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Crack The Behavior Code

Create Peak Performance In 20 Minutes

Christine is known for creating strategies that are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue and company value. Imagine if she was able to sit down with you and SHARE all of her knowledge and insigh... More
Latest Episode
2019-12-7

Working Through Personal Hardship

Season 1, Ep. 12

Once you reach your 40s, or possibly even earlier, you’re likely to have experienced a profound personal hardship, which you had to navigate through while keeping your job. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a divorce, a life-threatening disease, a significant injury or something else, personal hardship takes its toll on us all at one point or another.



Here are some tips to care for yourself and others when these twists and turns of life occur:


  • Check In with Yourself The Emotion Wheel is a helpful tool to get you in touch with how you’re feeling. Give yourself the gift of being honest when others ask you how you are. When my father passed away and people asked how I was I’d say “really sad” or whatever was true. Then I’d notice people would either try to talk me into feeling better (Don’t do this! Let a person feel what they feel.), or they’d change the topic, or they’d meet me where I was with compassion and kindness. The latter always felt best. When you’re going through a hardship your job is to feel and process it, not to fake it to make others feel better. That approach will only suppress the grief and lengthen the healing process.


  • Ask For Help – Yes, many of us have been taught that this is a sign of weakness (as is vulnerability), but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. People want to help. It feels good. And when they are asked for help, it lights up the reward center in their brain and is deeply fulfilling to them [I suggest you look into the work of Naomi Eisenberger of UCLA if this interests you.]. Asking for help is actually generous to others, as well as to yourself. Saying you can’t do something honors your Organismic Rights to Exist and to Have Needs. It took me a while to let myself reach out to others, and it amazed me how eager they were to help, and how deeply satisfying it was for them.


  • Pad Your Schedule – When you’re in the middle of a personal crisis or profound hardship, you’re not fully present. You can’t be. Part of you is processing the trauma, grief, shock of the experience. And based on the degree of intensity, the part of you that’s temporarily “away” can be a huge part. When my stepson died it was a world-jarring shock—one day he was fine, then boom! The next morning he was gone. A large part of me was pre-occupied with deep grieving for many months. So I worked less, and set deadlines with 2-3x the wiggle room I normally allocated.


  • Get Into Nature – There’s nothing like nature to be life-affirming, especially when we need to remember beauty, grace and the peace of stillness. Even a 30 minute quiet walk in the trees or a park can bring one peace. Ideally you’ll be surrounded by quiet and forest, yet do what you can.


  • Meditate – Learning to cultivate internal peace and quiet provides you with a sanctuary you can always retreat to. Even a mere 5 minutes a day starts to train your mind that it’s not in charge—your higher self, which witnesses the constant barrage of your thoughts, is actually in charge.


  • Watch Movies That Help You Feel – You may need to laugh and lighten up, you may need to cry and let it all out. An executive coaching client of mine once told me he didn’t cry, it just wasn’t something he did. Then a personal hardship occurred in his life and he needed to cry, he needed the release. But he wouldn’t let himself. Then the suppressed sorrow became anger. I urged him to watch one of a variety of movies that would help him cry. Finally he agreed to, and he cried for several hours. He finally let it all out. And he’s been a different, gentler, kinder, more connected person since.


  • Honor The Process – Healing from a personal hardship will take different amounts of time for different people. Honor your and their process, without setting expectations and deadlines (hey! Aren’t you done grieving yet? = not cool!). The seasons take time, so does healing. Chill. Enjoy the process, let it unfold, gather the wisdom from it, as later you’ll look back on it as a transformative time.


The Net-Net


Sooner or later we all have to navigate our work while moving through a personal hardship. Asking others for help, giving yourself internal and external space, and getting into nature help a great deal.


Are you navigating a personal hardship right now? If so, what’s helping you?


To learn more about the retreat, visit www.beyondyourbrain.com, where you'll find information about our upcoming retreat!


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.


2019-12-7

Working Through Personal Hardship

Season 1, Ep. 12

Once you reach your 40s, or possibly even earlier, you’re likely to have experienced a profound personal hardship, which you had to navigate through while keeping your job. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a divorce, a life-threatening disease, a significant injury or something else, personal hardship takes its toll on us all at one point or another.



