dix, helps individuals and teams figure out what motivates them through the Reiss Motivation Profile.

As a leader, it’s important that not only do we know the makeup of any one person, but we also understand how others are going to engage with them.

If you don’t have much knowledge about how personalities and motivations work, this is a great conversation to start at!

So, join Harrison and I as we learn why Andy chose to work in this field, what he’s learned, and why he started his The Hopeful Hoosier Podcast.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How’d Andy get into what he’s doing today? 8:40
  • What’s the Reiss Motivational Profile and how does he incorporate in his work? 13:01
  • Has he been surprised by the profile results of any one person or people? 16:13
  • Does the Motivational Profile prove the truth of “natural born” leaders and entrepreneurs? 25:12
  • What motivated Andy to start his podcast “Hopeful Hoosier”? 27:12
  • What kind of things is he looking forward to the rest of this year? 36:43
  • Who are Andy’s top three people he’s been influenced by? 38:13
  • One thing under $100 that has changed his life? 40:08
  • Is there advice out that he hears adults giving kids that he’d call BS on? 40:43
  • What does Andy do when he becomes overwhelmed or unfocused? 41:39
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 42:35

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Andy Interviewed by Engel Jones:

Steven Reiss on his book The 16 Strivings for God

Andy’s Webinar on Using the Science of Motivation Within an Organization

NPR’s Talk of the Nation: The Art and Science of Motivation


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!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on CastboxiTunesStitcherPodBean, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

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

Cheers!

self growth

How Self Growth and Your Filtering Process Affect Your Life and Business

They always say, you attract who you are. When I was at the start of my self growth journey, I really didn’t know what this meant. I remember exactly where I was when I first realized it though. I was in grad school. And, interesting to me, it wasn’t too long before I realized that not everyone is looking to climb a mountain in their career.

Up until that point, I thought just about everyone worked like I did.

I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

What I’ve realized since then is that there are different personalities, different motivators, and even different needs that we have to consider when we’re interacting with other people.

Because of this, we have to be aware of where we are on this personal journey so we can understand how they see us.

The better we can use this power, the easier it is to get what we want in the long run.

Or as Zig Zigler said, “If you help enough people get what they want, then you automatically get what you want”.

Here’s a few things to think about…

You Attract Who You Are

Recently, I was listening to a lesson that fellow John Maxwell Team member and future guest of the AoL Podcast, Jeff Gamble, was talking about on his FB Live show “Going Executive Director”. 

In the video, he was talking about how people tend to attract others like themselves. 

Here’s the thing. Jeff might have been using the MLM world as a reference, but it’s true across the board. And it’s especially true in life and business.

For example, when I was in college 10+ years ago, I was pretty insecure about my future. Like many engineering students, even though I liked having a good time, I learned to prioritize studying. I never had time to party.

Many of the friends I had in college were that same type, especially early on. 

After I changed majors, I felt more at ease and because of that, I started attracting new friends who didn’t fit this previous mold. They were confident in where they were going. And because of this, I started to see that I had decent control over my own future.

It was during this time that I started getting involved in clubs and other organizations on campus. Interestingly, I started to understand that not everyone is wired the same way I am. And like Jeff was talking about, I started to understand that not only are there different personalities, but different people have different needs.

Start with Your Needs

In the video, Jeff talks about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Tony Robbins’ 6 Human Needs. It’s uncanny how similar they are:

self growth

Early on in college, my esteem took a beating. It seemed like no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t be the student I was used to being in high school.

What I later realized is that I just had no idea how to study. And once I figured that out when I changed majors, I’d put in the needed work to fix that. As a result my confidence rose and I allowed myself to venture out and do other things. Interestingly enough, I started trying to connect with other students around me by becoming part of different organizations (that’s the next level of needs!)

So, here’s my question for you. Where do you fall? Do you have the basics figured out? Do you have safety figured out? How significant do you feel?

If you’re still in search of those, as Jeff was saying, you’re going to attract those people into your life – either as friends or as clients.

Setting Up Your Business for Success by Filtering

That being the case, as a business owner, you might not necessarily want to attract those who are in your own situation.

