ACCOUNTABILITY: If it’s what you need, why do you avoid it?

July 6, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

One of the core tenets of no-compromise leadership is, “if it needs to get done – get it done.” It’s truly a simple concept that cannot be argued. Yet, the term “accountability” is tossed around like a hot potato that few want to take ownership of. Everyone wants it. Everyone expects it. The question is, why is accountability such a challenge for leaders and the cultures they are “accountable” for? Why is it that things that need to be done, don’t get done?
In Part One of my No-Compromise Leadership book, I wrote extensively about “leadership blockages” and internal operating systems. Leadership blockages are best described as those situations that trigger discomfort levels that ultimately lead to procrastination. Be it fear, insecurity, self-esteem issues or the need to break out of your comfort zone, leadership blockages ensure compromising behaviors in leaders. Internal operating systems represent your collective thinking and beliefs that autopilot your behaviors as a leader. Just like you upgrade your computer’s operating system to gain more power and capabilities, leaders must upgrade their operating systems with new thinking and higher-level beliefs in people and what’s required to achieve their full potential.
No compromise is a 100% commitment to getting things done. Compromise is something less, much less. Compromise thinking and behavior are the self-imposed speed bumps and stuck-in-your-box constraints that keep you in your current “box” of limited opportunity. Accountability to get things done, no matter how challenging, is the foundation that no-compromise leaders stand on. Accountability is unwavering. Accountability distinguishes world class from average.
Here are some no-compromise thoughts to keep accountability embedded in your thinking and behavior:
* Every commitment is a contract: Breaking commitments breaks trust. If you say you’re going to do something, do it – and do it on schedule. If situations will cause delay, communicate with those on the receiving end of the contract. Accountability and trust only exist when both are present.
* Identify what triggers you to compromise: When you encounter situations that trigger avoidance and procrastination, shift into no-compromise mode and engage. The longer you avoid or procrastinate on decisions, tasks or situations that cause you discomfort, the more difficult it is to engage.
* Manage your time: It’s hard to be accountable when your plate is overloaded. More importantly, focus on priority issues first. It’s amazing how many leaders can get real busy working on low-level projects and tasks. Knock off the big stuff first.
* Get an accountability coach: Getting a coach or mentor that is committed to helping you stay accountable is actually a huge step to becoming a no-compromise leader. If you have a track record of dropping the ball and being inconsistent, you need a coach or mentor. If you just felt a “trigger” of discomfort, that little voice inside you just told you to find an accountability coach.
Accountability is a practiced behavior that gets better the longer and harder you work at it. As a leader, accountability is a non-negotiable.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

One of the core tenets of no-compromise leadership is, “if it needs to get done – get it done.” It’s truly a simple concept that cannot be argued. Yet, the term “accountability” is tossed around like a hot potato that few want to take ownership of. Everyone wants it. Everyone expects it. The question is, why is accountability such a challenge for leaders and the cultures they are “accountable” for? Why is it that things that need to be done, don’t get done?... Read More

One of the core tenets of no-compromise leadership is, “if it needs to get done – get it done.” It’s truly a simple concept that cannot be argued. Yet, the term “accountability” is tossed around like a hot potato that few want to take ownership of. Everyone wants it. Everyone expects it. The question is, why is accountability such a challenge for leaders and the cultures they are “accountable” for?…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

Do you have absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company?

