The Importance of Business Owner Accountability

It’s hard to hear, but… any time something goes wrong in a business, the business owner is to blame. If you’re the owner of the company (or even the president of the organization) and customer has a terrible experience, it eventually comes back to you. For example, if a customer at a restaurant has a bad experience, it’s easy to blame the server or the chef, but your managers hired and trained those employees and you, the business owner, probably hired and trained that manager and put together the training program. Or, at the very least, you approved the hire and the manual.

Although we often tell business owners that they need to get out of the weeds and work ON their business, that doesn’t mean that any faults in the daily operations or the growth of the business don’t come back to you. So why does that matter? Accountability.

Once you’ve accepted that any fault can be traced back to you as the business owner or leader, you can start to think differently about how you hire and train your leadership team, how you communicate your expectations and policies to them, how you structure your business to train and support employees and then someone, whether it’s yourself, a mentor, a friend or a business coach, needs to keep you accountable. You need to be able to step back, see that something either a success or a failure, take responsibility for that and adjust your business or organization as needed.

It’s easy to be accountable for the successes. If you’ve hired and trained a great sales team manager and then offered sales training and provided proper support to your sales team and their sales go up 20 percent, you can pat yourself (and your new manager) on the back and continue to make sure those training and supports are in place while you look for other ways to improve. Even the most humble business leader can figure out being accountable for success.

It gets a bit stickier when you talk about failures. No one likes to admit that something didn’t go the way they’d planned and, whether it cost time, money or both, those can be hard to make up. It doesn’t feel good to fail. But if you don’t accept responsibility for those failures and make a concerted effort to learn from what went wrong and then change your approach next time, you’ll never grow as a leader and it will eventually kill the growth of your business. Being accountable gives you the opportunity to find future successes. If you never admit that something went wrong or that you could have tried something different, you’ll never have that opportunity for growth.

So how do you stay accountable? At The Growth Coach, a big part of our program is coming together with a group of peers every 90 days to talk about what progress you’ve made, what successes you’ve seen and what challenges you’ve had. It’s just as much about working with a coach as it is about being accountable to the group. If you’re not working with a coach, consider forming a small business group, finding a peer mentor or looking to a mentor to keep you on track. Answering to someone other than the person in the mirror can make a big difference.

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