Finding an Accountability Partnerstring(33) "Finding an Accountability Partner"

Back when my son was a teenager and I would ask him the dreaded question–“How is that homework coming along?”–I would receive the typical, teenage, roll-of-the-eyes response, and the standard “I was going to finish it after dinner” answer.

Even if you don’t have kids, at one time you were a kid so I’m sure just about everybody can identify with this scenario. As a child, being held accountable for completing your homework was never fun. However, let’s face it–when we are held accountable for our actions, performance, and commitments, it tends to heighten our awareness of what we are responsible for and what we have promised to do.

So it is with networking for your business: accountability is important.  When you make a commitment to yourself to get out of your office or home office and attend productive networking functions, the reality is that sometimes other things come up and we forget those promises. What to do?

Accountability for Networking Your Business

Find an accountability partner. That way, every time you commit to a new networking strategy or to attending a business networking event, your accountability partner can help keep you to the task. Have a weekly phone or video call to meet with them and identify your strategy for the week. Because you have someone waiting to hear about your progress, it’s likely that you will be more inclined to focus on the task at hand.

To find the right accountability partner, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

  1. Who do I highly respect as a business colleague?
  2. Who would not be afraid to push me a little to keep me focused?
  3. Who is one person I would never want to disappoint?
  4. Who is also interested in networking their business so that we can be accountability partners for each other?
  5. Who knows me–and my tendency to procrastinate?
  6. Who will follow through on this commitment to me?
  7. Who has the time to help me?

Put at least one person for each question; you may have multiple names for some of the questions. By answering all seven of them, you can identify potential accountability partners for yourself and then reach out to them to have a conversation.

Think about it.  No one likes to knowingly disappoint someone else, and no one wants to feel like their time is wasted by someone else. With an accountability partner, the urge to comply compels us to perform at a higher level and this leads to greater networking results.

Do you have a story about how someone held you accountable in a way that really benefited you?  If so, I’d love to hear it. Share in the comment forum below. Thanks!

What Kind of Man Do I Want to Be?string(33) "What Kind of Man Do I Want to Be?"

I was recently talking to a good friend and fellow member of the Transformational Leadership Council, Bettie Spruill.  We were talking about relationships and she asked me “what kind of man do I want to be?”  I thought that was a great question and I decided to write this blog on that topic.

I want to be a man who lives his values and treats others accordingly.  Living my values is an important aspect of having a fulfilled and meaningful life. For me, my values are fundamental to my identity.  They shape my beliefs, priorities, and behaviors. I want to be a man who lives his values and I strive to embody those values in all aspects of my life. My values include Givers Gain, a positive attitude, recognition, accountability, traditions, innovation, building relationships, and lifelong learning. I’ve incorporated all of these into my company, BNI.

The philosophy of Givers Gain is a value that I hold dearly. I believe that when we give to others, we ultimately receive more in return. This value is particularly relevant in my professional life, where networking and building relationships are essential for success. By giving to others, whether it is time, resources, or knowledge, I can build stronger connections and foster a sense of reciprocity.

Maintaining a positive attitude is another critical value for me. I believe that a positive outlook can have a profound impact on our overall well-being and our interactions with others. By maintaining a positive attitude, I can approach challenges with a sense of optimism and resilience, and inspire others to do the same. Additionally, a positive attitude can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment, where everyone feels valued and supported.

Recognition is a value that is important to me, both in my personal and professional life. I believe that acknowledging the efforts and achievements of others is essential for building strong relationships and fostering a sense of appreciation. By recognizing the contributions of others, we can build a culture of gratitude and respect, where everyone feels seen and valued. Recognition also aligns with my belief in the importance of building strong relationships, as it helps to create a sense of trust and mutual respect.

Accountability is another critical value for me. I believe that taking ownership of our actions and decisions is essential for personal growth and development. The older I get the less I believe in words and the more I believe in behaviors.  By holding ourselves accountable, we can learn from our mistakes and make meaningful changes that benefit ourselves and others.

Traditions are a value that is important to me, particularly in my personal life. I believe that honoring our cultural and organizational traditions can provide connection and belonging and help us to maintain a sense of identity and purpose. Additionally, traditions can help to create a sense of continuity and stability, particularly during times of change or uncertainty.

Innovation is a value that is important to me, particularly in my professional life. I believe that embracing new ideas and approaches can lead to more creative and effective solutions to complex problems. Innovation brings excitement and motivation, as we explore new possibilities and push beyond our boundaries.

