Business owners commonly — and often correctly — feel as though they’re the hardest-working person in their business, leading them to wonder how to hold others accountable.
You’re already on the right track if you’re looking for ways to hold people accountable. Greater accountability produces greater results, pure and simple.
The ability to hold people accountable, once mastered, is the single fastest and best way to profitable and inspired results. We see this with our business coaching clients regularly.
Even though you’re the one who stands to gain the most from your company’s success, it’s possible to hold employees accountable for that same sense of ownership. You can and should have an organization filled with people who are invested in bringing the business game-changing results.
How to hold people accountable
Unfortunately, the way to hold people accountable is not by any single action or statement on your part. Instead, it’s a set of ongoing actions you work to instill in your culture.
In business coaching, the word culture sometimes overwhelms small to mid-size business owner who thinks “culture” work is just for large corporations. But successful owners know that every company has a culture — and either you manage it, or it manages you.
So, the way to hold people accountable is to create a culture of accountability.
In our upcoming third quarter Growth Plan Workshop, we’ll be doing a deep dive into the book Change the Culture, Change the Game. In its pages, authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith present a strategy for energizing your company and show how to create a culture of accountability that produces positive results.
Their strategy is based on a pyramid with “Results” at the top, supported by a foundation of the three essential components of culture:Culture
Experiences -> Beliefs -> Actions
Experiences foster beliefs, which lead to actions, which produce the results you want. So it follows that the way to get people to take more accountability (the result you want) is to provide experiences that change their beliefs (about things like how, when and why they do their tasks) which, in turn, cause them to take action.
What holding people accountable looks like
The action you want in this case is for your people, when they SEE a problem, to make the personal choice to OWN it, SOLVE it and FOLLOW UP.
The key, then, is to provide the right experiences to foster the belief that accountability is important.
Experiences you can provide to create a culture of accountability
Whether you realize it or not, every interaction you’re involved with is an experience you’re creating for your people. Who you promote or compliment, the policies you implement, the mistakes that get you riled up, how you react to feedback — all of these say, in their own way, “here’s how we do things around here.”
Thus, creating the right experiences takes clarity in your beliefs followed by planning things you can say and do to instill those beliefs. You can use your leadership team to help create this plan. Here’s a tool from the book we’ve modified for small to mid-size business owners that’s helpful in planning experiences. We’ve added some examples of experiences you can provide that will instill the belief that “accountability is important around here.”
The belief you want to create
Accountability is important around here
Experiences you could provide to instill the belief
- Demonstrate it by modeling it myself
- Catch someone doing it right and recognize them publicly and specifically
- When someone complains about a teammate, I’ll ask “Have you talked to her?”
- Instead of saying “I’ll handle it,” I’ll ask the person to present possible solutions to me.
Your culture work starts with completing your Single Sheet Business Plan
Of course, your plan for how to hold people accountable will include more than a plan for the experiences you’ll provide. With “creating a culture of accountability” as one of the goals you place on your Single Sheet Business Plan, you can then flesh out the actions you and your team can take to implement it.
Creating a culture of accountability is not a small task, but if you truly want to hold people accountable, it’s the only way to do so. Greater accountability is the fastest way to produce profitable and inspire results. Good luck!
Roger Engelau is Owner, CEO & Senior Business Coach and Susan Engelau is Owner and COO for Inspire Results Business Coaching.