The Case for Doing a Reverse Accountability Chart

The Case for Doing a Reverse Accountability Chart

I am blessed to be part of a community where people help each other. Over the past couple of weeks, my fellow EOSi’s (our name for other EOS® Implementers) have shared countless bits of wisdom that have helped me in the conversations I have been having with the leaders of companies that have been affected by the coronavirus and in my own business.

The Accountability Chart is designed as a key growth tool to cast a vision for the roles in your organization going forward (i.e., creating the right seats) and leveraging that and your values to make sure you have the right people in all those seats. In a dramatic downturn, this core tool of EOS can also be used to project needed changes, and we call that doing a reverse accountability chart. Here is a link to our lead coach, Mark O’Donnell, explaining how to do that activity. As we come up to our quarterlies, I will be putting that on all the issues lists and we will have a conversation about when or if we do it for your leadership team. In a recent conversation with a leader, they questioned the ‘humaneness’ and ‘awkwardness’ of doing such an activity with their leaders. Their question – What if a seat is eliminated? My return question is always – What if it isn’t and it should be?

This post is not about explaining how to do a reverse accountability chart because Mark does that in his post. I want to focus on the why, to make the case that being open and honest up front is actually less painful than hiding it. Let this be my Johari Window moment, and I will share a piece of my story that is actually at the root of my passion for the accountability chart, because I personally experienced a transition where it was not done in an open and honest way.

My role was leading people and strategy for a financial institution that made most of its income through mortgage products and the income off a nine-figure portfolio of loans. When the mortgage crisis started to unwind in 2008, our CEO reacted by coming in one day and making the declaration to the leadership team that we needed to stop offering our core loan product at our 3 non-Michigan sales offices, switch everyone to selling conventional mortgages, and stop opening new offices. It became clear to me almost instantly that my seat and accountabilities changed dramatically, and the part of the role that I really GWC’d was gone. Remember my role was to direct strategy and help achieve RP/RS, so almost immediately I knew the organization really did not need my role anymore. There was very little conversation around the change and we all quickly jumped into action mode of doing it.

As a father of four young children, and with my wife taking a break from her career as a nurse to stay at home with the kids, I kept my thoughts to myself and threw myself into helping the organization through the changes ahead. We retrained our salesforce to sell a new product and with a new customer experience, and later, through a similar decision directly from our CEO, implemented a 10% reduction in our staff. Finally, 7 months after that initial announcement, I set up a time to go talk to our CEO and shared with him that my job was really no longer needed and I needed to leave the organization. The first conversation was him trying to convince me that I had value and my assignment was to think about it. We set up a time to talk right after Christmas. The second conversation was short, because my mind did not change, and we picked a date of March 31 that I would leave the organization.

There’s more to this story, and in the end I look back and realize it was a necessary step for me ending up here, being an EOS partner with a handful of great companies and dozens of great leaders. But there was a personal and professional cost to this path, and it was one of the toughest things I ever did. It would take pages to share the personal pain and anguish it caused within me to take the road of silence and hidden realities. To reference a Robert Frost poem, my passionate plea is that in these situations the road less travelled is the open, honest, and vulnerable road of the reverse Accountability Chart. Speaking from experience, that road can make all the difference and when it comes to hard conversations, I work hard to make the road less travelled the one I take.

Take a look at Mark’s post, and I encourage all of you to think about how this tool could help you face some of the uncertainties that could hit us over the months ahead. Also know that when I am talking about it, it is not just a tool, but an option I wish I had in 2008 because I would have gladly chosen that option vs the road I travelled.

Several tips for navigating your work:

  1. Remember, this is a time when your values and culture can come alive despite the remote nature of our work – or even for those of you having to do temporary layoffs. Here is a post from me that will give you some actions to take: Leadership and Social Distancing: 5 Tips To Increase Trust and Team Health Despite Our Current Reality
  2. Wisdom from an EOS peer of mine, Ken DeWitt, about An EOS Company’s Guide To Surviving The Coronovirus
  3. There are opportunities in this situation, and part of seeing them as leaders is just stepping back and shifting our perspective. The two questions I have in front of me every day are: Why is this a gift to me? What is it offering that I don’t see?
  4. Finally, here is the post from Mark about the Reverse Accountability Chart. Keep it handy, and watch it when it is time. If you don’t get the blog posts from EOS worldwide, it would be a good time to sign up as they are particularly helpful right now.

Final Tip: Sometimes kids have the answer for all of us. Here is a timeless YouTube video that reminds me of that and always makes me smile. Jessica’s Daily Affirmation

Stay healthy and lead well!