June 29, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

No-compromise leaders must be grounded in their understanding of where they are taking the company. Absolute clarity ensures that the company doesn’t wander off course or make decisions that are not in alignment with its vision, such as expanding too fast or entering unknown markets. Decisions or
course changes remain true to the vision and mission. I must drive this point home because entrepreneurial leaders are notorious for justifying whatever it is they want to do. Compromise resides within that justifying behavior. Absolute clarity deters this behavior. If it’s not taking the company toward its intended vision, it doesn’t happen.
I just completed teaching a No-Compromise Leadership Boot Camp course. On day one I introduced leaders to the ten tenets of no-compromise leadership. The very first tenet is, “Have absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company.” I then challenged leaders to construct their own statement of clarity for their companies. I’m not talking about the construction of standard vision or mission statement. I want leaders, in their own words, to craft a detailed statement that defines their company’s quest for greatness. This clarifying statement must encompass what their company will look like when it reaches the top of the success mountain. As in all previous courses, these leaders found this seemingly simple challenge quite daunting.
On the morning of the second day, each leader presented their statement of clarity to the group. In every case, it was determined that their statements of clarity were far from complete. What they learned from this exercise is that their own lack of clarity, or inability to communicate that clarity, creates uncertainty and confusion throughout the company. Simply put, the vague and unclear destination of the company is open to all sorts of interpretation based on each employee’s perspective. Without clarity, a company can wander off course and get lost, or find itself on a long and inefficient course that may or may not reach its intended destination in time.
Here are some no-compromise thoughts to achieve and communicate clarity:
* Take a 30,000-foot view of your company:  Taking a high altitude view allows you to objectively assess where your company is, what’s working and what needs to change. The point is to get “out of your box” and explore all the possibilities – and do so without limitations.
* Think small – stay small. Think big – inspire change! Having absolute clarity on where you’re taking your company should be framed around a lofty goal. Lofty goals will get you and your team’s innovative juices flowing, build momentum and create excitement. You’re not going to capture the imagination of your team if your intent is to be average. What the heck, think big and go for the grand prize.
* Sell your clarity statement to yourself first: If you can’t get excited about your company’s potential and ability to achieve great things, don’t expect others to get excited. Furthermore, if you’re not committed to go the distance, those you intend to lead will know it. People follow leaders that are committed and passionate about achieving great things. They quit leaders that fear the work true success requires.
* Relentlessly communicate: Here’s a simple formula I use to illustrate how vital information flow is to the growth process. Increase your current level of information flow 100 fold. That’s right, dial up the intensity your communication systems 100 times. Everyone needs to know where the company is going. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone needs to know the score.
In these crazy economic times, having absolute clarity where you’re taking your company is a non-negotiable. To be considered a no-compromise leader, you must have clarity. Otherwise, you may find that you’re leading your company to mediocrity.
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO

No-compromise leaders must be grounded in their understanding of where they are taking the company. Absolute clarity ensures that the company doesn’t wander off course or make decisions that are not in alignment with its vision, such as expanding too fast or entering unknown markets. Decisions or course changes remain true to the vision and mission. I must drive this point home because entrepreneurial leaders are notorious for justifying whatever it is they want to do. Compromise resides within that justifying behavior. Absolute clarity deters this behavior. If it’s not taking the company toward its intended vision, it doesn’t happen.... Read More

No-compromise leaders must be grounded in their understanding of where they are taking the company. Absolute clarity ensures that the company doesn’t wander off course or make decisions that are not in alignment with its vision, such as expanding too fast or entering unknown markets. Decisions or course changes remain true to the vision and mission. I must drive this point home because entrepreneurial leaders are notorious for justifying whatever…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

What are you going to do about it?

June 23, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Let’s face it, there’s stuff going on in your business that’s getting in the way of growth – possibly even doing severe damage. You know what I’m talking about. Things like excessive credit card debt, dependence on gift card revenues, top producers that are working their agenda not yours, employees that don’t retail, high commission payrolls, or there’s just no time for you to lead. It’s even likely that you have an employee on payroll that should have been fired a long time ago.
Unchecked or chronic business problems never cure themselves. They fester and get worse until you break through the leadership blockages that are holding you hostage. So, the question remains, what are you going to do about it? When are you going to reclaim your leadership role and fight for the success of your company? Remember, you’re the one who has everything riding on its success. Your personal guarantee and your assets that are on the line. Your family and your employees are waiting for you to step up.
If you’re ready for change, here’s a red-hot set of strategies:
* Tackle the big stuff: The sooner you fix your payroll, address debt, have that fierce conversation or give that non-performing/toxic employee a “career opportunity,” the sooner you’ll be taking back control of your business and your life.
* Change comes with an opportunity cost: Change shakes things up. It’s supposed to. Most will like the change and stay. A few may not and leave. If you worry about the cost of losing staff, think about the long-term cost of doing nothing.
* Gotta have a plan: Charging into the great unknown without a plan is inviting more problems on top of what you already have. No time to build a plan? Strategies has an online coaching and performance tool that can build a comprehensive plan in less than 90 minutes. Click here to find out more.
* Commitment 100%: Nothing creates more stress than second guessing yourself or having to constantly re-decide if you’re going to do what you set out to do. Jack Canfield says, “100% commitment is easy. 99% is a bitch.” Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Pick one – both quotes work.
It’s your business and only you can make the tough decisions that lead to leadership and financial success. Go for it.
And please pass this email on to your friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies Founder & CEO

