Smart Networking Tips that Actually Improve Your Results

Group Networking Meetings2

Note: This is a 2-part article. This week we will focus on getting the most out of group networking meetings. Next week we will focus on how to conduct effective 1:1 networking meetings.

 

Smart networking is a must for every business professional.  It helps you attract and keep customers. Stay up-to-date in your industry, profession and business. And, provide invaluable opportunities.

Smart networking activities build relationships. When done right, networking uncovers hidden or unknown opportunities. It also provides invaluable insights about a company’s (or person’s) challenges.

What is networking? Networking is a marketing process designed to help you conduct research. Network meetings are not designed for selling. Selling becomes easier and more effective when you’ve taken the time to learn about the person and/or company through networking.

Joining industry, trade, professional and/or paid business networking groups is smart. Some of these groups will meet once or twice a month, while others meet weekly. Some groups have membership fees, while others are free. It’s important to understand the “group rules” before joining.

Remember, your time and money are important. Choose well, then, commit to attending.

Joe decided to join a general business network group. The group met twice per month and only one person per profession attended. However, he failed to attend on a consistent basis. He used the excuse his clients had to talk with him at the same time, instead of scheduling them for a different time. Also, he failed to setup 1:1 meetings. He lack curiosity about others, and wasn’t interested in helping them succeed. After several months, his boss asked him if he was getting anything out of this group. Joe responded, “NO!” There was no commitment.

8 Important Tips to Achieve Results from Group Network Meetings

  1. Choose one or two groups that resonate with you. Be clear. What is your purpose? Is it to build your business contacts? Is it to have someone to eat lunch with? What do you want or need to get out of it? Are members B2C or B2B, or a mix? Does the group provide referrals (warm introductions to others)? Or, only leads (ideas for cold calls)? How can you help members be successful?
  1. You have less than 30 seconds to make a positive impression. Dress appropriately and learn how to shake hands. Be prepared with your quick introduction of 20 words or less (review the 5 simple steps in It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition). Remember, people today have very short attention spans. Also, don’t use canned or generic intro’s. These do not differentiate you from others selling similar products or services.
  1. Keep every conversation simple and on-point. Plan to meet as many people as possible, even if you believe you are an introvert. This is not an opportunity to speak up about political or religious topics. Don’t talk about the benefits of your products or services, unless, someone asks.
  1. Put away your phone and other electronic distractions. Listening requires paying 100% attention to the person speaking. If you don’t, you’re telling others you don’t value them. A University of Michigan study showed that laptops (and phone apps) are also a distraction. Use paper and pen to jot down notes.

A woman had a new business venture and attended a group network meeting to generate interest. Instead of listening, she spent the meeting responding to her texts and FB postings. This behavior told everyone that she believed she was important and they were not. Needless to say, no one was interested in talking with her. Sadly, It was a lost opportunity for her new business.

  1. Don’t thrust your biz card in someone’s hand and say “Call me!” Instead, have a short conversation and determine if there is mutual interest to meet and talk further. If you have something specific to discuss, share that with them. That way they are more likely to take your call and respond to your emails.
  1. Build Your Network One Person at a Time. Group meetings are not designed to build good 1:1 business relationships. These only occur after having longer conversations, over a period of time.
  • -Within 24 to 48 hours send an email or call to setup a 1:1 meeting
  • -Don’t wait for others to ask you, even if they promised to do so
  • -Respond to all requests from others to connect … you can learn something from everyone
  • -Schedule meetings within a couple of weeks, preferably face-to-face
  1. Don’t add people to your email blasts without their permission. Do not become a spammer. Giving you their card is not giving you permission. Honor their, “no.”
  1. Make a commitment to attend … and honor that commitment. Your actions speak louder than words. We all have those times when we don’t want to go. Instead of falling into the “excuse trap,” show up with a smile and a positive attitude. You will never know what you are going to get out of your network meetings. If you don’t go, you won’t get anything!

Remember, Joe? He was not committed. Use these 8 tips to demonstrate your commitment and watch your networking results improve.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 26 years. As an executive coach and speaker, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Networking can be frustrating and isn’t always an easy process. Like any skill, smart networking requires commitment and practice. To improve your results, grab your copy of “It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition.Contact Jeannette for a preliminary confidential conversation.

