When it comes to accountability it is always easy to emphasize this with your team, but not easy to tell them how to be accountable. It’s even harder to make them want to be accountable -- especially since many entrepreneurs forget they are the role model for accountability, and they don’t audit their own actions to make sure they always practice what they preach. Accountability is one of the key attribute you must have in order to be a successful entrepreneur.
Accountability isn’t easy. It can’t be accomplished by edict, but it can be taught through example by leaders who practice the principles they want their team to follow -- leaders who build a mindset of caring throughout the organization. How long has it been since you took a look in the mirror at yourself and your organization in this respect? You need to know that successful entrepreneurs are all about holding themselves accountable. They skip the blame and complain game, and make things happen despite major obstacles.
In reality, the picture is a bit larger than this, as outlined in a book “leading with GRIT” by Laurie Sudbrink, a well-known business leadership coach and speaker. She defines GRIT® as Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth, with accountability being a major component of integrity. With all these elements, people can move from accountability to total leadership.
I will explain accountability to involve the following:
1. Accountability starts by acknowledging reality.
Entrepreneurs recognize the magnitude of the workload and the specific tasks required for success. Smart entrepreneurs know they must deliver a quality product, develop a winning business model, and attract real customers. All that’s left is to commit and deliver. The next step is to accept ownership and responsibility. Moving forward into the business realities requires courage, commitment, and determination to succeed. If the motivation is not strong enough, it’s easy for people to fall back down the ladder and cover their lack of ownership with excuses, blame, and complaints.
2. Apply known solutions to predictable tasks and challenges.
Most smart Entrepreneurs perform at this level of accountability. They admit to owning the situation, and pride themselves on their professional abilities. Yet, when the totally unexpected happens, they may be quick to unload the problem up the line, or fall off the ladder.
3. Accept total accountability and make it happen.
These are the cherished entrepreneurs who succeed despite tough odds, and come up with new approaches to delight their customers, achieve breakthrough goals, and develop innovative new products for markets you never imagined.
From my perspective, accountability should be the guiding principle for entrepreneurs who seek to change the world. Before you start assessing accountability in others, it usually pays to take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. Are you accountable to be accountable?