Down time…what is that?

The month of January was often the month that I could take some breathing space and plan for the coming year.

I am a strong believer in making a plan and then holding yourself accountable. (Yeah and I love cleaning out my purse, going grocery shopping and cleaning bathrooms!)

Except- being the owner, I have had no one person that I had to be accountable to. So it’s been too easy to put off a phone call or follow up on a past due account if I didn’t feel like it.

Last year my plan was to have someone hold me accountable. Starting last April I had weekly meetings where I had to account for all of my activities.

My task master Diane did her part exceptionally well. She took copious notes, encouraged me when I felt I was floundering, and helped my staff see where they could be a more integral part in growing the business by taking on responsibilities and lifting them off on my shoulders.

Was it easy? Heck no. Did I reach or surpass my goals? Absolutely.

It sometimes came in baby steps, but as we were getting there, I shared with my staff the short and long term goals (including real numbers) and explained how we were doing as a team. That helped everyone know where we were going and how well we were doing.

Many of my peers and customers wondered out loud why I would need someone like Diane to track my work with. I had had a career in a large company that had good structure and well defined policies on everything. They had a commitment to train and educate their employees in hopes of creating advancement opportunities. In that light, I attended many training courses, within and external to the company, that included well regarded programs such as IBM Sales, and Xerox Sales and Sales Management. I had also worked for two high tech companies in a very entrepreneurial environment. That helped me see responsibilities, risks and rewards in all aspects of running a business. And in my teen years, I had worked in our family’s business doing clerical and inventory duties.

But with all that experience I still think working with Diane has been the best decision I have made.

While the economy struggles here in Michigan, I have seen a glimmer or two that things are starting to “get right”.

I have talked to peers and other industry decision makers and they too feel a sense of encouragement comparable to many previous New Years’.

We know the hard work ahead.  I for one know where my path needs to go and it includes lots and lots of hard work ahead.

But I feel better about that path. For lots of reasons not the least of which is that I have Diane on my wing to keep me accountable.

So hold on for a fast and furious 2011- that’s where I’m going!

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One thought on “Down time…what is that?

  1. This post spoke to me directly! LOL I always thought I was a great task master. However, as an entrepreneur, it is important we have an accountability person for that extra push to stay on task. My sister is my task master, and she is great at it!

    As an event/meeting planner in the Chicagoland area, there are signs new life is being brought back to our industry. Having an accountability person’s support definitely helps us stay ready for the next opportunity!

    Cheers!
    Kamil
    AKB Events

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