August Newsletter 2

Step Up, Moments That Matter – Director of ‘Emotional Safety™’

Hi, I’m Henry Evans, founder and Managing Partner of Dynamic Results, and I’m also coauthor of the book “Step Up: Lead in Six Moments That Matter,” coauthored with my friend and colleague, Dr. Colm Foster.

Did you know that Colm and I have given you a brand new title? We’d like you to think of yourself, moving forward, as the Director of Emotional Safety™. Here’s what we mean: the higher you go on the organizational chart, the more authority you have; and sometimes, the less accountability you have. I’ve heard Dr. Foster say this really well – Colm says, “The higher you go on the organizational chart, fewer and fewer people are going to be willing to tell you when you are doing something wrong. Or, tell you when people are saying bad things about you, because they’re afraid to challenge you due to the authority that you’re carrying. People need to feel safe when they’re bringing you bad news, or you’re going to continue to make really big decisions with little or no real-time information.”

Another thing I’ve heard Colm say well is that, “If a decision you made turns out to be a bad one, you really won’t hear that, and you won’t have an opportunity to grow if people don’t feel safe bringing you that kind of news.” We suggest that you encourage people to point out problems in the organization, if they exist, with you. Make them feel safe doing that.

We call receiving that information being the Director of ‘Emotional Safety™’ — we call giving it tough love. Organizations who want to thrive and compete are comfortable having these dialogues when needed.

You might be thinking along the lines of a client organization we were taking through our Strategic Planning process last year. They said, “What about Steve Jobs? He would berate and ridicule people in meetings if he didn’t like their ideas.” And I said, “You’re right—Steve Jobs was an exception to the rule that Colm and I are talking about, and he achieved amazing, earth-shattering, industry changing results while treating people very harshly.” I paused, and said, “I don’t think any of us in this room are Steve Jobs. I don’t know about any movies that have been made about us, or books that have been written about us—and so if we’re not that way, we probably can’t get away with behaving like that.”

In short, it’s the leader’s job to create Emotional Safety™ for others, so that you remain aware of what’s really happening. It allows you to be informed while you’re making choices.

If you want to learn more about Emotional Intelligence, contact us.

As always, we welcome your comments. Join us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected]

We hope you enjoyed this month’s article and look forward to seeing you again next month. Follow Henry on Twitter, @HenryJEvans.

Part 3 of 3

Your Role in Creating an Accountable Culture for Your Organization: How You Can Apply Our Accountability Method for Increased Business Results (Part Three of Three)

Your Role in Creating an Accountable Culture for Your Organization: How You Can Apply Our Accountability Method for Increased B from Dynamic Results on Vimeo.

Click on the video link to get this month’s insight!

State It Once

A Culture of Accountability also helps eliminate redundancy. Focusing solely on a problem and not on the solution wastes resources on that redundancy. Everyone knows what the problem is – your energy and resources need to be focused on solving the problem. It may be productive to voice the problem once, but then it is time to move the momentum toward a solution to improve our position. Redundancy is not in many job descriptions.

A good example of the momentum of leadership would be a conversation like this:

Manager: “I’ve noticed Phil isn’t coming through with his assignments on time, and it’s getting to be a real problem for me.”

You: “I’ve noticed that, too. What’s causing it? Where have we failed to set specific timelines and expectations?” In pointing out that the failure may be on leadership’s shoulders, you’re looking into the mirror to find solutions.

State the problem once, eliminate redundancy, and move toward the solution.

Reversing Momentum

Language momentum can be reversed, from any person in the organization.

Here’s an example:

In 1975, a movie about a mammoth killer shark was filmed. The title – Jaws. After this shark has eaten a few tourists, a town meeting is called where the mayor, the chief of police, the city council and some influential business owners are all in attendance.

Many see no other option but to close the local beaches to fend off any more attacks and more bad publicity. However, businesses in the community want to leave them open. This is the “high” season for tourists and closing the beaches now will bankrupt most of the community.

The argument goes back and forth between the two factions for several minutes. No ground is gained and neither of the two sides is willing to give an inch or find a compromise. The meeting is at a stalemate. The upper echelon of the town’s organizational chart is stuck in the problem. The arguing is getting louder and louder.

Then, the gut-wrenching sound of nails being dragged down the blackboard interrupts the argument. Suddenly the room is silent and necks are craned to see a simple fisherman sitting at the back of the room near the blackboard. When he has the room’s attention, he quietly offers, “I can kill that fish for $6,000.”

That pronouncement, made by the somewhat obscure and low-profile fisherman (who was probably not on anybody’s org chart), changed the entire momentum of the meeting, and also changed the direction and focus of an entire town. The simple fisherman had taken on the leadership role, and from that point forward, the town’s momentum had shifted to assembling the team that would kill that shark!

