Episode 74

How To Hold Others Accountable With Brian Moran, Founder and CEO of The Execution Company and co-author of ‘Uncommon Accountability’

Episode Summary 

Accountability isn’t exactly a fun word. It has quite a negative connotation — probably because we’ve been acculturated to think that if we don’t hold ourselves accountable, we’ll suffer negative consequences (or, to use an even more fear-inducing word, punishment). 

But accountability expert Brian Moran offers a different perspective. As a professional with 30 years of expertise as a CEO, corporate executive, entrepreneur, consultant, and coach, he argues that reframing accountability around ownership rather than consequence can have significant impacts on our teams. 

Brian co-wrote the bestseller “The 12 Week Year” to teach leaders how to shorten their execution cycle from one year to 12 weeks. In his newest book, “Uncommon Accountability,” he reveals how to “hold others capable” by rejecting “command and control” and focusing instead on nurturing your team members’ sense of autonomy. 

It’s this autonomy, he argues, that fosters accountability. When employees are encouraged to view accountability as taking ownership, they realize they have freedom of choice in what happens next. It takes the leader out of the equation and puts the employee at the center of their own journey. They determine their future with the company by deciding how to learn from their mistakes. 

Execution drives accountability, and both are critical to the success of any organization.

In this episode of Finding Gravitas, Brian shares his knowledge to help listeners reframe their mindset around accountability and how to help their employees do the same. 

Themes discussed on this episode: 

  • Why so many people hate the word “accountability”
  • How we can create the freedom to perform without “command or control”
  • Why clarity of expectations is so important
  • The relationship between accountability and blame
  • Whether or not accountability is a system or a trait
  • How leaders can foster ownership among their employees 
  • How we can confront people with choice

Learn more about your host, Jan Griffiths in this short video

Featured Expert: Brian Moran

What he does: Brian Moran is the founder and CEO of The Execution Company, which helps entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and business leaders improve their performance and results. He is also a motivational keynote speaker and the co-author of two New York Times bestsellers, “The 12 Week Year” and “Uncommon Accountability.”

Episode Highlights

Timestamped inflection points from the show


[3:24] Getting to know Brian Moran: Brian shares a little about his background, notably how he worked his way through college by working for UPS. He gives a taste of how that experience led him to become the accountability expert he is today.


[7:12] The root of his writing: Unlike many business books, “The 12 Week Year” didn’t start with a theory, Brian says. Instead, he and his co-author simply started documenting how they work with clients. More specifically, they answered the question: We’ve created annual plans and goals, but how do we ensure they’re executed?


[10:01] The fear-inducing implications of “accountability”: The phrase “holding someone accountable” often has a negative connotation because it’s typically associated with punishment or negative consequences, Brian says. So how do we shift employees’ perception of accountability?


[13:29] Accountability as a trait and a mindset: If you want your employees to rethink the way they define accountability, encourage them to view it as taking ownership rather than suffering consequences, says Brian. This reframing creates a completely different set of actions and reactions. 


[15:19] Fostering ownership: You can’t force anyone to do anything. So Brian believes when you’re encouraging employees to take ownership, you’re confronting people with freedom of choice and therefore taking yourself (as a leader) out of the equation. It’s not up to you to determine what happens next. It’s up to them.


[17:54] Co-creating agreements: Brian says the first step is making agreements at the goal level. Those goals should be specific and concrete. Vague goals are too open for interpretation to be successfully met. 


[22:13] Keeping the whole team accountable: Keep teams focused on a couple of questions: How do we get better? And how do we get the results we want? It’s about looking forward rather than backward, Brian says. 


[28:36] It all starts with personal accountability: Brian argues that personal accountability is the underpinning of corporate and/or team accountability because we can’t be accountable if we’re not looking inward. 


[34:32] Gravitas is a leader’s responsibility: A person with gravitas has the goods, says Brian. They do what they say and say what they mean. So effective leaders are always asking themselves: Am I a better leader today than I was three months ago? And if not, what needs to change?


Top quotes


[8:03] “We need transparency with respect to execution … where everyone can see what's getting done from the plan, what's not getting done. And then we need evidence — is it producing or not?”


