Tag Archives: accountability

Accountability and Empowerment in Team Dynamics

Accountability and Empowerment in Team Dynamics

GUEST POST from Stefan Lindegaard

A winning mindset is crucial for team leaders and teams striving to achieve their goals. Empowerment and accountability are two key elements that contribute to a mindset of success in team dynamics.

When team members feel empowered to make decisions and take the initiative, they are more engaged and motivated to excel.

Coupled with accountability, which ensures team members are responsible for their actions and outcomes, these two elements form a powerful mindset that can unlock your team’s full potential.

The Value of Empowerment and Accountability:

Empowerment fosters an environment where team members are encouraged to use their unique skills and expertise to contribute to the team’s success. This sense of autonomy can boost creativity and innovation, as team members feel they have the freedom and support to explore new ideas and take calculated risks.

Accountability, on the other hand, establishes a culture where team members are held responsible for their actions and the results they produce. When team members are accountable for their work, they are more likely to take ownership of their tasks and strive for high-quality outcomes. By embracing a mindset of empowerment and accountability, teams can achieve a synergistic effect that leads to improved performance, collaboration, and overall success.

Action Suggestions for Team Leaders and Teams:

# 1 – Set Clear Expectations: Ensure that team members understand their roles, responsibilities, and performance expectations. This clarity will help them feel more confident in taking ownership of their work and being accountable for their outcomes.

# 2 – Cultivate a Growth Mindset and Psychological Safety: Encourage team members to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning while fostering an environment where they feel safe to take risks, express opinions, and ask for help. This combination will help them embrace empowerment and accountability as essential aspects of their development.

# 3 – Encourage Open Communication and Feedback: Create an environment where team members feel comfortable discussing their successes and challenges openly. Encourage them to give and receive constructive feedback, helping each other grow and improve.

# 4 – Celebrate Success and Learn from Mistakes: Acknowledge and reward team members for their contributions and achievements. At the same time, use setbacks as learning opportunities to reinforce the importance of taking ownership and being accountable for their work.

Your team’s success is a direct reflection of the mindset you cultivate within it. As a team leader or member, you have the power to ignite the potential of your team by embracing a growth mindset, psychological safety, empowerment, and accountability.

Now is the time to challenge the status quo, defy mediocrity, and strive for excellence. Make the conscious choice to create a team culture that dares to empower, holds each other accountable, and thrives in the face of adversity. The success of your team lies in your hands.

Are you ready to unleash it?

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Management Accountability in Two Dimensions

Performance and Power

Management Accountability in Two Dimensions

GUEST POST from Geoffrey A. Moore

In Silicon Valley, we talk a lot about leadership but perhaps not enough about management. That’s because we are famous for working the fuzzy front end of things, where management is premature and leadership is paramount. But to have real impact on the world, you must eventually lean on strong management to operate at scale. So, what exactly does that entail?

First and foremost, management is about delivering the performance committed to in the plan. Everyone gets this, and while there are major differences in styles of management, all are measured ultimately by performance metrics, and no one is confused. We may not like the numbers we are supposed to make, but we know what they are, we have some idea of what it will take to make them, and we will get report-outs along the way to tell us how we are doing.

Such is not the case, however, with a second dimension of management accountability—the need to continually invest in ways that will power future performance. Performance consumes power as a means to create returns. If we focus 100% of our resources on performance, we will eventually exhaust all our existing sources of power and will be unable to compete effectively going forward.

Seems obvious enough, but here is the problem. We do not define power anywhere nearly as clearly as we define performance. We do not have reports that tell us how we are doing on the power side of the equation. We are often not really clear about what power we should be going after, what investments could be specifically targeted to deliver power, or what metrics would verify that we have succeeded. Worse still, our performance compensation systems can actually incent us to ignore all this ambiguity around “power management” and focus solely on meeting our performance commitments, particularly when resources are tight. Worst of all, as power dwindles, it becomes harder and harder to make the number, which puts more pressure on the resources we have, which further disincentivizes investing in future power. The result is a downward spiral from which it is painfully hard to escape.

So, what can we do to prevent it?

To begin with, we will need a map—specifically a power map, an understanding of the geography of our current power base. We can develop one through root cause analysis. That is, if we are in the Performance Zone, we can ask, where are our products successful, where are they not, and why? Where are our sales efforts successful, where are they not, and why? Similarly, if we are in the Productivity Zone, we can ask, where are our systems working as promised, where are they not, and why? Which of our programs have delivered the change in state promised, which have not, and why? (Note: if we are in the Incubation Zone, we are already an investment in power, so this exercise would not apply.)