That’s the way it can work in any situation. It’s the leader’s job to reverse the momentum of negative interactions – and anyone can be the leader regardless of their position on the organizational chart. You can reverse the momentum by applying your skills and energy toward a new, positive outcome. When a conversation is in the past (with celebrations as an exception) you are probably focused on a “problem” or, perhaps, assigning blame. However, by changing the momentum and focusing the dialogue on the future, you are now working on a “plan.”

In short, you have the power to identify Accountability Gaps during interactions and fill them with Specificity. You have the power to identify when an interaction is “going negative” and reverse the momentum so that everyone involved in the interaction benefits!

Wipe out the Glossary of Failure within your team or your organization – use the Language of Specificity!

In the next four chapters, we will examine the four components of an accountability dialogue. This is where you learn to apply the language principles you just read. By including these Four Pieces of the Accountability Puzzle in our language, we increase individual and organizational performance!

Summary:

• A Culture of Accountability is a culture where all team members hold each other accountable for their commitments in a positive and productive manner.

• “Potholes” occur when specificity of language is missing, particularly in making commitments. These potholes can be filled in with specific and accountable information.

• The Glossary of Failure contains the language we use that forecasts relationship or project failure. It’s ambiguous, lacks specificity and will assuredly lead to disappointment, failure and bad feelings.

• The opposite of the Glossary of Failure is the Language of Accountability – the Language of Specificity.

• It is the leader’s job to reverse the momentum of negative interactions and anyone can be the leader.

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Henry Evans, Managing Partner of Dynamic Results, is the author of the best-selling book, “Winning with Accountability: the Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” and coauthor of “Step Up, Lead in Six Moments That Matter.” Follow Henry on Twitter, @HenryJEvans.

With the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now with over 100,000 in print) we are giving you the third chapter in three installments. In this, the third installment, we share best practices for building and sustaining accountability in your culture.

Please enjoy Chapter Three with our compliments.

The preceding text is copyrighted material from the best-selling book; “Winning with Accountability, the Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.”

As always, we welcome your comments. Like us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected]
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Want to know more about generating leadership at every level of your organization? Take our free assessment and buy the book here.

Want to know more about creating accountable cultures? Take our free assessment or buy the book here.

hevans July

The Language of Accountability: “Glossary of Failure”™ or put simply, The language which leads to relationship and project failure. (Part Two of Three)

Language used to forecast relationship or project failure is called the “Glossary of Failure.” It’s ambiguous, lacks specificity and will assuredly lead to disappointment, failure and bad feelings. Ambiguity and generalizations lead to disappointment.

Here’s a good example. If you ask three people what “ASAP” means to them, you’ll probably get three different answers as to the specific timeframe in which “ASAP” is carried out.

Now, let’s say I’m promising an external customer a new copier and I’m relying on you to complete the service contract. You tell me you’ll get it to the customer ASAP – an ambiguous answer. How can I make a real delivery commitment to that customer?

Or, what about the ambiguous “I’ll get right on it”? Do you mean you’ll do the task immediately, or as soon as you finish reading your e-mails, or after you’ve had lunch? When is “right on it”?

Don’t confuse the Glossary of Failure with lack of intention. Sometimes, “I’ll get right on it,” means that they have great intention and, in fact, really intend to complete the project. You don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm but you do wish to clarify the commitment.

Intentions can’t be measured. The employee who promised to “get right on it” may have had no intention of getting to your project this afternoon, the next day or even this week. That’s not lack of accountability. That’s grounds for termination due to lack of interest.

Suppose someone says they are going to have a report “by the end of the day.” So, what’s “the end of the day” for you? Is it 5 p.m.? Is it your bedtime? Or, does the end of the day come when the clock strikes midnight? Who knows, and how can the person be held accountable for an ambiguous answer?

If you’re working with branch offices around the country or around the globe, the “end of the day” occurs at many different times. Let’s say you’re working on the East Coast and someone on the West Coast promises a completed task by the end of the day. Is that Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Time? Is it at 5 p.m. on your coast or 5 p.m. on their coast?

Even things that seem obvious can be a part of the Glossary of Failure. What about a promise to complete a project by the end of the year? If your corporation works on a fiscal year, that could be August or September or October. If it works on a calendar year, it’s December – but is it the first of December or the last day of December?

As you are probably observing, these types of ambiguities are all part of the Glossary of Failure, and every one of these vague phrases increases the chances of relationship or project failure.

Here are some of the biggest offenders from the Glossary of Failure:

• Soon
• ASAP
• Right away
• I’ll get right on it
• The end of the day/week/month/year
• Later
• Try
• Should
• Best
• Might
• By the “next time” we meet
• We

So what can you do to neutralize this ambiguity? Begin using the language of specificity.

High-Accountability Language

The opposite of the Glossary of Failure is the Language of Specificity.

