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Accountability: The key to achieving business goals

Written by Ray Moore.

Ask a hundred people if they are happy to be held accountable for achieving their goals and results and 95% will smile, nod their head, willingly accept and agree to be held accountable.

However, the reality is the total opposite with the majority doing everything they can to avoid accountability. Often this is not intentional but the outcome is doomed just the same.

Why is this the case?

Humans become programmed to avoid accountability.

All around us this belief is reinforced by society at large and evidenced in the newspapers and on television. From politicians blaming the last government to bankers denying any wrongdoing or FTSE 100 CEOs explaining the reasons for unexpected drops in profits whilst still expecting their bonus.

The list goes on and on but how can we hold accountable people in our businesses.

Well the first thing to understand is no one can hold anyone else accountable unless that person has agreed and is totally committed to make it happen. It is essential that they are prepared to be held accountable for the agreed results or outcome within the agreed timeframe and that they truly take ownership of the goal and are prepared to take responsibility of their actions.

By definition this must mean that they have the necessary skills and resources to get the result or outcome. So always carry out a reality check to make sure the resources are available and the individual or team have the right skills and desire to carry out the task. The golden rule is check, don't assume.

 

Avoid digging elephant traps at all costs.

This is where we know the outcome is not realistic and achievable within the time scale or with the resources available, but we still set people up to fail. And guess what, they will fall into the trap and just like elephants they won't forget and next time they wont be so willing to take on the challenge.

Agree in advance how the outcome is to be measured and set the appropriate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Always hold people accountable on facts not opinions. Ensure all parties are using the same information and that the KPIs are timely, accurate and available to all involved.

KPIs are to Keep People Informed on their progress and to give understanding and flexibility to achieve the goal. Make KPIs a positive feedback tool not a negative stick to beat or prod.

 

Here are two ploys often used to avoid being held accountable.

First, watch out for smoke screens.

This is where the issue is lost in other issues. The most common is questioning of the facts – but can come in many forms. Doubt is placed on the validity of the measurement and you end up feeling confused as you never really got down to the root of the problem.

Secondly, be aware of ‘curve balls'.

These are where a totally extraneous issue is raised and before you know it the conversation has gone off in a totally different direction. It's keeping away from the question that really needs to be addressed to a safe subject that takes off the pressure and avoids the accountability.

For professional smoke screen or use of curve balls just watch any politician being interviewed on the TV or perhaps just be a fly on the wall in any of the meetings in your business!

Think about your own business and if you find smoke screens or curve balls being used on you or indeed by you then check to see whether true accountability exists in your business. Perhaps this is a symptom of a much deeper disease but that is a whole new issue.

 

Fluid Business Coaches, Andy Sleet and Ray Moore, are on the Fluid Business Podcast discussing accountability in more detail:

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FBP 096: Make business a success without sacrificing family life

Running a small business takes a lot of hard work. Whether it’s a start up or a third-generation family business, it’s likely you’ve done more than your fair share of 12-hour days and weekends. With Father's Day soon approaching, Ray Moore and Hugo Heij are talking about why you should focus on achieving a healthy work:life balance.

Read the blog here: thelevelsblog.com/what-price-will-you-pay/

Find out more about Ray Moore's book: fluidbusiness.co.uk/the-levels-book

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 095: Continuous Learning: Work Smarter Not Harder

Gazelles Certified Business Coach, Andy Sleet, has just returned from the Gazelles annual summit in San Antonio, Texas. Hugo Heij joins him in the Podcasting studio to find out what he learnt and why continuous learning is essential to remain relevant in an ever-changing business environment.

Andy discusses some of the highlights from the speakers, including the following books:

  • Robert Cialdini – Pre-Suasion
  • Michael Bungay Stanier – Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead forever
  • Chris Zook – The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth

Read more on the Fluid Business Coaching Blog.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 093: How effective is your appraisal system?

Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss the real purpose of an appraisal system and why it should benefit both employer and employee. Following the recent NHS system hack, Ray takes a different stance on his blog, highlighting why businesses should also regularly review computer systems to get the maximum benefit from their resources.

Read more here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 091: Scale your business with Andy Sleet – Certified Gazelles Coach

Having recently achieved the Gazelles Coaching Certification, Andy Sleet talks through the framework including the Four Decisions – People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. These components are the recipe for scaling up high-growth businesses and achieving balanced business growth.

Andy is now certified alongside Peter Boolkah, making Fluid Business Coaching the only Gazelles Certified Business Coaching Practice in the UK.

To find out more about each of the four decisions, listen to:

FBP 054: Scaling Up – People with Peter Boolkah

FBP 055: Scaling Up – Strategy with Peter Boolkah

FBP 056: Scaling Up – Execution with Peter Boolkah

FBP 057: Scaling Up – Cash with Peter Boolkah

Read more here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Adapt or die, the choice is yours

Written by Ray Moore.

In today’s rapidly changing environment, businesses need to proactively adapt and ‘keep up’ with the pace of change. Any business that resists changing to market and industry developments faces loosing their competitive edge and ending up in an ‘evolutionary cul-de-sac.’ Here are the top two ever-changing areas that SMEs should focus on:

Technological advancements

Without change, we would still be using cash as our main method of payment. In the podcast (Episode 090), Andy and I chat about a high-street retailer that resisted the change from cash to using credit cards, which had a detrimental effect on the business. Technology advancements are often the catalyst for change and although it can be seen as a disruptor at first, in the long run it is likely to make for smoother and more convenient processes.

Customer expectations

Using the example of payment methods again; we know that card payment is the norm in almost all shops and restaurants. Customers expect to be able make card payments and don’t carry much cash around with them. Any business not accepting card payments is going to inconvenience customers and fail to meet their expectations.