This is where the importance of setting up a filter comes into place. 

A filter is nothing more than a system used to qualify potential matches. Most businesses should use a filter when they’re trying to fit people to certain roles.

Here’s a few examples of where filters could be used:

Recruiting In Direct Sales

For example, if you’re affiliated with an MLM company like Jeff was talking about, then you’ll want to filter the right people in. You’re looking for people who want to learn about the system and how to leverage it properly to grow their own business. What you’re not looking for is people who are naturally not coachable and rebel about everything. You want to surround yourself with other students of the craft.

As a Consultant

Likewise, if you’re a consultant, then you’ll want to use a filter to see if someone really wants to achieve a new version of whatever you’re helping them with. You’ll need to learn how to ask them qualifying questions about themselves, their business, and what they’re looking to achieve.

As a Doctor

Another example, let’s say you’re a doctor. You’d need to filter people based on their needs on whether or not you can help them. If you misdiagnose someone and give them bad advice on their next step, there’s a good chance you might be sued for malpractice.

In an Everyday Situation

Or here’s a final example. Let’s say you’re actually in HR for a company. Do you think you should hire people like yourself to fill in jobs in the company, or should you hire people who fit the characteristics of the role that needs to be filled. Obviously, you want to hire to the role and to do that, you’ll need a filter to find out if they fit. Otherwise, you’ll hire someone and they’ll either quit or be fired.

Action Steps

So, I hope those examples give you a bit of an idea of the importance of a filter in your business and perhaps in your life as well. My trajectory changed completely for the next 10 years after college. If it wasn’t for the input I received those years, I wouldn’t have started on my current path.

And because of that, I wouldn’t have been able to eventually realize that these people had used a filter on me – whether consciously or subconsciously.

So don’t throw people at the wall and see what sticks. Otherwise, you’ll get more people like yourself. If you’re trying to become a new version of yourself, that might not be ok.

Instead, learn to consciously use filters in your day to day life. If someone isn’t going in the direction you are and doesn’t have the same standards that you want, then there’s a good chance they’re going to be a drag on your life and your business.

order from chaos

Making Order From Chaos – Understanding the Roles of Containers and Expanders on Your Team

It’s interesting how the universe works. This morning as I was watching the local news, and heard that several people have mysteriously died recently in the Dominican Republic – one of which was Barbara Corcoran’s brother.


If that name doesn’t ring a bell, she’s been one of the more prominent sharks on Shark Tank over the years.

As I was learning more about the loss of her brother, I ran across this tweet:

She goes on to talk about this further in her post on LinkedIn: There are Only Two Kinds of People

What’s ironic is that this is something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently.

The Study of People Using Assessments

In my studies over the years regarding human and organizational behavior, I’ve come to appreciate personality tests. And one thing I’ve come to realize is that there are all kinds of ways to explain how a person ticks.

Some use academic means to assess the subject (Reiss Motivation Profile) while others are more widely used simply because they’re more well known and the information seems easier to convey (Myers-Briggs, DISC).

Up until recently, I’ve mainly used variations of the DISC profile to understand where people are coming from. Heck, I know the model so well that, when I’m waiting out in public, I’ll simply pass the time watching people and guessing their personality based on their personal style and how they’re interacting with others.

Here’s the kicker: most personality tests such as DISC are great if you’re checking to see how people react to a certain situation. I can tell what a person’s primary “personality” by how they respond to tasks and people.

If they’re given a task, will they try to do it or pass it off? Likewise, if they’re around others, will they try to be friends with them all or will they chill with a select group that they know well?

However, if you really want to know a person, you need to know what their Why is. Why do they approach certain situations in certain ways? This is what the Reiss Motivation Profile can help us with.

Instead of saying “they act this way around people/tasks” it instead helps us understand  “this is Why they act this way around people/tasks”.

Containers vs Expanders: Order vs Chaos

In conversing with upcoming guest of the AoL Podcast, Andy Dix, about Reiss Profile assessment, I’ve come to a realization. There are people who thrive in chaos and there are those who thrive with order.

