Accountability is an essential leadership trait. Without it, you will fail. Personal accountability is owning your actions and decisions – no excuses. It’s taking responsibility for your successes and failures. Leaders who are not accountable often blame others or make excuses when things go wrong. This destroys trust, creates chaos, and leads to disaster. To be successful as a leader, you must have personal accountability. It’s essential for creating a positive work environment, building trust, and achieving goals.
So, building an accountability mindset is a high-stakes game. You will develop your business faster and achieve your financial and professional goals with less resistance when you do it right. Does that sound good? Then let’s walk through three critical steps to get started.
Vision – The First Step Accountability
Small business owners start with an idea; they know the kind of work they want to do. They see a problem that needs to be solved and believe they are uniquely suited to solve it. So, they begin the task of “doing” that business.
The first step in developing personal accountability is to know what you will be accountable for. And too often, critical questions go unanswered like:
- What kind of business are you building?
- What will it look like in three to five years?
- How many customers will you serve?
- How much revenue will you generate annually?
- How many employees will you have?
Now that you know what must be achieved, you can think about how to measure it. And with that, you begin to create objectives. Many business objectives are annual, and rightly so. Those annual objectives drive your monthly activities, which propel your weekly tasks and your daily activities.
And we don’t just set the numbers and forget about them. At least monthly, you will need to check your progress against these numbers. At peak form, you are looking at actual versus plan versus the prior year. And hold yourself accountable for that performance.
And if you aren’t hitting your plan, you will want to know why? Did you get distracted? Did the external environment change? Or did you get a windfall? Underperforming or outperforming, being accountable means you understand why.
Building Personal Accountability
With vision and objectives in place, you have shifted your mindset to the long game. And every day, for at least some part of it, business owners must commit to looking at that long game. It’s so easy to allow yourself to get caught up in tactical duties and urgent, but not always essential, tasks. And when you focus there, it’s so easy to feel accomplished. You will have worked hard and crossed a lot off your list, but you have not paid any attention to your long-term vision or your objectives for your business.
It would be best if you had a mindset that the long term matters as much as the short term. And believe that the long-term vision is what you are accountable for, more so than the short-term duties in front of you. This can be incredibly hard at the beginning of your business, but you must keep an eye on the future to build the company you want, not the one you currently have.
Accountability is Hard When You’re Alone
When your business has grown significantly, you can consider improving accountability through a board of advisors for your business. But that will not be an option in the early days of your business. But you may find that no matter how hard you try, you need something more to keep you accountable.
One idea is to find someone else who is building their business and ask them to be a 1:1 accountability partner. Someone you share your goals with and who holds you accountable to them. You meet regularly and check in on progress.
Creating a group of small business owners who check in monthly is a powerful tool for accountability and success. It combines the benefits of having an accountability partner and a board of advisors. It allows you to surround yourself with a group of like-minded people whose only interest in that session is holding each other accountable for their success.
Finally, you can hire an executive coach to support you in developing accountability for delivering on your goals and priorities. A coach can be that genuinely independent voice in your life. The one person whose only interest is your continued success. And that is a hard thing to find.
Accountability is a cornerstone of business success. If you have created a clear vision for your business, set appropriate objectives, and crafted the right mindset, you dramatically improve your chances of success. You can refine your odds by surrounding yourself with a group of business owners who hold you and each other accountable.
As a leader, it is essential to be accountable. This means owning your actions and decisions – no excuses. Taking responsibility for your successes and failures builds trust, creates order, and leads to success. Let’s connect and discuss strategies if you need more accountability in your life or work. Accountability is the key to successful leadership – don’t forget that!