[15:23] “We have to move [away from] the mindset that we can force people to do something because that's manipulative, and people see through that. That's where you get collateral damage. So when we start to shift our thinking about what accountability is, it's choice — it's ownership.”


[15:57] “The people you're leading have a choice. And one of those choices may be to work somewhere else. So the key is to confront people with the freedom of choice, and the consequences of those choices.”


[18:59] “Most of the plans I've seen are conceptual, they're not tactical … Without getting granular to where you get specific, discrete actions, you can't have agreement on the behavior. And no one is going to sign up and take ownership of something vague because there's just too much room for misinterpretation.”


[23:20] “The victim mindset is [like] the rearview mirror. It's How do I shift the blame? … How do I not look bad? True accountability is more future-focused. We look back to learn, but there's no blame because we can't change the past … but we can learn from it.”

Transcript
Dietrich:

Welcome to the Finding Gravitas podcast. It's time to stop trying to fit someone else's mold and step into the world of authentic leadership. Connect with that irresistible force that is Gravitas. Your host, Jan Griffiths will guide you through an exploration into exactly what this elusive quality means and how you can get it. Now, let's join Jan on the quest for Gravitas.

Jan Griffiths:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Finding Gravitas, the authentic leadership podcast. And today we're gonna talk about something a word that makes me shiver from my head down to my toes. And that word is accountability. I don't know about you, but I don't like it when somebody tells me they're going to hold me accountable. It makes me feel like they're about to blame me if anything goes wrong. And I'm not inspired. We are going to talk to an expert on accountability. Today, you're going to join a conversation with Brian Moran. Brian is the author of the 12-week year execution system. And his most recent book, Uncommon Accountability: A Radical New Approach To Greater Success and Fulfillmen. Brian Moran is the founder and CEO of the execution company and organization committed to improving the performance and enhancing the quality of life for leaders and entrepreneurs. He is a leading expert on execution and implementation. And as leaders, we know that ultimately, that's what we're responsible for. We have this whole group of people, this whole group of human beings, and we have to hold them accountable. But how do you do that in a positive, inspiring way? We're going to find that out just a moment when you join this conversation. We're going to talk about why a lot of people hate that term accountability, and how we can create the freedom to perform without Command and Control. Why clarity of expectations is so important. Why we need more autonomy? The relationship between accountability and blame. And whether or not accountability is a system or a trait. Can you force ownership? How do you foster ownership with human beings? How do we confront people with choice? And make all of this happen? Join the conversation and you'll find out.

Jan Griffiths:

Brian, welcome to the show.

Brian Moran:

Well, thanks for having me. It's great to be here.

Jan Griffiths:

Uh, it is great to have you on the expert. The undisputed expert in one of my favorite subjects, accountability.

Brian Moran:

There we go. All right.

Jan Griffiths:

Before we dig in to all of that, let's start off with a very simple question. Brian, what is your story?

Brian Moran:

I grew up in Michigan, so not too far from you Port Huron area actually, and went to Michigan State go green, and the Spartans out there. And then I moved to Southern California, but I was working my way through college at UPS. And I was working the reload, which was the evening was great job paid, great good benefits. And it was from like four to 10, Monday through Friday. So it worked out perfect for a college student like myself, and they had offered me a promotion to actually supervise that operation. And you know, initially I thought, Jan, I thought, Hey, that's not what I want to do. But I'm getting a degree in physiology to be a strength coach, you know, and, but I thought about it, I thought, you know, it's a great opportunity, it's even better pay. And so I took it, and I got an opportunity to work for a guy that at the time was very much a coach in and that was unique back then, because this was, you know, 1000 years ago, but it was unique in business in general, but especially in that environment, because we're union and people didn't even manage performance, they manage the contract and duh duh... anyways. It was a fascinating experience for me and I really got switched on to the whole notion of business that that I switched my degree finished in business moved out to Southern Cal Ghana with PepsiCo, joined a consulting firm. You know, fast forward to today where, you know, in my own company, everything we do is really designed to help our clients accomplish more with their capable faster.

Jan Griffiths:

Boy, UP!

