Accountability…When You’re The Boss

In my last blog I talked about how you, as the boss, should apply a model of accountability. That model focuses on:

  • having clarity of expectations between you and your team
  • regularly monitoring those expectations

In this blog, I want to talk about a much trickier subject…how you, as the boss, hold yourself accountable.

Accountability For You

So, you’re the boss and probably own your own business. Unless you have one or more business partners, you are on your own. There is nobody to ask you why you haven’t done the things you planned to do. There’s nobody to test your decisions. So, how do you keep yourself honest? Here are a few options along with their pros and cons.

Apply a Strong Level of Self Control

This approach needs a great deal of will-power, self-awareness and the ability to focus on what’s important. You will be on your own. It’s likely that nobody will be able to support you, as you are your own “Judge and Jury” on your actions.

When I apply self control on some activities, I look for negative or positive consequences of the outcome of my activities. For example, I have promised myself a present or extravagance when I successfully achieve an outcome. Interestingly, I read that people who set themselves a negative consequence are 83% likely to successfully complete their outcome. The fear of the negative consequence can be a real motivator.

Have An Accountability Partner

They could be a personal friend, a business contact or a professional coach / advisor. The factors that would influence what would work for you include:

  • the skills and experience you need from your accountability partner;
  • the level of trust you believe that you and your partner can establish;
  • the nature of the relationship you want…pure coaching, pure mentoring or somewhere in-between.

I have an accountability partner, who I speak to every couple of weeks. I met Dave Evans, on my Value Builder training course in Toronto 2 years ago. We got on well and agreed to act as accountability partners for each other. Dave lives in Oklahoma, so we talk early afternoon, UK time, by video call and I find that really works for us both. Who could you have as an accountability partner?

Use Your Business Partner of Board of Directors

Most small businesses do not have formal boards of directors. There may only be 2 to 3 directors and no non-executive directors. So, corporate control and directors holding each other accountable can be an aspiration rather than a reality.

I always encourage business owners to consider having a management team especially when they are the sole director. As an aside, a business that has a management team that can run the business without the owner always being there, is likely to have an extra 1.5x profit multiple in a sale valuation!

Become a Member of a Business Networking Group or Professional Association

There are lots of groups of different kinds. Most are focused on networking, business development / lead generation, local business promotion or skills learning.

These organisations, like the Chamber of Commerce, BNI, etc are not the best places for personal accountability – that is not their purpose. They can be places for personal development and networking. You need to look elsewhere.

Peer Groups

Sometimes called mastermind groups, they have been around for many years. The two franchise brands you may recognise are Vistage and TAB. Both originated from the US and do a great job helping business people.

It can be hard to describe how a group works and get across the effect it has on its members. It’s best experienced in person. Here are the key building blocks.

How a Peer Group Works

  • 8-12 business owners and a group chair meet, usually each month
  • They get together for a half or full day and they work through an agenda that includes:
    • advising some members on solving a problem or exploiting an opportunity;
    • getting feedback on how each member is progressing with advice given in previous meetings;
    • learning from a speaker about a relevant useful subject;
  • They have 1-2-1 coaching from the group chair.

A good group becomes a great group when there are the right members around the table and the chair is able to add value for all members and builds the right environment for the group. The environment for a great group is:

  1. a safe haven where members can be open, trust each other and share confidences.
  2. give freely to each other the collective wisdom of the group
  3. provide motivation to each member to make things happen; to “get it together”;
  4. a place to develop long-lasting business friendships and grow personally;

Of course, members give business to each other, but that is a by-product of the trust and friendship.

A I said earlier the best way to understand the peer group concept is to experience it.  I am running taster meetings of my Get It Together Peer Group on Tuesday 10 March and Tuesday 31 March. Both meetings are at Parsons Accountants, just off junction 40 of the M1. The meeting runs from 9 to 11am. There will be pastries and my homemade fruitcake to provide a little extra energy!

Click here to book your place now


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