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By Darryl Stewart
How to get everyone aligned and accountable in your organization

How to get everyone aligned and accountable in your organization

I was recently asked by another entrepreneur how I motivate people, set expectations, and hold people accountable. The question took me aback. I thought I had an answer; I felt I had this covered, but did I?

What am I doing differently today that makes me feel I have a valid answer for this question? I know I once struggled with all of this, but my gut told me I didn’t anymore. Then the answer came to me. Then I realized how unsexy, boring-sounding, and easily overlooked the solution is. Prepare yourself to be underwhelmed as I tell you the secret.

We have put in place – and have continuously improved – a decision-making and priority-setting cycle and system.

  • Every few years, we meet and check in on our core values, purpose, and big hairy audacious goal (BHAG for short).
  • Every year, we meet and set our big goals for the year ahead.
  • Every quarter, we meet and set our specific goals for the next three months – both as a company and as individuals (with our leader/coach).
  • Every eight weeks, we meet and decide on what changes we will make to our software over the next eight weeks.
  • Every Monday morning, the management team meets to make sure we are on the same page for the week ahead.
  • Every day, we hold short meetings in our work groups to compare “top 1’s and stucks” (most important thing for the day and the thing(s) getting in our way).

Note: this system is based loosely on “the meeting rhythm” section in the book Scaling Up, by Verne Harnish.

When I explained this to the entrepreneur asking me, they fought me hard saying:

  • they don’t have time to do all these meetings; and
  • they see each other all the time anyway.

This argument carried no weight with me. With such a long list of meetings, you would think we spend a ridiculous amount of time around a table. That’s not the case at all. The powerful agendas we use in these meetings cut the BS and get us focused on decisions that need to be made, not on generalities. We don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings.

The result of this system is that everyone knows what they need to focus on in the present, while also knowing we can – and will – adjust priorities if circumstances change. In reality, most things can wait for the next meeting. In the meantime, each person has agreement from the organization and their coach/leader on what is most important for them to get done.

I told you it was boring, but ignore this at your own peril. If you don’t have a system like this, you are just spinning your wheels most of the time, in my opinion.

Want to know more of the details (what our agendas look like, for example)? Let me know and I will address it in future blogs if there is enough interest.

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