Here are some tips to care for yourself and others when these twists and turns of life occur:


  • Check In with Yourself The Emotion Wheel is a helpful tool to get you in touch with how you’re feeling. Give yourself the gift of being honest when others ask you how you are. When my father passed away and people asked how I was I’d say “really sad” or whatever was true. Then I’d notice people would either try to talk me into feeling better (Don’t do this! Let a person feel what they feel.), or they’d change the topic, or they’d meet me where I was with compassion and kindness. The latter always felt best. When you’re going through a hardship your job is to feel and process it, not to fake it to make others feel better. That approach will only suppress the grief and lengthen the healing process.


  • Ask For Help – Yes, many of us have been taught that this is a sign of weakness (as is vulnerability), but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. People want to help. It feels good. And when they are asked for help, it lights up the reward center in their brain and is deeply fulfilling to them [I suggest you look into the work of Naomi Eisenberger of UCLA if this interests you.]. Asking for help is actually generous to others, as well as to yourself. Saying you can’t do something honors your Organismic Rights to Exist and to Have Needs. It took me a while to let myself reach out to others, and it amazed me how eager they were to help, and how deeply satisfying it was for them.


  • Pad Your Schedule – When you’re in the middle of a personal crisis or profound hardship, you’re not fully present. You can’t be. Part of you is processing the trauma, grief, shock of the experience. And based on the degree of intensity, the part of you that’s temporarily “away” can be a huge part. When my stepson died it was a world-jarring shock—one day he was fine, then boom! The next morning he was gone. A large part of me was pre-occupied with deep grieving for many months. So I worked less, and set deadlines with 2-3x the wiggle room I normally allocated.


  • Get Into Nature – There’s nothing like nature to be life-affirming, especially when we need to remember beauty, grace and the peace of stillness. Even a 30 minute quiet walk in the trees or a park can bring one peace. Ideally you’ll be surrounded by quiet and forest, yet do what you can.


  • Meditate – Learning to cultivate internal peace and quiet provides you with a sanctuary you can always retreat to. Even a mere 5 minutes a day starts to train your mind that it’s not in charge—your higher self, which witnesses the constant barrage of your thoughts, is actually in charge.


  • Watch Movies That Help You Feel – You may need to laugh and lighten up, you may need to cry and let it all out. An executive coaching client of mine once told me he didn’t cry, it just wasn’t something he did. Then a personal hardship occurred in his life and he needed to cry, he needed the release. But he wouldn’t let himself. Then the suppressed sorrow became anger. I urged him to watch one of a variety of movies that would help him cry. Finally he agreed to, and he cried for several hours. He finally let it all out. And he’s been a different, gentler, kinder, more connected person since.


  • Honor The Process – Healing from a personal hardship will take different amounts of time for different people. Honor your and their process, without setting expectations and deadlines (hey! Aren’t you done grieving yet? = not cool!). The seasons take time, so does healing. Chill. Enjoy the process, let it unfold, gather the wisdom from it, as later you’ll look back on it as a transformative time.


The Net-Net


Sooner or later we all have to navigate our work while moving through a personal hardship. Asking others for help, giving yourself internal and external space, and getting into nature help a great deal.


Are you navigating a personal hardship right now? If so, what’s helping you?


To learn more about the retreat, visit www.beyondyourbrain.com, where you'll find information about our upcoming retreat!


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.


2019-11-28

Combining Leadership & Gratitude

Season 1, Ep. 11

It is extremely powerful to combine leadership and gratitude.


For starters, gratitude helps you feel generally better. Choosing to recognize and acknowledge all the good things in life (which is what gratitude practices help you do), creates a more positive outlook. In addition, when you establish a true gratitude practice you're able to anchor that feeling of gratefulness and positivity into your body.


This anchoring creates an emotional reserve you'll be able to call on later.


Another gratitude superpower is that it gives you the edge you need to be able to pivot quickly, especially in times of stress or conflict.


By pausing and implementing a gratitude practice, you give your mind and body a chance to recalibrate. This will help you realign and refocus. It also helps you find hidden opportunities to be grateful. So, rather than only thinking of gratitude during holidays, we can use the entire year to store up a reserve of gratitude! And as you'll see below, just a little bit of gratitude can go a long way.