The expectations your customers have are constantly changing. Today, many customers expect to be able to make contactless payment and in the near future your customers may expect something else. Being in touch with trends, your competition and industry developments is essential to meeting your customers’ needs.

As I mentioned in the Podcast, small businesses are not just competing locally, regionally or even nationally anymore, we are all competing in a much more globalised world, therefore we need to embrace the changes and not fall behind the curve.

Read more about this topic on my blog.

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FBP 090: Your business has two options: Adapt or die

Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss the pace of change and why businesses should be aware of industry trends. Business owners have two options: to proactively adapt and change with market and environmental changes, or to resist change and fall behind the curve.

Read more on The Levels Blog, or read Ray's article on why businesses need to adapt.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 088: Is your business ready for sale?

Join Andy Sleet, expert in readying businesses for sale, as he talks through the process of selling a business to help you understand and overcome the challenges that business owners often encounter.

Is your business ready for sale and will it survive without you? Read more here: fluidbusiness.co.uk/preparing-business-sale/

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Three reasons why we should never stop learning

We begin our formal education at the age of four or five years old and continue until we finish senior school or college/university. Then, once we achieve our qualifications, we tend to believe that the “learning” part of our life is over and we begin our working life – of course we learn at work but it’s reactive learning that takes place, not proactive learning. Proactive learning is about exploration, development and expanding the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

There is a one particular excuse we hear time and time again: “I don’t have time.” But take a closer look at your time; your commute to work could be 10 or 20 minutes of ‘dead time.’ This time could be used to learn by listening to podcasts or audiobooks, or using apps like Blinkist which provides 10-15 minute book summaries.

Get into the habit of investing in learning and improving yourself during dead time. Here are the top three benefits of continued learning:

Opens up new opportunities

Taking the time to proactively learn will give you a better understanding of the events around you. By progressively deepening your understanding and knowledge of subjects that matter to you, you will be able to see the bigger picture. Those moments of clarity where something finally becomes clear or makes sense will become more frequent.

The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to make connections between pieces of knowledge. Look at each new learning and apply it to your own experiences, you will then begin to see and take advantage of new opportunities that you didn’t see before.

Fast track to success

Listening, learning and developing is what successful people do. But why do they do it? Well, if you believe that you know everything you need to know about a subject matter or running a business or managing your team, then you will be missing out on new ideas and different ways of thinking.

Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and author, once said: “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” By this he means that learning and developing will increase your personal value and give you the right mindset for success.

Improves creativity

It’s a well-known fact that learning and staying mentally active keeps your brain healthy and functioning at a high level. Scientists believe that creativity is essentially the ability to apply skills or learning from one situation and apply them to another. If you’re always learning you will be able to transfer your knowledge and understanding to new challenges and ‘come up with’ creative solutions.

Let us know what's on your ‘to read' list.

 

For more on this topic, listen to Episode 085 of the Fluid Business Podcast.

Read more on The Levels Blog: How do you change the way you think?

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Never answer your phone in meetings: Here’s why…

Written by Hugo Heij

It's easy to overlook the importance of meeting etiquette and how seemingly harmless actions can have a bigger impact on those around you.

Have you ever phoned someone, and they answered the phone whispering if they can call you back because they are in a meeting? (Or do you recognise yourself in this? -> Read on!)

When this happens a few major errors in judgement are taking place. And I know, these are big words, so let me explain them to you.

Error #1:

By answering the phone, you lost connection with the person or people you are meeting with. You have made the conscious choice that answering the phone was more important than paying attention. This does not pay much respect to the people you are meeting with.

Error #2:

By answering the phone, you delayed the meeting, and you forced the other participants to spend more time in the meeting, because the meeting rhythm has been disturbed. Hijacking other people’s time. Ouch!

Error #3:

The fact you know someone was calling, meant you had it either ringing (oops, sorry. Forgot to put in on silent), or buzzing on the table (yes, other people do notice that and it distracts), or flashing in front of you (that is also being noticed!) or your smartwatch has notified you (congratulations with your new gadget). Whatever triggered you to answer the phone, meant that the meeting has been distracted and your call has prevailed over the bigger cause you are meeting for. What is your priority?

Error #4:

By answering the phone, you have given your caller the initial joy you answered, for it to be followed by a short question, ‘Can I call you back?’ This does not pay much respect to the person calling you either.

Error #5:

By answering the phone, you have robbed me from the opportunity to leave you a message or question, so you can think about the answer, before ringing back. This could potentially have saved us both time. Thanks!

Solution:

When you are meeting somebody, please switch off your phone, or leave it in the car or in your bag. If I call you in that moment, I am absolutely fine to leave you a message or for you to call me back at your own leisure. I won’t be upset, feel left out, or think I am being ignored.

Please pay respect to those you are meeting with. Give them your full and undivided attention. They deserve it, and it will save you time!

And if you are expecting that extremely important phone call; notify the meeting in advance. We all have those phone calls from time to time.

Vice Versa

If you call me and you get my voicemail, please don’t take it personally. It’s not that you are not important. It’s not because I don’t want to speak to you. It’s not that I am ignoring you.

It’s simply, because I choose, at that moment, to give my full attention, to the person I am meeting with. And yes, that is sometimes myself.  Just leave me a short message, and I will call you back.

 

In Episode 081 of the Fluid Business Podcast, Hugo Heij discusses meeting etiquette in more depth with Andy Sleet.

Related podcasts:
FBP 022: Meeting rhythms
FBP 065: Rules of a team meeting