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High Performance: Accountability starts at the top

January 10, 2019 -  By


As the new year begins, it’s a good time to refocus on our goals for the upcoming year. What do we want to accomplish? What are the big strategic goals? What are the sales goals, production goals and profit goals? What do we want to accomplish in our personal lives this year?

Perhaps you worked on your goals for this upcoming year last fall during your strategic planning retreat or over the holidays when you had some downtime. If so, now is the time to finalize them. If you haven’t started with goal planning yet, it’s not too late, but the clock is running. Now that it’s January, clarifying goals for the year needs to be a high priority.

Too often, goals are not clearly identified. And in many cases, goals that were identified at some point quickly become forgotten. They fade away as the weeks and months go by. By the end of the spring, nobody remembers what their goals were to begin with. The year is half over and a feeling of “it is what it is” takes over. The goals that were outlined back in January were wishful thinking because there wasn’t a process in place to review them against actual results throughout the year. Establishing goals without also putting in place a system to review these goals on a regular basis is an exercise in futility. Why bother?

Accountability starts at the top. When goals are clearly articulated and when these goals remain front and center throughout the year, there is a clear message that results matter. When actual results are compared to goals (budgets, sales plans, production targets, etc.), performance improves. When people need to explain their actions, they begin to hold themselves accountable. And when incentives are based on the achievement of goals, peer-to-peer accountability begins to appear.

A new year is upon us. Your goals are set. Fantastic. Now make sure you keep these goals alive throughout the year. If you do, this upcoming year just may be the best you’ve ever had.

Now go forth.

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Phil Harwood

About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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