My executive coaching clients have found that the gratitude practice I teach is really practical and beneficial.


Close your eyes.

Focus on a blessing in your life - something you're thankful for.

See an image of this blessing in your mind's eye.

Offer a silent thank-you to the person or object of your blessing.

Relax into the feeling of gratitude.

Take a deep breath, and feel more gratitude. (Think of turning the volume up.)


The latest research shows that 6 doses of feeling 30 seconds of gratitude daily actually enables your neurons to fire together and wire together around gratitude in as little as two weeks! This means that practicing gratitude (and naturally having a more grateful mindset) will become more natural and be achieved more easily.


When I first learned, I started doing it. Now, I wake up each morning and automatically and easily think "thank you". It's right there, because I've grown my own personal practice of gratitude. This practice reinforced gratitude as second nature, and also increases myelination. (Grab the handy infographic here: https://www.smarttribesinstitute.com/myelination-practice/)


All of these results, in under 3 minutes a day! That's an ROI that's hard to argue with.


If you want to learn more about cultivating an attitude of gratitude, check out the annual retreat, Beyond Your Brain at https://www.smarttribesinstitute.com/stiretreat/.



Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


https://smarttribesinstitute.com/strategy-session/


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

2019-11-23

Why Mindfulness & Meditation Matter in Leadership

Season 1, Ep. 10

What pushes your buttons? What makes you lose your equilibrium? Even when we know we should stress less over the small things, get more sleep, or handle a situation better...we're all human. And we all have issues that we can't control, or life events that take us off guard. So how can we protect our health in the midst of all that?


Research tells us that there are many ways to improve brain functionality and mental health.


For instance, you probably know that practices like meditation and mindfulness are good for you. The question is, are you doing them? All the knowledge in the world does nothing for you if you don't actually practice what you know! Studies have shown that the more you practice mindfulness, the more pronounced its impact is.


After sifting through over 19,000 studies, researchers found that many psychological stresses can be eased with mindfulness. Participants could relieve stress, increase sleep, and rebuild their brain's gray matter. They were able to relieve levels of perceived stress and tension by practicing mindfulness. They also were able to improve sleep patterns and decrease depression symptoms. In 8 weeks, a study from Harvard found that it was possible to rebuild gray matter in the brain! The impact of meditation was even better than the results of prescription medication.


The mind is a lousy master and an excellent servant.


Are you familiar with rumination? Our brains can get onto a "hamster wheel", which leads to obsession and repetitive thoughts. Mindfulness can pull us out of that! We can gain clarity and stillness when we choose to master our minds and thoughts.


Mediation is considered a practice because it takes time to reach the automation level. Being able to sit down and actually stop your thoughts is completely worth it though! (When I started, I could only go for 5 minutes. Eventually, I added 1 more minute. Slow growth is completely normal!)


Try this simple practice:


Breath in for a count of 7.

Hold for the count of 7.

Exhale for a count of 7.


(Count slowly throughout.)


You can try breathing in through your nose if you'd like. If your mind wanders, just bring it back. This is an exploration - you can light a candle, sit on a chair or on the floor, or anything else that might feel good to you.


To learn more, visit www.beyondyourbrain.com, where you'll find information about our upcoming retreat!


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

2019-11-16

The 6 Phrases For Better Communication Skills

Season 1, Ep. 9

Why do people struggle in relationships and with their communication skills?


It’s because they don’t use the right words. Well, they might be the right words for you, but are they the right words that the other person needs to hear? Language structures reality. Language sets the tone for respect, kindness, safety, belonging, mattering and more. And it can do the opposite too.


Language helps us understand what another person is experiencing, how to support them, how to honor them. And it can do the opposite too.


As a Leadership and Culture Coach, I frequently help clients use the most effective words to get the result they want with others. My father was skilled at human relations, and I found the below “course” digging through my late father’s belongings.

Here’s the shortest course you’re likely to ever find in Human Relations.


The least most important word: “I”

The 1 most important word: “We”

The 2 most important words: “Thank you.”

The 3 most important words: “If you please.”

The 4 most important words: “What is your opinion?”

The 5 most important words: “You did a great job!”

The 6 most important words: “I admit I made a mistake.”


What are other important words/phrases you use?


