Are You a Master of Accountability?
One of the most challenging problems businesses have is mastering accountability. How do they hold employees accountable? I’ve had countless clients who consult me about firing an individual who is not performing. When I investigate and meet with the employee and eventually build a coaching plan, it’s almost always the same story. The job description is ambiguous, the training was poor, and the company failed to meet the expectations from the onboarding process. Does this sound familiar? There is an old saying in business, “Inspect what you expect.” This is the secret to accountability. After all is said and done, it takes very little time as a leader/manager to sit down with a person and have them list everything that needs to be accomplished daily, weekly, and monthly — or just ask them to make a list and bring it to you. Then check in with them for five minutes every Thursday for review. That’s it!
The 16-Year Deck Project
I’m lucky that my wife is very understanding. I’m also lucky that she likes to hold me accountable for things. We may not always like it, but accountability will make you achieve more, regardless of what level you are on. I recently finished building a deck. It was my original intention to wait a few years and teach my kids how to build it. It was a great family project. I just left out one minor detail. I neglected to tell my wife it would take me sixteen years to get around to building it. The good news is, the kids did a great job, and she loves the deck so much, she’s forgotten about the 16-year delay (I hope!) Again, I’m lucky she is so understanding. My buddies, on the other hand, said she should have fired me!
Here are the “Seven secrets of mastering accountability” to assist you with a more strategic approach.
- Do your homework to make sure the personality of your employee matches up with this type of work.
- Review the job description with the employee.
- Show them an organizational chart, explaining where they fit in the company, and the people and departments they will need to interact with.
- Create an outline for a typical day, week, and month in the job. Have the employee develop a weekly calendar with you, day by day of their responsibilities, what needs to be done, and when.
- Allow them to struggle a little, but assign a person to be available to answer questions and guide them on the right path.
- Allow them to make mistakes and solve their own problems. Create a culture where it’s okay to make mistakes. If you don’t, then employees don’t admit their mistakes and correct them; They ignore them or blame someone else.
- Inspect what you expect! Check with them weekly to ask them to share what they have done and ask them to grade themselves on how well they are performing. All you do is sit, listen, and ask questions.
I hope you win the day!
About the Author
Hi, I’m John Blakeney!
Since 1999, I’ve dedicated my life to building high-performing people and companies. I’ve been hired to advise hundreds of CEOs and I’ve doubled revenue for most of my clients. I have hired and trained thousands of employees in leadership, and on how to be profitable business decision-makers. Clients include small businesses, mid-market, and Fortune 500 Companies. I’m an active keynote speaker on leadership and a university educator on innovation. For fun, some friends and I brew IPAs with attitude. My wife and I are parents to three adult children.