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Tag Archives | Accountability

The 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders

Consider these 7 Key Attributes of Successful New Leaders to give yourself a running start.

Existing leaders will also benefit from reading along and making course corrections where necessary.


A number of my clients and colleagues have recently ascended to greater positions of leadership at the top ranks of their companies. There’s suddenly even more to do, but have you paused long enough to consider how you should start?

Do you need to do anything differently?

1. Credibility is Foremost

Without it, you’ll look over your shoulder and find no one there. You need to do it by being committed to learning, being humble about what you don’t know and proving to your team that you’re building a transparent and collaborative organization — and they are a critical part of it.

Roll up your sleeves and learn before barking out orders.

Make sure you don’t miss any of these 7 Attributes


The 8 Most Powerful Letters in Your Productivity Toolkit | Video

Just when I thought we had covered the waterfront with respect to accountability, I’m reminded of the linchpin of true accountability – the very simple concept of FOLLOW UP.

During my conversations with CEOs, I’m repeatedly reminded of how remarkably little attention is paid to this simple concept.


Why do we ignore follow up?

It seems so obvious I wonder why I’m writing about it … and yet, routine follow up is often ignored in the hustle for the next opportunity or when there just isn’t another finger to put in the dike.

This isn’t a new problem and it stretches across all of the aspects of our lives. Five years ago, the New York Times even lamented about the lapse in our social manners reflected by people’s failure to respond to RSVP invitations, much of which I’d chalk up to this follow up laxity.

It’s a process that is halfheartedly pursued by so many that it’s no wonder so few things get done on time – or at all.

We expect the other person to get it done

There are a number of reasons for this you may recognize in yourself.

Don’t miss the video & the 7 Simple Steps to create a powerful Follow Up routine


What do people see when they look in your window?

Do people see exactly what you want them to see when they look in your window?

I’m sure we can agree on this: You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.


Back when I was a bank teller ….

Just after the dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, my first assignment in the Management Training Program of the bank I joined right after college, was as a teller at one of their branches.

Some of you may never have been inside a bank branch, but back then, they were the center of your personal and business banking universe. There was no online capability and everything had to be done face-face.

I won’t belabor my experience … making sure the transactions at my window, and in the entire branch, were balanced before anyone could leave the branch … the often tedious nature of handling deposits or standing around waiting for one … but I remember vividly one of the most powerful lessons I learned on my first day:

If you care about what people see when they look in your window, keep reading


The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth

The “Truth Will Set You Free” has been uttered by thousands, but maybe only a few really believe it and tell it faithfully.

That’s the mantra at Exkalibur.com and we’re sticking to it. Big Time. All the Time. Here’s why.

What are we doing at Exkalibur and how is that going to help you?

Great question.

What unique perspective do I have?

For one thing, I have a very eclectic background that is matched by few.

Few executives can say they have worked in the salt mines in Miami or in the meadows of St. Louis.

Few could say that they were a commercial banker and investment banker, that they started their own boutique investment firm, that they had their first CFO job at 29.

Few could say that they helped raise capital built on a $1,000 equity base into $35 million in lines of credit from 7 banks on 4 continents before the age of 35.

Maybe not the smartest moves ….

Few would be dumb enough to quit that job and start a bedroom consulting gig that turned into an investment banking boutique without having the foggiest idea what they were doing.

Few have competed successfully against multibillion-dollar investment firms with a 7 person team and no real money to be hired to manage a $35 million venture fund.

Keep reading if you want the truth. Stop here if not.


Have You Created a Battle Plan – or is Hope your only Strategy?

Most of us weren’t around during World War II … but D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion of all time.

It involved over 250,000 troops and 15,000 ships landing along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast on June 6, 1944.


Accident? … or the result of rigorous strategic planning and project management?

Could this happen without planning?

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower, (Our 34th President)

Did General Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander, lead this effort without any planning?

Of course not, and even if our business plans aren’t quite as extensive, we know (deep down, we know for sure) that we need some sort of an organized planning process to build a successful business.

We need to make sure that everyone’s headed in the same direction … that we don’t ignore the obstacles or overlook the great opportunities on the road ahead … or don’t squander valuable resources chasing rainbows.