One of mine is “together”. It’s a powerful word that helps the recipient know they are safe, they belong, they matter.

“We’ll figure this out together.”

“Together our team will innovate like never before.”

“We can crush the competition together.”

You get the idea.


When you start to notice the power of words you start to speak differently. Because you now know that language can either boost confidence or bash it, align/enroll/engage teams or tear them apart, create utter devotion and loyalty or cause people to run screaming.

How would you like to tune up your communication skills today?


Resources Mentioned:

  • Language Structures Reality: https://www.smarttribesinstitute.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-communicators-part-1-creating-trust/
  • Respect & Kindness: https://www.smarttribesinstitute.com/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-communicators-part-2-get-their-attention-and-loyalty/
  • How to Honor Others: https://www.smarttribesinstitute.com/are-you-honoring-your-5-human-rights-work/
  • The Power of Words: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2019/04/27/language-that-makes-leaders-look-weak/
  • Growth Assessment: https://smarttribesinstitute.com/assessments/
  • Contact Christine: https://smarttribesinstitute.com/contact/


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resourcesand subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

2019-11-9

3 Steps To Access Your Hidden Brain Power

Season 1, Ep. 8

Spidey sense. Gut feel. Whatever you call it, it’ll make or break the most important decisions in your life. The most successful executives I coach have it in spades. We're talking about intuition, and digging into what it is and how it actually works.


Oprah has it.

Steve Jobs had it.

Mark Zuckerberg has it but recently didn’t listen to it and paid a huge price.

Elon Musk made the same mistake.



How—And Where—Intuition Actually Works


Here’s how to make your intuition stronger right now. My friends at NowSourcing have created a handy infographic, be sure to check it out here.

First, let’s consider how—and where—humans think. As I outlined in a previous blog, human beings actually have three brains. Since both our hearts and our intestines have neural tissue, we have the heart-brain, the gut-brain and the brain that sits in our cranium (or, if you count the one that sits in our cranium as three—reptile, mammalian, and human neo-cortex—then we actually have five brains!).


Where You Think:


  • Reptilian Brain: Instinct
  • An innate inclination toward a particular behavior in response to a certain stimulus
  • It’s hardwired in the body from birth to keep us “not dead”
  • Examples: we pull away from something hot, run from danger, etc.
  • Mammalian Brain: Where much intuition, or “gut feeling”, occurs
  • A natural, thoughtless process which requires no analysis or deep thinking
  • Unconsciously developed over time from our experiences and belief
  • Biases operate here and are unconscious—which is why they can be problematic
  • Examples: trusting someone that’s similar to you, feeling good around someone, etc.
  • Prefrontal Cortex: Analytical thinking
  • Intentional, organized, conscious thoughts
  • Used for planning, problem-solving, decision making
  • Some biases operate here too, such as making decisions based on a limited data set, or past experiences
  • Example: weighing the pros and cons of a decision before making it, analyzing potential return on investment before sponsoring a project, etc.


Check out these famous examples of intuition—what parts of the brain were involved?


  • 44 BCE: Calpurnia, the wife of Julius Caesar, dreams of her husband’s assassination and urges him not to go to the Senate, where he goes anyway and is killed
  • It’s not magic: Calpurnia was unconsciously reacting to the tensions and signs of political dissent brewing in the Roman Empire [some heart brain, some gut brain, some reptilian and mammalian brain activation]
  • 1936: On a hunch, automobile tycoon Charles Howard purchases an underweight colt named Seabiscuit, who goes on to become one of the greatest racehorses in history
  • It’s not magic: Howard’s business savvy and military cavalry training gave him the experience to recognize a gifted horse and a sound financial bet [some gut brain, some mammalian and prefrontal cortex brain activation]
  • 1962: After being rejected by dozens of publishers, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time is picked up by John Farrar of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, which had not published children’s books before [some heart brain, some gut brain, some mammalian and possibly prefrontal cortex brain activation]


Most cultures today worship the intellect—the prefrontal cortex functions—and thus often unintentionally condition children to discount their intuition. So let’s consider Albert Einstein and how when he discovered the theory of relativity he said (to paraphrase) “First I felt it, then I saw it, then I could explain it.” Sounds like a bunch of five brain activity to me!


