Want to stay out of trouble? Of course you do. More success comes your way when you are staying out of trouble. Besides, you wouldn’t be reading this blog is you didn’t want to be more successful. Well here’s a way to improve your success.
Create Accountability Circles
In six tips for the traveling business executive, I discussed the importance of checking in with your team. In fact, that was my #1 in the list of six tips. Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about how that one relatively minor adjustment had dramatically improved my business.
It sounds like such a simple thing: Pick up the phone around 9 a.m. every morning no matter where you are and check in with your business partner. Trust me, some days remembering and finding the time are tricky but I manage to make it happen about 3-4 times each week.
What’s really happening with these calls is Mike and are becoming more accountable to each other than we have been in the past. First, I share status updates from the customer side of the business with him. Then, together we work out what the priorities of the back-room side of the business should be.
During our daily calls, short-term is the next 24 hours and long-term is the next seven to 30 days. Anything on our plate that requires us to think further out than that we set aside for an afternoon meeting. The key is short-term customer-centric thinking.
The average call takes thirty minutes or less, and I feel the payback is several additional hours of productivity each week for both of us. We are working on the right tasks when we should be and not shifting from task to task as frequently.
Because I know on any day Mike could ask me about a critical customer relationship, I need to make sure I stay up to speed on all of those. Because Mike knows that on any given day I will ask him about the critical projects, he needs to have the key information for those at his finger tips.
That’s the accountability circle that makes us both more productive and better business partners. We bring very different skill sets to the business and basically stay out of each other’s way. That does not, however, mean we can fail to communicate.
By improving our communication, we have also become more accountable to each other and by extension to our customers and partners. Your mileage may vary but that’s how it’s worked out for us.