Category Archives: Stage 2 Small Business

First Steps Toward Accountability

I have 2 clients who are focused on “accountability” this year, and it’s proving a hard row to hoe for both of them.  Why?

Well, first of all, accountability is a somewhat scary term.  If someone is saying we need it, then that must mean that we are not being accountable, and that sounds like someone’s not happy with people’s performance.

Worse, if there’s not a way to gauge performance, the people are likely to take a need for accountability as a judgment on their dedication.  They’ll confuse accountability with work ethic.

It’s unfortunate that accountability gets this reaction.  In Stage 2 companies, accountability is more about making things that used to be managed intuitively into things that are managed objectively.  It does make a judgment about how people are working, but not in the way they think – accountability focuses on working on the right things, not the level of effort.

In fact, most of the time I work on accountability, people have a clearer sense of direction and less stress in their jobs.

I can spend lots of time talking about how to make your organization more accountable, but for now, let me finish by answering the question, “How do you overcome the initial resistance to accountability?”

I recommend 3 steps.  First, before you bring up accountability, praise the team’s work ethic (assuming it deserves praise…if it doesn’t, that’s a deeper problem…), so that they know that you know they are dedicated.  Second, give them an example of people spending more time in an area than they should.  (Serving the bottom 20% of your customer base is a fairly typical area.)  Finally, ask the team, “Do you have a way of quickly seeing whether the other people on the Leadership Team are succeeding?”  If you don’t, then you’re probably spending more time than you should simply understanding how you’re doing, instead of diving into the issues that will make your business better.

 

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What’s Powering Your Performance?

I spent the last 2 days in a workshop learning about performance and accountability from Shane Yount of Process-Based Leadership.  His model is a terrific match for the strategy work I do – once you know where you want to … Continue reading

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Empathy & Profitability

Many of my clients are proud of the “family feel” of their companies. They care about their people, see the whole person, and create a bond of trust that moves them well beyond an “employer-employee” relationship. The last few years … Continue reading

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Ebenezer Scrooge teaches us about Stage 2 planning

Picture this… A friend of yours runs a successful Stage 2 business – but is also frustrated that things aren’t going as well as he’d like.  It’s your job to set him on a new path. How do you create … Continue reading

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Systems Thinking is the Key to Second Stage Companies

Want to succeed as a Second Stage company?  Become a master of systems thinking. Systems thinking is at the heart of my work.  A Stage 2 company is moving from a Simple System (few parts, simple cause-effect, straightforward thinking) to … Continue reading

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Our Trend Report Identifies 2012 Trends Impacting Your Small Business

Imagine having a crystal ball that could show you the future. Wouldn’t it help you make better decisions for your business? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball. And we can’t promise to show you the future. Not exactly. However, … Continue reading

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What team conflict can tell you about your Second Stage strategy

Conflict in a team can be so frustrating for a Second Stage company.  You want to focus on the work at hand, but you and your team can’t get started – or keep getting sidetracked – because you’re not working … Continue reading

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How to get Employees to act like Owners in your Second Stage Company

I hear it all the time:  “When we were a start-up, everyone on the team went beyond their job and made sure we were successful as a business.  It’s why we made it to where we are.  But now that … Continue reading

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Stage 2 Planning: Make Waves…Not Spikes

Most Second Stage small businesses have a planning process, but there are often 2 problems with them:  the planning cycle is incomplete, and the preparation is incomplete.  Let’s look at that second problem some more. Because leaders are so busy, … Continue reading

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On the Delusions of Success

Marshall Goldsmith wrote an article for The Conference Board titled, “The Success Delusion.”  In it, he writes, “We all delude ourselves about our achievements, our status and our contributions…Although our self-confident delusions can help us achieve, they can make it … Continue reading

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