Brian Moran:

Yeah.

Jan Griffiths:

Wow. I can't imagine what that was like.

Brian Moran:

You know, there was a great company that was really and I learned so much work and with my boss and just what working in that environment, it was it was a great education.

Jan Griffiths:

And so here you are. And I first came across your name as an author, with the 12-week year book. Now, we're not going to talk about that we're going to focus more on uncommon accountability today. But tell me what prompted you to not only come up with a 12-week here, but to write a book about it. Tell us about that.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, great question. Unlike a lot of books that are written, you know, Michael, the co-author, and I didn't sit down and come up with this theory, the 12-week year was really just us documenting what we were doing with our clients. And we did what everybody did, right? We created annual plans and goals and broke them down quarterly and monthly and weekly. And in a jam, we were getting good results, but we didn't get what they were capable of. And we came across this concept in athletics called periodization. And we borrowed from that and just adapted it to the point where our clients work in the context of every 12 weeks as the year where there's clarity and urgency around what matters most and just nothing magical, just more than critical stuff gets done. So the 12 week year is really an execution system. And it's the one system, everybody lacks, right, they've got all these other systems, but the one that really drives everything and optimizes it is the execution system. And that's really what the 12 week year is.

Jan Griffiths:

You know, I gotta be honest with you. When I spent my time in the corporate world over 35 years, and when people talked about execution systems, it start it makes my blood run cold, you know, it's like, Oh, I get that, that feeling that sense of command and control, which as you know, if you follow me on social media for more than three seconds, you'll know that I cannot abide command and control. So when you talk about systems like that, it I just get that feeling of, of dread, of somebody's going to try to control me. But then I also recognize that as a business, you need a system for people to follow in order to be able to perform and achieve results. It's the balance of the two. Tell us about that about inspiring people, and having a framework to capture those results.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, I agree with you. I don't like command and control. I don't personally I don't like it never have. And so when we talk about execution system, the execution system really allows people the freedom to perform and and, and provides the supervisor, manager leader, whatever level they're at, with with enough visibility and enough information to have input without being this heavy command and control. And I think that's important because our experience working with organizations is if you want to have a high performing organization, there are three structures that have to be in place, regardless of what you value, right. And whether you value innovation or collaboration, or customer service really doesn't matter. You need clarity of expectation at the vision level at the goal level, but most importantly, at the behavioral level, which just means a tactical plan, which most people don't have, we need transparency with respect to execution. So where everyone can see what's getting done from the plan, what's not getting done. And then we need evidence is it producing or not. And so when I talk about an execution system that's built into the 12-week year, which allows less of this command and control and more autonomy, with input. And as a leader, it gives you the purview to see what's working, what's not working, because most of the breakdowns aren't in the plan, most of the breakdowns are at the execution level. And so with that, you'll be able to see that you can come up alongside that you can coach it and help it along.

Jan Griffiths:

And I love what you just said, you said, the freedom to perform. And command and control, of course, implies that there is no freedom, you do what you're told to do, right? So it's creating the system where you have the freedom to perform. And let me take you through my complicated thought process. Maybe not so complicated, actually. But this is where I start to think about accountability. And accountability to me, very much the same as execution system makes my blood run cold. I don't like the word, the word makes me feel bad. If somebody says to me, I want to hold you accountable. My brain says, If you don't do something, I'm gonna blame you. And I'm gonna fire you and do horrible things to you. Right? So this whole idea of accountability through most of my career, is that a very bad connotation, a very bad feeling. And I've learned that it doesn't have to be that way. So you went from the 12 week here, there's a section in the book that speaks specifically to accountability. But you chose to expand now, this idea of freedom to perform and accountability into another book called uncommon accountability. So why Brian, what made you do that

Brian Moran:

