Every action you take will be positive or negative. You’re either helping the business or hurting it.
It’s not hard not to make excuses and rationalise why a negative action isn’t hurting the business or why a positive is having no effect. I urge you take a look at every action you take for your business, because it either falls into being positive or negative.
If one of your employees says they’re going to do something and report back to you, you expect them to take care of whatever they said and give you an honest assessment of what happened. You’re holding them accountable, but who is holding you accountable?
Do you ever wake up on a weekend morning fully expecting to follow your plan for the week of washing the car or doing some other work around the house, but for whatever reason, you’re just not feeling it?
One of the ways that we justify to ourselves for not taking care of these things is that we own the car or the house. It’s ours and we can change our minds and do what we want.
Unfortunately, the same things happen in business. You might be surprised how often I work with a client who is gung-ho about change, says all of the right things and appears motivated and ready…then does nothing.
People want conditions to change, but, most of the time, they don’t want to put in the effort. Then there are those who put in change initiatives, stick their toes in the water, but just don’t have it in them to jump.
Lack of accountability in small business is one of the major factors preventing them from reaching their full potential.
When I was young, I hated it when a teacher or my parents would look over my shoulder to make sure I was getting all of my work done, and yet, for a lot of us, that’s what is needed to make sure the work gets done.
If not, procrastination sets in, and we may put in a weak effort and make excuses why things went awry. A lot of people simply need accountability in their lives, both professional and personal.
In a larger business, there is usually a board and one of the prime responsibilities of that board is to hold management accountable for their strategies and actions.
If you’re the majority who isn’t good at holding yourself 100% accountable for your own actions, you also are probably not good at holding others accountable to you and always struggle to get those important things done.
If you don’t have a business structure that features ownership or managers above you, I’d suggest a business coach or advisor like myself who will do a better job of ensuring accountability is met, and ensuring those important tasks are done.
If you tell me, “I’d like to work on a way to make distribution more efficient,” but it’s what you’ve been telling yourself for a couple of years, you’re probably not going to carve out the time to work on it.
I will make sure that it stays at the top of your to-do list. If somebody doesn’t hold you accountable for this project, it’s never going to get done. And who knows? That may be the thing that saves your company 30% next year!
I cannot disregard the link between profitability and accountability. Small business owners are always distracted by the “urgent things,” but bouncing around in the now is not going to get you to a better tomorrow.
The elements of action connect nicely with the tenet of self-awareness. This is a perfect case of being the stories we tell ourselves.
When you rationalise that an employee has to answer to you, but you don’t have to answer to anybody else, it’s about as logical as telling a child, “Because I said so.”
We’re often the last person who becomes aware of the stories we’re telling. Believing you hold yourself accountable would be a wonderful truth if it actually were true, but it’s very easy to blur the line of freedom and independence with accountability.
Being the only one who holds yourself accountable is a red flag in my opinion.
A journalist needs an editor. An actor needs a director. An athlete needs their coach. Why should the business world be any different?
We all need help and we all need to be held accountable for our actions. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong or are expected to do anything wrong. It simply means you want to make sure everything gets done the right way and at the right time.