There was a man taking a morning walk on the beach. He saw that along with the morning tide came hundreds of starfish and when the tide receded, they were left behind and with the morning sunrays, they would die. The tide was fresh and the starfish were alive. The man took a few steps, picked one and threw it into the water. He did that repeatedly.

Right behind him there was another person who couldn’t understand what this man was doing. He caught up with him and asked, “What are you doing? There are hundreds of starfish. How many can you help? What difference does it make?”

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Several weeks ago I made a post to Facebook and one of my friends, Joyce Knudsen, of Nashville, TN liked it and sent me this article, and I felt it speaks volumes to what I was saying so I decided to send to everyone I could.

Here’s a question I’ll bet you could ask a thousand working people and never get the right answer. The question is: “Who’s the Boss?”

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Why is there so much FEAR in the workplace today!

The technology of the 1980s and 1990s bears almost no resemblance to what we have today. In the same way, our jobs and organizations probably bear little resemblance to that time. Companies reduce their staffs, outsource their operations, rearrange their organizational structure, and upgrade their platforms and tools. All of this creates fear of job security in the minds of their employees.

As I began to think about I could help with this fear, I thought it might fall on deaf ears. Why? Because in too many companies the last budget planned and first one cut is training. This occurs for several reasons, not the least of which is many on the senior team just do not see the value of training.

We know many are holding cash, not hiring because of fearing the unknown. However, that is the very reason companies should be training, enhancing people abilities. We are all demanding more from fewer people and they are burning out or in fear of being the next on the chopping block if layoffs are taking place.

We need to be allaying those fears and showing a commitment to them by providing quality development. This stabilizes people and helps them feel a sense of security, belonging and certainly creates more productivity. Someone once said; people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In too many companies today, people are unsure how much they are valued.

Manager’s attempts to do this often do more harm than good. The at-a-boys, pats on the back, good job comments, etc. are so short lived. People need something that can help them be more effective in their jobs and in their lives.

I mention this because we have an idea for you that can accomplish both purposes for you while building a culture of Personal Accountability in your company. Imagine no more blaming or excuses, solutions and not problems. Think this doesn’t apply to your company, I have a friend who is a professional speaker who was working with a major medical firm’s sales operation. In doing so he kept hearing the term SPC. When he inquired what it stood for he was told the Sales Prevention Club. This was the term they used for corporate. Can you imagine?

The idea I am suggesting is a training system entitled The QBQ! The Question Behind the Question! It is all about eliminating blaming, excuses, entitlement thinking and procrastination while building that core value of Personal Accountability. Not only is it effective but it is affordable as well. If you click on QBQ! above you will see a preview on this exciting course that so many companies are raving about. If you would like to receive a PDF overview that shares everything you need to know, simply send an email to me requesting one.

This course can change your people and company! Thanks you for your time.

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

© 2012 Accountability Plus, Inc.

You have our permission to forward this URL or email to anyone you feel needs to read it. Thank you!

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Should I Trust My Sales Manager’s Advice?

A good portion of salespeople wonder at some point during their tenure with a company as to whether or not they should trust their sales manager’s advice. I wanted to tackle this issue head-on this month as this is an important subject that impacts all salespeople.

Generally speaking, you should trust your sales manager’s advice. However, this doesn’t mean you should stick your head in the sand when he or she gives you advice, either. It is always important to weigh their advice and mix in your own experience & knowledge before taking action. It is also a good idea to engage your sales manager with your own thoughts after you have been given his or her advice. After all, two heads are certainly better than one. Issues and problems that come up when working in a sales capacity can be complicated, so never be afraid to seek out your sales manager’s opinion before moving forward.

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People: The Foundation of Our Success

In 1986 I was in Minneapolis recruiting for a salesperson for a sales position in the training industry. After flying there from Atlanta, I had 6 interviews lined up for a Friday. Of course, I was looking for someone with sales experience and felt if I was fortunate they might have sold training before.

After the conducting all 6 initial interviews, I flew to Kansas City to visit friends and reflect on the interviews. Five of the six had sales experience and two of the five had sold training before. They all appeared to be very qualified, and I thought the two who had sold training before were probably the front runners. After all, that was what I was hoping to find.

