We all need to be accountable for our actions. Unfortunately, accountability is often missing or done in a haphazard way, only looking at obvious issues but missing the areas where problems are not yet visible but may be found by digging a bit deeper.
Without accountability, you have no-one to help you stay on track. You have no-one to turn to when things seem tough and you need advice. You have no-one to pat you on the back and say “that was a job well done” or even “that did not go as expected”.
We all need these actions to help us keep our focus and make sure we are on target to deliver the business results we require.
The American Society of Training and Development issued the following probabilities of completing a goal :
- You have an idea – 10%
- You decide when you will do it – 40%
- You plan how you will do it – 50%
- You commit to someone else you will do it – 65%
- You have an accountability appointment with the person you have committed to – 95%
This means you are doubling the chance of hitting your goal you have decided to perform from 40% to 95% by having someone to hold you accountable and meeting with them to discuss progress and completion.
Who are you Accountable to?
We all need someone to hold us accountable. This may be a formal or informal arrangement.
In a lot of cases, accountability is clear
- If you are employed you are accountable to your supervisor or manager.
- If you are running a company you are accountable to the companies shareholders.
But for the small business owner, this is not so clear.
Small Business Owner – who are you Accountable to?
You are the business, you own it. Can you be accountable to yourself? In most cases NO, you are too close to the day to day operations. The person you are accountable should ideally be on the outside of the business so they can spot little things that you take for granted, but which may later become major issues.
Can you use your life partner, or other family members to hold you accountable? Sometimes. The majority of family members will want to see you succeed, so when you ask them to hold you accountable they will tend towards the positive, telling you how well you are doing, or other things they think you want to hear.
Can you trust your family member to tell you things you do not want to hear? Can you trust them to give you the bad news as well as the good? Most family members cannot do this.
What if you have no-one to be Accountable to?
This is where mentors can come in. Do you have a mentor you trust who can keep you accountable? If not can you find one? Once you have found your mentor then you can meet with them regularly to have accountability sessions. The frequency of these sessions depends on what is going on in your business, if there is a lot of change then you may need to meet weekly or fortnightly. If things are running smoothly then you may only need to meet every one or two months.
The key to an accountability relationship is trust. You must be able to trust each other in order to have open, and frank, discussions.
Why should you be Accountable?
The benefits of accountability in your business or job include :
- Get an independent view on where you and your business are going
- Identify issues before they become major problems
- Keep you on track with your projects
- Keep you focused on your core business goals and targets.
Once you have someone you are accountable to you :
- Feel socially obligated to do the things you said you would, no-one likes to go to a meeting and say “I didn’t do that because I could not be bothered”
- You set deadlines for what you need to be done. Examples include “ I’ll have that completed by the time we next meet”, or “I’ll send you a draft by the end of next week”
- You are more likely to deliver on your goals, projects and commitments, as per the American Society of Training and Development study mentioned above.
Without accountability you have :
- No-one to help you stay on track
- No-one to turn to when things seem tough and you need advice
- No-one to pat you on the back and say “that was a job well done”
- Decreased probability of delivering on your goals, projects and commitments
- Increased likelihood of issues in your business going unidentified and escalating to become major problems.
We all need to be accountable to someone. We may have multiple people we are accountable, depending on the various activities in our life. Accountability brings control to your work and drives you towards delivering the goals, projects and commitments that you make.
It is important to have a trusting relationship with your accountability partner. Without this, you will not fully accept their input and guidance, which will lead to failing your goals.
Without accountability, you are setting up for failures. Issues that can be identified early on may be missed, this results in higher costs to fix when they do come to light. Higher costs that then eat away from your profit and your client satisfaction.
More information on how to effectively use Accountability is found in this post – Accountability Agreement – How To Do It
Also published on Medium.