 

26 Years … WoW!

Celebrating-26-YearsI still remember October 7, 1992. On that fateful day, I was sitting in my newly created home office in Livonia, Michigan. I asked myself, what do I need to do to become successful? Because of the tough challenges I experienced in corporate America, I had learned a lot. But, how does that help me as a new business owner?

At that moment, I made a commitment: Success will be measured my ability to use what I’ve learned and help others succeed!

The results from the past 26 years? I’m an award winning executive coach, speaker, author and Authorized PXT Select Partner.

We All Have Dreams and Goals

Today, I’m sitting in my office in the metro Denver area smiling. 15 years ago I pursued one of my long-time dreams of moving to Colorado. My goal: enjoy the sun, drier climate and Rocky Mountains. Earlier this summer, a long-time mentor, Leslie Charles, interviewed me about my journey to fulfill this dream. Her “groundbreaking” book on how to fulfill your dreams will be released in Fall, 2019.

So what’s next? I want to travel, speak, coach and write more, buy a home and adopt a dog (I’ve always adopted cats). And, I’d like to become a bestselling author. Thanks to the guidance from Judith Briles and other authors this could become a reality in the future. In Judith’s newest book, I’m featured in Chapter 3, “How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech”.

Many of you have dreams and goals too. Some are in hot pursuit. Some of you have given up after experiencing setbacks and uncertainties.

And, many of you are waiting until the “right time.” Some of you are making decisions based on your feelings or gut reactions. While some believe their situation is the best it can ever be. And, many of you have given up on believing in yourself and your abilities!

My Journey is No Different than Yours

We all have successes. And, we all have failures. Lamenting about the past doesn’t move anyone forward into the future or allow you to create new possibilities.

I, like many of you, have experienced failures. I’ve learned how to learn from them and move forward. You can too.

The secret is to hire a coach … but beware, it’s critical that the coach you hire is the right coach for you.

Here’s What I Know … Achieving Your Dreams Requires Hiring a Coach and Doing the Work

This is what doing the work looks like: Recently I worked with a young man who had a goal of getting any job. After our first coaching call, he committed himself to a true goal. He wanted to become an executive director for a not-for-profit. First step, we took the time required to understand his strengths and weaknesses for that job. Then, he created his brags. He believed he was ready to network to uncover opportunities. The problem was after several weeks, he still wasn’t winning the interviews or job offers. Next, we uncovered several facts. When sharing his experiences, he failed to share his numbers. In his interviews, he didn’t talk about the organization’s mission and goals. He failed mention his ability to build a quality team. In just one targeted coaching session, he recommitted to his goal and completed the additional work required to achieve his goal. The result? He’s contemplating which executive director position to accept.

My Biggest Brag This Year!

The amazing results attendees gained from my “Get Your Brag On!” presentations. These interactive workshops touched my heart when participants shared their “brags!” They awakened their ability to speak up with confidence, “I did this …” “I achieved this …” “I matter.” In Jim Pawlak’s syndicated column, BizBooks, he was written a review of my book. Grab your copy of the book at It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition.

My Philosophy Remains the Same

I’m committed to the success of every person I work with.

My trademark is being a catalyst and leadership expert. I have an uncanny ability to help business owners, executives and entrepreneurs identify hidden roadblocks. I help them blast through their barriers and leverage their achievements. They become winners and great communicators, team members, bosses and leaders!

So, What’s Next for You and Me?

The simple answer is, achieve our dreams and goals for Q4 and 2019. If you’re committed like I am, let’s get started now!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

How to Provide Practical Feedback for Success Today

Leader comm“Leadership success requires giving practical real-time feedback.”

Many employees, teams and companies fail due to lack of real-time, practical feedback. Bosses wait until annual performance review time, bringing up issues from months ago. Managers fear saying anything negative because it would reduce their likability. Most lack experience on how to turn feedback into a positive process and instead wait until it is unavoidable.

The good news is providing real-time, practical feedback is a skill that can be learned. Good leaders check on progress to provide timely feedback. They are proactive about resolving issues and not waiting until there is a crisis. Plus, they demonstrate by example how to offer and receive feedback in a constructive manner.

