This is part three of our discussion on the topic of accountability centering our discussion around the chorus of the rock anthem from MxPx.
If you missed the start of the series, you may want to return to Accountability, What's That? Part 1 HERE and Part 2 THERE.
The Seattle, Washington based indie punk rock band MxPx is celebrating their 25th year as professional musicians and we are confiscating the chorus of their popular song Responsibility as the anthem of our discussion on personal as well as organizational accountability.
Responsibility? What's that?
Responsibility? Not quite yet.
Responsibility? What's that?
I don't want to think about it; we'd be better off without it.
Accountability, what's that?
In part one we discussed how effective accountability traces itself back to clarity in vision, communication of values and consistent effort from all levels within the team to live out those principles. When we say accountability, what's that? We recognize that it is important to define core concepts rather than assume that everyone is on the same page. When an organization recognizes that there is a lack of accountability they understand they have a serious issue and yet by confronting this reality they are placing themselves in a position to address it. As we have discussed many times, there are causes and there are effects or there are symptoms and there are sources, leaders are concerned with finding sources so that they can eliminate symptoms (more here).
I don't want to think about it (accountability).
Many organizations have vision and value statements but how many actually follow those words from top to bottom and from bottom to top? When an organization is clear on their vision and those in a position of leadership are consistent in their values and together they recruit, hire, train, discipline and build around those core items then there is a foundation for accountability (Video on discipline). Discipline is a key component of accountability. Yet, discipline is not just about yelling at people who aren’t doing their job or sending people home, or like one organization we worked with having a naughty board posted prominently in their employee center so that the record of team members failures could be observed by all, rather accountability flows from consistency and clarity.
We’d be better of without it (accountability).
It’s so much easier to maintain the status quo. Yet, with the rate of change and the demands in the market, status quo is the most rapid path to total failure. Change is painful but death is permanent. Doing the hard thing of turning something around requires commitment to work through obstacle after obstacle and to consistently progress through opposition after opposition only to wake up and do it again. No more so-and-so needs to do such-and-such as persons in a position of leadership must rise above the hollow opinions of the peanut gallery, as discussed in V.2.
Clarity. Consistency. Accountability.
View Accountability verse 1 & verse 2
Winning habits aren't always the most complex. Enhance clarity to build consistency and establish accountability through the simple discipline of scheduling.
Scheduling is the process of having a plan, or at least attempting to tell you day how you think it should go. Writing down your goals is important to do on the macro level of having a life plan, on the annual level of mapping out your course and on the micro level of having a daily road map. There is something special that happens when we take the time to write things down, there is some connection between the engagement of the brain and the enabling of the will that is connected to committing something to your calendar. Read more on the stories of successful people who are in the habit of writing down their goals, HERE.
Scheduling yourself the day prior or early in the morning enables you to be ahead of your day before the chaos hits and the day takes on a mind of it’s own. If you don't schedule ahead, you will always be playing from behind. You never want to get behind, as we all know - that's where the farts are. Whether you schedule in blocks of time or are down to the minute, prioritization (more) starts with having a target. Real Estate mogul and Shark Tank star, Barbara Cocoran, swears by her daily to-do list which she hand writes every night, prioritizes with a simple rating system and emails to her personal assistant for accountability. In an interview with Inc. Magazine Barbara outlines her process, “I rate the items in order of importance: A, B, or C. The A's are where the gold is. These are the things that will move my business ahead and make me money. I find there are really only three to five A items on any given day, and I do those first.”
Goal setting is a muscle that must be worked out on the daily, it requires mental strength, it will test your will power and it is enhanced by accountability from others. Setting aside time in your day to prepare yourself can be as simple as the habit of writing down your schedule. Organization in this way becomes a powerful habit that will help you to make gains on the items that are important to you. Like budgeting for your finances, a good plan will assist you to spend your time (which is impossible to recoup) where it is needed rather than be in a vicious cycle of questioning where the time went at the end of your day. Making your schedule visible to yourself and your team members creates a level of accountability as well as demonstrates leadership by example (more).