Root cause analysis, by its very nature, shifts the focus from the domain of performance (effects) to that of power (causes). The deeper this analysis can penetrate, the more insightful our map of power becomes. This is a good opportunity to engage the entire team, not only to improve the quality of the analysis, but also to help everyone develop their own management perspective.

Once a power map is in view, then the question becomes, if we could intervene in only one place, where could we have the most impact, and what would it take to bring it about? We are looking for a specific initiative that could change the game within whatever time limits are appropriate to the situation. Here are some examples:

  • In response to a weakening industry status, Sybase leveraged the financial crisis in 2008 to boost its power on Wall Street, a long-dormant part of its power map, with a campaign that focused on portfolio risk analysis, capitalizing on the unique attributes of its columnar database for online analytics. The success of that campaign bought valuable time to develop a mobile app platform for hosting enterprise applications on the iPhone, something that led to SAP acquiring the company at a premium in 2010.
  • In response to the successful performance of the iPod and iTunes (almost half of Apple’s revenue in 2007), subsequently being exposed to the existential threat of smartphones eventually assimilating music players, Apple invested deeply in the iPhone, leveraging its existing wireless downloading infrastructure to liberate programs and content from carrier control. Today, the iPod is effectively embedded in the iPhone, and it is that device that supplies 50 percent of Apple’s revenue.
  • In response to drastically deteriorating industry power at IBM in the early 1990s, Lou Gerstner completely reframed the enterprise’s power map, rejecting the view that future power would come from disaggregation, asserting instead that it would come from global integration. Leveraging an emerging global trend in e-commerce, he and his team transformed the company into a services-led powerhouse that helped lead the IT industry for another decade.

These examples, of course, represent big power maps. Most of us play on a considerably smaller stage. But the principles are the same:

  • Leave conventional wisdom behind
  • Take a fresh view of the power dynamics influencing your organization
  • Launch a single focused initiative that tees things up for future success

All that remains is to create accountability for power outcomes. Accountability begins with identifying a single accountable person. People often shy away from this because they associate it with someone to blame. That is neither the point nor the role. Rather, this person is the quarterback of the initiative. To be really clear, they are not the team owner (that would be the executive sponsor) nor are they the coach (that would be the line manager in charge of delivering both performance and power), but rather they are the person on the field taking input from teammates to make the best calls in the moment. Without this single point of coordination, initiatives are unable to take decisive action under conditions of uncertainty—in other words, they underperform in game-time situations.

The next thing we need is a good way to keep score. This can be tricky because indicators for power are not as easy to see as those for performance. Nonetheless, we cannot manage what we cannot measure, so we need to get creative here. One place we can look for ideas is from our customer success operations. There the focus is on onboarding, adoption, usage, and upsell—all of which are signals of whether power is waxing or waning. Whatever the initiative we are managing, we need to create proxies to detect these kinds of signal and use them to track our progress.

Finally, we need to tie meeting power metrics with compensation, not only for the single accountable person but also for the organization making the resource sacrifices to enable the investment required. This will typically be in the form of bonuses for hitting key metrics within a given time limit. Not only do such bonuses motivate, they also make clear to the rest of the enterprise that this initiative is important, and that the people leading it are committed to its success.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Forming Good Entrepreneurial Habits

Going from Said to Done

Forming Good Entrepreneurial Habits

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Are you trying to change and practice entrepreneurial habits? Science can help and here’s how.

As you progress in your career, it often gets harder to ask for help in reaching your goals and staying accountable to yourself to achieve them. If you’ve reached a career plateau, this author recommends three strategies to hold yourself accountable to your goals:

  • Enlist an accountability partner
  • Go public in declaring and sharing goals
  • Change your environment

Here are some new entrepreneurial habits that might contribute to your success and change your innovator’s DNA gene expression:

1. Put 5 books on your nightstand that you read for 30 minutes before going to bed. William Osler suggested it for doctors but it should work for entrepreneurs, too. Yes, you can read 50 books a year. The new twist on the concept is the 5 hour rule.

2. Subscribe to 5 newsletters completely outside of your field to find new sources of innovation and inspiration. Most true innovation rarely comes from inside.

3. Write 500 words about anything, anywhere every day. It can be in a journal. It can be on a Pulse post, It can be an evolving book or it can simply be on your iPad. Perhaps the biggest gap in my formal education was in writing. The only way to overcome that deficit is to discipline yourself to practice, practice, practice.

