I was coaching an executive in a $4-billion company. He had read my book and now I was working with him one-on-on to teach him the accountability system. He told me that as a result of our work, he had started scheduling regular accountability meetings with all of his direct reports, but he was having a hard time keeping track of everything they’d talked about. And that made it difficult to follow up on what he had asked people to do.
I had the perfect solution. The Accountability Meeting Binder is a tool that has worked beautifully for my clients in building accountability with their people. It’s a three-ring binder in which you will keep important information about an individual employee or team member, and the notes from previous accountability meetings with him or her.
Preferably, your binder will have pockets, dividers, and tabs. You can create these binders yourself, you can ask your support staff to do it, or you can ask each team member to create two binders; one for you, and one for himself or herself. Some people personalize their binders; some put the company logo on it. However you choose to do it, you should each have a binder to use during and between your accountability meetings.
You’ll want to have separate binders for each person, labeled with the person’s name. You might be surprised to learn that it makes a strong impression on employees when you devote a binder specifically to them, and put their name on it. It’s a visible symbol that you care about them, you’re paying attention to them, and you’re organized in your approach to your work with them. They’re not just one of many staff members. Each is a separate person, worthy of specific, customized attention.
I know what you may be thinking: who uses paper anymore? Can’t we just keep track of things digitally? Hey, that’s cool. I have no attachment to the binder. If you want to store this information in a laptop, tablet or Smartphone, that’s fine, too.
Personally, I’m a three-ring binder kind of guy, and this works for me – as it does for many of my clients. A lot people just find the binders easier to carry, flip through, and for storing a variety of documents and other materials. And then there’s the whole symbolic value of the individual binders for each person. But whatever works for you is fine. The point is to create an organized place where all relevant documents are accessible, and can easily be supplemented and changed.
Here are some examples of what you might store in an Accountability Meeting Binder:
1. Company mission, vision and values
2. Employee’s job description
3. Performance feedback (formal and informal)
5. Individual development plan
6. Your Upfront Agreement
7. Leadership assessments and other professional development resources (360-degree feedback, personality profiles, etc.)
8. Notes from each accountability meeting
9. “Parking Lot” page of things you want to revisit later
10. Blank sheets of paper
Don’t waste all of the good work you do when you sit down with people for an accountability meeting. Keep track of commitments, goals and other important details in a central place so you can always be on the same page.
Stay tuned for an article about how the 48/24 can keep you even more organized with your follow up. In the meantime, contact Alan M. Dobzinski to find out more about the accountability solution he can custom-build for your organization.