How to Create Accountability to Reach Your Business Goals
Episode 7415th June 2022 • Human-centric Investing Podcast • Hartford Funds
00:00:00 00:22:17

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There is no substitute for hard work. However, the hustle and grind may only take you so far. Hartford Funds’ Dave Ingram shares tips on making sure that effort is translating to productive outcomes when it comes to your business goals.

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John Diehl: Julie, when we think about our responsibilities to

people in our lives, to our business, to our families, oftentimes I

think we'd really benefit from creating an environment of

consequences or an accountability, an environment of accountability,

as our friend Dave Ingram likes to share with us. In fact, recently

we recorded a conversation with Dave Ingram on this very topic, and I

think our listeners would really benefit from from getting to hear a

bit from Dave on this topic. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:08:07] I agree accountability is certainly one of

my most favorite topics, and I can't wait for our listeners to hear

the ideas that Dave has to share with us.

John Diehl: [:

Julie Genjac: [00:00:02] and I'm Julie. [00:00:03][1.3]

John Diehl: [:

human centric investing podcast. [00:00:08][3.4]

Julie Genjac: [:

inspiring thought leaders to hear their best ideas for how you

can transform your relationships with your clients.

[:

John Diehl: [00:00:19] Let's go.

Julie Genjac: [:

Ingram, who's regional vice president and advisor consultant for

Hartford Funds. He's responsible for marketing Hartford Funds and the

Hartford Smart 529 in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. David

supports financial advisors and their clients with educational

material, client seminars, product expertize and practice management

strategies. In:

marketing director. He's a registered representative of Hartford

Funds Distributors is FINRA Series six, seven and sixty three

registered and holds his life and variable licenses. Originally from

New Jersey, David attended Lemoyne College, where he received a

bachelor's degree in marketing. He later attended Rutgers University,

where he received a master's degree in business administration. I'm

going to start that line ever again. He later attended Rutgers

University, where he received a master's degree in business

administration. David currently lives in New Jersey with his wife,

Elizabeth, their son Lincoln, and twins Maxwell and Jackson. Dave,

thank you so much for joining us today for our human centric

investing podcast. [:

Dave Ingram: [00:02:52] Hey, Julie, my pleasure, thank you for the

wonderful intro, and very looking forward to our conversation with

you and John here today. [:

John Diehl: [00:03:02] Well, David, you know, I don't know how many

years it is now that we've worked together, but one of the things I

most enjoy and that I'm excited that kind of letting our listeners in

is the substance of most conversations that you and I have. And it's

around productivity, right? Kind of creating the right systems and

environments for productivity. In fact, there were podcast episodes

we did in the past around this topic. But today I want you to talk

about this idea of creating an environment of consequences or an

environment of accountability, because it's something I know you've

got quite a few ideas about, and I always find them intriguing. And

one thing I'm hoping we can also do by the end of the podcast is

maybe have you share with us some of the authors, some of the

podcast, some of the things like that that you found really helpful

so that maybe some of the financial professionals who are listening

might also take you up on some of those things. So talk a little bit

about this environment of accountability, if you will.

[:

Dave Ingram: [00:04:01] Yeah, John. Great place to start, and as you

alluded to, there's been podcast episodes where we've talked about.

Not that there's any substitute for hard work when it comes to

obtaining success. But there are definitively shortcuts. There are

strategies that you can utilize to make the path to success easier

and better. And you know, in the past, we talked about creating a

physical environment that is conducive to productivity, to flow, to

success. We talked about maintaining a social environment surrounding

yourself with people that are playing this game of business and life

at a higher level where they almost can't help but bring you up in

these environments. They're oftentimes overlooked, misunderstood,

underutilized, and that Segways right into the environment. You're

talking about really creating an environment of consequences. And

begin with this this idea. There was an old quote most people's

results could be doubled if the situation simply demanded it. Right,

so how are we creating situations for ourselves that inherently call

on us to raise our standards, raise our behaviors and by doing so

will raise our results? It's kind of like you need pressure to create

diamonds. So I'm not talking about necessarily putting intense

pressure on yourself. But what I am talking about is raising the

stakes, creating an environment of consequences. And just by doing

lf is a shortcut to success. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:05:44] Dave, it's so interesting when you talk