4. Invite at least one person every day to join your linkedin network who you think you can help.

5. Practice random acts of kindness when someone asks you to do them a favor that does not compromise your integrity. It’s good for your karmic bank account.

6. Watch children play every now and then. Like Jobs said at Stanford, be playful and stay hungry.

7. Use vacations as a way to create new habits. Change the rewards and cut yourself some slack instead of practicing incessant self denial. Productivity decreases when you reach a certain numbers of hours of work in a day. Try to do more in less time by eliminating unproductive distractions, overconnectedness or finding when your creative, imaginative biorhythm kicks in. Aim to work 20 hours a week.

8. Set goals with your spouse.

9. Have a fun fund. Not an emergency fund. Not a retirement fund, A fun fund you use to reward new and constructive behaviors. Don’t make it too small or too large. Just enough.

10. When your inner voice says no, create a space between the stimulus and your response. Say yes more often and try new things. Say no more often to things and people that are not aligned with your goals.

11. Train your brain to have patience and leave more time for Type 2 thinking (slow) instead of Type 1(fast) that leads to bad decisions based on intuition and bias.

12. Think positively to act positively. Here are 10 ways to do it

13. Keep a daily log of your small accomplishments each day and congratulate yourself. Nothing succeeds like success, not matter how small.

14. See things differently. Great creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs look at the world in ways that are different from how many of us look at things. This is why they see opportunities that other people miss.

15. Move from self-awareness to self-improvement

16. Join communities that a have employees set aside time for work that is important but not urgent. We call this proactive time or pro-time.re different from one another. Balance generalism with specialized focus.

17. Set aside time for work that is important but not urgent.

18. Practice gratitude.

19. Prune

20. Practice the power of negative entrepreneurship

21. Learn something new every day

22. Do something that scares you every day

23.Make these 6 practices a habit

Changing your morning routine might help. Mine includes reading, thinking and writing articles like this one.

Take advantage of the science of happiness by doing these four things.

Here are 5 more habits to future-proof your brain.

There are no short-cuts along the entrepreneurial journey. There are only habits that take time, repetition and the motivation to develop. You should focus on a few critical behaviors that have:

Implementation criteria include:

  • Actionability: Are people able to perform the behavior?
  • Degree of visibility: Can people see others performing the behavior?
  • Measurability: Can you measure (preferably objectively) whether people are performing the behavior?
  • Speed of results: Can people performing the behavior deliver results in the short term?
  • Ease of implementation: Given the current organizational environment, how easy/difficult will it be for people to perform the new behavior?

Some of these principles apply to organizations as well. When it comes to turning strategy to action, pay attention to this check list

Here are some ways to turn insight into execution by rewiring your brain and your team’s too.

These new habits will probably take several months to create. Here are some tips, backed by research, for forming new healthy habits.

Part of surgical training involves creating patterns of behavior that are habit forming. While, on the one hand, it helps to standardize care, it also can lead to making Type 1 and Type 2 technology adoption errors and faulty diagnostic thinking because it precludes other possibilities. The same applies to entrepreneurs.

Try to avoid what your basal ganglia is telling you to do when it makes sense. Like the man says, you’ll like how you feel. But, like they say, innovation and entrepreneurship is much easier said than done. Habits will set you free.

Image credits: Pixabay

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Highlights from IBM’s Latest Innovation Research

Highlights from IBM's Latest Innovation ResearchMore Than Magic

According to a recent research study published by the IBM Institute for Business Value, outperforming organizations are 79% more likely to establish dedicated innovation teams.

For those of you who don’t have time to download, print, and read the whole thing, I’ve taken the liberty of collecting the highlights for you.

IBM’s analysis revealed three key categories that separate Outperformers from the rest:

  1. Organizational structures and functions that support innovation
  2. Cultural environments to make innovation thrive
  3. Processes to convert ideas into innovation

IBM found that Outperformers approach innovation differently. They:

  • Align innovation with business goals
  • Structure open forms of innovation
  • Create specialized teams
  • Lead with an innovation focus
  • Encourage innovative behaviors
  • Sustain innovation momentum
  • Generate new ideas from a wide range of sources
  • Fund innovation
  • Measure innovation outcomes

Another important point to keep in mind, but not highlighted in the report, is the tension between inefficiency and innovation. The more inefficient the organization, the fewer resources available to invest in innovation.

Something to think about…

But more about that later in another post, so stay tuned!

If you missed the download link above, here it is again.

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