Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Most Important Part of Accountability

08 Jul
by Bridget DiCello

Your team is not being held accountable if they are not the ones doing the talking.

I followed up.

I asked them if they did it.

I told them they needed to get it done.

Still, they didn’t do it.


Let’s revise that scenario.

You: Mike, it’s important to make those sales calls. What are your targets for this week?

Mike: 20 calls per day, 5 appointments set this week.

You: Great, touch base with me before you leave on Friday, hand me a copy of your sales report and let me know how you did. Will you be in the office on Friday afternoon?

Mike: I have a golf game with our largest prospect in the afternoon.

You: Okay, come see me before you leave for that game.

On Friday at 11:15am, Mike stops by your office.

Mike: Just leaving for that game. Here is my sales report.

You: Tell me about your week, and how you did on your goals.

Mike: Mike tells you about some of the calls he made, and talks through the challenging calls. I just got too busy to make more calls. I was out much of the week at events.

You: How many calls did you make each day? Mike responds. And how many appointments did you set? Mike responds. And, what did you accomplish at the events?

Mike: I met some people I think could be good prospects.

You: Great, tell me about them. Mike responds. So what will you do differently next week to fit in your calls each day?

Mike: I might have to make them in the morning.

You: Good idea, what time will you arrive in order to do that? Mike responds. Based on how the calls you made this week, what else could you do differently next week? Mike responds. Okay, sounds like a plan. Touch base with me before you leave next Friday, hand me a copy of your sales report and let me know how you did. Will you be in the office next Friday afternoon?

The sales example above is about a struggling sales person who needs accountability to perform the basic sales activities. He would be perfectly happy to take your criticism and consternation as he sits quietly and listens because it requires no energy on his part. But, we have to get him engaged and talking if we expect him to do anything differently. This same conversation could occur due to a lack of performance in operations, customer service, finance or marketing. Accountability must include the employee’s participation in the conversation where they are thinking about what they will do and do differently.


What Candid Conversations have you had recently?

07 Jul
by Bridget DiCello

- Have you ever told a customer “No”?

- Have you fired a customer?

- Have you successfully communicated to your employees your honest assessment of their performance?

- Have you told employees what you really think they are capable of accomplishing?

When it comes to customers, we often hear the phrase, “Under promise and over deliver.” While the concept is strong, that phrase always strikes me the wrong way to approach things because any time you test the limits of honesty, you have more to keep track of.

What if you had candid conversations with your customers ahead of time and promised honestly and intelligently (challenging their expectations as necessary), delivered as promised, and left room in your time and budget to pleasantly surprise your customers by meeting their special requests, unusual concerns and unspoken needs?

With employees, candid conversations about their performance are crucial. If you honestly believe they are incapable of doing the job, fire them now, and edit your hiring practice to not hire the wrong person next time.

If you believe they can do the job, tell them that and push them to succeed with routine and candid conversations about the goals they need to accomplish (14-30 days into the future – not only yearly goals), their obstacles and how they will overcome them, and your confidence in their ability to proceed. Simple cheerleading never works if you do not help them to uncover their own solutions to the obstacles to progress that they face.

If you see a problem, address it with a candid conversation. Sometimes that means standing up for an employee in their interactions with customers or supervisors, albeit strategically; or standing up for your customers if your employees have not delivered well.

When you think about candid conversations, you may think about the toughest conversation you have had or need to have this week or month. But candid conversations do not occur only once in a blue moon. In reality, they are conversations that build over time, are punctuated by activity and are matured by reality.