Five Tips for Impactful Messaging

May 15, 2019 by  

Getting your intended message across can often be more difficult than you might think or expect. Most of you probably think that you know how to communicate because you have been doing it for so long. However, unless you get some honest feedback from the listener you cannot be sure that the communication was received and processed as desired. In addition, if the message was not heard, you will not enjoy the expected outcome. So, unless you are a mind reader it is a good idea to ask the listener what they heard so that before you depart you are sure that the message you sent was indeed what was heard.

Here are some tips to help you be more effective in your exchanges so that you can reduce conflict, disappointment, resentment, confusion and stress.
1. Consider the needs of the person with whom you are having the conversation so that the “packaging” of the message will be enticing, as this will make it more likely that they will listen more intently and take away what you wish.

2. Clearly outline the benefits of what you wish the listener to do because if the reasons for changing behaviour or following your instructions make sense in a compelling manner to the listener/s, once again they will be much more likely to follow your directions.

3. Always tell the truth, that way you will truly be authentic, and honesty is the very best policy as your listener/s will sense your sincerity. This approach will also give you more credibility which will speak to a better chance for the generation of voluntary compliance with your wishes.

4. Have a clear goal in mind so that you can style your message appropriately to achieve that end you wish to achieve. Be able to clearly state that goal in a way that resonates with the listener so that they will be more likely to accomplish it.

5. Practice, practice, practice…new skills require the implementation of strategies and tools that will provide you with the desired outcomes, however you can only accomplish those goals when you have mastered the techniques necessary to become an impactful communicator. The most successful leaders are the most effective communicators and practice those skills all the time. Remember, the most important communication skills is Active Listening and the more you practice that skill you will certainly have fewer miscommunications and unexpected outcomes.

The most successful people are those who communicate with impact, clarity, and influence and so have fewer disappointments or unexpected results from their colleagues and co-workers……even from their family members and friends. So hone your communication skills!

3 Steps for Managers Preparing for Difficult Conversations

April 30, 2019 by  

During times of budget challenges, uncertainty in the industry, and changes in procedures or systems, supervisors might be experiencing an increase in the number of difficult conversations they need to have with their staff. These could include delivering bad news about an employee’s job, informing staff about work restructuring, describing changes to current procedures or systems or discussing other complicated and stressful work situations. In order to ensure that these exchanges are handled as well as possible and generally result in good outcomes, the following steps should be considered.
1. Prepare for the conversation
• Before opening the conversation, ask yourself several key questions. You may also want to consult with your Human Resources person, peers, or other appropriate resources to be sure you are comfortable with the answers.

Key questions include:
‐ What is the purpose of having this conversation?
‐ What do I hope to accomplish?
‐ What would be the ideal outcome?
‐ What assumptions am I making about the other person’s reaction to the conversation?
‐ What “hot buttons” could exist – for me and for the other person?
‐ How is my attitude toward the conversation contributing to the intended outcome?

Practice the conversation. You can mentally rehearse it in your mind, or practice it out loud with your supervisor, Employee Assistance Program, or Human Resources Manager. Get feedback on how they think this will play out with the approach you are using.

2. Arrange the conversation
• A successful outcome will depend on two things: what you say and how you say it. How you approach the conversation and how you behave will greatly influence what you say and how it is perceived. You must stay calm, honest, and respectful during the conversation.

• Acknowledge any emotional energy that might be fueled by the conversation. The emotional content is as important as the facts and must also be addressed.

• Keep aligned and focused on the purpose of your conversation. Don’t be distracted by side tracks.

• Suggestions for opening the conversation might include:
‐ I’d like to talk to you about. . .
‐ I want to better understand your point of view. Can we talk more about. . .
‐ I’d like to talk about ________. I think we may have different ideas on how to ______.

3. Working Toward a Successful Outcome
• Approach the conversation with an attitude of inquiry and discovery. Set aside assumptions and try to learn as much as possible about the other person’s point of view.

