Running a business can be challenging, in fact as a business coach, I see it in my clients all the time that the reality is much harder than anyone genuinely realises until they begin scaling their business...
There is a lot that goes into the running of a business, and we have to be very truthful and honest with ourselves when it comes to performance and results. Being accountable for your business performance is the key to success. It is often the difference between running a real business and having an "expensive hobby".
What is accountability?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, accountable means:
“Someone who is accountable is completely responsible for what they do and must be able to give a satisfactory reason for it”.
In business terms, when you are accountable, you are responsible for your full business and its performance, your workload and you take ownership for your actions.
You also take full responsibility for the consequences!
You will be able to explain why you have taken certain steps and why you made decisions. Importantly you acknowledge that you are being held 100% responsible for all of those things, each and every day.
If you don't have the results you want in your business, it isn't anyone else's fault but yours. Harsh I know, but 100% true.
Being 100% responsible 100% of the time
Owning a business can be daunting simply because you have to show up and be accountable for it. You can not "hide" in the role of CEO and be successful.
This means that you have to be 100% responsible, 100% of the time. Your decisions and reasons for them, are your responsibility. You made them.
It also means that any work that you delegate to others, whether they are employees or freelancers, you also have to own the results on. This means if your team didn't deliver, it is YOU who needs to either delegate better, explain better, train better, be clearer on the actual deadline etc etc. The buck stops with you. No one else.
I often see in clients who make the transition from corporate roles into owning their own business, that this is one of the hardest elements to grasp, especially if they have spent many years in a corporate culture that allows for the blame game.
As a business owner there is no time, space or energy available to play that blame game if you want success.
Leading by example - be the leader your business needs you to be
It is incredibly important to lead by example. You need to be the leader your business deserves and needs.
You should act and behave in a way in which your employees can look up to. A key part of great leadership is to highlight behaviour in which you would like your employees to mimic or follow.
Show your employees that you really are accountable for the business’ performance, your decisions and your actions. That you "own" your business.
This will encourage them to also act with accountability, taking personal responsibility for their own actions and workload.
Showing accountability as an individual or business is an admirable trait that shows truthfulness and honesty as core characteristics. This then helps to build trust between you as CEO and your team, as well as between businesses and clients.
Taking credit for the things you do well
When you have been successful and done a job well, you should also take the credit. Accountability doesn’t just work for the negative results of a business, it also works for the positive performances.
When you have done something that you should feel proud of as a business, don’t shy away from taking the responsibility of the actions that led to this success. Celebrate them!
It is equally important, when an employee or freelancer has achieved success for your business and boosted performance, to give them credit where it is due. This will build up positive relationships within your team.
Putting your hands up and accepting when you get it wrong
It is essential that when you have got something wrong, that you put your hand up and accept responsibility for it.
The most important part of when performance is bad; is the learning curve that follows. But first, we have to take responsibility of the actions that led to the bad performance before we can then move on to find a way to benefit from the lessons.
Take note of what went so wrong, and why. Make sure that you have genuinely learnt from the situation and taken action to make sure it never happens again.
If you need to, go back and put in place a system that triple checks, update your team training, take time out to reflect on how you can put safeguards in and improve your business. It is only by learning from it, you can ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated.
If an employee, or freelancer is the one accountable for the mistake, consider creating some standard operating procedures (SOPs) or simple training around how the mistake occurred. This is a great way to help your business to grow and evolve, learning from their downfalls and bad performances. It is important to always look for that silver lining.
Always looking for ways to improve
Running a successful business relies on growth and flexibility. You should always look for ways to improve how your business runs and the results that it gets. A way to do this is to constantly learn, whether this is from a business coach and mentor or from an online course. No amount of knowledge is ever enough; there are always new things to learn when it comes to running a business.
Make It Happen In Your Business
Keep accountable for your actions and always take responsibility where needed. Lead by example and in a way that showcases your business in the most positive light. You can take the credit when success arises and performance is good, but equally take responsibility and own the consequences when things go wrong.
Take the right steps to ensure that you are genuinely taking responsibility for your business’ performance and learning and improving along the way . This needs to be happening all of the time and is a constant self improvement process.
- Reflect on whether you really do take full responsibility for your business and the results you have created to date.
- If the business results you have are not what you had hoped for, do you genuinely acknowledge this is down to you as the business owner and no one else? or are you still blaming "the economy" or a competitor?
- Remember that as a owner of a product business, you make the decisions and you live by them. The good news is that if you are not getting the results you want you can make a different decision and try a new path or take your company in a different direction. This is always your choice and in YOUR power.
- Consider if having support from a business coach would help make you more accountable for your business performance. Would having to check in with an independent business advisor mean that you would show up in your business differently?
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