5 Feedback Tips for Success

  1. Do It Now. Have a conversation after a quick and thorough investigation into the complaint. Talk with all people directly involved. Listen for the core issue. Then, build an agreement with everyone involved on how to proceed forward.
  2. Build Good Working Relationships. Develop good relationships with all of your employees: full-time, part-time, contract or temporary. This builds trust and makes it easier to provide needed feedback in the future.  It also makes it easier to communicate tough decisions. Employees value well-delivered feedback from someone they know is committed to their success.
  3. Use Sandwich Approach. Here’s the formula: 2 positives to begin + 2 factual and specific concerns + 2 positives to end = positive feedback. This basic outline provides effective feedback in a manner that employees can hear. Don’t forget to listen to their POV. There will always be more than one side to any story or problem.
  4. Provide Training. Provide training on how to use persuasive listening skills to offer good feedback. Using scientifically validated job fit tools will uncover misconceptions employees have about one another … and provide invaluable laser-like coaching. This allows you to turn around tough issue easier, faster and more productively.
  5. Use 360-degree Feedback. Real-time, critical feedback can be difficult to get. Use scientifically validated 360-degree tools quarterly, not annually. Quarter reviews will provide far more powerful feedback than annual performance reviews! These tools keep individual responses confidential and encourage truthfulness. Work with your executive coach to review the results. Then, share key results with others and listen to their feedback on how to improve.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Feedback after the fact is useless. Feedback provided in real-time is invaluable. What do you need to be able to deliver and listen to feedback now? Contact Jeannette for a preliminary confidential conversation. Do it now.

7 Bad Habits that Get in the Way of Results

Bad Boss Habits.2

Today’s podcasts and articles focus on motivating your employees to achieve amazing results. But, for many bosses, there are times it seems like a difficult, never-ending challenge.

It can be difficult to motivate others with four generations in today’s workplace. To add to the challenge, many bosses have not been well trained. Sometimes it’s the bad habits bosses learned from their own bosses that get in the way. Other times, they fail to upgrade how they talk and manage their employees.

If you have any of these 7 bad habits, get a coach and transform into a great boss.

  1. Violating Confidentiality. Transparency doesn’t mean sharing private conversations. Instead, share numbers. Share good tactical and strategic methods. Never call people out on their stuff in public. Only do it behind closed doors.
  2. Treating Experienced People Like Rookies. Talking down to people or micromanaging them won’t motivate them to do better. Instead, it can create a backlash of negativity. Talk in a respectful manner and talk straight when there is an issue. Be specific in the feedback. Listen and find value in their experiences.
  3. Threatening Jobs. Putting fear into employees rarely achieves positive results. It will also impact your relationships with clients. Job fit is the #1 reason people excel in their jobs. By using qualified job fit assessments, you will clarify “why” they are and are not successful. These tools will also improve your hiring, coaching, managing and training style.
  4. Being a Friend First. This bad habit impacts your ability to make decisions, give assignments and coach others. If you were a team member and are now the boss, have conversations with each team member to discuss the change. Boss first, and a friend second.
  5. Treating Them as Children. Too often we fail to talk and treat our employees as adults. Micromanaging their activities and insisting everything must have your approval, is demoralizing. Instead … trust them.
  6. Changing Expectations. Every employee needs consistent goals, policies and expectations to succeed. Constant changes negatively impacts employee morale. They give up, become apathetic and develop a why bother attitude. Be consistent and stay the course.
  7. Lacking Awareness. Even the best bosses value scientifically validated 360-degree feedback tools. These tools improve management styles because individual responses are confidential and encourage truthfulness. Hire a coach to review the results with you to increase your awareness as a boss. Then, share key results with employees and listen to their feedback on how you can improve.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Are your bad habits demotivating your team and negatively impacting your results? Ready to make needed changes? Don’t wait! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

What Happens When You Update Your Hiring Practices?

sales-hiring-assessments-01The short answer: you will find great qualified job candidates.

Yet, many of you are lamenting, “I don’t believe that … there aren’t any qualified candidates looking for a job.”

Look again. They are out there! They will not waste their time applying for and interviewing with companies using out-dated hiring systems and practices.

The bad news is, if you keep hiring the way you’ve been hiring, you’ll keep the same results and miss out on the good ones.

Q4 will arrive soon. Now is the time to review why your qualified job candidate pipeline has shrunk and how to improve it for 2019.