Let’s face it, there’s stuff going on in your business that’s getting in the way of growth – possibly even doing severe damage. You know what I’m talking about. Things like excessive credit card debt, dependence on gift card revenues, top producers that are working their agenda not yours, employees that don’t retail, high commission payrolls, or there’s just no time for you to lead. It’s even likely that you have an employee on payroll that should have been fired a long time ago.... Read More

Let’s face it, there’s stuff going on in your business that’s getting in the way of growth – possibly even doing severe damage. You know what I’m talking about. Things like excessive credit card debt, dependence on gift card revenues, top producers that are working their agenda not yours, employees that don’t retail, high commission payrolls, or there’s just no time for you to lead. It’s even likely that you…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

How to deal with difficult employees

June 22, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

There’s no escaping it. As a leader you will have to deal with difficult employees. By “difficult,” I’m referring to the myriad of attitudes ranging from egotistic, entitled and self-absorbed, to disrespectful, combative and just plain old arrogant. And then there’s the behavior issues such as resistance to change, ignoring rules and standards and lack of accountability. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean because it’s likely you have difficult employees on your team right now. The question is, what are you going to do about it – and when?
Difficult employees create drag and impede progress. It’s like a ship trying to gain speed while dragging an anchor. And the longer a leader allows the situation to continue, the more contamination spreads in the company culture. Difficult employees sap energy and divert attention away from work thereby adding unnecessary costs. Although leaders know they must engage and deal with difficult employees, too many allow these situations to continue until they go critical.
How much pain can you and your company endure? That’s my response to leaders that ask me how and when to deal with difficult employees. I’m not suggesting that leaders pounce on any employee at the first sign of negative behaviors. I am suggesting that leaders engage difficult employees with a measured response that begins by acknowledging behaviors as unacceptable with the employee and provide coaching. Should the behaviors continue, leaders must ratchet up the intensity of their response. This means specific coaching with timelines for improvement. This process continues with clearly defined consequences until termination becomes the only solution.
Here is a hit list of leadership blockages that prevent leaders from engaging and dealing with difficult employees:
* Fear confrontational situations: Get over it. You’re confusing “confrontation” with “coaching.” As leader, it’s your responsibility to help employees achieve their full potential so the company can achieve its full potential. Engage, be respectful and coach difficult employees early. The longer you procrastinate, the more contamination you allow into your culture.
* Don’t want to rock the boat: The boat is already rocking. More importantly, your team sees it and they’re waiting for you to engage. Your leadership credibility is on the line.
* Employee is a high producer and you can’t afford to lose revenue now: I hear this argument all the time. It’s simply an excuse not to engage. It doesn’t matter how productive an employee, it’s your responsibility to protect the integrity of company and its culture – even if that requires you to terminate that high producer. Your business will recover rapidly simply because you eliminated a major source of drag and contamination.
* Previous attempts to correct the problem haven’t worked: This one is interesting because it says the leader gave up and decided to tolerate the difficult employee. What it actually means is that the leader failed to ratchet up coaching process to achieve resolution.
* Procrastination: It’s an excuse. You’re the leader. Engage.
* You’re just stuck: You’ll remain stuck until you sit down with your difficult employee and have that crucial conversation that’s long overdue.
Remember, when it gets to the point where you are fighting harder to protect a difficult employee’s paycheck then the employee, it’s time to make a leadership decision and eliminate the drag from your culture. Allowing the situation to continue is compromise.
If you want to learn more about how you can transition to a no-compromise leader, email me at [email protected]
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO, and author of No-Compromise Leadership

