Resolute resolutions

Not bad for an old man!
The beginning of a new year is a time when people start afresh and make promises to themselves to finally improve on things which they have previously been putting off. These are commonly around fitness goals and I am bracing myself for my weekly kickboxing class to see the annual influx of new, younger and fitter recruits when I return on Wednesday. I fully intend to see out another year despite being the second oldest in the class but how many newbies will still be there come the year end?

One sure fire way to ensure that all intended goals are met both at home and professionally is to be fully accountable for the outcome. For me, one of the main motivators for going kickboxing every Wednesday is that I have paid a month in advance and as I only have one chance to go a week I know that I cannot put it off in the way I would a gym (i.e. 'I'm tired tonight and I'll go tomorrow'). I also have an 'accountability partner' meaning that if I don't go I'm letting him down and restricting his chances of development. Finally, I know from experience that I have never yet regretted a class or felt worse as a result - it really is a great remedy to work off those daily life stresses.

Being accountable and ensuring that workplace tasks are accomplished is also essential for both small and large businesses to flourish. The larger the business the more the employees become the face and reputation meaning that success relies on them. Therefore, the ultimate goals for the company as communicated by the senior management rely on a much more cascaded model in order to succeed (rather than just one person to be motivated to do something for themselves).

The first step in this is to ensure employees have responsibilities for which they are solely accountable. This is not so that there is someone to blame if things go wrong but is essential for projects to be completed and allows a sense of worth and achievement for the project owner to feel they have achieved something on completion. Without accountability businesses really struggle with issues such as who to go to in order to get tasks done (i.e. if no-one knows who owns the website how is it ever going to get updated?)

'Can someone please show me the
way to Meeting Room 1?!'
I always say that the person who you want to staff your social media accounts is the person who approaches lost looking visitors in reception and asks how they can help. By doing this they have taken personal responsibility for that person's welfare and as a result show that your company values the customer experience. Someone who ignores that person and leaves it to others to resolve is not someone who is happy taking accountability and this behaviour leads to a self-centred, confusing workplace where teamwork is non-existent.

When people begin their new year resolutions they have an end goal in mind and the work involved is a means to an end. It is about the outcome and not the task and communicating this to employees is essential. You want the person who adds the annual report to the website to take ownership for the website being up to date, not for the activity of updating it. If they find a better way to ensure the site is up to date – and do so in a way that improves engagement and client satisfaction – that’s the real prize. You want people to stop paying attention to the amount of time they spend doing things, and pay attention to the ultimate outcome desired.

When people are accountable, they stop watching the clock; they seek ways to make improvements and take initiative to change what doesn’t work. They ask for opportunities to do and learn more so they can be successful at fulfilling their purpose, which in the end gives a boost to yours.
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