As a smart business owner, you probably have set a few ambitious annual goals to achieve this year. After all, this is what a business owners do, they plan and lead the execution of their plans. You might have already found ways to keep yourself accountable and to make sure you stay on the right track. But when you work with other people, accountability can become an issue, no matter in which field you work. Every person works in their own pace, some people need more motivation, and all your employees probably have other tasks to tend to as well. All this can lead to multiple communication and scheduling issues, as well as slowing the work of your entire small business. Here are some tips on how to keep accountability in your small business and make sure everything goes as planned:
Motivation (or the lack of it in this case) is the biggest blocker for employee productivity and efficiency. Resolution: Whether the task is yours or belongs to someone else, establish a clear, compelling reason for why it should be done. Identify how people will benefit from getting the task done. If you are dealing with an unmotivated employeeor colleague, have a conversation and identify the block. Maybe they are too overwhelmed by their other tasks or you haven’t provided them with the needed means to fulfil the task. Perhaps the act of support may be enough to resolve the issue. Or lending a helping hand may provide the motivation necessary to move the task up in priority. When you’re owning a business, it’s important to find the right balance between being someone’s boss and being a human being who cares about the needs of the ones dependant on them. And everyone knows that employee happiness is the key to proper motivation and employee retention.
One of the biggest reasons things don't get done is that the person responsible doesn't actually know how to proceed. He or she may not have the knowledge or resources and nobody wants to appear stupid or inept. Without a clear step-by-step plan to proceed, the task will move to the bottom of the pile, giving way to more familiar tasks. This is why it’s pivotal to create clear procedures and plans for all types of tasks within your business. It’s easier to keep people accountable for their actions, if you have clearly stated rules for every process.
Centralised reporting and dashboardsprovide the visibility needed for real accountability. And that's not just holding people accountable to management, but to the entire organisation. Accountability towards executives is one thing, it's expected after all. Accountability to your peers, however, presents an entirely different type of pressure. This can be particularly effective in sales due to the competitive nature of the average salesperson. Dashboards can offer a high level view into the business. Choose the important metrics for your business, things like leads, sales, or customer service tickets/issues, and then build out a visual dashboard to get a picture of your business at a glance. If you want to track personal accountability for every employee separately, this can also be done through a well designed dashboard. By knowing the personal achievements of each employee, you can easily apply personal motivation and choose the correct people for the correct tasks, depending on their performance.
That's why you need to see the entire interaction of your team, specifically who is doing what, and what the real results were. Being capable of pinpointing exactly what went right, what went wrong and where, is how real accountability is achieved. Salespeople often measure their own output against expectations. This way, they see where they need to improve and when they need to grow. This takes pressure off management so there's less reason to bully and harangue, a practice that doesn't really increase results – and often diminishes them.
Author bio: Jane is a full-time working mum, a marketing manager and a blogger from Melbourne. She manages the Melbourne branch of Fantastic Cleaners, a cleaning contractor, that offers a wide range of services for both residential and commercial clients. The company is popular with their innovative, family and pet-friendly cleaning methods. Her work there also inspired her passion towards interior design and home improvement.