Accountability & Planning

Accountability and Planning“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”-Dwight D. Eisenhower

June is the midway point in the year for most companies or individuals who declared goals or are working towards a plan. What I have found is that this is the point where we change, adjust and re-engage or the whole plan goes by the wayside.

It boils down to accountability. As leaders, we are willing to hold others accountable but they will only be as accountable as we are to ourselves. And that starts with our personal, professional and business goals. Remember the old saying, don’t ask someone to do what you are not willing to do for yourself? Accountability to oneself is hard, especially for those who believe in putting others first. Putting others first means you will give up or negate holding yourself accountable to your own promises. It’s not selfish to put your oxygen mask on first before putting one on someone else. If you run out of oxygen, you both die. Think of holding yourself accountable the same way. If you don’t go first, the “plan” will not work.

The first step in a goal review is to rank yourself on how you are doing – on or off-track. If off-track, what is it going to take to get back on track? Is it still worth doing? Some people stick to their goals, no matter what and are loath to change or remove them. This doggedness can be good, but it can also lead to time, energy and money being spent on the wrong things. Testing the goal for relevancy is completely appropriate if the reason for doing so no longer exists or other events have occurred to make it irrelevant.

I remember a saying I heard once that goes “doing something with great efficiency that should not be done, is fallacy.” And I see a lot of fallacy in business. Testing our goals to see if they still make sense is important. Taking them off the list because they were too hard, is not the same. If the goal still helps to shorten the gap between where you are and where you want to be, it should stay. If you need to adjust timing, resources or metrics, that’s advisable. Remember, goals should be a stretch, but not impossible or they become self-defeating.

Lastly, you may want to add goals to the list based on what has happened in the last six months. What other opportunities have arisen? What threats have come up? I find that when leaders, or anyone for that matter, make goals a practice, they often accomplish a lot more, much earlier than they think. The participants from my Emerging Leaders Class create a three-year growth plan and most end up accomplishing everything in much less than three years. It’s the planning process that works and then holding yourself and others accountable. Remember, as the leader, you get to go first.