Category Archives: Accountability

First Level Supervisor

Gallup said it and so does everyone else….if you don’t like your first level supervisor – your boss,  you won’t stay.  I hear it from my kids, I hear it from your kids, from your midlevel managers and many times from you as well. Managing up, managing down, working with peers, we all want to work with people who treat us with respect, lay out clear expectations and do what they say they are going to do. >

Extreme Productivity

Even as a little kid, I always wanted to do things faster. Could I load the dishwasher faster? Could I finish watering the front yard faster? Could I take a minute off of my walk home? To me, it was a game. If I got my chores finished faster, I could have more time for the fun stuff, like reading. Still loving to read, I came across an article on extreme productivity that encapsulates many of the strategizes I’ve noted in highly productive people. >

Giving feedback

Do you give fair and accurate informal feedback to your direct reports? Teams that do outperform by 40%. Would getting better at giving feedback and receiving it help your company perform better?

Dr. Eve Meceda spoke to my Vistage groups about mindset and gave us a set of clues for how to give fair, accurate informal feedback. My favorite was “to say it how they can hear it”.

That reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A guy was telling me that he and his wife had a lot of hallway sex. As a middle aged married woman, I was unfamiliar with the concept and asked him to explain. He said, they would pass each other in the hallway and say Screw you! , “No, screw you!” Okay….Like any good joke, the outcome was totally different from what you might have imagined from the introduction.

This is the same thing that can happen when we give feedback, if we don’t give it with good intentions and in a way that the other person can hear it, the result will not be good.

So, if someone is an extravert, praise them in public. They probably want more enthusiastic acknowledgement, a plaque, etc. If you are an introvert, your style may not match theirs and they may leave because they don’t think they are appreciated. Speak up in a way that may be uncomfortable to you. If you have words of improvement, just call them into your office and tell them calmly what the issue is. Ask them how they see the situation. They can usually speak off the cuff.

If you are an extrovert, and they are an introvert, praise them in private. A simple note may be exactly what they want. Give them time to prepare if you have words of improvement. Perhaps, they can consider what you said and come back in 2 days to discuss how they want to address the situation.

Say it how they can hear it. In both cases, they  will see you as respectful, and you might begin to create a culture of higher performance. Who doesn’t want that? Pick one person this week that you have been meaning to either praise or suggest improvement and try this technique. Next week, we will discuss receiving feedback.



Are you a mentor?

Listening to Morning Edition on the way to Pilates, the host interviewed a former skinhead recruiter, Tony McAleer, who founded Life after Hate. He had been a violent young man from a middleclass family where discipline was physical and humiliating.  He stated that he didn’t have much empathy for others until he had his first child at 23.  Being unconditionally loved and needed by another human being turned his life around.

I wonder if he had a mentor? Did you?  Many of us can cite a family member or teacher who mentored us and encouraged us as we grew up. Maya Angelou talked about her Grandmother, who always called her sister. She encouraged her when being tall wasn’t so great. She encouraged her when she became mute saying that she would have a lot to say when she decided to speak again. Are you encouraging anyone today?

I think many of us have forgotten that it takes mentors for young people to get ahead. I think we have been on our path successfully for long enough that we forget that it wasn’t always so obvious or so successful.

I see many business leaders consciously allocating time each month to teach at their church or synagogue. Some talk in high schools about how to do well in business and life. Some mentor a rising star in their organization.

I think that being a mentor is as good for you as for the ones you mentor. My sister in law who runs a charity that gives food to the homeless every Sunday in Tampa, Florida, says it probably helps the volunteers more than the homeless. It makes them feel better about themselves and their less than perfect lives.

I’m guessing that neuro- science would suggest that it is ocytocin that is produced- the feel good hormone that connects us with others. It creates empathy.

This week, reach out and mentor someone. Share some knowledge that helps another person, or maybe just listen. Listen deeply to what they have to say. t will make you both feel good.

Are you interested in Vistage?

2019 goals

If you wrote down your goals for 2018, this would be the time to review them. Which ones did you achieve, and which ones did you miss.? Can you figure out why?
My guess is that for the ones you achieved you had a specific plan with regular milestones and due dates.  And you kept your commitment month after month until you achieved them. You probably wrote them down and shared them with a coach or accountability partner who helped you stay on track.
Other goals may have been wishes. No real plan in place or no real commitment to do the daily work to get there. Or no accountability.
First, let me say “me, too”. I met my financial goals, my relationship goals and my community involvement goals. I did not meet  my weight goals. I had monthly intermediate goals and started falling off month two. I did not have a coach and picking your life partner as your accountability partner can get in the way of making the relationship goals.
So this year, I’m making a commitment to lose 15 pounds. I’m declaring it out loud (here). I’m getting an accountability partner who has no stake in the outcome. I will work out one more time each week to move the process along. And I promise not to whine or bore my colleagues in the process.
Happy 2019! May you be healthy, and may we all prosper!




Be Impeccable

I have been working with the team of a fast growing So Cal company for a long time. Fast growing companies have so many moles they have to whack, but creating a culture that people can align around is one of the most important things. >

toxic leadership

The #metoo movement continues to change our national discourse as we observe the various levels of behavior that are called out. How bad was it? How would we view it if/when it happens in our own organizations? >

Psychological Safety

Have you ever evaluated the level of psychological safety in your team?

Is it okay to challenge the status quo? Can people discuss behaviors that bother them? Is it acceptable to challenge a supervisor when they don’t show up on time or blame a subordinate when they forgot to do something? >

Do you have a New Supervisor Playbook?

Do you have a new supervisor playbook that you use when you promote or hire for supervisory positions? Are you finding that you make assumptions of how people will be with each other and then it doesn’t go as you expected? Do you find you have to spell out a lot more about people’s communication practices than you think you should have to?



Do you find that holding people accountable makes you uncomfortable? Oh, you start out fired up to hold people to their commitments. You ask clearly. You get them to restate the request. You set a date and time for completion…..and then they don’t come through.

Wait, you did everything you were supposed to do, now what? First of all, congratulations! Most people don’t create such excellent and clear accountability. You are probably really upset, angry or dismissive of that other person right about now. And, may I suggest uncomfortable with taking the next step.

Why is that ?  Do you see it as you will have to become “the enforcer” or the “bad guy”. Do you begin to doubt your right to get what you asked for?

This is the tricky part. Mike Scott* says this is the time when you don’t ask why – Don’t ask why they didn’t do it. Ask them to identify their next step. Ask for a recommitment with a new time/date. Further, you ask:  “Can I count on you for that?” That puts it back on the other person. Okay, how uncomfortable will it be to ask?

Let me guess you might be squirming all over the place thinking about asking for a commitment. Why? You are totally committed. Perhaps because in our society, we don’t like people who call us out, who make us look bad. We know the likable person is the one who lets it go. And, maybe, subconsciously, we want to be liked. In business, we can’t excel if we don’t do the hard stuff. That includes being uncomfortable in service of our mission.

So, think about your mission. You really want to succeed. Completing this request is part of it. In the context of serving the mission, you may find you are okay with having the difficult conversations needed to hold people accountable. You might want to repeat the goal to them as you ask for the renewed commitment. Don’t make it punitive, don’t make it personal, make it about the mission. You can do this.

This week initiate one difficult conversation about accountability that you have been putting off having. Work through the discomfort. It will be easier next time.

*Mike Scott

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Image courtesy of Performance Based Results. Survey done by HBR