Leadership and Social Distancing: 5 Tips To Increase Trust and Team Health Despite Our Current Reality

Leadership and Social Distancing: 5 Tips To Increase Trust and Team Health Despite Our Current Reality

In the last recession, I experienced it personally and witnessed the phenomenon of leaders stopping annual performance conversations because there was no money for raises. The outcome from the people I talked to was a decreased trust in their leaders and decreased clarity of what is my role?. This is not the last recession yet, but with the work from home directive that impacts millions of people, it has the potential to be worse because of the real risk to the mental health of our workforce. It is also a great opportunity for leaders to build healthier and stronger teams despite the challenging times we have ahead. This is a guide to make this opportunity a reality for your team, and the other significant relationships in your life. (I know this is a big claim, and yet the same things we do at work to build healthy relationships also work in our homes and communities)

As we go virtual with our work, our meetings, our friendships, and how we connect as families, don’t let distancing become isolation. Let me also state the obvious fact that just being talked at during virtual meetings or having to participate with choppy video and only hearing bits of the conversation FEELS like isolation. Here are some tips for leading well in social distancing so that the feeling of connectedness and trust within our team gets stronger during the time ahead of us.

  1. Have weekly meetings with your whole team. If you don’t do that and are not sure what it would look like check out the L10 Meeting ™ tool I use as an EOS Implementer ™ on eosworldwide.com or contact me and I will send you a copy.
  2. Make a habit to call each member or your team and your peers 2-3x a week to check-in. Ask about how the home office is working, if they need anything that would make it easier, what questions might be bouncing around the organization or their head that need an answer, and learn how their family is working in this new normal.
  3. Send them a gift card/cash to them every couple of weeks to spend for some takeout food at a local restaurant. These businesses are hurting with the new rules and many will fail if we don’t help a little. If budgets are cut at your business, dip into your wallet.
  4. Do a virtual happy hour every few weeks to end a day/a week and invite family members to attend. If you are looking for some ways to make it an impromptu team building session contact me. (What an opportunity – team gatherings without babysitters and logistics planning for space, food, etc!!!!! Give a seven-year old an audience and you could have talent show!)
  5. Have everyone (including you) on your team make a weekly list of 5 people, either personal or professional connections, and commit to do a check-in call. Make a weekly rhythm of reviewing and resetting the list and have people share share any impact stories from the conversations.

Know that the formula of Social Distancing = Social Isolation = Depression becomes a reality for you and for your team if we behave our way into it. Take it from someone who has personally experienced this reality, we need to do everything we can to help the people around us not experience it. Just because we have to social distance does not mean we have to experience the destructive mental and emotional effects of isolation – we need to be smarter than that. At work, the solution can start with you as a leader. At home it starts with you as the parent, spouse, and friend.

Let us all be lights of resilience and agave love.

Lead well.

My offer:

If you have a new person let me share with you a tool I use to connect people through knowledge of each other called the Team Member Fact Sheet. For the first 10 leaders that ask I will mail you 2 of them so you can connect with a newer member of your team, despite this new virtual reality.

Honest Listening: What Peter says and one practice

Honest Listening: What Peter says and one practice

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.

Peter Drucker

When she walked into my office, she was clearly nervous. We had worked together for six months. In the next five minutes, she shared a very personal medical condition, how the treatment would take her out of work, and her concerns about her job and her health. There were tears.

I heard the words – and knew the next step was to leverage the policies we had in place to help all of our people get the same level of support and organizational compassion.

Somewhere in those five minutes, I heard some other unspoken messages:

  • I want to be a mom more than anything
  • I am scared
  • I love this job
  • I trust you to help me Scott, that is why I am sharing this

Within the unspoken words is the space where empathy happens, where we get to really understand what matters to people, and where the passions and fears exist that help us truly know someone.

The next time you have a conversation, listen for the unspoken messages. What do you notice? This is the real practice of honest listening, and it takes putting them first.

Honest Listening

Honest Listening

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Stephen R. Covey

I heard this quote a couple of weeks ago and for the first time I understood. I have carried it around as a lens for myself for the last few weeks and it has changed several conversations for me – for the better.

Try an experiment ~ write it on a post-it, on the top of some meeting agendas, or any other way to remind you of it as you interact with others. Let me know what you notice: scott@thetrugroup.com

Honesty Quote

Honesty Quote

A great nugget that I wanted to share with you today. A quote from a friend around the sharing of difficult truths:

Truth without love is mean.

Love without truth is a lie.

Rodger Price, Leading by DESIGN

One of my core beliefs is fear only motivates for the short term, but love motivates for the long term. (p. 20 – People-Centered Performance)

There is lots being written about honesty today, and I want to make sure no leaders in my community forget the Love part, because the outcome is tragic to a relationship.

Lead well!