Yeah, well, it's what you just said, the very reason you just said which is most people have this negative adverse reaction when when the word accountability is spoken or the concept shared, because for most of us, we have experienced it as some form of punishment. Right? When people talk about holding someone accountable, they're typically talking about creating some sort of negative consequence, when they don't do what they're supposed to do. And so, you know, Mike and I have bumped up against that notion in every organization we've worked in, and, and then managers and leaders are taught to hold their people accountable. What does that mean? It means the very same thing we talked about, it means getting after him when they don't do what they're supposed to do. And I think for most people, their reaction to that is just like yours. It's this, get away from me with that stuff. It doesn't work. It doesn't inspire me. And there hasn't been another approach that anyone has ever put forth. So by default, we all kind of go to this command and control in the consequence model, and managers aren't even trained in consequences, right? Positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment penalty, most managers, most leaders haven't even been trained in that. But that's the that's the prevailing system. And we call that accountability. And it's not, it is a consequence system that most people are turned off by. And what happens in that is if you have to do that at all, as a leader, it damages the relationship. It actually impedes performance, and oftentimes creates all this collateral damage as well. Everything from passive resistance to outright sabotage.

Jan Griffiths:

Would you think, Brian, that there's a lot of leaders out there that feel that they have to say things like that hold people accountable, and they have to fit this mold of what they perceive the boss should be? I remember having a statement on my resume for years that said something about accountability. Drives accountability through structured alignment of goals and objectives. Right? I mean, and I thought, oh, that sounds good. And I look at that now. And I, oh, I cringe, you know, it's horrible. But at the time, I thought that that's the kind of leader that people wanted. And that's what I was supposed to be. Do you see that a lot, you see leaders that feel that they have to fit a mold?

Brian Moran:

I do. And I think I think it's as much unconscious as conscious because that's, that's what their leaders do. You know, and when someone's struggling, that's the advice they get, well, you just need to hold those people accountable. You know, and, and so that's what's role model. That's what's preached. And so yeah, I think people naturally fall into that. And it sounds good too, right? As a leader, yeah, I'm holding my people like, it sounds like I'm taking control and taking names and kicking butt and all of that. But it doesn't, it just doesn't work. It's very ineffective, as we've already touched on, and so but I do think there is this, because there's not an alternative, right? What else is there? And in fact, what happens in that though Jan is like, you get two ends of the spectrum, right? You get the one end of the spectrum where the person is just in your face all the time. And you get the other end where they find it so distasteful they never confront. And then they're they're taught to be more central on that that platform of holding people accountable, which is a flawed platform. So..

Jan Griffiths:

Is accountability? Is it a system? Or is it a trade?

Brian Moran:

I think it's a little bit of both, but it's more of a trade. If it's a big enough trade, I think it becomes a way of operating, which you could say as a system, but it's it's more of a trade, it starts with a mindset what accountability is and what it isn't, right? If I think accountability is this notion of consequences, then at the action level, that's what plays out right? I apply consequences I confront with consequences, and the results are very mixed. On the other hand, the way we define accountability is not consequences, but ownership. And so if that's my thinking, That's my belief that accountability is ownership, it creates a completely different set of actions because then I, I realized I can't force ownership, I can't force someone to do something. Right now, I might create a consequences so distasteful that they choose to do it, but that's where all the collateral damage comes in. And so how I think about accountability affects everything from how I perform as an individual, right? Whether I take ownership of my goals, my actions, my health, my relationships, all of that, or whether I'm looking outside of myself, and same thing as a leader in the organization, how I interact with other people. The way I think about accountability, directs those actions and ultimately creates two very different set of results.

Jan Griffiths:

There's leaders out there right now listening to this podcast going okay, all right. So I get it somewhat get it the way that they've been taught about accountability have perhaps thought about accountability in the past isn't going to work. All right. Ownership is in. They understand that. But how, Brian? Help, help them help our leaders out there listeners out there? How do you work with a human being knowing that every single person is different? And you can't tell them? You can't go up to somebody and say, you own this? Okay, goodbye. How do you foster and nurture ownership in a human being?