Based on the results of my Reiss assessment, I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle. I like to make connections in chaos and help others apply that knowledge to their lives and/or business.

But I’m definitely more on the order side of things than the chaos side.

In other words, I’m more of a Container than an Expander.


Containers are detail oriented, like to keep on top of things, and like to create systems.

Expanders love ideas and action, thrive in chaos, and are 100% all out all the time.

Leveraging this Knowledge as a Leader

Generally speaking birds of a feather, flock together. Containers will naturally gravitate towards other Containers. Expanders will group with other Expanders.

Why?


Well, it’s human nature to see others from our own perspective.

Truth is, if let alone in the workplace, these individuals have the potential to drive each other crazy if made to work together without proper leadership. Containers might think Expanders are careless. Expanders might start believing that Containers aren’t moving forward fast enough.

If you compare them side by side, you might be right.

But as we’ve found out, they’re not the same. We’re comparing apples and oranges. So to avoid that frustration on your team and network, let’s tie this all together.

The Expander Leader

Let’s say that you’re an Expander – you’re constantly taking action. If you’re not making waves and meeting new people, you’re not happy.

That’s great and all, but if all your doing is planting seeds… who’s harvesting them? If all you’re doing is making the meal, who’s cleaning things up?

That’s where the Container comes in. Containers can make sense of the work you’re doing. They can help you be more efficient. And they can clean up after you if needed.

These are the types of individuals you’d want as part of your advisory team – your inner circle.

However, that being the case, you also need other Expanders. You can’t do all the things that need to be done in the field. So having other Expanders around will allow you to take more territory and explore new opportunities twice as fast.

The Container Leader

Likewise, if you’re a Container like myself, you’ll want at least one or two inner circle members to be Expanders.

Why?

If all you have is a group of Containers trying to make sense of things, you might get stuck in a loop of improvement. You’ll overthink things more than you need to.

With the addition of Expanders on your team, you can turn to them and ask “Hey, can you take this idea out to the market and see if this is something people want?”. Or, you can ask them “Hey, who do you know that could help us with…?”.

Because they love taking action, they’ll either find out the information themselves or, better yet, share the task with other Expanders in your network.

Action Steps

So to me, it’s fairly understandable why Barbara is so adamant about this topic. When paired together, Containers and Expanders can do amazing things!

With this knowledge, you can now determine whether you’re a Container or an Expander.

Then, it might be good to do an inventory of your team. What skill sets do your team members currently have? Which do you need?

Is your organization currently lead by Expanders? Then I’d imagine you need some Containers to make sense of things. There’s a good chance you’re making quite a lot of waves!

Is your startup made up of Containers? You’ll need to find some Expanders. You’ll naturally want to work on the product or service, but you need those Expanders to test it out in the market and get that feedback you need to make your company more relative to the outside world.

Either way you look at it, find and leverage those that compliment yourself.

out of curiosity

Out of Curiosity… Why Asking More Questions Leads to More Creativity and Solutions

When I was growing up, I remember that I was always curious about how things worked. “How does a controller send signals to the TV to control Mario?”, “How could people build things as big as the pyramids?”, or even something like “Why is the Great Wall of China still around after all these years?” were examples of questions I’d find myself asking.

Little did I know that when I found an interest in Leonardo Da Vinci, I’d learn that he too was a curious mind. And what I’ve come to find out since is that creatives, especially creative leaders, are curious in general.

In this post, let’s dive a little deeper into this idea that curious minds (and understanding them as a leader) lead to better results for your team and business.

Curiosity at Play

I often to think of myself as a gatekeeper when it comes to information – a natural advisor. When it comes to the social circles I find myself in, I’m usually the one that knows random pieces of information that actually help find the solution. When I look at this characteristic and how it plays a role in my life, I don’t think I can find a better example of it in play than when I was on my high school’s Quiz Bowl team.

Quiz Bowl, if you’ve never heard of it, is basically a game where two teams compete through answering trivia. The team that answers a particular question correctly first, gets the point. On a well rounded team, the members know info about all kinds of topics. And interestingly enough, it’s often suggested that players watch Jeopardy to get practice in when we’re not practicing together.

