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Bob Prosen, Author

Chapter 8

Be Your Competitors’ Worst Fear

Your competitors’ biggest fear isn’t so much your bright ideas but your ability to turn those ideas into bottom-line results. That requires an accountability-based culture relentlessly focused on achieving clear goals.

In an accountability-based culture supercharged for action, you shouldn’t have to tell anyone how to do his or her job, but just what needs to be done. If you’ve hired smart, made certain your team understands the objectives, put the right people in the right jobs so they can fully use their skills, and empowered them to do what they do best, then you should rarely have to get involved in how things actually get done.

Of course, it’s your job to always be available as a sounding board or to offer suggestions when roadblocks are inevitably encountered. You should also ask probing questions, attend results-review meetings, and teach team members problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Accountable organizations that consistently achieve their goals and objectives—sans false starts, rework, and political infighting—will outexecute their competition time after time. Once achieved, dependable execution becomes a powerful differentiator that’s extremely hard to replicate.

The Power of Commitment

Part of what drives an accountability-based culture is unyielding commitment and belief in the company’s primary objectives. Everyone must believe in the mission and agree that the chosen path is right.

To test this commitment within your company, get into the habit of walking around and talking to people. Get off your beaten path and seek out people you don’t regularly encounter. Then simply ask them what they’re working on and why they’re working on it. Walking around to improve communications is discussed further in the following chapter. The relevance of walking around to this chapter is that you can use this technique to better instill an accountability-based culture. To help accomplish this, determine the following: Can employees tell you how …