Five Ways to Win at Accountability

Posted by johngies
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia modified by JRG

“I am so frustrated, Steve just won’t do what I asked him to do. He is always late and I don’t know what to do”. This is what one of my clients recently shared. Actually, most clients share some version of this frustration, they feel their team is not being ACCOUNTABLE.

You Can watch the video here

What is accountable? Common expectations of the term means there is someone to blame if things go wrong. I’d like to suggest it is as simple as keeping our word to ourselves, our colleagues, and our roles. It is really about making and keeping commitments.

What I have learned is that there are several things that must be in place for accountability or ownership to be present.

The first is clarity of expectations. Is everyone clear on what is expected and when? You would be surprised at how often we are not clear. Ivan used to always promise a result by the close of business on Friday. That sounds specific, doesn’t it? Let’s dig deeper.

  • Is that East coast or West coast time?
  • Is it 5:00 PM or is it when Ivan stops working?

For me, close of business is 5:00 PM MST… for Ivan it was midnight PST. See the problem?

Next, does the employee have the capability to achieve the goal. You may think they do but do they feel they can? One of the biggest de-motivators is feeling like you can’t do the job. Ask yourself and them:

  • Have they performed a task like this before?
  • How do they plan to approach the task?
  • Are there resources they need or obstacles in the way?

Have you all agreed on what the measurement of success will be? Are you really measuring the right things? I can remember a sales team where the only measurement was $2.5 Million in new revenue per sales rep, per year. This sales team had a 76% annual turnover in the two years I was with them primarily because they were measuring the wrong things. They could have been measuring the activity that leads to $2.5 Million in sales.  Number of calls, number of presentations, number of proposals, etc. You really can’t control your results you can only control the activity you put  in , in pursuit of your results.

Continuous feedback. We’ve all heard practice makes perfect. That is Bull S^%$. Deliberate practice makes perfect. Deliberate practice is executing the activity and then learning and adjusting the activity. It’s like a baby learning to walk. They stumble, they fall, they crawl they take a few steps, and then they are walking. If they just practiced stumbling over and over again, they would never have made it upright. They were getting constant feedback from parent, and from the activity to move themselves forward. What makes you think that as an owner or manager that you don’t need to give your team feedback?

And then there are consequences. When the job is well done, everyone can move forward. Sometimes it leads to bonuses and promotions. If the job is not well done… Well, there can be negative consequences ranging from write ups to demotions to being given the opportunity to find a job that better suits one’s temperament and capabilities. There you have it. Five steps you can take to help your team be accountable and to get stuff done.  If you would like to learn more about how you can build, grow, and scale your business, check out the resources at

Leverage your Algorithm and Protocols to Overcome Overwhelm

Posted by johngies

Lately, many clients and colleagues are complaining of overwhelm. With too much to do, they feel like they are on the hamster wheel.

Man running on hamster wheel
Image Courtesy of Pixabay

This is crazy. If you google productivity and time management, you will get 495,000,000 results. Clearly, there are a lot of tools. I have recently reviewed John Wooden’s book on Leadership. For those that don’t know, he is one of the winningest coaches in college basketball ever. In his book and legend, he was famous for protocol.

Day one of training was how to put on your socks so as not to get a blister. For Coach Wooden it was not about if you “won” the game, it was about how you played the game. Did you play your best game. That was his standard.

Taking that now to the subject of overwhelm. We live in a world of distraction; there are so many shiny, interesting things.

I can go on. The point is where is your work in here?

One of the best metaphors that I have found useful in this last year is the idea of creating algorithms and protocols.

Algorithms are “IF” – “THEN” formulas. If this happens, then I will do that. For example, IF I wake up within 20 minutes of 5:00, THEN I will get up, then brush my teeth, THEN drop to the floor for my morning stretching routine and so on.

There are two algorithms here:

  1. IF I get up THEN I will brush my teeth.
  2. IF I brush my teeth THEN I will drop to the floor and stretch.

Think about your business. When a customer schedules a service call THEN you pull up their record and attach the file to the service call. THEN prior to the service call, your representative reviews the record so they can personalize the call.

There are all sorts of ways to create algorithms in your business:

  • Mortgage Broker – IF I drive by an open house THEN I will stop to introduce myself to the Realtor.
  • Roofer -IF I meet an Insurance Agent, THEN I will schedule a call with them.
  • Wealth Advisor – WHEN I meet a business owner, THEN I will ask about their 401K or retirement plans in line with Colorado regulations.

Take a few minutes to think about your business and what algorithms can you create that will propel your business forward.