• Let the employee complete what they have to say without interruption. Then give them feedback to show that you respectfully listened and understood their point of view. You don’t necessarily have to agree however, you need to remain open-minded regarding their perspective. Saying “it sounds like this issue is very important to you” doesn’t mean that you have to decide the way they would like you to.

• Advocate for your position without diminishing theirs. State your position concisely and clarify points they may not have understood.

• End with problem-solving. Try to find mutual areas of agreement on solutions and identify what steps need to be taken to reach the desired outcome. If there seems to be no common ground, then return to the inquiry and ask more questions about their perspective.

If you take this honest, open and respectful approach to the difficult conversation you will be much more likely to end up with a satisfactory outcome for you and the employee.

5 Characteristics of the Perfect Leader

April 1, 2019 by  

Some leaders inspire and motivate, but many fail miserably to engage their employees. Some run a highly effective team, yet their team members live and work in fear. Some are just simply absolute disasters. From the man-eater to the psycho, many industries seems to have created the ultimate formula for the “bad boss” character. With millions of books, DVDs, research papers, and solutions in the business world today, leaders need to figure out how to be effective and successful.

Here is a truth: people quit people, not jobs.
The best leaders became great by taking a genuine interest in each and every team member. Not only do they want their organization to succeed, but they want the individual employee to fulfill their potential because that is a win/win for everyone. Happy employees are hardworking employees who are more efficient, productive, and creative! In addition, because happiness actually enhances one’s immune system, they are also sick less often.

Here are the key skills for the “perfect” leader:
1. Be an Effective Communicator
Effective communication is the most important ability! You need to be able to talk to your team; help them with their goals and the goals of the organization. You need to be able to define what success means to your department and the organization. This can be done daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or whatever suits your team and task list. Weekly meetings keep people tuned in and engaged on what they as a team have to accomplish each week. Apart from team goals, you need to be able to communicate the needs for your employees’ development. There is nothing greater in this world than constructive Encourage them when they do something well, help them when they have a problem and let them know what they need to work on in the future. Your support, encouragement and acknowledgement are key to their success and ultimately to the success of the team as a whole.

2. Lead the Way: “walk the walk”
Often, companies promote a top performer because of previous successes, without ever determining or assessing if that person is actually capable and suited to manage a team. True leaders are able to instill trust, provide appropriate direction, and delegate responsibility. Just because an employee reached a sales goal of one million last quarter does not mean that he or she can manage or lead a team successfully. The perfect leader will be a combination of a top performer with the skills and attributes to lead a team effectively.

3. Be Passionate
The ideal leader should be excited about the organization’s mission, what we are trying to accomplish, and will instill these aims and goals in their team members. This is done with effective communication and modelling of the behaviours necessary to carry out those aims appropriately and successfully.

4. Be a Relationship Builder
Effective leaders spend a significant amount of time and effort building trust, respect, and rapport with their team members. Doing this builds loyalty with employees, makes them feel valued, and in turn, valued employees work harder. Offer a rewards programs, offer to teach them new skills, feed them, and always treat everyone respectfully.

5. Be a Hard Worker
No organization can run like a smoothly operated machine unless everyone knows what is expected of them, what they are responsible for and how to accomplish that. A great leader understands the flow of operations and must be willing to do just as much work as their team members. A successful leader should not ask a team member to do something they would not do themselves. If you model this behaviour you will certainly earn the respect of your team.
Some people are more natural leaders than others, however, anyone who wishes to become a “perfect” leader can do so by learning the skills and behaviours necessary to achieve success as an effective and successful leader.

9 Steps to Prepare for a Difficult Conversation

March 12, 2019 by  

These 9 steps can provide you with a viable structure that will offer you the opportunity to have more meaningful conversations which will have a better chance to result in win/win outcomes. However, as with any system, please consider these steps to be general rules, and try to choose your words carefully in preparation for the exchange. Having a difficult conversation is no easy task, however, if you are going to become accountable and take back control of the situation, you must at least try to resolve the issue.