Vince Lombardi has a great saying, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” Who doesn’t want to win? Yet the thing that separates those who achieve success from those who talk about it is found in the preparation that winners put in. Those hours of discipline do not happen by accident, they come with a commitment to schedule in time for the things that are important, to prioritize and to persevere through the pain. Organization can be painful or just plain overlooked by many, but a successful system does not have to be complex to be effective.
In terms of property restoration every production manager knows that our schedules have to be constructed with a certain amount of flexibility in them for those inevitable calls for emergency services from water or fire related damages. Drafting a schedule the day prior and making the plan visible for the team (more) are key to communicating that leadership respects the team and is committed to helping them to be prepared for the upcoming needs of our clients. Scheduling is a core communication component that shows our employees we care about them and creates a visible game plan through which we are able to communicate effectively with our clients as well (more). The discipline of scheduling your self should carry into the care of scheduling the team and the courtesy of communicating those schedules to our clients.
The will to prepare to win starts with personal habits that translate into organizational systems that guide our core professional services. Being organized forces us to care about and budget our time. Scheduling generates habits that position us to pursue our goals with clarity, consistency and accountability. Simple things can be the difference between long term success (more) and cycles of chaos.
Organizational truth: Don’t get behind, that’s where the farts are.
More from Barbara Cocoran in her interview with Inc. Magazine, including video - https://www.inc.com/magazine/201704/anna-hensel/day-in-the-life-barbara-corcoran.html
Originally published as: Crave Success? Then Get Up, and Get Moving
March 15, 2017 at Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R)
By Jon Isaacson
At the beginning of the year, discussions about resolutions, goals and the pursuit of success are common. Everyone wants success, or at least they say they do, but what is success? Success is a moving target. The path to success is often non-linear as not all roads lead to success and neither is there a clearly marked single lane leading to success. Leaders with an entrepreneurial vision are not afraid to travel the paths that are unmarked, offer no guarantees and are less traveled by those who would rather talk about their plans for the pursuit of success.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. - Colin Powell
Because there are no shortcuts, the personal investment in success requires payments made in sweat and time, both of which will test your perseverance. Progressing through layers of success is often determined by what we do when everyone else is doing nothing as well as our ability to endure failures. There are only so many hours in the day, so we must be effective with the time we spend on the clock and creative with the time we have off the clock. Entrepreneurs are no strangers to the smell of oil burning at midnight.
Sports anecdotes are common in business as we enjoy the correlations of working hard as a team, being motivated by inspiring hard-nosed figures, fighting to the last minute, practicing our craft and being rewarded for our efforts. In the archives of iconic coaches and historic motivational half time orations, there may be none more revered than Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.
“The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” – Vince Lombardi
Who doesn’t want to win? Who doesn’t want to succeed in their entrepreneurial efforts? As you fantasize about your dreams of business accolades, do you find yourself declaring among friends and co-worker about how good you could be at something? Do you ever find yourself stating, “If I only had the time …or the money …or this one tool.”
Perhaps you are not the most objective person to be answering this question. If you don’t have the ability to be honest with yourself, perhaps you should ask an earnest friend. While the effectiveness of resolutions is arguable, there is value in setting goals. If you want to take yourself to the next level in your personal and professional development, it’s time to make a plan for how you are going to use the hours that you have — make a plan for what you will do with the hours everyone else is wasting.
If you have a family that should come first in your time off of the clock, family is the component of life that will be there whether you succeed or not so don’t burn those bridges or lose valuable time in caring for those relationships. Your values should always be God, guns, glory — wait, that’s a different article. We understand that athletes have to put in the time lifting weights, running sprints, practicing the minutia of their profession, but somehow we don’t apply this mindset to business. The will to prepare to win as laid out by Vince Lombardi involves those sacrifices that an individual makes when they are not required to be working in a structured environment. Whether you have 30 minutes a day or several hours, be intentional about making a plan and executing to the best of your ability.
The difference between knowing what you should be doing and starting the process of achieving it is one step. Stepping forward does not guarantee that you will succeed, but standing still guarantees that you won’t. If success is a moving target, how will you train yourself to hit the target that you have set for yourself? If success has many paths, and no path is guaranteed, what will you do to start moving down the road? If success is an investment in personal and professional growth which requires payments in sweat and pain, when was the last time you did so? If success is determined by what we do when everyone else is doing nothing, when are you going to get off your butt?
Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.