Brian Moran:

Yeah, great question. So again, it starts with your mindset, right? And we have to move off the mindset that I can force people to do something, because that's manipulative. And people see through that, that's where you get the collateral damage. So we start to shift our thinking about what accountability is, it's choice, it's ownership. So the ownership is based on this notion of freewill choice that I would argue that we always, always always have choice. Now, it doesn't mean we'll like the choices, right? In the states here, I like to joke April 15, trolls around, you can pay your taxes or go to prison. I don't like either one of those choices, but you have choice. And so it's the recognition that the people you're leading have choice. And one of those choices may be that to work somewhere else. So the key is to confront people with the freedom of choice, and the consequences of those choices. So you can choose to perform and meet our standards. So oftentimes, when people hear this, and they think it's passive. This approach isn't passive, it's very confrontive. But it's, it's not confronted with consequences, it's confronted with choice. That's how you get an empowered workforce. And confronting people with the choice they have day in and day out. And the choice may be that they're a bad fit. And again, we're not saying you don't apply consequences. But the key is that, as a leader, your people understand that what you do with them, is a direct result of the choices they make. So they choose to be productive, that it makes your job where you're their rewarding, you're praising, right? You're recognized. If they choose to make unproductive choices, then guess what, there's a, there's a set of consequences that they're choosing with that. But it takes me as the leader out of the role is this consequence, deliver? Right? It's not up to me, but we're always confronting your question is how do we do that? Well, we confront with choice. We keep reminding our people from from the interview process to when we hire them to when we train them to 10 years in the role, we keep reminding them that they have choice in the situation, and what's the productive choice for them, it may not be what I want it to be. But that's where we're going to talk through that and get agreement on it.

Jan Griffiths:

Agreement. Talk to us about creating agreements, co-creating agreements, because the boss telling you to do something, and you saying yes, okay, may or may not constitute a good agreement. Let's help our audience with some advice on how to co-create agreements, which then, of course, become the foundation for driving accountability.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, I think there's agreements at a couple levels. One is starting at the goal level, right getting agreement at the goal level. And, and again, if I'm going to take ownership, in some cases, I get them set my goal, in other cases, my goals given to me, but in either case, as the individual I can take ownership of that. And part of the ability to do that is the recognition that I don't control the outcomes, goals or outcomes. And I think people get hung up on well, you know, what if I miss the goal? Well, you know, you don't control the outcome anyways, you control the actions, which is the other area that we need to get agreement on, is the actions. What are the actions that we're going to employ, because as a leader, I might be thinking one set of actions as a performer, you're thinking another set, and when you go off and do your set, I go, they're not doing what they're supposed to do, right. And then I move in with the consequences and all that all that stuff again. So I think it's important upfront, at the goal level, and at the action level. That's why when we help organizations create plans, we do tactical plans. And I think most people would say we have tactical plans, most of the plans I've seen are conceptual, they're not tactical, they're broad based concepts. They're not specific discrete actions, then without getting granular to where you get specific, discrete actions, you can't have agreement on the behavior and no one is going to sign up and take ownership of something that's vague, because there's just too much room for misinterpretation, like I just said, I interpreted one way you interpreted another. So part of that agreement, at the behavior level is getting very, very granular about expectations around actions and behavior and those primarily the ones in the plan.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And as I think back on my career, I remember the days when there will be strategic initiatives, and projects and lots of PowerPoint presentations. And there would be some vague wording of something that was going to happen in the future and it was written in corporate speak, so nobody really understood it. But hey, he sounded good.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, right.

Jan Griffiths:

And, and then it was so far out in the future that, you know, you sort of hoped, honestly, that it would just eventually go away. And most of the time it did, you know, maybe it would stay on the on there as a strategic initiative for a year or so. And then it would, and then it would just fizzle out and die. And something else would come in and replace it, and there'd be another flavor of the month. So I think there really is something about not only getting agreement, but clarity of vision, you've already talked about vision, but getting really to use your term to get really granular around it. And then something that I've been using with clients lately is I just tell them this, can you explain it to a 10 year old? That's it? If you can't, if you cannot explain it to a 10 year old, forget it. It's too much corporate speak. And it's not easy to understand. And people will misinterpret it. And without that you don't even have a starting point. Right?