Here are the steps:

1. Prepare and practice your opening statement so that you can anticipate the possible comebacks and objections of the person with whom you are having this conversation.
2. Have this conversation in person, and best to choose in a neutral location where there will be few or no distractions.
3. State your intentions. Be clear on what you wish to have happen.
4. Clearly identify and describe the issue. Do this objectively and honestly.
5. Describe your emotions due to the experience. Again, try to do this objectively and honestly.
6. Objectively state the current outcome and how you would prefer to have a different one.
7. Identify how you may have contributed to this problem and how you will act differently in the future.
8. Indicate your sincere wish to resolve the issue in a satisfactory manner for both of you.
9. Invite your partner to respond, however, do not react if they take offence to this discussion. Remember, you are “criticizing” their behaviour and requesting a change. They may “attack” you for taking this approach. Stay honest and respectful in all your responses.

Once you have employed these guidelines, you will begin to feel more confident to speak your mind in the future. In addition, remember that having this difficult conversation once, may not solve the issue which means you may have to broach this subject again at a later date.
Being assertive is not a bad approach to difficult situations, however, it can be challenging to stay measured, honest, and calm when your “listener” is upset.
Be sure to thank them for hearing your side of the situation and if they do not concur with your expected outcome, offer to follow up later once they have had a chance to consider what you have offered.
You can also say that you wish to resolve this in a satisfactory manner because you feel that a good and respectful relationship is so important for high performance in the workplace.
We cannot make people change their behaviour, however, when we change ours, there may be a positive reaction to that change. In any event, you will feel better for trying to deal with this in an honest and respectful manner.

6 Insights for a Culture Change

February 27, 2019 by  

One of the greatest business challenges is effectively changing workplace culture. In order to do that, you must understand the underlying issues involved in order to make it happen. In addition, you need to answer all the questions and concerns that people may have and provide them with the compelling reasons why this change is going to be beneficial to everyone.

Here are some insights to consider when making a culture change:

Insight #1: Culture is the key to success and the key to the long term survival of any business
It is easier to decide on change than to get people to change. The more companies looked at, it seemed most were a bit like dysfunctional families. They had turf issues and trust issues, resistance to change, and it was very easy to do things in some companies, but it was almost impossible in others.
The greatest predictor of a company’s future is its culture. That culture is created and maintained by the leadership.

Insight #2 – The “Jaws of Culture” chew up most initiatives
Most companies invest in their strategy, initiatives, processes, and structure. All those issues have to go through the “Jaws of Culture”. The jaws are the dysfunctions of an organization:
• Are there turf issues or is it one company?
• Do people blame one another when things don’t work or are they accountable?
• Is there a positive spirit in the organization?
• Do people feel appreciated?

The primary Jaws of Culture in most organizations today are a lack of collaboration and agility and not much of a learning mindset for the kind of world we are in. No matter what the initiative is, those issues are going to chew it up, and those are the “Jaws of Culture”.

Insight #3: Creating a “one company” culture
Culture has really hit the tipping point because, in addition to the need for agility, most companies are very fragmented. Most big corporations today are a collection of acquisitions or geographies or business units or product lines; they aren’t one company. Truthfully, if they are going to survive, they really can’t afford to be fragmented today. In order to establish trust and rapport with the customer, control costs effectively and in the end just be successful, an organization needs to present itself with a united front. So, sadly there are very few fully integrated companies.

The answer is creating an allied or shared business model, and that only works with the right culture. It means creating a culture where decisions are made for the greater good with everybody having some common higher cause and being part of the process. Creating one company is critical today for big corporations to succeed.

Insight #4 – Diagnose the organization, Create your From-To model
Every organization has a culture. The only question is: Does it shape you or do you shape it?
In most organizations, people just step in and pick up behaviours of people who are there. That’s what culture is about, and yet you can systematically and intentionally shape a culture if you model it and commit to it.

Step 1 is to diagnose the organization. Given what you are facing, what are the behaviours you need and what are the behaviours you have? At this moment in time, in order to execute your strategies, what are those shifts you need to make happen and how will you make those shifts? That’s the diagnostic.

