7 Ways to Foster Accountability in your Business
Many people place a negative spin on the notion of accountability. For them it’s something that only comes up when something goes wrong or expected results just don’t happen. But accountability is really much broader than that and encompasses the good as well as the bad. For example, people are also accountable for successes.
Accountability is essential to a successful business. Someone must be responsible or “answerable” for everything that happens, in one way or another. If nobody’s responsible, then nothing really gets done, problems can’t be fixed and innovation can certainly never happen.
Business owners and entrepreneurs are responsible for instilling accountability into their companies. When an air of accountability reigns, people are more willing to step up and take ownership of whatever is necessary to achieve the desired results. It’s not about blame, excuses or taking credit. It’s about getting the right things done, at the right time.
Here are seven ways for business owners to foster a culture of accountability.
1. Hold yourself accountable first.
One thing business owners should know is this: Employees pay a great deal of attention to what you DO, not just what you SAY. Your behavior is often what defines the “culture” of your business, and sets the tone for how others view accountability. If you don’t hold yourself accountable for both the good and bad things that happen in your business, neither will others.
2. Make your expectations clear.
Without clear expectations, there’s no way to hold someone accountable. You must make sure that each employee has a clear understanding of two things: 1) What’s expected of them; and 2) how that contributes to larger business goals. Everyone should know what they’re working toward, and how it propels the business ahead.
Provide proper feedback.
You can’t expect everyone to inherently understand what being accountable in the business looks like. So in addition to modeling good accountability behavior yourself, you have to provide regular feedback on what others are doing right, where they are falling short and why. Having such conversations is where the accountability process often breaks down. To cultivate a culture of accountability, you have to provide nourishment for people to improve. If this becomes part of your culture, employees will come to expect and embrace it.
Make sure feedback is specific and focuses on the issue or behavior in question. This is more likely to produce the results you want.
4. Focus on achieving results, not merely “doing a job”.
When people feel like they’re just “doing a job” they are far less likely to take ownership of the results – or lack of them – as long as they’re putting in the time. But that’s not an accountability atmosphere. This kind of “just do the job” thinking paints people into a corner and makes them feel they’re paid only to perform an isolated task. When people understand that their “job” is really to achieve results, accountability follows more easily and they begin to ask (you or themselves) “what else can I do to help achieve those results?”
5. Create more visibility.
This is something many businesses struggle with. People tend not to share information in order to avoid being held accountable. By creating an environment where people and departments (yourself included) regularly share details of their goals and results, you also create an expectation of accountability.
6. Start measuring in more ways.
Results are hard to gauge unless you have ways of measuring those results and comparing them to some standard of success. Some things are easy to measure, such as sales. But customer satisfaction, for example, is more difficult. Whenever you talk about results, try to find a metric to use for defining it.
7. Make it a core value.
Most businesses have core values that they live by – honesty, integrity, customer service, etc. Adding a commitment to accountability can go a long way toward boosting your long term results.
Copyright © 2000-2013 BizBest® Media Corp. All Rights Reserved.