about accountability, I find that in conversations with financial

professionals, oftentimes they'll say, yes, I have accountability

partners in my life. But what's really interesting to me is

oftentimes those relationships or the conversations haven't been

formalized. It's more of an informal, you know, I think I have this

person in my network or my universe, but I don't have a clear path as

to how they're holding me accountable, how often we speak, what that

looks like. Could you share some of your thoughts around formalizing

that accountability relationship in one's life, business practice, et

cetera? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:06:25] Yeah, and a good place to start is clarifying

why would someone even need accountability in the first place? And

let me give you a few ideas in it. These ideas resonate somewhat with

our members of the audience out there today. It's a not so subtle

reminder you could probably benefit from an increased level of

accountability. So one reason why someone may need accountability,

they just don't have clearly defined goals, right? They may not be

lacking for drive, desire, determination, discipline. They may be

lacking for direction like they just don't know what it is they want.

So that's where accountability could lend a second set of eyes and

help you get on the right path to your ultimate destination. Another

reason why someone would need accountability you have clearly enough

or clearly defined goals, but your why isn't big enough, right? He or

she is why who is big enough can bear almost any how. So again,

accountability can help you better articulate. Not just what do you

want, but why. Why are you going to keep going and moving forward in

the pursuit of that? Something else? Why someone would need

accountability? They're just not invested in their goals, right? That

can be monetary investment or just, you know, your own actual

emotional investment. Because if you're interested in your goals, if

you're interested in your success, then oftentimes you'll do what's

convenient. But if you're committed to success, you'll do what it

takes. And that's where accountability can again. Add another layer

to help you get on track and stay on track. And then also to, as I

mentioned, operating environment. Operating an environment that is

conducive to success. Accountability can help you create that, stay

the course and maintain a proper environment. So those are some

reasons why people would need accountability in their lives.

[:

John Diehl: [00:08:17] So, Dave, are you talking about accountability

to another person, a group of people, or are you talking about

accountability driven by systems or processes? What do you mean by an

environment of consequences? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:08:31] Yeah. So accountability can take on many

different faces. And one is someone. It can also be something when it

comes to that someone we want to make sure if we're going to select

an accountability partner, we want to spend the right time making

sure we get the right person right. So let's say you wanted to become

better at basketball. Well, if some guy or gal down the street, some

weekend warrior is accountability partner. I mean, you know, they

might. Get you to get out there and put up some shots and maybe

rebound for you, and that's OK. But if your accountability partner

was Michael Jordan. Right, like, like overnight, that's a shortcut if

Michael Jordan was your accountability partner. You have drive,

desire, determination, but also in your accountability partner is

Michael Jordan. All the stakes have been raised. That's an

environment of consequences. Like we as human beings, we're more

likely to let ourselves down than someone else and that that someone

else is Michael Jordan. Hey, we want to be like Mike. So if you have

an accountability partner that motivates and inspires you. It's going

to make that journey to success easier and better. So that's an

example of someone some thing, how do we create an environment of

consequences with something? I'll tell you one of the greatest things

right here in my hand. I have a timer. When I'm in my office, I

always have a timer within arm's length. Time is an incredible

accountability partner. And the way I think about time from an

accountability perspective, it's known as Parkinson's law.

Parkinson's law simply states that our time will expand or contract

to complete an activity based simply on how much time we have

available. So when you put time on a physical timer, there's an

incredible accountability partner. It allows you to maintain focus

because this time is relentless. It is ticking down, whether you like

it or not, whether you're distracted or not, whether you're

interrupted or not. So timing or timer is a perfect example of

something that can add a great layer of accountability for you.

[:

Julie Genjac: [00:10:51] I couldn't agree more, Dave, I use the good

old timer trick for myself quite a bit throughout the day, and I

found that it really does help keep that focus and make sure that

projects aren't trickling out throughout the day. You know, I'm

curious. I hear fairly frequently from financial professionals, and

I'm sure that you do as well, that I've never worked harder. I've

never been busier. Know just the day doesn't seem to end. And how do

I continue to wrap my arms around my business and my practice and

make it as scalable and efficient as possible? What would you say or

what is your guidance to those financial professionals that that feel

that way? Like, there just aren't enough hours in the day? What is

that next step that they might be able to take, even though they feel

swamped and overwhelmed, but in an effort to try to get out of that

f of overwhelm, if you will? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:11:47] Yeah, Julie, it's funny you say that. When