7 Critical Selection Factors to Improve!

  1. Cost of Hiring Mistakes. It’s important to know the true cost of making hiring mistakes. This information will impact decision-makers to make the right changes needed.
  2. Objective Data. To improve your decision-making process use good objective data. It ensures that you are hiring for job fit, are aware of the skills needed and can plan for future workforce needs.
  3. Due diligence. Conducting background, education, theft and reference checks are important. To uncover honesty and integrity issues not found in public records, use qualified core value assessment tools.
  4. Job Postings. Well written and attractive job ads are the key to finding active and passive job seekers! Hire an outside company or have your marketing team put together the job ads. Keep your ATS up-to-date, easy to use and mobile friendly. Remember, you only get one opportunity to grab their interest.
  5. Biases. Selecting applicants and making job offers based on gut reactions or other biases will limit your applicant pool. And, not in a good way. Examples include:
  • 50+. These workers are amazing. They show up. They don’t job hop. They get the work done. Yet, their expertise is often overlooked.
  • 25-. These are our future workers. Hiring and training them now will support your company’s workforce in the future.
  1. Onboarding. This critical practice should begin the minute they apply. Engaging them immediately keeps their interest high. Use chat and other electronic messaging to stay in communication. And, remember keep it user-friendly.
  2. Key Words. For every job post, your key words should be reviewed and updated. For example, the key word CPA will overlook qualified job candidates for accounting positions.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Grab your FREE Tip Sheet on Selecting the Best Coach for you!

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Does your company need to upgrade how you hire your employees? Are you open to making the needed changes? Don’t wait or it might too late. Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

How to Become an Effective Coach to Your Employees

coaching puzzle

 

Grab your FREE Tip Sheet on Selecting the Best Coach for you!

 

Do your employees value your coaching style?

Research has shown that many leaders overestimate their coaching abilities. Some don’t understand how to do it, while others don’t like to do it. The additional issue is, many bosses have been poorly trained by their bosses on how to coach others effectively.

Effective coaching focuses on:

  • -Improving employees’ abilities to do their jobs
  • -Developing soft and technical skills
  • -Guiding critical thinking and decision-making processes
  • -Changing poor behaviors into good ones
  • -Clarifying goals and focused actions steps
  • -Encouraging initiatives and resourcefulness

Telling employees to “work harder” does not improve anyone’s performance. This coaching hype is often used when bosses are not effective coaches and don’t know what else to say.

5 Key Factors Required for You to Become an Effective Coach

Get Trained. To develop any skill, it’s important to hire the right trainer. This makes the learning process easier and faster so you develop good habits and stop bad habits quickly. Skills include how-to: listen, ask open-ended questions, build solutions, answer ‘why’, establish milestones and goals, and develop patience.

Listen. The ability to truly listen is the #1 reason effective coaches are successful. When bosses talk over employees, multi-task and give standard responses, they are not being effective coaches. As a coach, listen to what is being said and not said. Use persuasive listening skills to brainstorm and build solutions. Then, guide your employees to take focused action steps.

Believe in Them. Believing in your employees’ abilities is key, even when they are failing. For example, a facilitator was having a difficult time leading her team. Because the manager believed in her, he adjusted his coaching style. He shared on-point stories, and provided specific and actionable feedback. Along the way, he reminded her to believe in herself. The team’s results were amazing.

Use Qualified Assessments. Scientifically validated assessments help you coach with laser-like effectiveness. Too often as coaches, we aren’t on point with the real issue and we fail to provide actionable feedback. For example, telling sales people who are highly sociable to ‘listen more than talk’ won’t change their behavior. They love telling stories and sharing experiences. A good coach will provide specific feedback on how to ask open-ended questions and listen with a purpose.  

Have Compassion. Many of us forget what it was like when we were an employee. Some of us learned from the school of hard knocks, while others had bosses that micro-managed them. Times have changed. Effective coaches listen for the employees’ concerns and their specific road blocks. They have compassion for their circumstances and customize specific feedback. (Remember, what worked for one person may not work for others.) They empower their employees to take initiatives and focused-actions required to achieve desired goals.

Remember, coaching skills are simple and can be learned. However, it takes disciplined practice to master them.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Grab your FREE Tip Sheet on Selecting the Best Coach for you!

