I went into business for myself in part because I continually found myself frustrated while working for someone else.
Meetings felt like a waste of time, most of my bosses continually asked me to do things then never acknowledged my accomplishments, quickly moving on to the next project.
Frequently I found myself focused on something only to discover my manager had abandoned it and forgot to tell me they were going in a different direction.
And then there’s that, the changing directions, which left me feeling uninformed, behind and frustrated.
Going into business for myself seemed like freedom from meetings, confusion and having to answer to someone else. You know the answer to the question “Why’d you decide to start your own business?”
“So I could work less, make more money and not have a boss.” Yeah, well, most of you know how that goes. The lessons having your own business delivers are seemingly endless, frequently surprising and followed by more face-palm moments than I care to admit.
One of my earliest connect the dots moments was the discovery that other people actually want to be told what to do. Not only did they just want me to tell them what I wanted they actually appreciated being held accountable.
This realization, that accountability makes people feel that what their doing matters was to say the least, surprising. Who knew that telling people what you want them to do, being clear about your vision and your expectations was mostly meaningless without following it all with accountability.
Turns out holding people accountable to what you’ve asked them to do let’s them know you meant it, you didn’t change your mind a week later, gives them the satisfaction of completion and a sense of accomplishment. It builds their trust in you and each other.
Turns out accountability is a big part of getting things done. Not only that but providing accountability helps your team to have clarity around what they’re doing and when you want it done by. It gives them the opportunity to ask for clarification, confirmation and to share their accomplishments with you.
Now imagine my surprise and frustration when I became an advisor to business owners and discovered how little accountability they were using in their companies. More connect the dots moments for me when I realized this lack of accountability was a large part of why so many businesses are struggling to get things done and accomplish their visions.
It seems that many business owners having disliked being held accountable themselves have assumed that accountability itself was the issue and not who or how it was being employed. The experiences they’ve had with accountability makes it difficult for them to learn the lesson of it’s importance. It causes them to resist it sometimes at all costs (their business goals) and leaves them and their teams struggling and frustrated.
Instilling some healthy accountability into my clients businesses has proven to be one of my biggest challenges as an advisor when trying to help them turn their visions into reality.
Accountability is not a four letter word.