Step 2 is to then create a “From-To” model: Shift from being hierarchical to being more empowering. Shift from being siloed to being more collaborative with better lines of communication. Shift from being resistant to change to being very agile and open to change.

Insight #5 – Culture shaping needs to start at the top
Culture shaping definitely needs to start at the top of the organization. The principal issue here is that organizations become “Shadows of Their Leaders”. You affect your company so if you commit to the particular culture and model it, it will be more likely to be mirrored by those around you.

Insight #6 – Engineer ‘aha moments’ to shift thinking and behaviour
The challenge faced is how do you change habits of adults? Here is a thought: When we are young, we are like a flowing river, and then we freeze.” We get stuck in our habits. So how can be get ‘unstuck’? That only happens if we decide we want to change and then commit to doing what is necessary to make it happen.

Most models of change today are behavioural models. People define a set of values and then they communicate them. They talk to people about them. That doesn’t necessarily tend to change people. We all know we should do things that we don’t do.

So in the end, what does change people? It often takes some sort of wake up call to truly get someone’s attention and make them really consider embracing the change that is necessary. So how do we create those “aha” moments???

Here is an example: Do you remember when your mom told you if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all? So, that’s an underlying belief you likely espouse.
Then, you can have an insight that says, “As a leader, if you work for me, my job is to help develop you so that you can fulfill your potential. In fact, I need to show you that I appreciate your contributions and provide constructive feedback so that you can grow. If I do those things, I will be a good leader and be of benefit to everyone and the organization.
So, if you can have that shift in mindset through an epiphany, and change that behaviour, then you are going to really execute differently going forward. So, the next step in the process is to “unfreeze.” In other words, in order to make people want to change, you must offer reasons to change their mindset and allow your people to be able to accept the new idea and then make that their new mindset.

In the end, this mostly boils down to how effective the leadership of any organization is. The better they are at communicating with impact, honesty, clarity and influence, the more likely they are to have a great culture and to be able to affect change in their organization as it is necessary.

4 Steps to Building Trust, Respect, and Rapport

February 12, 2019 by  

Anytime you’re communicating with other people, your ability to create rapport quickly is going to be the key to your success.
Building rapport is all about establishing a relationship with the person or people with whom you are speaking. Whether you are in a one-on-one sales conversation, speaking to a small group, or speaking to a large group, it is essentially the same basic techniques. If there is a wall between you and that other person, then it is your job is to remove that wall.

Here is an acronym for a technique to remove that wall: WALL
W: Watch
You must be very observant of the people with whom you are communicating; their surroundings, who they are with. That will be able to give you your first indications of how you may want to open your discussion.
When you are speaking with a group of people, you need to determine who the leader of the group is, who the center of influence is, who the most social person is, who likes to have fun, and who the more analytical person is. The reason for figuring all this out is because you will need to approach each of those people differently.
If you are meeting with a prospect or a client in their home, look around the home to see if you can find some clues that could be used as conversation starters, things that might create some common ground between you and them. If they are coming to your office, observe them carefully to see what they are looking for, what they pay attention to or what they seem to be looking at. This will help you to gain some insight into how to begin your discussion.

A: Ask
Next, based on your observations, your initial interaction with that person will bring in to play what you noticed. The best approach is to ask questions as this is the single best way to begin establishing trust, respect, and rapport, the key ingredients for building successful, meaningful, long-term relationships. When you ask questions you show a genuine interest in what they want, what they need, and what their interests are, so this will encourage them to slowly start opening up.

Here are some questions to consider:
1. What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business?
2. What brought you to our business today?
3. What type of product or service are you seeking?
4. What types of products have you already tried?
5. Whose services do you currently use?
These examples are nonthreatening and definitely not pushy. While you are questioning them, maintain your observations and they may offer up some cues or indicators that could guide you as you expand your explorations on how to move forward.