Brian Moran:

Right. I think most people want to do well, they want to perform well. But when it when things are vague, and like you said, there's all this corporate speak, then it's open for interpretation. And the likelihood of everyone that's involved, interpreting that the same way is very unlikely. And so people go off, give it full effort, their best effort only to find that it's not what you thought it was going to be, or my boss thought it was going to be. So now I'd become demoralized. And I learned in that situation, hey, you know, it's not worth me taking all that effort. That's why that stuff sits around for a while and then eventually goes away. Because nobody really knew what it was. And nobody really acted on it. We've been trained that if we go off and in our best effort, and it's not exactly what people thought that, you know, we get punished for that at least chastised for it. And so I don't do that I don't take that risk. I don't I don't go off in that.

Jan Griffiths:

Leaders can understand accountability and your new uncommon accountability, and how to nurture that with their teams. But how do we nurture that with each other in a team setting? So it's one thing to have a direct relationship with somebody on your team? But how does that accountability, dynamic work as a team working together?

Brian Moran:

It's really interesting in that the studies have shown that a victim mindset or accountable mindset is catchy. In other words, people that were exposed to folks that blamed others tended to blame others, people that were exposed to people taking ownership, and responsibility tended to take ownership from responsibilities. So as most things, it's all leader led. People do what you do more than what you say. And so, as a leader, if you're role modeling, true accountability is ownership. And you've kind of given up on this trying to hold your people accountable. Instead, you hold them capable, which means we're confronting them with their choices and the consequences of the choices and the outcomes and all of that, then the organization follows along, and the team will start to hold each other capable in the same way. In other words, they're, they're going to confront the reality with one another, and they're going to challenge one another. But it's never it's never mean spirited, if you will. And it's never about creating consequences. It's all with a focus on how do we get better? How do we get the result? Too much of accountability? The victim mindset is really the rearview mirror. It's how do I shift the blame? How do I not look bad? True accountability is more future focused, you know, we look back to learn but there's no blame, there's because I can't change the past. I can't change last week, last month, I can't change anything, but I can learn from it. And that's, that's the Accountable mindset. The uncommon accountable mindset as a group comes together. And so we foster that in one another. If someone's blaming someone else, or blaming themselves, we say, hey, look, that just is what it is. What can we learn from that? How do we do better this week? And how can we do better in the future? And what you'll see is that people thrive in that environment. Because it is a guilt free environment, we all make mistakes, and we don't control the outcomes, and some of the stuff we're going to do is going to work and some of it's not, that's just the way it is. And so, you know, how can we support one another, in taking the risks and taking the action and then measuring and paying attention to did it create the outcome we wanted or not? And if not, then what next?

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah. And it's getting away from that fear of judgment. And we see that so often is that people are afraid to put their voice forward, or they're afraid to say that either they failed at something or they took a misstep. And if the leader creates that environment of positive supportive accountability, then they're able to come forward and say exactly what's going on and learn from that and move on and support each other. And right at the beginning of the pandemic, I launched what I called an accountability lab, and I didn't really know what it was and I hadn't read your book Brian's technically I didn't know what I was talking about at the time. And basically, I just knew that in the middle of the beginning of the pandemic, I was afraid that if I didn't hold, learn how to hold myself accountable that I would slide into a dark hole. And many of us, particularly entrepreneurs, I work for myself, right, it would be very easy for me to watch the news or watch Grey's Anatomy all day, which I did for a lot of the pandemic. So I threw it out there. And I said, Hey, if anybody is interested in joining me to figure out how to hold each other accountable, or to get through this, then join me, people joined me. And we do three things, we make a commitment for a work task for the day, a personal task, whether it's go for a walk, or yoga, and then a word to declare a mindset. And we created this magical group of people and we support each other. And do you know that that accountability lab is still going to this day. We just, I cannot believe the power behind it. When we started it in the pandemic, it was 6:30 in the morning, Brian, during the pandemic. I know, now we have it a seven, its the 7:07. But as I started to really feel the power of positive accountability, I started to do some more research. And I learned that it's basically taking the power of peer pressure and flipping it into a positive way. And the power of peer pressure indicates that you're 85% more likely to achieve something when you commit to others. When a leader creates this environment of positive accountability, and you've got people making commitments, not only to themselves, but to others in a positive environment, then I think you really got something that's magical.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting, we will let ourselves down easier than we will if someone's looking in someone else's watching. And that's the power of that peer accountability. And it's powerful. When we understand accountability as choices ownership, where we're not trying to hold each other accountable. I've seen those groups get formed. And then people feel like they're there to create negative consequences when people don't do stuff and chastise. And then those things fall apart really quickly. But when you we have the the appropriate view of accountability, then they can be really powerful, because I'm not there for someone to hold me accountable. I'm there to stay on track, knowing that, if I'm checking in with a few people, once a week, I'm more likely to stay on track, I'm more likely to take the actions I said I needed to take, we call that productive tension. When I'm not doing that, and I show up, it doesn't feel good. And so I'm going to reconcile it one of two ways, I'm either going to drop out of that meeting, or by gosh, this week, I'm going to do what I said I'm going to do. And that's the power of that, that that productive tension is what causes us to behave differently.