I'm meeting advisers for the first time, I'll routinely ask him this

question if I had a magic lamp and could grant you one or two

business wishes. What comes to mind when I say that in so often they

say something along the lines of put more hours back into my day, you

know, mitigate the interruptions. Distractions, add clarity from day

to day. And basically, what I'm hearing when they say something along

those lines is they're too busy. And the idea is. We always have

enough time for our priorities. We have never have enough time for

everything because there's always something more to do. So when

people say that they're too busy. I'm not saying that's a crutch or

an excuse, it's simply maybe they lack clarity on what they should be

doing it at any given time. And it's difficult when you're busy, it's

difficult to hit the pause button and take a step back and say, OK,

what are my highest value activities? And how do I focus on those and

I give you one more example of accountability. I'm holding up this

physical piece of paper. This is one of the greatest pieces of

professional advice I've ever received and quite possibly the best

habit I've ever personally developed. And it's the simple idea of

never starting your day until it's finished on paper. So you and only

you should be the architect and designer of what, where, with whom

and how long we're allocating our time. This is another form of

accountability when you map out and design what you want your day to

look like. You know, hey, from 10 to 11, I'm going to be focusing on

this from one to 130. I'll be executing on that. And that adds

another layer of accountability throughout your workday.

[:

John Diehl: [00:13:45] And I think, Dave, it's important for

financial professionals to think not just on the business, because we

know as as our business grows, the demands on all other aspects of

our life are impacted. And I think, you know, you and I have both met

folks over the years that they've built a phenomenal business as

their family fell apart or really as they lost relationships with the

people that are important to them. And I think whenever you talk

about kind of planning that day or even taking a step back and

thinking about your week time blocking, what are the big things, the

big rocks, if you will, that you need to do this week, be they in

business or outside of business? I think making a commitment to those

kind of important tasks, important relationships, I would say, you

know, when we talked about accountability, you started off by saying

not putting intense stress on yourself, but you know, for someone

that's really driven. I think the worst feeling is to be disappointed

in yourself. Right. And I think many of these systems that you're

talking about are ways to safeguard us against becoming disappointed

in ourselves, right? Because we didn't follow through or we didn't

spend our time in the most productive way. And so I think not

starting your day until it's finished on paper is a huge, huge tool

and very valuable practice. [:

Dave Ingram: [00:15:11] John, you started to go down a path. Briefly,

that stirred my soul. It's so resonated with me, and it was this idea

of of trying to balance the business with the family. Right. So I've

got a wonderful wife, three amazing little boys. And some people have

this notion that, hey, something's going to have to suffer if I run

the business that I'm truly capable of and it's flourishing. My

family, my family life might have to take a little hit, or, you know

what, if I want to be the spouse that I know I'm capable of being the

father to my little boys like the business is going to have to take a

backseat. And I would argue that's not the case. You'll never be able

to do it all, but you can have it all. And that goes back to

identifying, articulating, focusing and executing on your priorities

above everything else. So I was saying earlier this idea that most

people's results could be doubled if the situation simply demanded

it. Here's another way to think about it another saying most people's

results could be doubled if their time was cut in half, right? Look

again, this is executing and exercising this Parkinson's law. Your

time will expand or contract to complete your activities based on

simply, however much time you have available. So when I think about

this through the lens of financial advisers and I joke with my

advisers all the time what is typically the most productive day or

days of their year the day before they go on vacation? Right, and you

think about why is that? Well, because at the end of today, I'm

leaving town or I'm leaving the country and I will be back for a week

or two. So I don't have time to put out all these fires and and grab

all these inbound but unscheduled phone calls and address the hundred

some odd emails that hit my inbox today. No, when we have that time

contracted. Automatically, what comes to the forefront is our highest

value activities. So when you design a calendar that is aligned with

your priorities, both business and personal. It will just add a

higher level of simplicity, clarity and most importantly, results in

the areas of your life that matter most business family.