How Intuition Works


Your intuition is much faster than your analytical mind and relies on feelings—note above I refer to the neural tissue we all have in both our gut and our heart.

We often hear about women’s intuition and how it’s stronger than men’s. Why? Two reasons: first, the insula in the female human brain is larger than in the male. The insula is often called the seat of intuition in human beings, and it’s where hurt feelings fester and hunches often spring from. Second, our female ancestors needed to ensure not only their own survival but also their children’s. While the males were often single-tasking such as hunting (with their larger amygdalas), the females were multi-tasking. The females were caring for the children, watching for danger as they gathered food, tracking non-verbal cues from others, and organizing environmental input and information.


3 Steps To Optimize Your Intuition


1-Notice your body’s reactions (changes in heartbeat, breathing, muscle tension).

2-Understand that your intuition wants whatever you value most (happiness, health, prosperity)–your intuition could be signaling that even though a decision seems logical, it won’t bring you closer to your core goals.

3-Likewise notice that your intuition is wiser than our ego, which may want you to make a specific decision for a certain gain, yet that gain might come at too high a cost—and your intuition will be trying to put on the brakes.


So how do you balance intuition and logic?


Follow your intuition when:

  • Working in rapidly changing, high-stakes environments
  • Performing tasks you have done many times before
  • Brainstorming or discussing business with partners or coworkers


Follow your analytical brain when:

  • Working in compliance scenarios or when under public or regulatory scrutiny
  • Doing something you have never done before
  • Hiring new talent or delegating work to employees

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement speech


The Net-Net

  • Intuition is a combination of the five functioning brains you have
  • Intuition can be cultivated and improved by paying attention to the input your brains are offering you


Your intuition might just be trying to tell you how to make better decisions—are you ready to listen?


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

2019-11-2

One Powerful Tool to Create the Reality You Desire

Season 1, Ep. 7

As a leader, in what area of your life do you need to shift from being disempowered to being empowered?


We form our own reality based on visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues. These cues recall our beliefs about the world and ourselves (our identity), which results in either feeling good or feeling bad. If you’re on a sales team that feels bad, chances are you won’t be achieving your quota because your energy will be low as well as your motivation and creativity. Is there anything you can do right now to feel better and be more productive?


Stuff happens, and sometimes we need to do a quick “pattern-interrupt” to pause our default and choose a better-feeling alternative. Remember, it is not what happens that matters but rather, what it means that matters. Change the meaning, change the feeling. We need to make more helpful meaning. 


Reframing is a terrific tool for making new meaning quickly and easily, as well as for editing your belief system in the process.

By formal definition, reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts, and emotions to find more useful alternatives. It is a practical and valuable tool to shift perception, including your perception of yourself or others’ perceptions of themselves.


Think of reframing as putting on a different pair of glasses. What would you see if you put on a pair of sunglasses with a heavy tint when you were in a dark room? You would see shadows and dark forms you couldn’t identify. What would happen when you took off those glasses? You may see the most beautiful room in the world. When you switch your glasses, what you see changes.


Reframing, mentally and linguistically, does the same thing. It changes the story you tell yourself about what happens.

Harvard researchers proved a while back that the stories we tell ourselves shape our world. The good news is that we can also create new stories about the decisions we’ve made about ourselves, our abilities, and the world. We have the power to change our experience. Here are two examples.


In Business


Initial story: It’s really hard getting a job fresh out of college these days. The market is crowded, and overqualified people are competing for every single job. No wonder I’m unemployed and it’s tough.


Reframe: It’s awesome that there are a lot of people job hunting right now because it gives a person the opportunity to really bring his or her “A Game” to stand out. I’m sending my résumé in creative ways to get an interview, I’m doing more research than I ever have done before to prepare for interviews, and then I’m following up after the interviews using different methods. I am learning a ton!

See how the meaning shifts from defeat and deciding that job hunting will be hard (which means it will be because the universe is an exquisite mirror) to a sense of power, can-do, creativity, and agility?


In Personal Life


Initial story: I was a girl in a household of boys. My brothers and parents wanted another boy, so I was perpetually left out and labeled as a disappointment. I’ve never been good enough.

Reframe: I grew up in the perfect family to learn to see and honor my unique value. I was given great opportunities to be independent and forge my path in life. I also learned to be self-reliant, which has made me strong and fearless.