Instead of saying, “I’ll have this report on your desk ASAP,” you say, “I’ll have that report on your desk by 1 p.m. this afternoon.”

Rather than saying, “We’ll have the project completed by the end of the day,” tell your counterpart, “I’ll have it wrapped up by Tuesday, June 13th at 10 a.m., your time.”

Like the three most important rules of real estate are “location, location, location,” the three most important rules in creating an accountability culture are “specificity, specificity, specificity.”

Practice making commitments, using the Language of Accountability by saying, “I will do it on ‘X’ date at ‘X’ time.”

The Language of Specificity includes:

• What date and time should I follow up with you to make sure the loop is closed?
• Who owns it?
• I own it!
• Will (e.g., “I will” in lieu of “try,” “should,” or “might.”)
• Here’s what it will look like when it is completed.
• Using the Language of Specificity will increase accountability and strengthen the accountability culture within your organization.

As you practice avoiding the Glossary of Failure and increase your mastery of the Language of Specificity, you’ll see your performance increase. High-performing leaders are skilled at listening for ambiguity in language and replacing it with specificity.

Remember the four steps of acquiring new language – hearing, recognizing, understanding and speaking? You will experience this same sequence as you become highly skilled at listening for specificity.

You’ll also move through these same four phases as you begin using the Language of Specificity when asking for – and making – commitments and building a Culture of Accountability within your organization.

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Thank you for reading the first two (of three) installments of chapter three. Next release, we’ll continue with more free content from our best selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations”.

For more information about Winning With Accountability, the book that introduces the simple method to help any individual build Accountability in to their culture in an emotionally intelligent way, click here.

As always, we welcome your comments. Like us on Facebook to share your experiences or email us at [email protected]

Henry Evans, Managing Partner of Dynamic Results and author of the best selling book, “Winning with Accountability: the Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.”

If you tuned into us last month, we gave you the first part of Chapter Three of this book, we introduced the idea of accountability gaps. In the second part of Chapter Three, which we’re giving you this month, we’re going to talk to the specific kind of language that is a good predictor of future relationship and project failure, as well as what the language of specificity sounds like. Finally next month, we’re going to give you some of the best practices that our highest performing clients deploy in order to stay ahead of their competition.

Hope you enjoyed this month’s article and look forward to seeing you again next month. Follow Henry on Twitter, @HenryJEvans.

Please enjoy Chapter Three with our compliments.

The preceding text is copyrighted material from the best-selling book; “Winning with Accountability, the Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.”

June 2014 video

The Language of Accountability: How Accountable Organizations Use Our Method for Increased Business Results (Part One of Three)

The Language Of Accountability, Part One Of Three, June 2014 from Dynamic Results on Vimeo.

Nine-tenths of life’s serious controversies come from misunderstanding.
-Louis Brandeis

With the global success of our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations” (now over 100,000 in print) we are giving you the third chapter in three installments. In this, the first installment, we are sharing the “Language of Accountability”.

Traditionally, language is perceived to be the structure of how messages are sent and received. However, language actually achieves more by stimulating opinions and creating emotional responses.

For example, there’s a new restaurant in town, and the people you work with are raving about the food. Even before you set foot in that restaurant or have lifted that first forkful of food, you now have an opinion. You have positive emotions about that restaurant, simply because you’ve heard language like “great food,” “ambiance” and “the best I’ve ever had.”

We use language all of the time, either as a transmitter of our thoughts and information or as a receiver of others’ thoughts and information. Since you use language anyway, why not use it in an intentional way to get or achieve what you want?

In creating a high-accountability culture, the appropriate language will elevate performance and improve your communication efficiency. Your dialogue will be fast, powerful and complete.

The Four Stages of Language Development
Accountability language is real. It is visible and palpable, and there is a process to learning and using it to help you achieve positive results.

Learning the Language of Accountability is similar to how human beings learn their native language. Toddlers, for example, hear their parents using language. At some point in their development, toddlers may even mimic the sounds their parents are using, even though they don’t know the words or understand the meaning.

Eventually, these little ones begin to connect meanings to words, learn to string them together into sentences and then begin using language to convey their needs or get what they want. That’s one way we learned our native language.

Now, suppose your native language is English and you’re sitting in an airport. The couple next to you is speaking Portuguese, a language you’ve never heard before.

Several weeks later, you’re watching a Portuguese movie with English subtitles and you immediately recognize this as the language the couple had been speaking at the airport. Because you’re a lifelong learner and you are interested in foreign languages, you decide to sign up for a Portuguese course at the local college. By the end of the semester, you have a basic understanding of close to 100 vocabulary words. As you continue to read, study and listen to Portuguese, before long, not only can you understand spoken Portuguese, but you are also beginning to speak it yourself.