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. What’s in your way of becoming an effective coach? Are you ready to step up and become the coach your employees value? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

Make Your Team Winner of the Year

Change.ResultsDid you know that less than a third of all projects are completed on time and within budget? Here in the U.S., $122 million is wasted every year due to poor project performance, according to Capterra Project Management Blog.

Many blame project failures on lack of resources, ongoing conflicts, poor facilitation, wrong team members, no one doing the work, etc.

What is the secret to making your team winner of the year?  Accountability. Projects excel when teams are accountable for their results.

As the facilitator, being a sounding board and checking on progress weekly, monthly and quarterly is required for success! And, to ensure accountability.

Many facilitators would respond, “What?! I don’t have the time and I shouldn’t have to babysit!”

Many would further blame their team members, “They should know when to come to me and ask questions.”

However, learning how to be a sounding board while checking on progress isn’t hard. It keeps everyone accountable.

How to Ensure Accountability

  1. Distribute minutes for each group team meeting. This reminds everyone what they agreed to do.
  2. Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings. Check in to determine the status and progress being made between group meetings. This prevents any surprises and helps you uncover any brewing problems.
  3. Expect great results. Be clear you are checking in to ensure great results with no surprises.
  4. Listen for progress. Listen and acknowledge progress, initiatives and other steps forward. As the sounding board for the team, allow them to vent. Make sure these sessions end on a positive note so actions will be taken to move project forward.
  5. Brainstorm to find resources. When the “I’m too busy” excuse erupts, ask them for ideas on how to move forward or delegate tasks. (Remember, you are a sounding board.) Encourage them to take initiatives to find the money, materials and people.
  6. Pay attention to what is working and what is not working. When checking in, don’t micro-manage their work efforts or working relationships. Instead, expect each person to handle these challenges on their own. Step in only when their excuses jeopardize the project’s progress.
  7. Stay focused. When a task isn’t done, stay focused on why. Determine if the problem is due to lack of skills, or inability to focus on the current challenge. Partner the person with an experienced team member for training. This will prevent future issues.
  8. Remind them of the big picture. When you are checking in, repeat the purpose of the project, the goal, and current milestones.
  9. Acknowledgement works wonders. Always say please and thank you. These simple phrases make a profound difference. Acknowledge them for their efforts, no matter how small. Share progress and don’t forget to brag!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Are you a good sounding board? Do you hold your team members accountable? Don’t wait or it might too late. Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

How to Get Positive Results from Tough Conversations

tough conversations.3

No matter how you define them, tough conversations, conflicts and confrontations are all one in the same. And, most people will avoid them at all cost.

A top sales rep failed to take care of a customer’s request. Instead of her manager reminding her that clients’ emails needed to be handled immediately, he took care of the request himself. He dreaded any type of tough conversation and rationalized it was easier to do it himself. He feared he would upset her and didn’t want to listen to her excuses. But, when it happened again, the manager’s upset was apparent when he told her he shouldn’t need to do her job for her. The problem was, he forgot this was their first conversation about it. The result? She quit and took several clients with her.

Usually when we have a conversation that is not going well or need to have one that we anticipate will go badly, we feel anxious and tense.  Just the thought of having one of these conversations changes our breathing and heart rate … signally to our bodies that something doesn’t feel right!

To add to these feelings of dread, our memories are not infallible. Many studies have shown that our minds begin to distort the past almost immediately.

So, we wait and hope problems will magically disappear (and, they rarely do). Or, we jump right in without preparing ourselves to create a positive result. Gossip and finger-pointing grow, creating a mountain out of a molehill! All because you felt it would be easier to avoid having a tough conversation.

A manager hated his job, but, needed the paycheck. His boss would remind him periodically that he needed to listen more, instead of coming across as a know-it-all bully in meetings. Nothing changed and several employees quit. Why? His boss didn’t know how to talk straight, which left the manager unclear of what needed to change and how to do it. The manager’s career was derailed.

It’s critical today, more so than ever due to the difficulty of attracting and keeping great employees, that bosses and business leaders learn how to get positive results from having tough conversations.

