Leadership Accountability: What Are Your Vital Few?

On September 27, 2012, in Accountability Coach, Blog, by Christine Glasco

In the last few months, a number of returning Clients have asked me to be their Accountability Coach.  While this is not one of my advertised coaching services – I realized that for years, I have described my personal brand of tenacity as comparable to “a dog with a pant leg”.

I don’t let go.

Ultimately, I realized that instead of being a separate coaching practice offering, accountability is actually an integral part of my traditional modus operandi.  During the first meeting I schedule with a new Client, I normally initiate a conversation to get the Client to describe how he or she likes to ‘work’.  I then discuss the guidelines and Ground Rules that will lead to a successful coaching engagement.

During this first meeting, I normally ask what’s going on in their leadership career, their business and/or their work life.  The “What’s going on?” question usually opens the Client up to talking about problems and goals.  By the end of the meeting I normally have a pretty good overview of the Client’s issues, problems and goals.  Inevitably, Clients have five, six or seven problems or goals they want to address.  I have even coached a client who had eleven goals she wanted to address.

After the first Client meeting, I send excerpts from research by Sean Covey & Chris McChesney documented in their recent book – The 4 Disciplines of Execution. The book is a compilation of surveys and conversations with sitting CEOs.  Covey and McChesney’s research indicates that strategy execution was consistently identified as the CEOs number one problem year after year.

The first of the 4 Disciplines of Execution is: Focus on the wildly important goals – WIGs.

The authors also discuss the Law of Diminishing Returns, i.e., as the number of goals increase, there is an inverse relationship associated with the successful achievement of goals when added to the never-ending need to perform daily ‘Must Dos’.

As indicated in this chart, the lower the number of WIGs at any given time, the greater the probability of successfully achieving all of the important goals.

Successful Achievement of Wildly Important Goals*

In essence, when a leader has more than three WIGs, the probability of successful execution sharply diminishes.  For me, the accountability imperative becomes: how to convince the Client to focus on executing 2 – 3 wildly important goals.

As an Accountability Coach, I must support the Client in surfacing the Vital Few (‘no matter what’) goals that actually contribute to leadership career success in more than one area.  Finding and concentrating on the Vital Few means we can discuss and toss out the ‘should dos’ and ‘ought tos’.

A question for you to consider:

  • What are your one or two Wildly Important Goals (WIGSs)?  If you want to focus on flawless execution of the Vital Few or you need an Accountability Coach, contact me at: cglasco@charter.net



© All rights reserved.

Christine M. Glasco, Career Coach – consults to company executives, business owners and non-profit leaders on career management, career transition and strategic leadership development solutions.  To request a complimentary copy of Five Tips to Transform Your Executive Career  and to receive Who Needs a One Page Career Plan? You Do!   Website: www.christineglasco.com   Email:  info@christineglasco.com  Phone:  1.940.367.0837

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2 Responses to Leadership Accountability: What Are Your Vital Few?

  1. Kimberly Siméus says:

    Oh, how I needed this message today! Thank you again for sharing your gifts and wisdom.

  2. I actually thought of you (and others) as I was writing this. Having a lot of ‘ought tos’ and ‘should dos’ can cloud our thinking and make us unable to focus on the Vital Few.

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