Each time I end a stretch of accountability work with a client, I ask what they’re taking away. For example, I ask about the most memorable things they learned, and where they saw the most growth.
I recently had a final session with a client who’s been with me for two years. He easily came up with 10+ things that he’d gained from our work. We went through the list and discussed the ways his life was better and easier.
We also talked about what he wanted to work on next. The art of acknowledging, he told me, is something he really sees the value and benefit of (plus it costs absolutely nothing). He’s better at it than he used to be, but not as good as he could be.
Knowing I was going to be out of the picture, we put our heads together about how he was going to keep this goal on his radar screen. I asked him about his administrative assistant – how is she doing? When we started working together, he’d rated her at a 3 or 4 out of 10 on the productivity scale.
Like many executives, his admin assistant was a gift he hadn’t unwrapped fully – definitely not making the best use of her time and skills. After addressing his own accountability and communication issues, he now rated her at an 8 out of 10 for productivity.
(Isn’t it funny how when we do work on ourselves, the people around us magically start to change?)
We decided that he would bring her into the conversation and tell her about his goal and why it was important to him. He explained that he wants to continue to acknowledge his people on an ongoing basis, and asked for her suggestions about how she could help.
Here’s the plan they put in place: Each week, she has it in her agenda to remind him about acknowledgment. She’ll send him funny emails, e.g., “Did you acknowledge someone today?” with smiley faces and other cute symbols.
She also tries to keep her ear to the ground about what people in the company are talking about. Instead of getting into gossip or negativity, she looks for opportunities where acknowledgment from the boss would turn someone’s day around and improve their work situation.
The real value of my final accountability session with this client wasn’t identifying his goal – he’d already come to that understanding himself. It was about how he was going to stay accountable for working on it.
Collaborating with his administrative assistant was a way he could help her to help him, improving her productivity and job satisfaction as well. A win for the people he will acknowledge, a win for the admin assistant and a win for him. Win-win-win – hooray!
If you want to improve your working relationships and help your people experience more productivity and job satisfaction, Alan M. Dobzinski offers both executive consultation and meeting facilitation services. Contact him today to get started.