Building relationships is a value that is essential for me, both personally and professionally. I believe that cultivating strong connections with others is essential for personal and professional growth and can provide a sense of support and community. By building relationships, we can learn from others, share knowledge and resources, and gain a sense of belonging.

Lifelong learning is a value that is fundamental to my identity. I believe that learning is a lifelong process, and that we can always strive to become better versions of ourselves. By embracing a growth mindset, we can approach challenges with an attitude of curiosity and openness, and use each experience as an opportunity for learning and development. Additionally, lifelong learning aligns with my values of accountability and innovation, as it involves being open to feedback and exploring new ideas and approaches.

Living our values is essential for leading a fulfilling and meaningful life. My values of Givers Gain, positive attitude, recognition, accountability, traditions, innovation, building relationships, and lifelong learning are fundamental to who I am, and they guide my behavior in all aspects of my life.

By striving to live my values and treating others accordingly, I hope to inspire other people to do the same and create a positive impact on the world around me. I believe that when we align our values with our actions, we can create a life of purpose, fulfillment, and joy. It is my goal to continue to live my values and always strive to be the best version of myself so I can positively impact those around me.

That is the kind of man I want to be.

 

 

 

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Keep the “FUN” in the Fundamentalsstring(38) "Keep the “FUN” in the Fundamentals"

I’ve observed that when it comes to business, having fun is something that is rarely talked about. It’s as if most people think fun and business are two completely unrelated and mutually exclusive things. Well, I don’t share that opinion at all. I think it’s important to have fun in business. In fact, I’ve learned that having fun is something businesses and networking groups alike need to do in order to achieve, and enjoy, lasting success.

I’m a systems and process guy. As the Founder of BNI®, I am a steadfast believer in the policies we have, which, by the way, were created by the BNI Board of Advisers, not me. I always say that policies are important because you need to have accountability in a corporation or an organization. However, you can’t be a dictator in the way you apply policy. Apply the rules more like Mandela than Attila. You can practice tough love, follow the fundamentals, and have fun.

Make Learning Fun

I believe in the experiential; I think it’s a great way to teach. When I taught management theory at a university, I had a lot of students that really disliked having to take a management theory class. But one of the things I did was to include a lot of experiential learning. For example, when I talked about specialization and the power of specialization, which can be quite a boring topic, I had an experiential exercise that showed the students how you can increase productivity and business through specialization. It was a fun game-type of exercise, and the students loved it! There was even one student who came to me at the end of the term and said, “I came to your class dreading this topic, but it was the best class I’ve ever had at the university!”

This is an example of keeping the fun in the fundamentals. The students learned the material through experiential learning moments that were engaging and interesting.

It’s okay to have a good time while maintaining accountability with the people in your group or on your team. If you don’t have fun, it’s easy to lose track of why you are there and why you do what you’re doing. Without fun, you can lose your excitement. When you lose your excitement for something, your passion for it is gone and it’s very hard to be successful at anything if you’re not passionate about it. That is why I believe it is so important to have a good time in whatever you’re doing–business, networking, or otherwise, by keeping the FUN in the fundamentals.

Do you have a story to share about a networking or business experience that is memorable because it was fun?

 

 

 

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Accountability-for-Business-Success

Accountability for Business Successstring(35) "Accountability for Business Success"

For a business organization to be successful, there must be accountability. If there must be accountability, then it follows that some systems and rules have to be in place.
This is also true for business networking groups such as BNI®.

I have found that one of the strengths of a network is that most of the members are friends, and one of the weaknesses of a network is that most of the members are friends. And friends don’t like to hold friends accountable.

 

Think about it like this: Ice hockey without rules would be boxing on ice. Without rules, your networking group would be chaos.

BNI chapters without rules and guidelines would be a coffee klatch of socializing around a table or a social club chit-chatting in a video meeting. You have to have rules, you have to have a system. The rules are important for long-term success.

 

Applying the Rules

Quality leadership is about having a positive attitude while maintaining accountability with diplomacy. It is about coaching people by guiding and helping them. Good leaders apply the policies and rules like Mandela, not Atilla. They use tough love, they show people that they care, and they make sure that the members of their team or of the group understand the why behind the accountability.

Remember: People don’t care HOW until they understand WHY. Accountability is critical for business success. Effectively maintaining accountability in a business or networking group leads to long-term success for the organization and its members.