Want to learn how to create a winning customer attraction algorithm? Come check out the resources at

Quit Fighting Fires: Four Steps to Conquer Overwhelm

Posted by johngies

I have quite a few clients these days who are feeling overwhelmed. It feels like they are all fighting fires. And while it is exciting to fight and extinguish fires, if this is how you are spending your days, you are not living life as an owner. It means you are not spending the appropriate time planning and executing on strategy. Instead, you are reacting to the crisis of the day.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can schedule an appointment with yourself EVERY week and KEEP IT. This appointment is to review your strategies, which one or two will you move forward this week? What specific action will you take that will be most effective? Now schedule that in your calendar.

Now let’s look to your team, why are they interrupting you? Are there questions you have not definitively answered? Can you schedule a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly 1-1 conversation with them and KEEP IT? This 1-1 will cover what they are working on, what’s working, and where can you help them gain access to resources to move forward.

Now ask yourself what systems are broken, such that that your work is not moving forward as expected? Have you even thought of your business systems because “everybody knows them”? Taking the time to document your systems, and then ensuring the appropriate members, have access to the documentation and understanding of expectations, will prevent a LOT of fires.

Quit Fighting Fires and Invest in Fire Prevention by taking the time to:

  1. Review your plans
  2. Choose your Priorities
  3. Schedule your team conversations
  4. Build and Monitor Your systems

If you would like to learn more about how you can stop fighting fires to enjoy your days and weeks, Let’s schedule a call,

Are You Struggling to Hire Staff? Whats Wrong With Your Process

Posted by johngies

There is a lot of conversation going on right now about how nobody can find and hire good employees.  I’m not sure that that is true. I wonder if it is the result of a change that employers have not adapted to.

Hands Shaking Agreement
Image via Pixabay

In working with many of my clients that experience turnover, they have not taken the time to clearly define what tasks they want new employees to accomplish, and what skills are required. Many employers are lazy and just want to hire someone that is already doing what they want them to do or that has all of the experience they think they need.  So, they look for someone that is looking for the same position they had at a previous employer.  (Ask yourself, if they were good at the job that they had – that you are now hiring for, why are they out looking?)

One of the first steps in hiring and keeping staff is recruiting. Getting the right people on the bus. Take the time to slow down and get clear on the following:

  • What tasks and responsibilities go with the job?
  • What skills are necessary and what can be taught?
  • What attitude is required (This might be one of the most important selection criteria).
  • How will you determine that they have those criteria that you need.
  • Create a job description that is clear and concise and then put it in the form of an agreement that the employee “agrees” to.  There is a clear distinction between expectations and agreements.

Ask yourself, why would someone want to work for you? Just like clients and customers, employees are searching for work that meets their needs. Yup employees’ expectations have changed and remember you are looking for agreement not expectations.

Look at what value you can provide. It’s not always money. Here are some ideas:

  • Flextime
  • Skills development
  • Benefits I know it can be expensive and with a little effort you would be surprised at the benefits you can offer your employees
  • Education Opportunities

Ask what part of the industry and their typical boss do people hate can you offer better? I know an accountant for example that has created a 32-hour work week.  Because of the way they onboard clients and the commitments she gets up front, she does not have the crush of business in tax season that others do. So here people don’t end up at 50 – 60 hours a week during tax season.

How Important is good staff to you and your business? What will you do to attract, on-board and retain the staff you want? What is your commitment this week? If you’d like to learn more bout how to become a more attractive employer, and retain your best employees’ lets schedule a call.  Reach out at

How Do I Get My Team to Do What I Want?

Posted by johngies

When you start your business, you and your team are often in the same room and that leads to a shared mindset on the work and culture. As you start to grow, almost every leader is frustrated with keeping all of the team on the same page. 

As the owner you have a vision, mission and purpose for your business (whether you have articulated it or not). And your team has come to you with all of their history and baggage. This affects how they interact with you and how they work.

Then there is the halo affect that comes with being a leader. Everything you say or do is amplified because YOU are the leader. It can be compared to the parent child dynamic. For more information on this, look up Transactional Analysis.

There are a lot of things you can control as a leader and a lot more that you can’t. But an understanding of the psychology, structure, and cadence of communication with your team can help.

Here are some things to consider as you bring your team into alignment.

  1. What are the values and behaviors that will be tolerated in your organization? This is your culture. And what you tolerate is what you will get. Is this written down and communicated on a regular basis?
  2. If you frequently have people that are not doing things the way you expect, ask yourself, “what am I not communicating or being clear about”?
  3. Creating systems, policies, and procedures will reinforce the culture, the expectations, and agreements you make with your team. Instead of laying out “expectations,” of your people, I would suggest creating “agreements” with them.
  4. In your hiring process ask yourself, how will you identify the characteristics and attitude you want in your team? The templates and assessments look for skills. Those are easy. Character and attitude, this is where you find the gems.

If you want to grow and scale your business, you will need people. And when you add people to the mix, you now need to practice leadership in addition to your craft that built your business. If you would like to learn how to grow, scale, and expand your business, check out the Video here.