Archive for Misc.

Accountability–Who’s Responsibility Is It?

Earlier this week I was reading a post by Ron Ashkenas titled Why Accountability Is So Muddled, and How to Un-Muddle It. The post outlines 3 common reasons organizations have trouble with accountability, namely:

  • complexity of an organizations structure
  • constantly evolving work processes
  • people work hard to avoid it

The post was probably written with larger companies in mind, but small businesses also face many of these same challenges. When working as a marketing coach, I often see accountability muddled in small business for a fourth reason – confusion over roles and responsibilities in accountability.

Who is Responsible for Accountability

I find that accountability is often viewed as something one person does to another – you are my coach, so you will hold me accountable.

In my experience (on both sides of the accountability coin), accountability programs work best when one person agrees to be accountable to the other.

This may be a subtle difference, but I believe it is key. Your accountability partner cannot force you to stop a behavior or start a new one. Your accountability can provide encouragement, give advice, and connect you to new resources. But it’s not even their responsibility to check up on you (although most will) – it is your responsibility to report to them.

Setting Your Accountability Program Up For Success

Now that you have decided to be accountable to another person, here are some other tips to help you be successful in your accountability partnership:

Define what success looks like before you begin. Most people work with an accountability partner when they are either trying to develop a new habit, break a bad habit, or achieve a significant goal. What is your goal? How will your life be different when you achieve your goal? How will you feel? How will achieving this goal effect your family and friends?

Take some time to write out what your life will look like when you achieve success and share that with your accountability partner.

Define your reward – how will you celebrate when you achieve your goal? Will you reward yourself with a gift? Take a loved one out for a special dinner?

Define the consequences – what do you agree to do if you don’t follow through on the behaviors you committed to performing? This is not the same as achieving your goal (see below). I know several people who agree to make a $100 or more donation to the charity of their accountability partners choice if they break their commitments.

Focus on behaviors rather than results – it is important to focus on behaviors that you can control rather than outcomes which you can only influence. For example, if I am in sales, I cannot force (control) someone to buy from me, but I can control my behaviors that are likely to lead to more sales, i.e. networking, asking for referrals, getting training to improve my selling skills, etc.

What are your favorite accountability tips?

John Wooden: the difference between winning and succeeding

How do you define success? Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves in this TED talk

Google’s Me on the Web

As use of social media and the web continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to manage your online reputation, including monitoring what is being said about you on the web. Many people have used Google Alerts for this task. Google recently made it easier to set up these type of alerts with the introduction of their “Me on the Web“. It may take you longer to find how to access this new tool than it will to use it, so I thought I’d provide a quick walk through.

Start by going to your Google account -

Once there, in the Personal Settings area (to the right of your photo), click on the View data stored with this account link


This will bring you to your dashboard. The second section down is the new “Me on the Web” section.

The left hand column shows you links from your Google profile. The right column contains links to information on how to control what third-party information is posted about you on the web. The top link (marked by the arrow) is a link to help quickly set up a Google alert that will notify you when someone posts your name or email address(es) on the web.

If you haven’t already set up Google Alerts for you name, I recommend checking out this new tool as an easy way to get started.

Information-based organizations rest on responsibility

“Traditional organizations rest on command authority. Information-based organizations rest on responsibility.”

That is my favorite line from today’s The Daily Drucker entry. Drucker goes on to explain that the information based system can only function if each individual accepts responsibility. Responsibility for what? For our relationships, our goals and priorities, and for our communications. It is this responsibility, not just the information, that makes fast decisions and quick responses possible.

In order to be successful, not only do owners need to communicate their vision and plan, but they must also provide mutual respect and hire/promote those who accept responsibility. As an owner, do you demonstrate that you accept responsibility? Or do you spend most of the day complaining about “those customers”, “those vendors”, or “those employees” who “just don’t get it”?

I know I can improve, so today I’m going to follow Drucker’s advice and accept responsibility for myself, my goals, my relationships, and my communications.

Roger Ebert’s Ted Talk

Today’s post has nothing to do with marketing – I just found this recording of Roger Ebert’s Ted Talk to be a great story and wanted to share it.

When film critic Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw to cancer, he lost the ability to eat and speak. But he did not lose his voice. In a moving talk from TED2011, Ebert and his wife, Chaz, with friends Dean Ornish and John Hunter, come together to tell his remarkable story.

On Advertising Case Study Awards

An amusing “case study” from the folks at john st about case study awards and metrics

If you can’t see the preview above you can view it on Youtube

Creating a Goal Setting Contract

I know there is a lot of information about goal setting available already, but I recently sat through a goal setting session in my Sandler Sales President’s Club that was very helpful for me, so I thought I would share the main components of what we did.

We wrote our goal down in the form of a contract. Much has been written about the importance of writing your goals down and I’m a big believer in this. We gave ourselves a date specific deadline to achieve our goal. We also signed it, just like a contract, which helps (at least me) solidify the commitment.

We described the benefit achieving this goal would provide us. This is another way of visualizing the outcome. Visualizing is something I picked up during my competitive tennis days and I use it today to help prepare for presentations and meetings.

We selected accountability partners. Our contract language stated that we committed ourselves to communicating with our chosen accountability partner on our progress toward accomplishing our goal.

We had a consequence for not working on our goal. As part of our commitment, we agreed to donate $100 to the charity of our accountability partner’s choice if we failed to communicate with them about our progress. Notice, the consequence is not related to achieving the outcome, but is based on my behavior. I may not be able to control the outcome, but I can certainly control my behavior.

Go back and take a look at your marketing goals for 2011 – would adding any of the above elements help you achieve your goals? Have you visualized a clear picture of what your business (and life) will be like when you achieve those goals? Do you have an accountability partner? If you need an accountability partner, drop me a line or give me a call. If you are willing to commit, I’m willing to help.

Help Women Fight Poverty With Entrepreneurship

[Hat tip to Tim Berry of Planning, Startups, Stories]

FITE officially launched around the world late last week. FITE stands for Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship – I love that. Through FITE, you can  help women worldwide start or grow a business.

From the FITE website:

Our mission is to provide women entrepreneurs access to small loans that will help them start or grow a business; and to help educate the public at large about the benefits of empowering women entrepreneurs so that they “can hold up their half of the sky.” In just the first 2 years, we aim to help at least 25,000 women in this capacity.

In addition to pointing out a wonderful cause, this video is also a great example of how small businesses and organizations can use video to get their word out.

To learn more and get involved, visit the FITE website

Last Day To Apply for a Free Google Chrome Notebook

Today is the last day to get your application in for Google’s pilot program for their new Google Chrome Laptop. The program is open to individuals, businesses, schools, non-profits and developers based in the U.S.

The laptops will run the Chrome operating system. It is designed for people who “live on the web” and only runs web-based applications, so if you business runs primarily on Google Apps and other cloud based programs, these notebooks may be a good choice for you. You can apply here.

I’ve applied for a Chrome Notebook, so if I’m lucky enough to get one, I’ll post more reviews here.

If you get accepted into the pilot program, I’d love to hear about your experiences as well.

David McCandless’ The beauty of data visualization

David McCandless’ TED presentation about data visualization demonstrates some interesting examples of making data easier to understand by making it more visual.

As both marketers and professional service providers, we are bombarded with data every day. Did you see any ways you can make this data more meaningful to you and your customers in this video?