That being the case, the members of my team were all over achievers. In fact, at times, I felt a little out of place. There were your typical book worms, sure. But there was also a few players who didn’t care about grades nearly as much as they cared about art, music, or their other usual extracurricular activities.

We were all curious. We all had great imaginations (we often referred to Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Star Trek on bus rides). And I have to admit, many members of the team were pretty damn creative.


Curiosity Yields Opportunity

While I don’t remember what each member of this team went off to do after I graduated high school, I do remember that I felt at home at Purdue when I started on my engineering degree. Not only were my friends and I focused on our school work, but we were constantly having conversations where we were asking “What If?” or “How Can I?”. We were always asking questions. And later, when I got involved with various student organizations, it was because of these brainstorming sessions that we were able to come up with all kinds of tasks and question.

Truth being, to get anything done in a particular group, you had to think outside of the box. Be it finding new sensors for a robot that was being built in IEEE to finding funding opportunities for projects in Alpha Phi Omega, thinking outside of the box was the norm.

So, from my perspective, the more questions you ask, the more options you get. And because you have more options, you’ll have more answers or solutions.

Roadblocks of Curiosity

Education

If you follow this blog at all, you might know that I’m not a huge fan of the current formal education system. Main reason? It’s hugely out of date. It’s not designed to be super flexible and frankly, most students are being left behind because they’re being told what to think, not how to think.

I started realizing this in grad school when I figured out that college wasn’t for everyone. I’d often find myself asking “Why are these students even in this class?”. Sometimes because there were some who didn’t put effort in their work, but others because they simply just didn’t seem to fit. Their personal gifts were more artistic, more EQ driven, and sometimes even more “real world” friendly.

These students were forced to think that formal education was the only way to get ahead. And 10 years later, I’ve realized that these students should have had education crafted more towards them as an individual than a one size fits all solution.

That’s what formal education is and it simply doesn’t work for everyone.

Training Managers vs Leaders

Another thing I realized during this time is that the traditional business world – the corporate world –  is the only other place where it’s frowned upon to be creative. While I was teaching in OLS, we would make it a point to remind students that an MBA is typically focused more on managing processes while our department was more focused on managing people.

It’s because of this that I think the corporate world sponsors more employees to seek an MBA. They don’t necessarily want leaders, they want managers.

These are two big hurdles in today’s world that prohibits people from being more creative.

Action Steps

So, at this point you might wondering “Ok, I have a team that could possibly be a bit more creative in their work. How do I help them get outside of the box when it comes to problem solving?” Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind:

Let Creativity Flourish!

I think, the first thing we have to realize is that creative people are inherently risky. Because they’re outside of the box, there’s going to be times when they’ll cross boundaries or simply be a bit rebellious. So you have to be willing to give them some space to work in their own world and come up with ideas. When it comes to these individuals, you’ll have to be comfortable with leaving the rule book at the door.

Help Flush Out Ideas

Speaking of ideas, another thing you want to do with creative types is work with them as they’re developing new ideas. As a business owner, you have to see them as your scientists or scouts. They’ll have many hypotheses or a half baked ideas, but they might not have thoroughly tested them. Instead of waiting for the entire process to conclude, it should be part of your job as a servant leader to help them through. Not only will you be able to sniff the idea out and determine if it’s useful for not, but if it is, you can implement it in your business quicker. Of course you have to work on your own curiosity to help them out!!

Be a Servant Leader

And finally, again as a servant leader, it’s your job to not do everyone’s job all the time, but make sure that every part of the business is working smoothly.

Take a restaurant manager as an example.

It’s not their job to just sit in the back and have the other employees come to them with issues. Sure, there might be some time in doing this, but they also need to be able to check in with those who are cleaning tables, dispensing ice cream, working the drive-thru, and serving food regularly. If they wait for something to actually go wrong until they address an issue, that’s not being proactive – that’s reactive. And we know that leaders can not be reactive!!

A quote I saw this week, goes like this:

“If you look at the people in your circle and you don’t get inspired, you don’t live in a circle, you live in a cage.”

– John Maxwell

In that same instance, don’t be the one creating the cage.

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.