Farnia Fresnel is the Founder and Managing Partner at The Lenserf Group (TLG), a woman and minority owned project management consulting, coaching, and advisory firm. Farnia works with international clients on strategic issues related to people, planning, transformation, technology, and change.
Here is what Farnia had to say when we asked her about accountability:
What does it mean to be accountable?
People often connect accountability to responsibility. Responsibility is a role and accountability is an action. While we are responsible for our actions, we engage power by acting or failing to act. Accountability ties back to recognizing your power. Sometimes people say, “I am not given enough responsibility.” The questions in my mind are, “How are you showing up? Are you asking for permission or are you stepping into the role?” Accountability is recognizing where you stand and how you are filling the shoes.
What are three ways to hold yourself accountable when working toward a goal?
One starts with the goal. Set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals give you clearer expectations of what your performance levels can be. Two, ensure that you have accountability partners. When you set a goal, it can seem big. Find your friends or other people who are also doing challenging things and engage them in your journey. Ask them to hold you accountable. Research shows that you are significantly more likely to achieve your goals when you tell people about them. The third thing is to ensure that you are looking for other resources that can be “in it” with you. The saying is “if you want to go far, go together,” so look for new people, organizations, and perhaps even funding sources that already exist and can support your goals.
What is the best way to respond when something does not go as planned?
Go into any situation being nimble. Life presents opportunities and they don’t always look like stars—they can come from misfortune. One of my first employees reached out to me a few months ago and told me about a company she started. She had the opportunity to talk about this company to the press, so we rehearsed and came up with a script for her to share that aligned with the guidelines and information she was given. When the big press day came, they introduced her and then changed everything, while she was on camera. Since she rehearsed and was confident, she was able to ace the interview. The point of this story is that you can prepare for the unknown, but what is most important is preparing your mindset, your mental fitness. If you show up and are fully present and operating from a sage perspective, you can handle anything.
How should you interpret and respond to feedback?
One, ask for feedback! So often, we don’t ask for feedback because we don’t want it to be negative. Start with a coach, counselor, teacher, family member–people you trust and whose intentions are clear. Challenge yourself and get feedback from people who may be more objective–an employer or casual acquaintance. When you hear feedback, avoid becoming defensive or beating yourself down. Let the feedback build you up. Good, bad, or indifferent, feedback gives you a starting point. Next, thank the person who offered the feedback. It can be uncomfortable for someone to have to think objectively about you and share it. Express appreciation and you are more likely to build trust and hear more gems that can help you as you grow. Lastly, take action on those things that are misaligned with your values and that you can begin to change, and step more deeply into those things that celebrate you and remind you that you are enough.
How should you set and manage your expectations regarding success?
Part of growing up is defining who you want to be and how you want the world to see you. As you go through the process, it can be tough. There are “traditional” measures of success and certain people expect you to do x, y, and z. You get to decide what is actually important to you–is it impact, intellect, finances, popularity, or something else? Know what lights your fire. Then, define your personal measures of success. Keep checking back to see who you’ve become, what is encouraging your spirit, and what is keeping you fulfilled.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
There are literally opportunities in everything, but there is never going to be a big neon sign that says, “This is your opportunity, take it!” Look for the opportunities in celebration and misfortune. Silence those voices telling you that you can’t and #ExceedYourPotential.
As a family focused, international traveler, recreational endurance runner, entrepreneur, and volunteer, Farnia Fresnel wears many hats. In her most enjoyable professional role, she acts as the Founder and Managing Partner at The Lenserf Group (TLG), a woman and minority owned project management consulting, coaching, and advisory firm. Farnia works with international clients on strategic issues related to people, planning, transformation, technology, and change. For more than 20 years, she has inspired professional services, fintech, finance, marketing, and non-profit companies to strategically grow faster with stronger leaders and teams, small businesses to adopt a long view, and groups of entrepreneurs and driven individuals to reset perspectives on their capabilities. Farnia is a board member for People Strategy at WEglobal, an award-winning international development consultancy, the Lead of the ICF Philadelphia Center City professional coaches group, Past President and serves on the nominating committee for the Penn Engineering Alumni Society, and former adjunct lecturer of IT Project Management at Penn State University. She is a lifelong learner and proudly holds a BSE in Engineering from Penn, an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and several international business, coaching, and leadership assessment certifications.