Promoting Performance

Promoting Performance – Leveraging Teams

As CEOs, our job is to keep our businesses healthy, which means growing, evolving, adapting and coming up with creative solutions to problems, leading to success and profit.

Yet at times, it is undeniable that we ourselves or our respective organisations get stuck. This is perfectly natural, and rather than panic when this happens we should simply work to overcome it. The first step is identifying the problem:

  • Ask yourself what the problem is?
  • Do you have a lack of resources?
  • Do you need someone with knowledge not currently possessed?
  • Is the team overwhelmed?

After identifying the problem, look to potential solutions rather than allow this to continue to act a roadblock to progress:

  • Who can you bring in to help?
  • Does someone within an area need a nudge in the right direction?
  • Do we need to ask for resources?

After thinking about alternative possible solutions, you need to converge on a clear decision. Indecision is never helpful, and after a thorough analysis, it’s time to select a solution and take action.

Yet, despite the individual barriers, we may have to break through day-to-day, there’s almost always one root cause at the bottom of roadblocks and stalls in performance.

Enter complacency. We must do our utmost to look out for it, and do what we can to battle it within our organisations.

What is Complacency?

Complacency flourishes where accountability leaves off.

It’s when someone doesn’t realize the consequences of their actions on the larger team.

It’s when someone is disengaged and doesn’t care about the project.

It’s when someone actively resists authority or sabotages winning because that would mean they have to change and grow.

Complacency is a potentially deadly enemy within any organization. Fortunately, it has an antidote. To combat complacency, we need to create a culture of accountability.

How to Create Accountability?

It’s important to note from the outset that accountability needs to start at the top. As CEO, see if you can see how holding yourself accountable first, as an example to others could lead to the kinds of changes you wish to see.

Clearly Define Roles
Everybody needs to know exactly what they are responsible for within an organisation. There’s no room for vague, ambiguous terms and conditions. Make sure that everyone knows their role exactly, and regularly monitor progress and make people aware of how they are performing via evaluations.

Empower Individuals
One of the lead causes of complacency is a feeling of powerlessness. Empower individuals to drive change through equipping them with the training and tools needed, and by putting processes in place whereby individuals can have some control over the outcome of a project or process. A feedback mechanism which is actually listened to and acted upon is a prime example of this.

Share the Spoils
Tie team performance directly to reward, financial or otherwise. This can act as a huge incentive both for individuals and teams as a whole. People tend to keep each other accountable when they have a shared stake in how the other performs on a day to day basis. Remember that financial reward isn’t the only incentive: promotion, recognition and praise work equally well.

Spell Out Consequences
This doesn’t have to be about punishment, although of course violations of company policy and their consequences need to be outlined. Making everyone aware of how the small things add up over time, and how this will negatively impact the business and it’s collective future, in which all team members have a stake, is a great way to encourage accountability.

Keeping Yourself Accountable

Keeping yourself accountable should be priority number one. It’s too easy to get lost in the day-to-day details and let small things slip by. This will slowly become a habit, and before you know it can lead to serious trouble.

Here are some ways to keep yourself accountable as CEO.

•  Maintain a To Do List – It’s a simple tool, but it’s extremely powerful. A simple written To Do list forces you to confront the things you’re skipping over or are avoiding. You may begin to notice patterns and can then re-prioritize, or delegate if necessary. Hold yourself accountable to your list.

•  Reward Yourself – Did you tick off every item on your list during a week and get some serious work done? Go for a round of golf, have a massage, treat yourself to dinner at your favourite restaurant. It’s important to have the discipline not to do these things when you fail and to keep the rewards for the victories.

•  Bring In a Business Coach – coaching is one powerfully effective method pro athletes use to meet their goals, and it can work for corporate athletes, too. Having a personal coach to hold you accountable, check up on your progress, personally remind you of the goals you have set, the consequences of missing out on them, and helping to keep you motivated and on track can be an invaluable tool for CEOs.

•  Participate in Public Accountability – Make promises to the team, in writing if you must, and hold yourself to them. A CEO who puts herself or himself on the line in this way will not only have discovered a very powerful personal accountability tool but will gain the trust of other team members. This creates a culture of both transparency and accountability on a deep level.

Bonus: Glenn’s Top 5 Tools for Maintaining Accountability

It’s a busy world we live in, and keeping yourself and your team accountable can easily fall down in anyone’s priority list. Here are the top tools I use to keep everyone, including myself, accountable day in, day out.

1. I keep an action item register and record of all promised actions for team projects. I record who’s responsible, when the task was agreed, and it’s due date.

2. I use project and task management software called Nozbe. This tool allows me to monitor all projects my team and I are currently working on, right through to completion.

3. When delegating, I get a firm commitment on “what” and “by when”. This works both ways, so that when I delegate the other party confirms, and when tasks are delegated to me, I also make a firm commitment which I’m accountable to.

4. I complete a weekly review of all tasks and projects, which gives me an opportunity to send proactive messages to all team members to check on progress.

5. I meet one-to-one with core team members on a weekly basis to see how they’re getting along. Again, I utilize Nozbe to assist with this.


Accountability is a powerful, even transformative tool, both on individual and organisational levels, when it becomes part of your culture. Without it, you’ll encounter endless roadblocks, have difficulty identifying and overcoming problems, and ultimately may fail to bring out the very best in yourself and your team.

Use these tools to promote performance within any organisation and watch the results unfold before your eyes.

Explore Additional Resources:

  1. Special Report: Why CEOs Fail, by Glenn A. Williams
  2. Software: Nozbe
  3. Blog post: Mastering The Weekly Review

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