8 Ways to Handle Tough Conversations

  1. Create the Intended Outcome Before the Meeting. This is multi-step process. First, write out what worked and what didn’t work … focus on the facts of what happened. This exercise gets you to the heart of the upset or conflict based on your POV. Second, look at the problem from both sides to help clarify for you what is in the best interests of the aggrieved person … and, the company, employees, vendors, and customers. Third, review company policy and have copies available, if needed. Then, and only then, determine your intended outcome.
  2. Set Up a Specific Time to Meet. Schedule a time that is mutually convenient to begin and end the meeting. Ensure there is enough time so no one feels rushed.
  3. Make it Private. Provide a confidential one-on-one setting and include others directly involved. This is important since you want people to speak freely to fully resolve the issue.
  4. Talk Straight. Saying what you mean in a manner that others can readily understand is important. Don’t let your feelings about who is right or wrong take over the meeting, or it will sabotage your results. It’s beneficial to role play your conversation with your coach or mentor before the meeting to build your confidence.
  5. Ask for Their Perspective First! Asking them to go first serves three purposes. First, it allows them to vent or share what the problem is based on their perceptions. Second, you can see what the real issue(s) is from their POV. Third, they are more likely to listen to you if they have a chance to talk first.
  6. Use Persuasive Listening Skills. Repeat back to them what you heard them say to their satisfaction, using the same words. Do not assume you know how someone is feeling. Because, if you do, you may be wrong and it will spark additional upset. When you are sure they are done talking, then, share your POV. Give opportunities for each person to contribute to building a solution.
  7. Keep Your Ego at Bay. Dial down your ego and dial up your humility. Remember, being right will not get the issue resolved. Use “I” phrases when talking. Don’t disrespect anyone by saying, “These things should never happen.” or “Everyone believes I’m right.”
  8. Focus on Win-Win-Win Outcomes. Everyone wants to feel that they’ve won. Be open and willing to table the final outcome if further information is required. Schedule the next meeting. Follow-up. Stay in communication. Don’t wait!

Bosses and business leaders must learn how to have tough conversations that make a positive difference. These 8 ways provided above will improve your results with employees, clients and vendors, while improving your business reputation. An added bonus in having tough conversations is that these will dramatically improve your ability to hire, coach, manage, and train your teams to produce intended results.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. What’s in the way of you and your team members having tough conversations? Persuasive listening training is critical and will help you and your teams overcome underlying fears. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

How to Improve Team Accountability and Business Growth

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Want to improve your business growth? Hold your team (and yourself) accountable!

Many times we play the blame-game when we don’t achieve our intended results. We blame the economy, lack of resources, our boss, and each other. This no-win blame-game hinders your business growth (and your career too).

A key employee took over facilitating a project after the former facilitator received a promotion. The former facilitator had done an excellent job of holding team members accountable for their results and setting up the required systems. The key employee ignored the established systems since she was “not a detail person.” After two team members complained, she stopped holding team members accountable because she wanted to be liked. When chaos erupted after failing to meet a client’s deadline, she blamed the team and said, “It’s not my fault!” Her boss fired her.

Team accountability is required to produce intended results. If you don’t have the skills to hold your team accountable, it’s critical that you take responsibility for learning them now!