The learning process of developing organizational accountability language is very similar to learning a new language. The same four phases of language learning – hearing, recognizing, understanding and speaking – apply.

The Four Steps of Learning a New Language
1. Hearing
2. Recognizing
3. Understanding
4. Speaking – this is when organizational change begins

In this chapter, you will discover that as you apply the Language of Accountability, you will model it for your team and others you work with. Eventually, it will be a natural process. Your accountability culture begins, not with the organization changing as a whole but, instead, with the language that you as an individual choose to use. It is through individual change that organizational change occurs and the change begins with you!

Accountability Gaps and How They Grow
You will also discover that high-accountability cultures are something you can see.

To illustrate this, let’s take a professional basketball player, a star of the NBA who, at one time in his career, declared, “I’m not a role model. Parents should be role models.”

We’re not using his name here because that was a goofy thing for any star athlete to say. Because, despite what he thought, there were thousands of children admiring that NBA star, wearing his jersey number, and shooting baskets until dark to become just like him. In the context of accountability, even though he was a top scorer and exciting to watch on the court, you could see that athlete wasn’t a star in the Culture of Accountability.

Now, let’s turn the dial to 1993 and the confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex of the Branch Davidians led by David Koresh in Waco, Texas.

On April 19, 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno gave the FBI permission to flush the Davidians out of their residence, using tanks to smash holes in the walls of the building and then spraying tear gas into the residence. Agents then fired more than 350 “ferret” grenades into the building, but none of the Davidians obeyed the FBI’s command to exit the residence. A fire then broke out and 76 Davidians, including 27 children, perished.
As word of the confrontation and resulting deaths made the evening news, Janet Reno stepped up to the microphone at a White House press conference. “I made the decision,” she said. “I’m accountable. The buck stops with me.” Her words were notable – and noticeable – because you rarely hear politicians speak this way. At that time, she was the first female U.S. attorney general and fairly new to her job. Yet, in the face of a tragic and controversial situation, she stepped forward and was accountable. You could see that Janet Reno was exhibiting an accountability culture that was the model for her entire organization.

So, what does a high-accountability culture look like? Accountability cultures do not happen overnight. The culture evolves from one person or event to the next.

One common denominator is that in accountability cultures, everyone holds online slots each other accountable for their commitments in a positive and productive manner.

Earlier, we asked if you had ever had a relationship or a project fail. If you answered, “Yes,” chances are high that failure occurred because specificity was missing at the front end and expectations weren’t clear. That relationship or that project failed because there were “accountability gaps.”

Accountability gaps are like potholes in a road. The gaps are holes that need to be filled quickly with specificity before greater damage is done. Just like potholes in the road need to be filled quickly with paving materials before the holes become so large that they damage the cars on the road, an “accountability gap” exists when specificity is missing.

Let’s take poor Max, who was hired by a large company. His boss told him, “Max, we’re glad to have you on the team, and as long as you do a good job, your employment with us is solid.” Unfortunately, his boss didn’t tell Max, specifically, what a good job looked like (count this as one pothole). When Max headed the team for a major project, the boss said, “Get that final report to me as soon as you can.” Once again, did that mean tomorrow or next week? Max did his best but the report was several days tardy in his boss’s eyes (another pothole).

By the time Max was fired, his tenure was rutted with potholes, lacking specificity and becoming deeper and causing more damage as the weeks and months went by.

Max failed because there was specificity missing in every expectation and assignment. Nothing was clearly stated at the front end, and when there’s no specificity on the front end, Max was set up to fail.

But, let’s not throw Max’s boss under the bus just yet. Max made a big mistake, as well. He “assumed” he knew what the boss meant when he was told to “do a good job” and to get the report completed “as soon as you can.” Assumptions dig deep potholes and are great contributors to accountability gaps leading to a failed project or relationship, and these lead to bad feelings, which become a vicious cycle of dysfunction. Accountability is a two-way street. If you complete a task that was not specific and someone is disappointed in your work, you are the one who is considered unreliable. You’re past the point of no return. It’s too late for expectations. It’s a “gotcha” of the worst kind in every sense.

It is the role of both the sender and the receiver of the information to make sure all the potholes are filled before the task begins.

Henry Evans, is Managing Partner of Dynamic Results, author of the best-selling book, “Winning with Accountability: the Secret of Language of High Performing Organizations” and co-author of “Step Up, Lead In Six Moments That Matter”. Follow him on Twitter, @HenryJEvans.

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Thank you for reading the first (of three) installments of chapter three. Next month, we’ll continue with more free content from our best-selling book “Winning With Accountability, The Secret Language of High Performing Organizations“. In that article, we will expose the “glossary of failure”™, or put simply: the language which leads to relationship and project failure.
The preceding text is copyrighted material from the best-selling book; “Winning with Accountability, the Secret Language of High Performing Organizations.”
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