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4th Gear Blog

Creating a Culture of Accountability

Posted by Randy Hall

Jan 18, 2017 8:36:21 AM

The word accountability seems to be getting more and more attention lately in the business world, and probably the world in general.  There seems to be an ongoing conversation about holding people accountable.  That’s likely a good trend, but not unless we somehow work harder to clearly define what accountability really means and how to create more of it in our businesses, and our world.
 
When I hear people use the phrase “hold someone accountable” often what they mean is punishing someone for not doing their job well.  They are using the term “accountable” to represent the consequences for what they failed to do, or what they did incorrectly.  If we only think of accountability as what we do after someone screws up, we will never actually establish an accountable culture.  Instead, we will build a fearful culture where people are scared to take risks, make mistakes, and try new things because of the “accountability” that is actually "punishment."  

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Topics: Leadership Accountability

What If We Rated Leaders Like Uber Drivers?

Posted by Randy Hall

Jan 16, 2017 8:12:32 AM

I took an Uber ride recently, something I’m sure many of us have done, and I started thinking, as I was rating the driver after the trip, how leaders might be different if their team rated them after every interaction. I wonder what that kind of consistent feedback would cause most leaders and managers to do differently? Can you imagine an app where immediately after a coaching session, review, or meeting, a manager could look at their phone and see that “my team gave me a two for that meeting” or “that employee gave me a three on my coaching”? While it’s not likely we would see businesses flock to this style of feedback, it’s very interesting to think about how leaders could benefit from it. 

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Topics: Leadership

Impact Is What Matters Most

Posted by Randy Hall

Sep 27, 2016 9:32:37 AM

If you are in sales, project management, or another kind of individual contributor role, it’s relatively easy to understand and measure your impact.  Leadership, however, can feel more subjective, soft, or even squishy.  (Yes, I have heard people use the word “squishy” to define leadership skills.) It may feel at times that there’s no real scorecard by which to measure the success of a leader.

Leadership can best be measured by the impact it has on others.  Those results show up in things like employee engagement, team culture, and individual growth. That, too, can feel overly subjective until we more clearly define it.  The first step to building an impactful leadership process is to define exactly what we mean by it and quantify it as well as we can, despite the lack of easy or obvious metrics.  

Here are some steps you can take to build a more effective leadership process that has an impact on others.

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Topics: Leadership

How to Lead Great Teams and Do Remarkable Work

Posted by Randy Hall

Apr 18, 2016 12:16:20 PM


On a recent flight to Phoenix to work with a group of leaders, I started looking for a new audio book. One of my improvement goals for 2016 is to read more, and while I struggle to make time to sit down and open a book, I have started keeping and listening to audio books on my phone. I decided on this flight that it was time for a new book and came across Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I’ve read Duhigg’s, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, so I thought I would give this new book a shot.

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Topics: Team Building

Your Daily Leadership Scorecard

Posted by Randy Hall

Mar 9, 2016 9:50:33 AM


The more I learn about habit change, the more I become a fan of the daily scorecard process I use for myself and many of my coaching clients. I have found that people are much more effective at making changes in their actions and habits when they use a tool for daily awareness and conscious choices.  These types of tools help us decide how we want our day to go and track the results we want to achieve, instead of looking back on the day and wondering where it went. The right tools can promote using our choices, goals, and priorities as a guide, rather than our habits, patterns, and impulses.

Habits are a human condition, and no one, at least no human adult, can create personal change without working through the process of reprogramming their brain. The good news is that science is teaching us much more about the process of retraining the brain, and how our brain uses habits to guide us constantly, even when it can be to our detriment.  Part of teaching our brain new tricks involves regular awareness and conscious choice; and a daily scorecard is one tool that can help.  

Think about the scorecard as a set of questions on which we are graded. Knowing that we are going to be graded changes how we think about the actions. Consider how employees act differently when the boss walks in or how we focus at a higher level when someone we respect or admire is nearby. We can use that focus to help create new habits.

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Topics: Leadership, Success, Leadership Accountability

How to Make Your Leadership Intentional, Not Accidental

Posted by Randy Hall

Feb 22, 2016 10:03:54 AM

“What does the mentor get out of a mentoring relationship?” This question came up during a recent workshop I delivered to a group of senior leaders. One of the leaders in the room said simply, “I get to give something back.” I encounter a lot of leaders who at some point in their career focus not on what they can accomplish for themselves, but what they are able to help others accomplish. That sentiment is at the heart of what makes a leader great -- but the sentiment alone doesn’t accomplish much. In order to really have a significant impact on others, like any other worthwhile endeavor, you need a plan, a process, and a support system to make it happen.  