There’s no escaping it. As a leader you will have to deal with difficult employees. By “difficult,” I’m referring to the myriad of attitudes ranging from egotistic, entitled and self-absorbed, to disrespectful, combative and just plain old arrogant. And then there’s the behavior issues such as resistance to change, ignoring rules and standards and lack of accountability. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean because it’s likely you have difficult employees on your team right now. The question is, what are you going to do about it – and when?... Read More

There’s no escaping it. As a leader you will have to deal with difficult employees. By “difficult,” I’m referring to the myriad of attitudes ranging from egotistic, entitled and self-absorbed, to disrespectful, combative and just plain old arrogant. And then there’s the behavior issues such as resistance to change, ignoring rules and standards and lack of accountability. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean because it’s likely you have…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

What does “GOING NO COMPROMISE” really mean?

June 16, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

questioning 1In my travels promoting and doing keynotes for my No-Compromise Leadership book, the one comment I hear most from attendees is, “This book was definitely written about me.” They’re referring to Part One of the book where I identify the cost of compromise and what it really takes to become a no-compromise leader. I’m also amazed at how quickly “no compromise” becomes part of a leader’s vocabulary. It’s like listening to my speech, reading the book and using “no compromise” as punctuation is all that’s needed. It would be nice if the transition to no compromise were so easy. It’s not.
Going no compromise will no doubt be the most significant personal change a leader can make in his or her leadership thinking and behavior. Why? The answer is simple: no compromise requires a leader to break through all of the emotional blockages that impede personal and business growth. It establishes the highest standards of performance and execution supported by a solid foundation of integrity and trust. Procrastination and blame are replaced with sense of urgency and accountability. By design, no compromise turns problems and obstacles into innovative solutions and growth opportunities.
If you’re serious about going no compromise, consider the following commitments that no compromise requires:
* I will get it done: Procrastinating is pure compromise. If you’re committed to going no compromise, you’re committing to getting things done. No compromise.
* I will be accountable: Accountability is the essence of trust. Delivering results, fulfilling commitments and demonstrating, through your actions and deeds, that you can be counted on by those you serve and lead. No compromise.
* I will not avoid the tough stuff: Sooner or later, every business encounters rough waters. As leader, you must engage and make the tough decisions that ensure the integrity of the company you lead. No compromise.
* I will not be dictatorial and inflexible: Going no compromise means leading with purpose and compassion – not heavy-handed tactics. Lead with passion and resolve. No compromise.
* I will nurture and protect my company’s culture: The ultimate responsibility of the no-compromise leader is to create, maintain and protect the company’s culture. It’s the culture that attracts and keeps the best talent. It’s the culture that builds customer loyalty. Never allow contamination to infect the culture. No compromise.
Strive to live these five little bullet points and you will see a transformation not only in yourself, but the company you lead. Just remember, once you commit to them, no compromise means there’s no going back.
If you want to learn more about how you can transition to a no-compromise leader, email me at [email protected]
Pass this email on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.
Neil Ducoff, Strategies founder & CEO, and author of No-Compromise Leadership

In my travels promoting and doing keynotes for my No-Compromise Leadership book, the one comment I hear most from attendees is, “This book was definitely written about me.” They’re referring to Part One of the book where I identify the cost of compromise and what it really takes to become a no-compromise leader. I’m also amazed at how quickly “no compromise” becomes part of a leader’s vocabulary. It’s like listening to my speech, reading the book and using “no compromise” as punctuation is all that’s needed. It would be nice if the transition to no compromise were so easy. It’s not.... Read More

questioning 1In my travels promoting and doing keynotes for my No-Compromise Leadership book, the one comment I hear most from attendees is, “This book was definitely written about me.” They’re referring to Part One of the book where I identify the cost of compromise and what it really takes to become a no-compromise leader. I’m also amazed at how quickly “no compromise” becomes part of a leader’s vocabulary. It’s like…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

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