Then I thought about what a Senior Vice President of Exxon had told me once. He shared that they required an MBA before they would even interview a potential Account Representative (salesperson). He then asked me if I could guess what the consequence of that criterion was to his organization. Puzzled, I said, “What?” He replied, “More talent walks past our door than in it.”

What requirements do you have in recruiting?

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Humility is the Cornerstone of Leadership

My good friend and author of the best-selling QBQ! book, John G. Miller, recently wrote:

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The day I achieve a total state of humility, I shall be quite proud!”

Besides the tongue-in-cheek humor, to me that quote is all about a very wise person stating truth: It’s challenging to stay humble when we’ve actually succeeded. When we’ve made the big sale, delivered the project on time or our child wins Valedictorian, we get the promotion, our IQ is higher than everyone around us, or we win a gold medal. It’s just hard to show the humility that is required of leaders. That’s the “humanness” in us.

But that does not deny this truth: Humility is and forever will be the cornerstone of leadership.

I sure agree with John, and look for examples of humility. Right now I see it in …

Tom Brady.

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Learning Personal Accountability

In the past few weeks, several times I have heard this phrase, “I can’t hold myself accountable.” Another person even said, “I don’t have a problem letting myself down, so I need somebody else to hold me accountable because I won’t let them down.” Why is it so difficult for some of us to hold ourselves accountable? Why is it easier to count on somebody else to hold us responsible for our own goals? Is it because it’s easier to blame somebody else if we don’t quite make it to the goal line?

What is Accountability?

Okay, I don’t normally go to Wikipedia for resources, however, this time, I liked the definition that site provides: “Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as responsibility, answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.” Personal accountability is an important piece in the plan to stay on track to achieve your goals.

There are some tools people use to help me stay accountable for their actions. A “To-Do-List” for example, helps one stay on track. It’s always in front of you and you will like to see things crossed off so it keeps me accountable. Others have questions on their desk that they ask themselves daily – those questions help keep them accountable for their personal goals. I have a friend has a checklist he uses at the end of each day and he calls his list “AP” for Accountability Partner. The check list consists of his daily goals and at the end of the day, he checks yes or no. If there is a no, he takes a few minutes to assess why he didn’t do what he said he would do and writes about what he’ll do the next day to make up for it.

Holding yourself Accountable

I would be a very, very wealthy man if I had nickel for all the times I’ve heard people in the workplace fault everyone else. I’m sure you’ve heard it, “THEY don’t care enough…” “nothing ever gets done around here…” “I can’t get THEM to commit to the project…” “It’s THEIR fault…” “THEY won’t take responsibility…” “THEY need to improve…” Notice the theme here of excuses here; it’s easy to blame others. Perhaps you’re even guilty of saying or thinking some of those things. Here’s the deal, if you want others in your life & business to be accountable, the best you can do is lead by example. You have to figure out how to make things better even when you don’t have control over the actions of other people. Accountability is a choice. You always have choice in how you act and react to every situation and you should hold yourself accountable to your actions and reactions.

Accountability tips

Here are some tips on improving your accountability percentage:

* Stop blaming other people. Instead, ask yourself how your actions or inactions contribute to the situation.
* Figure out what part of the situation you could positively impact.
* Take action. Do things differently in order to change the result.
* Write your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.
* Develop your own check and balance plan for your accountability.

In the end, you’re the only person who is responsible for your actions and you’re the one that has to live with your results.

Coaches Challenge

It doesn’t matter what your role is; you could be a parent, or child, an entry-level employee or the CEO and you can be a shining example of accountability. Holding yourself accountable takes courage, because it’s taking away the ability to place blame on everyone around you. Stand up and take responsibility today!

I hope has helped you and if it did I hope you will explore our “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” multimedia training system. It is designed to be facilitated internally to instill a winning culture into any organization. For a detailed PDF overview of this results oriented system just click here.

Happy Holidays,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.

[email protected]


© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc. You have our permission to forward this URL or email to anyone you feel needs to read it. Thank you!

