Thoughts on Leadership: Accountability and Team Performance

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Washington, D.C. for the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo held each year in our nation’s capital to provide an opportunity for NAR members to take an active role in advancing the real estate industry, public policy and the association at large. In between meetings I also visited a local Real Living brokerage, Real Living At Home, and spoke to the dynamic team, sharing my eight principles on success and conducting a class on time management.

But tonight as you read this, I’ll be attending the RISMedia Power Broker Awards, where the first-ever Real Estate Newsmaker Awards will be bestowed to several leaders in our industry. These leaders exemplify an outstanding ability to garner positive headlines, a direct result of their effectiveness in creating change. Congratulations to our own Teresa Palacios Smith, VP of Diversity & Inclusion at HSF Affiliates, (pictured in photo above) and Ron Peltier, chairman and CEO of HomeServices of America, Inc., for receiving this prestigious honor!

Additional honorees include: National Association of REALTORS® Chief Executive Officer Bob Goldberg; Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Chief Executive Officer Helen Hanna Casey; RE/MAX Boone Realty CEO and National Association of REALTORS® 2018 President Elizabeth Mendenhall; Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty General Manager and Chief Creative Officer Joseph Rand; and HomeSmart International Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Widdows.

I’m proud to work with a team of such game-changing individuals whose high levels of professionalism and dedication to their goals create a culture wherein all team members perform better. Simply put, working with the best makes you step up your game. This means you’re being held accountable and that you’re fully engaged in the execution of your goals.

Did you know a recent study from Modern Survey revealed only 13% of the U.S. workforce is fully engaged in the work they do? While there are many, many variables contributing to this staggering statistic, it’s important for a leader to build, maintain and inspire a high-performing team as goals are set, met and surpassed. Once that structure is put into place, the team can then work to create its own machine of accountability. In an article for Harvard Business Review, bestselling author and social scientist Joseph Grenny outlines the relationship between accountability and the strength of a team. He writes:

  • In the weakest teams, there is no accountability.
  • In mediocre teams, bosses are the source of accountability.
  • In high-performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another.

As Grenny explains, when teams perform at the highest level, every single member of the team holds each other accountable. There is no one person in charge of “accountability.” The concept is shared among all, and as such, equally distributed as a mechanism for top performance.

One powerful example of accountability and team performance can be found in high school football coach, Bob Ladouceur, (“Coach Lad”) who led the De La Salle High Spartans in Concord, California to 11 National Championships. He is known as the all-time winningest coach in California high school football history. There’s a book and major motion picture inspired by his life. At the heart of his coaching philosophy was accountability. Each week, Coach Lad gave every player an index card to write down a practice goal, game goal and conditioning goal. During their weekly meeting, players would stand up, one by one, announce the goals and then to whom they were pledging their commitment. Then, it was the other player’s role to stand up the next week and tell the team if the player had accomplished his goals. (This cadence of accountability is much like the WIG calls I wrote about last week.)

So, what’s the message? One great team member cannot bring about sustainable success but members working together, holding each other accountable, will elevate the performance of the entire team. Accountability is not just a tactic for success, it’s a crucial way to raise the bar and keep your goals and objectives ever-expanding and ever more powerful. Who we are is a consequence of what we do, and accountability ensures that what we say we’ll do actually gets done.

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