L: Listen
It is imperative to truly listen to what people are saying. So many sales and marketing professionals ask all the right questions, but they don’t really listen to the answers. Employ active listening, where you actually summarize back to the speaker what you did hear to show them that you respectfully listened to them.
This is another step in the establishment of those meaningful, long-lasting relationships that we want to build and maintain with our customers. By combining your listening skills with your watching skills, you will be able to determine if the questions you are asking are actually starting to build that trust and rapport.

L: Learn
Learning how to build rapport is means trying different approaches, watching, and listening, as well as observing the end result. When you do that you can learn from your time with the person and if necessary, can change your approach the next time you meet with them.
There is no one right way to build the all-important trust and rapport with other people, however, everyone who is in sales, marketing and speaking will likely agree that you must do it. So by learning what works for you and learning what works with your audience, your customers, and/or your clients, you will become more effective.

 So: Watch for clues.
     Ask powerful questions.
     Listen carefully to the answers that are given to you.
     Learn from every interaction.

In the end, if you become a good student of building trust, respect, and rapport, then over time you enjoy more success and a greater ability to generate those outcomes much more easily and quickly. Those skills are essential to success in sales, marketing and people managing in general, so you will definitely benefit from the skills in all aspects of your life.

5 Keys to Maximizing Employee Engagement

January 31, 2019 by  

Most corporate HR mangers make it a key focus to find ways to maximize employee retention and productivity. However, they are often finding that working toward that goal is getting harder than ever. Organizations certainly want to keep their prized people, but they sometimes discover that those individuals are itching to leave. Perhaps that’s a product of today’s economic and technological landscape – because currently the competition for talent is fierce, and the next job opening is just one mobile app or web search away. It is not surprising that retaining employees can be quite difficult. That is why figuring out effective ways to maximize engagement and satisfaction is so key.

According to a recent survey data, 57% of working people plan to look for better positions.

The reasons are: more money (cited by 48 percent of respondents), better career advancement opportunities (27 percent) and boredom or job dissatisfaction (9 percent). This situation isn’t likely to change anytime soon due to the current job climate.

There are a few key steps that can help companies regain employee engagement and workplace stability.
1. Manage early interactions at your organization:
The most important week on a new job is the first one. New hires should be welcomed upon arriving in the workplace and made to feel like they belong and fit in. This will go a long way toward keeping them engaged long-term.

2. Provide growth opportunities
People are more likely to stay in their jobs if they have the chance to be promoted, acquire greater status, have more responsibilities, and earn more money. Offering these sorts of opportunities can make a huge difference in employee engagement and reduce turn over.

3. Monitor job satisfaction
Managers should regularly observe their employees and gauge their happiness levels. If satisfaction begins to decline, the HR manager should be willing to intervene quickly and identify ways to ameliorate the situation and improve the employee’s experience in their job.

4. Maximize loyalty
How committed do people feel to their jobs and the organization? Are they given rewarding work that they have been well trained for and feel that they can do well? So they know what is expected of them and how they fit into the big picture of the company? If so, people feel more loyalty in their positions so are less likely to leave. In addition, employees need to feel valued so acknowledgement of their contributions is also essential to them wanting to stay. This is an important mindset that companies should strive to attain.

5. Develop great leaders
Great leadership is the key to any business’s success. Effective supervisors/managers are perhaps the most important factor behind the outcomes of a work team, therefore companies should do what they can to develop effective successful leaders and help them to be able to motivate their employees by example. Leaders need to be accountable, excellent communicators and models for the sort of behaviours and attitudes they wish to see emulated by their team members.

If you follow the keys described above, you will be more likely to have a successful long term business with happy, productive, efficient, creative, and long-term employees.

5 Strategies for Successful Sales

January 10, 2019 by  

Making a sale should be easy, especially when you have the right product or service. However, many people make it more complicated than necessary so lose the prospective client in the process. First of all, you must do your homework and determine what the prospect actually needs and then in your “pitch” focus on how your service or product is going to make their life easier or their business more successful.