[:

Julie Genjac: [00:17:41] Dave, I love how you've positioned the

strategy is such an important part of this recipe, if you will. And

I'm thinking about those financial professionals that have found

themselves working past four and then working past five and then

working past six and seven and eight. And they're sitting there late

every night thinking that adding more hours to their workday is going

to help them get from here to there. What would you say to those

individuals as what would be the first place to start in determining

their strategy and creating a system that really is true to their

values, both personal and professional? Where would they start

feeling overwhelmed? Of course, because that's where many folks are.

[:

Dave Ingram: [00:18:25] Yes, Julie, I heard this from a good friend

of mine, he's an entrepreneur, and he said, you know, so often when

we feel overwhelmed, we simply lack clarity on what to do next. And

oftentimes or answer to that is just do more, schedule more meetings,

drive more miles, work longer hours, send more emails. And more is

not always the answer. Matter of fact, we need to make sure we're not

multiplying by zero like we can keep doing more. But if we're just

increasing our busyness without increasing our business, we might

just be multiplying by zero. So we need to make sure we're focusing

on the right things at the right time. We can actually do more by

oftentimes focusing on less. And I would also say that sometimes

people think of our work to four or five or six. That's the answer.

So often it's not working longer hours, and this is certainly nothing

new, but it is working smarter. What are those high value activities

that you should be focusing on? And making sure that we're constantly

putting those on our calendar first and those are being addressed,

and then we'll get to everything else if and when we get the chance.

[:

John Diehl: [00:19:44] Hey, Dave, I promised our listeners that I

would ask you some of the most impactful books that you've read.

Maybe some of the most impactful podcasters or podcasts. What would

you suggest as somebody who says, Look, I really need to get my arms

around this practice and I really need to do some, some smart

thinking about my environments, about my scheduling, about my time.

Who comes to mind for you? [:

Dave Ingram: [00:20:10] Yes, so the book titles I'll share with our

audience today are all going to be built upon the environments we

talked about. Having a great physical environment to work in an

environment that's conducive to flow, making sure you're maintaining

a strong social environment, people that inspire, motivate, they lift

you up and then creating this environment of consequences, basically

raising the stakes in a positive, healthy manner to get the best out

of you. Some books that come to mind. One book title is very eye

catchy, but it is also true. Oh, so important. It's called willpower

doesn't work. Right, like this idea of willpower and discipline, so

often those are outdated, antiquated methodologies they're going to

they're going to fail you. So you need to again work more on these

different environments. The book delves into that. Another book is

Atomic Habits by James Clear. There's one quote that James Clear says

that embodies what we're talking about I was talking earlier about so

often people aren't lacking for drive, desire, determination or

discipline. They're lacking the right direction, the right strategy

and James clear quote in his book Atomic Habits We don't rise to the

level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems. So, so often

people just need a better strategy. They need a better system. It's

not just hustling and grinding. And then another one is index card

business plan. How to simplify your strategy to magnify your results.

That is another one where we're talking about creating an environment

of consequences. This is establishing weekly what the call pillars or

business habits or rituals where week in and week out. If we

satisfying a, b and C within our business, we'll know. Beyond a

shadow of a doubt, we've moved the needle in our business, so there's

a few book titles that quickly come to mind. Each and every one of

those haven't had a huge impact on my business and personal life. And

they also tie exactly into these environments we're talking about to

create optimal results. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:22:25] Dave, thank you for that insight on those

books and other resources, and I think for those of us that are

inspired to take the next step, the most important part is taking

that step immediately, not waiting and and in the spirit of day and

creating that strategy and not just our adding. And not just adding

extra hours to the workday, but really being clear on what work you

are prioritizing. How are you executing it and what that environment

truly looks like? Thank you again for joining us today and and

on the power of a strategy. [:

Dave Ingram: [00:23:00] Hey, Julie and John, thank you both so much.

Thoroughly enjoyed myself very much, appreciate you inviting to be a

part of today's podcast. [:

Julie Genjac: [00:24:37] Thanks for listening to the Hartford Funds.

Human Centric Investing podcast, if you'd like to tune in for more

episodes. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts

inkedIn, Twitter or YouTube. [:

John Diehl: [00:24:51] And if you'd like to be a guest and share your

best ideas for transforming client relationships, email us a guest

booking at Hartford Funds dot com. We'd love to hear from you.

[:

Julie Genjac: [00:25:02] Talk to you soon.