See how the meaning she is making shifts from disempowering to empowering?


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

2019-10-26

The 7 Most Common Ways Leaders Unknowingly Sabotage Their Team

Season 1, Ep. 6

Sometimes leaders call me saying they want help to fix their team. That’s always a red flag for me.


A CEO of a west coast food company called me a while back. He said his team lacked accountability and he wanted me to “fix them”. As I asked him questions a disturbing trend appeared: his retention was some of the lowest I’d seen in my 30+ year career.


Even his executive team didn’t stick around—the longest tenure there was under 2 years, and the CEO had been around for over 15 years! What was happening here?


How’s the accountability in your organization? Would you like it to be stronger? If so, then please do this first:


  1. Look at your company’s values – is accountability mentioned and sacred?
  2. Look at your team’s emotional engagement – are they enrolled, aligned, engaged?
  3. Look in the mirror – does your behavior support accountability? Are you a model of it?


I’ve Seen The Enemy—And It’s Us


It’s because a human isn’t a simple being. We all have parts of ourselves, and some are in conflict with one another. A part of you wants to hold others accountable, yet part of you doesn’t want to be the “the bad guy/gal”.


Here are the top 7 factors that I find prevent, or at best reduce, accountability:

  1. Conflict Avoidance – if we don’t deal with what’s happening, like a missed deadline, then we “teach” everyone that accountability isn’t taken seriously
  2. Organizational Values that don’t honor accountability – if it’s not part of our code of conduct, of what we hold sacred, people won’t take it seriously (again!)
  3. An Absence of Process – if we don’t follow a standard process to ensure accountability, we’ll have communication misses that will set us back. Do you:
  4. Delegate with a clear spec (and ask your direct report to echo back to ensure your communication was clear)
  5. Empower them to succeed (give them what resources they need and check in mid-way to make sure they’re ok and on track)
  6. Celebration or consequences upon completion (make it feel good to be accountable, and feel bad to not be—remember the human being will always choose the “best feeling” behavior on their behavioral menu… it’s your job to make accountability feel goo)
  7. Leaders that don’t model accountability, so the team doesn’t take it seriously – yes, it’s up to us to walk the walk and talk the talk or nobody else will
  8. Assumption others won’t be accountable – I see this in cross-functional accountability break downs. One team trashes or distrusts the other, telling their team that the other one won’t come through, and surprise, they often don’t… or if they do they’re perceived as having not come through due to the potent negative PR machine.
  9. High staff turnover – back to the prospect at the beginning of this blog—he kept deeming people “disappointing” that he either fired them or they quit to find a better working environment. If your turnover is super high, look at how you’re causing it.
  10. Deadlines and projects the responsible party hasn’t agreed to/are unrealistic, constantly changing priorities and incomplete communication overall– sometimes accountability is broken because a person didn’t agree they could deliver the deadline per the spec they were told, or they don’t realize the priorities have changed—they weren’t communicated to them by leadership. So they’re working on the old priorities. Or they’re scrambling, trying to figure out what exactly the priorities are because they’re hearing from other teams that the world has changed. Or they’re irritated and rebellious because they were told to do the impossible and weren’t given a chance to negotiate a more realistic deadline/approach.


What Actually Increases Accountability


The great news is you can turn around your accountability challenges quickly, due to your own new behaviors:


  1. Resolve the challenges on the list above that apply to you
  2. Forge a powerful group and individual identity around accountability
  3. Give status in the tribe via public and specific recognition
  4. Noting and sharing each team member’s superpower(s)
  5. Make accountability a “good feeling” behavior
  6. Increase communication and clarity on priorities and performance – use Quarterly Business Reviews or Monthly Business Reviews, Weekly Status Reports, Kanban Boards, SmartSheets, whatever method keeps visibility high
  7. Ensure all understand the what, when, why and how of needle movers/KPIs


The Accountability Equation may come in handy too:


Assigner’s (Leader’s) Clear Expectations + Owner’s (Team member’s) Agreement + Personal Celebrations/Conversations (for Team Member) = High Accountability and Ownership


The Net-Net

How will you create the conditions for greater accountability?


Resources Mentioned:


You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…


· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)


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