Jan Griffiths:

I've seen it because we've been doing this now for over over two years, and people will come in, you know, maybe the first day, maybe the second day, maybe the third day and say that they didn't do something. And there's never any judgment, you know, there's so it's all it's all okay, but they will never come in the fourth day and say that they didn't do it. And that's exactly what you're talking about. I like your turn better, actually than peer pressure. I like productive tension. Sounds a lot more, more business. Yeah. Let's talk about personal accountability. Because personal accountability is all about mindset. It starts with mindset. And we all know, you can't lead others until you learn how to lead yourself until you know how to lead yourself. A thoughts around personal accountability?

Brian Moran:

Personal accountability is the underpinning of corporate accountability or company accountability and even team accountability, because that's really where accountability lies. It's to self. And it's this realization. And I think that's where people have struggled with accountability, because you've experienced it as consequences. Yet intuitively, we all know that. If we're accountable, we perform better and we do better and, and so the notion of accountability as choices, ownership is really freeing for people. It helps them go Yeah, that's that's what I've experienced for that works for me, not to someone holding me accountable. But this notion that when I take ownership of things, and I'm better positioned to make them happen, and it doesn't, doesn't guarantee I'm going to get the result, but it does guarantee I'm gonna do everything I can to get the result, whether it's in my marriage, or my relationships, whether it's with my health, or in my business as an entrepreneur or working in a corporate environment. And so that mindset of accountability as choices, ownership, I think people find freeing and then really empowering and then if the leader can reinforce that and come along with that same mindset, that's when organizations are really powerful.

Jan Griffiths:

And then if you can wrap all of that with trust and empowerment. Where's that take you?

Brian Moran:

Well think about that. It's interesting because I see these organizations, they spend millions of dollars trying to build trust. And then what happens is In the, with the prevailing view of accountability, they go out and they undermine all of that. Why? Because you take a risk, and then you're, you're hammered because it didn't work out. I've seen that a few times. Yeah. And so virtually every characteristic that organizations are trying to build into their culture, whether it's trust, whether it's collaboration, or whatever, is undermined with the current view of accountability, because people were saying one thing, and then we experienced something totally different. When we bump up against, you know, some obstacles and some struggles. And so I think when you get accountability, right, it it aligns all these other pieces that just make for a high performing team.

Jan Griffiths:

I couldn't agree with you more. Brian, I produced a document called the 21 traits of authentic leadership. Which one of those there's a lot in there, there's 21, which one resonates the most with you? And why? I, you know, I'm gonna guess I like to guess.

Brian Moran:

I was gonna say, Take a guess.

Jan Griffiths:

All right. Okay, this this, I can't decide, right? Because this responsibility, ownership and accountability is in there, right? But that's, that might be too obvious. But mindset, because it all starts with mindset. So I can't decide which way you would go. So was that close? Was it one of those two?

Brian Moran:

Yeah, yeah, it's both of those. But I would say, you know, the, the reason we wrote the book on accountability is because in the first book, you mentioned, we have a couple chapters, and, and it was a fresh perspective on accountability. But it underguards everything, right? I mean, how you think about accountability affects everything in your life, as we mentioned, from your health, to your income, to your career, to your satisfaction to your relationships. And if you're going to execute well, you have to be accountable. And so that, for me, if there's one underlying principle that, you know, helps you be successful in life, it's this notion of accountability.

