Small Business | Coaching | Consulting | Positioning Systems | with |Doug Wick

Strategic Discipline Blog

Biggest Issue Facing Business Accountability

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, May 27, 2010

Patrick Lencioni, author of Five Dysfunctions of Team, Death by Meeting, The Five Temptations of a CEO, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive, The Dream Manager, and most recently Getting Naked spoke to our group of Gazelles coaches at our monthly meeting on Monday.

While Lencioni spent most of his time discussing his new book Getting Naked.  The most interesting aspect of his discussion I found is the area the businesses he consults with [He spends a lot of time coaching and consulting] are having difficulty with most.  Much as Gazelles coaches do Lencioni does a 39 question survey with his clients when they begin working together.  He's quantified the results and the number one issue businesses face is accountability.    

Clearly this is an issue of Strategic Discipline.  Are we making our people accountable?  Do we believe they are willing to be accountable?  In most cases the employee isn't culpable, rather its management's failure to invest the time to determine what accountabilities should be.  Everything can be measured.   In some manner or form we can determine quantification for the efforts our people produce.  Do you agree with this?

In 1984 I was managing a radio station in Wausau, Wisconsin and having difficulty with one of my announcer's lack of motivation.  The book Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters was an important business book that was being touted at the time.  Ralph Stayer of Johnsonville Sausage in tiny Johnsonville, Wisconsin was one of the leaders mentioned who was achieving success with these principles.   I called Ralph Stayer for an audience.  We readily agreed to speak to me.  I recall his comment to me when I mentioned my issue with the announcer, "If you have someone on your staff that you have to motivate, clearly you have a problem!"  His message to me was clear.  It's not my job to motivate employees; they should come to work motivated.  If they're not, then it's time to find employees who are motivated. 

That I believe is the message from Zappos and other business that have found the value in building core values.  Bottom line, people who want to work for our company's should come to work motivated.  How many of your employees are tied to your culture and core values? They really want to come to work each day.

Finally a message from Ralph Stayer from his book Flight of the Buffalos, "There's a lot of words written in the past years about making work more fun and rewarding.  Many pundits believe that if we can make people happy they will perform better. I started down that path years ago and concluded that just the reverse was true.  I discovered that when people perform better, they are happier.  My experience is that everyone wants to excel.  Everyone enjoys winning. Everyone loves being part of a winning team.  Winning reinforces itself.  Every one takes pride in his/her accomplishments.  That is why most everyone loves sports.   Sports give instant feedback on performance.  We all share a deep desire for feedback on our performance.  Harness this deep well of energy and commitment in your organization by helping people build systems that measure their performance against those things critical to success. "

It's incumbent upon us as leaders to discover what the numbers are that drive performance.  Our people will respond if we just take the time to discover what their metrics should be to help drive accountability.  Have you taken time recently to discuss accountability with your managers and staff?

Next blog some interesting numbers on goal setting from Harvard Business School 30 years ago.

Topics: Accountability, Strategic Discipline, Core Values, Zappos

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







New Call-to-action


New Call-to-action


New Call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates

Click below to Schedule a Free 30 Minute Discovery Appointment NOW: 

Positioning Systems Brand Promise

1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

(BRAND PROMISE GUARANTEE): We will refund all compensation if our disciplined coaching and proprietary tools fail to meet your expectations.

Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

Latest Posts

Browse by Tag

see all