Most business owners understand that the only way to ensure something gets done is to document what is expected, assign it to the right person, and set a due date. But what do you do if the task isn’t done? What are the consequences of this inaction?
Think back to your school days when you had homework... maybe you were super organised and got stuck in as soon as the work was assigned, or perhaps you completed it on the school bus the morning it was due. Either way, why did you get it done? Chances are there were clear consequences set by your teacher if you didn’t complete it - a few whacks with a stick or a lunchtime detention – that’s what we call accountability and consequence.
Unfortunately, many business owners forget these lessons from school. Sure, we set the tasks and actions, assign them to people and, if we’re really good, set a due date. From there, we so often forget to hold the person to account. Very rarely is there a consequence for the person responsible for the task. The consequence for the business owner, however, is ultimately a poorer performing business.
Here’s seven rules to tighten up your accountability:
- Ensure at the outset that everyone is clear about why the task is important.
- Assign the task to the right person and be available to give support.
- Be specific and crystal clear with all communication. Remember, they don’t know what they don’t know.
- Ask them to repeat back the instructions, to ensure the message was interpreted correctly.
- Set a realistic timeframe and provide delivery instructions and expectations.
- Agree on consequences for inaction.
- Have quick catch ups to check progress is on track.
Now, ask yourself… what actions can I take to improve accountability and outcomes for my team? What changes or improvements do I need to make to my planning processes and reporting systems? And most importantly, who is the best person to hold me to account as a business owner? Accountability goes both ways, especially if you want to be an authentic and effective leader.
‘Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.’ – Bob Proctor