Here five “make it happen” steps to get the green light rather than be rejected:

1. Cut to the chase.
A good salesperson doesn’t waste time with long anecdotal introductions. Rather you need to start describing the product attributes that will resonate with the prospect right away. For example, if you have determined that this prospect will benefit from your product or service, be sure to demonstrate the benefits right off the top and begin by saying that you understand whatever it is that they do and here is how our product or service will enhance your productivity or outcomes. Never waste the prospect’s time with unnecessary information that they will not relate to because they will tune you out and you will not be able to close the sale.

2. Skip the industry jargon.
Whether your product or service is technical in nature or not, be sure to use language that the prospect understands so that they will see right away why they should consider what you are offering to them. If you get into a long-winded technical explanation, again you will likely lose them as their interest will wane and again, you will not likely be able to close the sale.

3. Paint a picture.
Sometimes we do not get to meet the new prospect face to face. In that situation, you need to be able to describe your product or service in a way that they can clearly picture how the features you are offering them will enhance their business processes and outcomes. If you can send them something via email, maybe before the talk, that might also be helpful. However, again, it should not be anything lengthy as they will not likely read it if it is not short and to the point. Even if you are fortunate enough to arrange a face to face meeting, being able to demonstrate just how your product or service will be of great benefit to this new prospect will go a long way toward you being able to close the sale.

4. Be truly interested in the prospect.
When you speak to a new potential customer, concentrate on finding out about the customer and their business instead of just making your pitch. Ask open-ended questions and listen very carefully to the answers offered will give you more insights on how to interest this person in your product or service. In addition, you may discover some common areas of interest and this could certainly enhance your relationship right off the bat.

5. Make it matter.
Your product may have many benefits, however, they are worthless if the prospect doesn’t need them. Be able to constantly reframe those product benefits so that each prospect will understand the specific impact the product or service could have on his business. This can be determined by doing that so important homework before your meeting so that you better understand the needs of the prospect’s business and then can highlight those aspects of what you have to offer so that you will grab their interest and be more likely to make the sale.

Here is a unique way to think of selling: it is like a journey on which you are leading your customer like a tour guide. If the customer does not understand where you are headed or why he should come along, they will either choose not to take the trip or wander off in a different direction before you are through. All you have to do is get them excited about the destination, describe all the beautiful things to be observed along the way, and then be prepared to answer any questions they have so they feel safe and can enjoy the route. Again, a main key is learning what would enhance the prospect’s business so that you can adjust your “pitch” to suit their specific needs. If you do this you will be much more likely to close more sales.

Five Suggestions for Leadership Development

December 28, 2018 by  

Sometimes, leaders do not realize that their style of leadership can be perceived as flawed or ineffective. If you do not get some feedback about how you are doing, the perception becomes the reality! One of the most difficult tasks of leadership is gaining an understanding of that perception and then taking appropriate steps to improve and remedy the issues that are preventing you from being an excellent leader.
In today’s business world, the development of excellent leaders is extremely important for the success of an organization. Sadly, many companies are not addressing this necessity while others are providing their leaders with training that teaches them the skills necessary to make them into effective, excellent leaders. What is your organization doing?

Here are 4 factors to consider:
1. Is the job a good fit for this person?
This is the most important question as job fit has everything to do with whether a potential leader is going to succeed or fail. If you put a person into a leadership position who is afraid to delegate work, cannot make decisions or is not seen as competent in a position as a leader, they will be unlikely to succeed. It is better to make sure that the person being offered the leadership role has the necessary qualifications and skills to be an effective leader.

2. Accepting constructive feedback.
Getting feedback is one of the most effective ways to help in the development of leaders as this gives them an opportunity to find out how their actions are being perceived by the people they are leading. Often times a person may not realize that they are not being as effective as they think and if they accept constructive feedback they can learn how to become a better leader. In this way, they can learn more about themselves and the skills needed to be good in their job. Self-awareness is key to their success.