Keep these points in mind as you work to influence and lead others:

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Topics: Leadership

How to Identify a Great Future Leader

Posted by Randy Hall

Jul 8, 2015 12:07:00 PM

In order for any business or organization to get stronger, it needs to continuously develop leaders. The future of the business depends on its ability to either create or recruit leaders who can help it grow, adapt, and succeed.  The leaders in an organization are its future. They are,  or will be, tasked with creating the culture, establishing direction, and figuring out how to effectively engage employees to move in that direction.  Leaders are also charged with creating the strategy for developing additional leaders so that the future of the business is secure, not just the present. Many companies have formal leader development programs, some have informal ones, and some, sadly, just hope that leader development happens on its own. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. What most businesses have in common though, is that they need to be able to recognize early on who has the potential to lead at a higher level in the company. Otherwise they miss opportunities to help those future leaders grow, develop, and achieve their full potential in order to help the company accomplish all that it can. Everything about leadership can be taught and learned; however, it makes sense to look for people who are already headed in the right direction and show leadership qualities and traits. Here are some guidelines to help you determine who has the potential to be a great leader.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success, Learning

Who Says You Can't Measure Leadership?

Posted by Randy Hall

Apr 24, 2015 3:38:00 PM

I often work with companies who want to measure the effectiveness of their leaders but don't have a plan that they are confident in for how to do that. Too often we resort to downstream results, such as sales numbers, as our only way of determining if our people are good leaders or not. The problem with only using the bottom line to measure leader effectiveness is that leaders are responsible for not just the what, but the how. It also doesn't give us any indication of how new leaders that have only been in their role for a short period of time, are impacting the bottom line. As a result, if sales, profit, or growth are our only measurement of how leaders perform in our business, we don't really have a measurement. We've probably all seen situations where leaders can get a team to hit numbers for a while, and even drive short-term growth, but down the road we learn that they used management techniques that cost us more in terms of retention, employee satisfaction, or HR issues than they could ever make up for in dollars. Those things affect our culture and our future, and if we put a price on those things, I’m confident the bad managers would cost a company far more than they generate. If you doubt this is true, take a look at this infographic from INC. Magazine.

Just one stat from the research shows that 33 percent of employees admit to doing less than their best for a bad boss. Admit might also be a key word here. But how do we determine how good the leaders in our organization are? Is it a gut feeling? And yes, I've heard that answer when I pose the question.  Is it how well their own boss likes them? What others say? If we can't measure them well, how do we identify leaders for promotions, succession planning, or even development?

Here are some other tools to consider as you think about determining who the best leaders are in your organization.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success, Learning

Leaders Win or Learn Every Day

Posted by Randy Hall

Feb 17, 2015 1:19:16 PM

A friend of mine once said to me “every day we win or learn.”  It sounded witty then, but over time I’ve come to understand that thinking like that gives you permission to fail and learn on a daily basis.  Great leaders know that they can’t just fix someone with a single conversation, or change a culture immediately any more than they can make a business an instant success.  And along the way, they learn that progress is what’s important.  Progress is about consistency and learning and winning only happens after enough progress is made.  I constantly encounter leaders and managers who want to add more speed to the process of developing others or creating a more engaged team.  This need for speed often causes them to make poor choices, overuse authority, and sometimes even push people or teams in the opposite direction of the one they so badly want them to go.  Here are some things to consider as you tackle the important work of helping individuals or teams accomplish more.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success, Learning

How to Create a Leadership Development Plan for Yourself

Posted by Randy Hall

Feb 5, 2015 11:33:05 AM

I have the privilege of working with many people who want to be better leaders.  It’s one of the most fulfilling parts of my job.  I also get to observe some of the key differences between those who simply want to be better leaders and those who make steady, consistent progress towards accomplishing that goal.  Often, the biggest difference between the two is creating a definition of success for themselves as a leader and then building a detailed plan that helps them progress towards their goals.  Leadership is complicated in many ways, so it’s helpful to have a specific plan for each of the areas you want to improve upon and a roadmap for progress along the way.  Here are three areas that are helpful to work through, and create plans for, as you continue on your own leadership journey.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success