Leadership through Eyes of a Coach...Alan Booth

Monday, October 25, 2010


Earlier this year I designed and facilitated a management offsite meeting, focused on better balancing time between technical/business work and the actions of managing others.

But to my surprise [I should have known after 6 years working with this team], the focus became sharply defined as HOW TO CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY among both peers and direct reports as well as support functions. Examples of the problem included:
  • How do we get IT to keep their commitments?
  • How can we get everyone to keep deadlines without constant reminders?
  • When people are stuck, what prevents them from asking for help?
  • When establishing priorities, how can we keep people from going off on tangents?
  • What do I do that creates a lack of accountability?
The short answer: create a culture of "owner mindsets" where people genuinely feel it is their job to support each other, to take initiative to discuss ways to improve business functions, to reach out to stakeholders of one's work so they are on the same team.

How do you know when their is a need to address accountability? A frequent one I observe is when a manager points the finger to others as the source of problems or why something has failed.

Another is represented by an executive I am coaching who can not add headcount so wants to increase productivity by moving work to other departments...rather than examine his own leadership in dealing with his own department.

Do you work in an environment of owner mindsets?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Yes! The suspense around the annual bonus drives me and others crazy. Will I even receive one this year and, if so, what will it be compared to last year (which was pretty bad).

I propose we throw out the current system - really a lack of a system that is based on the underlying priciples of why we have bonus payments in the first place; that is:

  • To reward people for their achievements and contribution to company success

  • To encourage best performers to not jump ship and to achieve even more next year

  • Overall motivation to meet goals and expectations

The probem as I see it is the lack of connecting individual performance to the payout; secondly the discussion to assure achievement as expected might occur throughout the year but not connected to the "motivator" until the announcement of the bonus.

Oops! The latter is not true at all. When I have asked hundreds of managers how their bonus calculation related to what they achieved (or did not), I get the blank stare. Oh! Perhaps if there is any objective connection it is done at the year's end before rewards are finalized.

But if we are to truly retain top people, turn around weak performers and motivate all in achieving great things, why don't we plan and communicate both goals and expectations up front, in the beginning of the year - then keep the $$$ connected to performance updates through out the year? [I know...we can not promise the actual $$$ but the "score" can be tabulated]

Gee! In a good year, there is significant money on the table to just turn into another entitlement program.