3. Providing appropriate coaching and training.
People develop best with on-the-job coaching and training. You need to define exactly what you expect from a leader in your company and clearly articulate that to your leadership prospects. Next, you need to make sure that the leader fully understands your company’s culture, processes, and systems. You can first evaluate the person’s current skills and then you will know what sort of coaching and training they require in order to fulfill the position as you have outlined it. You can also create a project or the person or a team project to see how they manage the assignment. Coaching is a consistent and reliable management style that creates an open line of communication, trust, respect, and rapport as well as an opportunity for growth.

4. Motivation for high performance.
You can create a specific development plan for your leaders so they can visualize their future with your company. Offering new challenges keeps them engaged and interested and builds motivation for high performance as they will likely work harder if they have a clear goal in mind. Recognize and acknowledge your leaders for significant achievements as this shows that you value their contributions to your organization.

5. Effective communication skills.
In a study done a few years ago by Global Knowledge it was learned that the most important skill for any successful leader is effective communication. This is because it is necessary for a leader to be able to clearly articulate their vision, deliver clear, honest, influential and impactful messages to their people. In addition, they need to employ active listening in order to learn about their people and recognize their potential and then help them to fulfill that potential. Also, they need to encourage input, creativity and innovation and that can only be done if they listen well and espouse an “open door” policy for their people. If not, opportunities can be missed.

Leaders do not just appear overnight. Rather they need to be continually trained and developed in order to succeed in a company. Many times, employees are afraid to speak up when they see something a leader may be doing incorrectly; then the leader goes on making the same mistake because they are not aware of the problem. Remember it is so important to open up those lines of honest communication, to continuously coach your team, and to motivate your leaders to be the best they can! The better the leader is, the better your organization will be as they set the tone and commitment to your company’s culture, aims and goals!

5 Ways to Improve Team Accountability

December 6, 2018 by  

Personal responsibility and accountability can certainly put an end to the blame game, save your business thousands if not millions of dollars, increase overall job satisfaction and ultimately, ensure customer satisfaction. 

The following five basic approaches can help to provide you with increasing accountability from your team members and will build you a culture of consistent accountability for your organization.

1. Clearly state your expectations– If even one person on your team does not meet your expectations it could affect the entire team’s results. Therefore, it is extremely important right from the beginning of any new project to clearly outline the expectations and get feedback from your team to be sure they truly understand what is expected of them. Expectations, if they are to be fulfilled, need to be crystal clear and include deadlines, specific responsibilities, task details, and exactly how the completed project/product is to be delivered. If those instructions are not crystal clear important parts could be omitted or missed which would greatly affect the outcome negatively.

2. Clearly communicate the big pictureAccountability will be more likely to occur if everyone on the team understands the “big picture” and exactly how they fit into it. It is very important to spend time speaking individually with the team members to explain their specific part in the vision and mission of your business. When you effectively communication this with clarity, impact and influence, your employees will be able to make wiser decisions and fulfill their individual roles fully and at a high level of performance creating a win/win outcome for everyone.

3. Create accountability groups-One of the best ways to achieve full team accountability is to develop a shared accountability among the team members. This can be accomplished with groups who carefully listen to each other in a respectful manner and keep conversations honest and open. Each accountability group can be made up of 2-5 people and can then become a team small unit working together to share difficulties, weaknesses, and insecurities. Using a team approach they can then find creative strategies to work together and achieve their goals.

4. Take appropriate action-In order for accountability to occur, the team members have to know that failure to complete their parts will result in certain consequences. Such as: written warnings, a loss of a bonus or even extra hours served on a week-end to complete the project. Without consequences, your employees will not care if they do not fulfill their roles. In fact they may even think that they can use blame, justification, and rationalization as a way to deviate from being responsible and this will not result in an accountable attitude or the outcome you are expecting.

5. Establish a reward and recognition program-Employees need to know that their efforts are indeed driving the company forward and should be reinforced and encouraged with some sort of tangible reward or recognition system. An offer of increased pay and other benefits can help to keep accountability and morale high as well as pushing team members toward higher levels of performance……again a win/win for everyone!

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