Jan Griffiths:

Yeah, I agree. And often, when I'm talking to groups of people, I use the example of when you get up in the morning with what do you do, you know, do you hit the snooze, so you go to bed at night, saying you're gonna get up at six o'clock in the morning, and then you hit the snooze. So you can't even hold that commitment to that you made to yourself. And so what's the rest of the day going to look like? And people just look horrified when I say that? And I don't want him to think that I'm just awful, like, drill sergeant kind of person that has this rigid structure in their lives, because that's absolutely not who I am. But it makes you question how you talk to yourself in your head.

Brian Moran:

Yeah, I agree. It's also why systems are important, because you've probably seen the research on discipline, it's, it's like a, it's like a fuel tank. And every time you use it, it depletes the tank. And so we run out of personal discipline. And so that's where systems can support you making productive choices, versus having to always rely on discipline in a 12 week year, there's five disciplines we work around, and one is process control, which is just our term for those systems and events that you can lean on. So the days you don't feel like doing it, you still do it. So I think it's important to understand that that look at that is something everybody struggles with, right? I have not met anyone who doesn't struggle with doing exactly what they say all the time, the thought that we're going to be perfect with that, I think is just setting yourself up to fail. But how do you get yourself to do it more times than not is the key. And I think you're talking about that mindset, understanding that when you make those choices, what are the prices, you're going to pay for making that choice so that when the alarm goes off in the morning, I've already worked through the fact that look, I'm probably not going to feel like getting up and going and doing that. But here's why I'm going to do that. Because if I have to decide it in the moment, in my warm bed, with my head on the pillow, the odds are against me getting out and getting after it. So some of that is, you know, taking stock of these important decisions, and some of the little ones are just as important as the big ones. But taking stock and what's the price I'm going to pay to follow through on that. And am I willing to pay that price? You know, that's the difference between a true commitment and a New Year's resolution people commit to something supposedly commit to it and they've never really thought what's the price I'm gonna have to pay to really be consistent with the action as much as accomplishing the goal.

Jan Griffiths:

If gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership. What is gravitas to you?

Brian Moran:

Well, I should be asking you that because it's your show. But, you know, when I think of gravitas, you know, the definition of Gravitas is seriousness. When I think of Gravitas. I think about a person with gravitas has the goods. Right? They've got it, they walk the talk, they're authentic, and they're effective. That's how I think about it anyways, and so from a leadership standpoint, I think we have a responsibility to be the best leader we can be. And so what does that mean? How are you getting better as a leader This week, right? Are you a better leader today than you were three months ago? And if not, I think you need to take a serious look at that. How have you grown as a leader because the only reason, the only way to grow the team is the leader has to grow. Otherwise the team doesn't grow. And whether you're an entrepreneur or you're in a big corporation, it's the same. And so, you know, to me, part of that Gravitas is really making sure that I'm constantly learning and getting better. But to me, it's, I've got the goods, you know, you've got the goods.

Jan Griffiths:

I like that. Here's a quote that I particularly like from the book, and it says, but only by looking inward. Do we grow and become our authentic self? If we continue to focus on areas outside of our control, we condemn ourselves to a life of frustration and mediocrity. I love that. I think that says it all right there that ties it all together. Uncommon accountability and authentic leadership. What do you think?

Brian Moran:

I like it. It's perfect, perfect way to wrap it up.

Jan Griffiths:

It is indeed. Brian, thank you very much for your time today.

Brian Moran:

It has been a pleasure, Jan. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for having me.

Dietrich:

We love feedback. Email Jan directly at jan@gravitasdetroit.com to tell us about your journey into authentic leadership. We want the show to be meaningful to you. So leave a comment on what you thought of today's episode and let us know if there's any topics that should be covered in future episodes.

About the Podcast

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Finding Gravitas
The Authentic Leadership Podcast

About your host

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Jan Griffiths

Jan Griffiths is the founder of Gravitas Detroit, a company committed to helping you unlock the power of your team through authentic leadership.
In January 2020, Jan launched the Finding Gravitas podcast where she interviews some of the finest authentic leadership minds in the quest for Gravitas.
Gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership.