One of my clients suggested reading the book Success Principles by Jack Canfield recently. It is filled with many wonderful enlightening nuggets, but perhaps one of the most impactful was this quote, "Your life works to the degree your keep your agreements. Werner Erhard, [founder of the est Training and Landmark Forum]. Most small business owners have difficulty managing themselves, in fact in many cases our job as coaches is to keep the business owner accountable, and in the cases where we fail it is not atypical that the business owner simply didn't want to be held accountable by anyone. Indeed isn't that why they went in business in the first place, to be free of being accountable?
Of course the sad realization is that once you go into business for yourself you have more bosses than ever. There is no lonelier job or one that can be more rewarding than owning your own business.
Your beliefs than have a powerful impact on your business, your life and your co workers. What you believe becomes your own self fulfilling prophesy. Accountability is critical. We've found in a simple test that measures our client's achievement style and complacency factor and then subtracts these scores from each other to provide a performance potential, that the clients that score well in performance potential have the best possibility of succeeding in business.
The test asks a variety of questions, but at the root of these is one of the critical elements we've asked you to consider when you interview potential employee candidates - locus of control. The short definition of this is the amount of control a person believes he has to influence an outcome. One person sees possibility, another sees impossibility. External individuals see events, whether positive or negative as being unrelated to their own behavior, therefore beyond their control. Internal individuals see positive or negative events as being a consequence of their actions and thus potentially under their personal control.
If you are a business owner who views events as being beyond your control you will have a tendency to blame others, yourself or the world and events. You may say that some people are luckier than others. If you are someone who sees events as being in your control and thus being able to be harnessed you will believe you can change things for the better.
In building systems one of the first processes we teach is called the Key Frustration Process which immediately uses this identification to help move anyone from blaming themselves, others or events and instead recognizes the situation as simply the lack of a system. That point of view provides that you can change the situation by accepting responsibility and beginning to work through a series of questions to change the events to produce a different outcome.
There is a psychological cost to every agreement we make that we don't keep. Every agreement we make is really with ourselves. What ever it is you've committed to, by not doing it you are undermining your sense of personal power. In essence every agreement you fail to keep reduces your locus of control. IF you fail to do something you agreed upon, you are limiting yourself to believe that external events have control over your life. But that simply isn't true.
If you have been conducting yourself in this fashion, how do you feel it affects you? How do you feel if it affects you does it affect others? Do you really believe you can hide the agreements you don't keep from others? Do you think others won't notice? How many times in the past week or months have you failed to meet an agreement you made with your employees, your vendors, your spouse or children? How did that make you feel? How did it make them feel?
Jack Canfield offers these tips on making and keeping agreements.
- Make only agreements that you intend to keep.
- Write down all agreements you make.
- Communicate any broken agreement at the first appropriate time.
- Learn to say no more often.
Jack's Success Principles adds more depth to these. Perhaps the critical question you should ask yourself first is where is your locus of control as a business owner? Are you on the right track and feel that you are internally focused? If you wish to find out take the Personality Profile Performance Potential test that you can receive free by responding to this newsletter. Do you know already how you will score? Or are you afraid to discover?
Recognizing your accountability for the results you and your business is getting is at the core of the business development process. It is why we recommend starting with Your Primary Aim or Mission Statement. To change your business the first place we need to start is with you. Are you ready to admit you need to change?