It’s Never Too Late to Hold Your Team Accountable

11 Key Skills:

  1. Start with a Positive Attitude. No matter where you are in the project or what mischief has already happened, be respectful and speak positively about each and every team member. Vent your frustrations privately. Otherwise, team members will not don’t feel their efforts matter.
  2. Clarify the Team’s Natural Strengths and Weaknesses. When you use a qualified assessment tool, the objective data will address “why” some members naturally excel, while others need additional encouragement to succeed. Share this data appropriately with team members to build a “can do” attitude and team comradery.
  3. Participate in Team and Facilitator Training. Many facilitators don’t know how to conduct an effective meeting, and don’t have team and project management skills. (Often they don’t know that they don’t know!) Attend workshops to gain these skills, especially if you’re in the middle of a project. Additional training can uncover issues lurking in the background and missed opportunities.
  4. Check on Progress. Too often we believe everything has been handled after each meeting. However, we fail to conduct interim check-ins and follow-up with each person one-on-one to make sure there are no surprises. These check-ins uncover inactivity, nips in the bud brewing resentments, and helps discover additional resources required.
  5. Listen As Though Your Results Depend On It. Listen for: what’s working and what’s not working. Your ability to truly listen sets the tone for others to pay attention too! Often you can prevent future issues by also hearing what others are not saying!
  6. Keep the Goal. If you’re not hitting your milestones, changing your goal to support the team’s efforts may feel good. However, it’s only momentary and will diminish the team’s satisfaction, credibility and future career opportunities. Instead, work with an executive/business coach to discover why and get back on track.
  7. Distribute Minutes from Each and Every Meeting. This traditional idea is still very important today … it keeps everyone accountable. Only keep track of what has been agreed on and who is responsible for completing a task or spearheading a study, etc. Distribute minutes within 24 to 48 hours after the meeting.
  8. Be a Parrot. At the beginning of each meeting, remind members of the goal, purpose, company values, and company or client mandates. This will set the context for the meeting. Then, conduct a review of team progress.
  9. Handle Tough Conversations Quickly. Holding people accountable won’t initially win you any popularity contests if it hasn’t been done previously. But, over time, people will change their opinions based on how well you handle tough conversations. Here’s how … Handle disagreements quickly before they escalate. Ask questions to clarify and understand their concerns. Repeat what they said before offering your own opinions. Remain neutral.
  10. Let Them Go. Holding people accountable will uncover team members who are not willing to do the work. Give them the choice of staying or leaving. Don’t humiliate them with snide comments; these don’t motivate any one!
  11. Celebrate Every Success. Host a small celebration and use the Brag! exercises to help everyone be fully acknowledged.

Remember, it’s never too late to take responsibility for training your team (and you) to be accountable. Use these 11 key skills to ensure success of your project and grow your business (and your future career options too).

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. What’s in the way of holding your team members accountable? Don’t wait or it might too late. Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

Increase Your Value by Listening…It Builds Solutions

Silhouettes of Business People Discussing Outdoors

The art of listening and building solutions can be learned by anyone.

As busy business owners, executives and entrepreneurs, it can be hard to listen when we don’t want to hear what someone is saying. We blame it on our busy-ness, ever-present distractions and the other person’s irritating communication style.

However, it’s important to remember, our employees, customers and vendors provide the greatest value in helping us build solutions and profitably grow our businesses. It’s on us to listen and learn, while hearing and providing what the team needs to win.

It’s Profitable to Listen

Be open to other’s contributions. Your team, customers and vendors are valuable sources of information. Encourage them to rock the boat with their potential solutions. Then, work with your team to determine how these solutions can strategically build a positive outcome and ROI. One successful business owner stated, “My team and customers come up with 100’s of ideas, only a couple that can be actually implemented profitably.”

Talk straight. This sounds easy, but, it’s not. One business owner loves to rely on his emotional reactions when making decisions. As a result, his decisions constantly change, making it hard for others to get a straight answer. Using the 5 W’s (why, when, where, who and what) deep dive into asking questions without interrogating anyone.

Listen for what you don’t know. Yes, this can be hard on the ego. It’s also the reason many companies are struggling today. An executive believed he could intuitively tell the “right answer” without objective data. As a result, the company is struggling to grow and become profitable due to his “know-it-all” attitude. Avoid quickly rubber stamping any ideas, or automatically dismissing any suggestions based on your emotions and lack of real objective data.

Welcome brainstorming. The true art of brainstorming will not allow you to disregard off-the-wall comments as these can elicit the best ideas from others. One executive loved to play the game of pretending to listen to other’s ideas, but, would only implement his own. As a result, he was fired for ignoring key information.

Learn from everyone’s mistakes. No matter what we do to avoid them, mistakes and failures happen … to everyone. Instead of assessing blame and engaging in gossip to feel better, seek solutions. Objectively review what worked and didn’t work. This process will minimize the emotional roller-coast. It also provides clarity to address overlooked action steps that seemed unimportant, but were critical to success. Do NOT be distracted by the shiny object syndrome that naturally occurs when you need to resolve current challenges. One business owner loved her new ideas and used them as a distraction to avoid working through her business challenges. When she listened to her business coach, she saved time and money, and was able to strategically focus to build a profitable business.

When you start to really listen, you will hear valuable solutions and opportunities that you would never think of on your own. This is the least expensive and most profitable way to grow your business.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results.  The art of listening for and building solutions can be learned by everyone. Take the time to find out why you don’t always listen to what others have to say. Don’t wait! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.