Do I really have to plan to have a successful business?

I find myself using General Eisenhower’s phrase repeatedly for at least two reasons … first, because it’s absolutely true … and Keep Reading to learn the 4 reasons you Have to Plan


You can certainly sing this! The 12 Pains of Christmas

The holidays are here and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to get it all done.

So, instead of asking you to work at something – anything – I’ve decided to give you a gift of holiday music.

Elmo did it, so did Ren & Stimpy, Winnie the Pooh, Shrek, the Muppets … so with animated competition like this, what can go wrong with my first effort at song-writing?

There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime.  Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks and cottage cheese in them. — P.J. O’Rourke

Yeah, I know, don’t quit your day job.

So, feel free to sing along to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. Key of D Sharp, please.

All together now:

The first thing in business that’s such a pain to me… is the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The second thing in business that’s such a pain to me … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The third thing in business that’s such a pain to me … meetings, meetings, meetings … stuff a-cumm-u-lating … and the never-ending stinking eee-mail.

The fourth thing in business that’s such a pain to meKeep going … there’s more pain coming …


Productivity Tip | 4 Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Summit

Break the impasse. Reach the Summit.

Too often we set these BHAGs (“Big Hairy Audacious Goals”) but don’t create the milestones and timelines that give us a chance of achieving them. Put these 4 Ground Rules into action to make sure you reach the summit. 

Set up Base Camps to Reach your Goal


Today is one of those occasions when I’m not sure what this article is about … so I’m going to let you decide.

“Thankfully, perseverance is a good substitute for talent.” — Steve Martin

Is it about resolve, our ability to persevere, to vigorously pursue an idea, uncover its value to our business and set out to relentlessly apply it?

Or, is it about execution, our ability to follow proven processes to implement sustainable change in our business?

Didn’t Mom teach us to take small steps?

It was probably our moms who first taught us to break down a big task … like cleaning our room … into smaller steps, like “hang up your jacket, put your shoes in the closet,” so that we would ultimately accomplish the bigger goal.

Did we need that coaching because we hadn’t resolved to do it in the first place and mom was on to us?

Or were we so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task that we didn’t know how or where to start? (more…)


Leadership Insights | The 8 Principles of Effective Delegation

What’s Your Delegation Score?

Delegation isn’t just a handoff so you can walk away and do something else. It is a critical leadership skill that you must master if you want to expand your reach, take control of your time and achieve the work-life harmony you’re seeking.

Learn the 8 Principles of Effective Delegation.

Score = 0 from 3 people


How often have you failed with delegation?

How often have you wondered why a project went wrong, or why someone never finished the task you were counting on them to finish?

How many times have you complained about projects that you’re managing … missing their deadlines, going over budget (not under budget very often, huh?) and not getting done as you expected?

How did you feel when you were called on the carpet by YOUR boss wanting to know why the project you’re handling is stalled?

Why didn’t your delegation succeed?

When we’ve delegated some or all of a project to someone else, we’re embarrassed … and probably a little teed off … but we’re also too often thinking about the wrong things like …, “damn that John, he just can’t be counted on” … or, “she doesn’t get it” … or something like, “they can’t ever seem to follow through” as we tick off all the reasons why the people on our team have let us down. (more…)


Leadership Insights | Do you really think you’re Resourceful?

On a recent morning, I headed to a favorite place just down the street to fetch a couple of lattes for my wife and me.

Our forbearers would have awakened in woolen underwear, stepped in the dark onto a cold dirt floor, and stumbled outside to chop some wood to start a fire in the cook stove balanced on the rocks outside.

They would have tossed some coffee grounds into a beat-up metal pot … grounds that had already been used for several days … filled the pot with water, boiled it … and at some point, would finally get that first bitter cup of java.

No coffee house down the road, no car to get there, certainly no latte or cappuccino. Eat what you kill, literally. If you ain’t got it, you ain’t gonna get it.

Lots of resources but ….

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.” Benjamin Disraeli

In many ways, we’re much less resourceful than our forefathers.

While we may have expanded the definition of community in many positive ways, using our physical and social media “mobility” to create unimagined connections, we’ve also become more dependent on external resources to get through our day.

In some ways it’s probably better that we’re co-dependent. (more…)