In January 2008 Howard Schultz returned as CEO of Starbucks and made a startling confession “that the leadership had failed the 180,000 Starbucks people and their families. And even though I wasn’t the CEO, I had been around as chairman; I should have known more. I am responsible.”
At this time, the world was going through a recession and as Schultz said “people said that buying a latte at Starbucks wasn’t smart. McDonald’s put up billboards saying that four dollars for a coffee is dumb. Gas went as high as five dollars in some places.”
Instead of Schultz blaming the climate and competitors he turned inwards and made his leadership team accountable for overspending and waste within the business, setting them the task of finding the solution. Starbucks as we know survived and grew, something heavily accredited to the accountability tactics that Schultz applied.
When turning it back to smaller businesses, what are some of the frustrations commonly mentioned?
I should not have to worry about accountability when outsourcing.
We’re all professionals and we expect those we employ, either directly as a member of staff or via outsourcing to be professionals also.
We expect them to maintain certain levels of skills and produce the work in accordance with what we ask. But many business owners that I speak to, often tell me of being let down and would now rather spend 20 hours a day working on the project themselves then outsourcing to unreliable individuals who don’t feel accountable to complete the service as requested.
But I challenge you to flip that mindset and consider that accountability starts at home.
Freelancers have their own processes; their own procedures and their accountability might be different to yours. To get the best out of the person and to make them accountable make sure you create the guidelines for what you want, the way you want it to be delivered and how you’re going to measure the result.
Remember that accountability cannot be forced upon someone but rather accepted, so work together when setting these guidelines.
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Only I am accountable for what happens in my business.
A common frustration among business owners, and even sales managers is the feeling that no one else is making themselves as accountable as you are, sometimes you’ll get a feeling that you’re the only one that actually cares.
Often this is more down to how you’ve managed a persons development within your business and the rewards they get for doing a good job.
I’m not saying you’ll need to give them a pay rise or even a bonus, but to get the best out of someone and to help them feel accountable, make sure they get the same self-gratification as you do when your company does well as a result of something they’ve assisted with.
People, whether an employee or a freelancer will have a desire to be more accountable when they feel a part of your business.
How do I track my accountability goals?
SMART goals are important for any goal setting activity, just because ‘accountability’ doesn’t have a direct ROI statistic, it doesn’t mean it’s not measurable, So to start, find goals that are Specific, what is it that you want yourself or someone else to achieve, what is the end result?
Next consider how are you going to measure what it is you or someone else is accountable for?
- Direct sales?
- Marketing reach?
- Engagement to a social media post?
- Customer service feedback?
- Maybe it’s just based on time?
Then, have you set an attainable goal, often business owners try to get more than what they paid, expecting too much from the person they’re outsourcing to. Be realistic so everyone feels an element of pride in what they’re doing, not just rushing a project through based on unrealistic time scales or budget.
Make what your asking for relevant. Relevant to their skills or your own. Make the goals relevant to what you’re asking to be done. Don’t give someone the car parts to make a Skoda and ask them to built a Ferrari.
And most importantly timely. Be realistic when setting them a goal. Don’t ask for something tomorrow if you know it’s going to be a struggle.
Doing the above will help both yourself and the person employed to do the work feel more accountable to completing the job on time, on budget and to the best of their ability.
If you would like to know more regarding the importance of accountability and the power of SMART goals, take a moment to read my latest book Funnel Vision: Selling Made Easy.
In it you’ll not only find information on accountability but how to tailor your sales and grow your business. But if you’re ready to take direct action, join my next Plan Grow Do course and discover an approach to modern selling.