One of the primary responsibilities of a business owner is ‘accountability’… to make sure our employees are doing their jobs and making progress toward company goals. We hold our project teams accountable by getting feedback from clients. We hold salespeople accountable by monitoring selling activity and – of course – tracking revenue. We hold our financial team accountable by requiring timely completion of P&Ls, balance sheets and AP/AR reports.
But who holds us – the owners – accountable?
While larger firms may have a Board of Directors, most small and medium-sized ones do not. For those of you in this category, let me [strongly] suggest finding an “accountability partner.” I have one… and have for several years.
Brian is a lifelong friend, which means he genuinely cares about me, my family and my business. He’s a very successful business owner in his own right and uses his experience and skills to continually push and challenge me. Here’s how it works…
Every Saturday morning, I send him a report outlining for him our current sales pipeline, key account & prospect activity, upcoming marketing initiatives, YTD financials, etc. I’ve been doing this for so long now that it has become part of my weekly routine. I never miss it! Most weeks, Brian reviews it and responds with a few comments or questions. But even if he doesn’t – and even if I know that he’ll be on vacation, for example, and won’t respond – I still send it. Typing up that report every week also helps me to hold myself accountable for not letting anything fall through the cracks.
Secondly, we chat by phone a couple of times every week. Like I said, we’re lifelong friends, so some of the conversation is about family, etc. But, during those calls, he also checks in on a couple of items from that weekly report… again holding me accountable to ensure continual progress.
Recently, we added something new to the process. In December, I flew up to see Brian so that he could be a part of my annual ‘corporate retreat.’ He spent the time asking questions, vetting ideas with me and offering up suggestions. It was great! Part of the outcome was several new initiatives for 2019 that would not have happened without him. And yes, I report against the progress of those initiatives in the weekly reports.
So, as you move into 2019 and look to push your firm to new levels, make ‘accountability’ a key component of your success. Find a trusted advisor to hold you accountable to helping you achieve your goals.
I promise, it will be the best decision you make all year.