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Why so many Training Programs Fail and how We Combat it!

Several years ago “Manage” magazine ask me to write this article, so I thought I would share it with you. After 35 years of experience in the training industry, I believe training is treated as an event and not a process, a one-time shot and then it’s over and people don’t change. Worse than that we have a speaker come in and deliver a motivational session, with no techniques at all. This is what we need to make training work:

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5 Keys to Effective Appreciation in the Workplace

As I consult for businesses and organizations, I hear the same message over and over—both from leaders and from their employees: “People are getting burned out. We have to do more work with less people, making do with the budget that we have,” or, “We need to do something to show our workers appreciation but funds are tight.” Burnout is the common theme, as people in the workplace express that they are becoming more negative, cynical, and discouraged.

Research confirms that there are serious problems developing in the workplace today:

• 65% of workers say they have received no recognition or appreciation in the past 12 months.

• While 80% of large corporations have employee recognition programs, only 31% of their employees say they feel valued for doing good quality work.

• The #1 reason for recognition in most workplaces is longevity (how motivational is that?).

• Only 8% of employees feel their top management cares about them personally.

• 70% of employees are either disengaged or under engaged in their work.

• Yet only 21% of these workers are looking for work elsewhere, meaning approximately 50 % of the workforce are just passively enduring work they don’t enjoy.

The workplace environment needs to change for the better, and leaders can change the course. Unfortunately, many managers’ efforts to appreciate their staff are misguided and wind up being a waste of time and effort. Why? Because they are not built upon the core principles necessary for appreciation to be communicated effectively.

Make your praise specific and personal. The most common mistake organizations and managers make is communicating appreciation that is general and impersonal. Sending blast emails with the message, “Good job. Way to go, team!” has no specific significance for the individual who stayed late to get the project completed. Use your colleague’s name and state specifically what he or she does that makes your job easier.

Realize that action can have more impact than words for some employees. Some people (seemingly, often men) do not value verbal praise, holding to the mentality that words are cheap. For these people, compliments are viewed with disbelief and skepticism, and often verbal praise is understood as an act of manipulation. Actions are more effective to show appreciation for these individuals, such as spending time with them at the office or helping to get a task done.

Use the language of appreciation valued by the recipient. Not everyone likes public recognition or social events. One person told me, “You can give me an award but you’ll have to shoot me first before I’ll go up and get it in front of a crowd.” And for many introverts, an invitation to attend a staff appreciation dinner is more like torture than a reward for doing a good job. They may prefer getting a gift card for a bookstore and staying at home and reading. Find out what your co-workers or employees value and communicate in that language.

Separate affirmation from criticism or instruction. If you want the positive message to be heard loud and clear, don’t follow your affirmation with a “Now, if you would only…” message. Don’t offer a compliment followed by a criticism of how the individual could do better. They will only remember the criticism, and may not even hear the positive.

Be genuine. Don’t try to fake it or overstate your appreciation (“You are the best administrative assistant in the free world!”). People can sense when appreciation is obligatory or contrived.

In my practice, I have seen these simple principles of appreciation successfully improve workplace environments previously suffering from a bad case of burnout. Appreciation has the ability to transform any team into being far more productive in a voluntary manner.

To learn more about this and many other areas of effective sales management and leadership, please explore our courses entitled “Leadership in Action” and “Practical Sales Management Strategies for Today” both featuring W. Steven Brown. These systems are designed to be facilitated internally by a client to customize the message to the managers and the company. They help any organization build a method that vastly improves people’s ability to perform. Read how easy the process is.

For a PDF overview of one or both courses to learn more and see how they can be successfully implemented into your organization just request it by clicking here. We appreciate your time and hope this has helped.


Jim Strutton, CEO

Accountability Plus, Inc.

[email protected]


© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc.

You have our permission to forward this URL or email to anyone you feel needs to read it. Thank you!

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“Thirteen Fatal Errors Managers Make…..And How You Can Avoid Them”

By: W. Steven Brown, Chairman The Fortune Group International, Inc.

This is a synopsis of this former best selling book that has been published in 8 languages. The errors are:

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