Why does accountability matter? It may sound like a silly question, but being accountable for one's goals is often one of the hardest parts of owning a business. It can be incredibly easy to let something slip by, saying that you will get to it tomorrow, next week, or next month, only to never end up doing it.
As a business owner, you are the primary person to ensure that your company's goals are met. That means that accountability starts with you. It is only after you are consistently accountable for your goals can you properly delegate and hold others (partners, team members, or employees) responsible for their part in your business.
How to be Accountable for Your Business Goals
Step 1: Set Clear, Actionable Goals
The first step in being accountable for your business goals is creating the goals in the first place. We talked about creating clear, smart goals in our Key Steps to Breaking Down Your Business Goals article. Remember, you must make clear goals with actionable steps in your business plan. Take the time to break down your goals, understand why they are important to you and your business, and the actions you would need to take to accomplish them in a reasonable amount of time.
Step 2: Prioritize & Break Down Tasks
Next, you need to prioritize and break down your business goals into baby steps. Like they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day," and neither is your business. The goal is to simply accomplish one thing towards your goal each and every day. For more information on how to prioritize and break down your goals, check out my article on Goal Prioritization.
Step 3: Create Performance Indicators
Taking action to achieve your business goals is excellent, but how do you know if it is working? That is where performance indicators come in! In your business model, you need to create a system that allows you to monitor your progress.
Let's say, for example, that your goal is to sell more of your ebook. You already wrote it and published it, but now you want your sales to increase continually. A key performance indicator would be to track the number of books you are selling each month. If the number is going up, the actions you are taking are working...but if they are remaining the same or decreasing, something isn't working.
Another example would be social media engagement. Let's say that you wanted to increase your audience engagement on Instagram. Each week you can check your engagement ratings to see how that week's content performed. Again, numbers going up = good, numbers going down = bad.
Now, those were VERY basic examples, but I hope you get my point. Every single type of business can use performance indicators in a variety of ways to monitor its progress. You simply have to recognize the need, identify what areas need to be tracked, and determine how you will observe that progress. From there, you just need to consistently check in and keep track of that progress so that you may create better business practices.
Step 4: Assess Failures & Celebrate Wins
A common misconception among business owners is to keep pushing forward without taking a break to assess failures and celebrate milestones. Let's talk bad news first.
You are going to fail. At one point or another, your business will hit a roadblock or have a flop. That's okay. Failure isn't an endgame; it is how you learn and handle that failure that truly determines the success of your business.
When you fail or even fall short of your expectations, that is when you need to analyze what happened critically. You need to assess all factors, including internal business procedures (the steps you took to achieve your goal) and external circumstances beyond your control (like a pandemic). It is also critical to be brutally honest with yourself. Were you lazy with the goal, did you consistently push it off, was it not something you really wanted in the first place? Looking within can often illuminate hidden answers.
Now let's look at the good news! I cannot stress how IMPORTANT it is to CELEBRATE WINS. When you achieve a milestone step in your goal, or even the big goal itself, take time to celebrate! This is what you have been working so hard towards, so enjoy the win. There is always going to be more work around the corner, but this moment is about you. Take the night off, go out with your team (or friends and family), and revel in the success!
Step 5: Get an Accountability Buddy
Staying accountable is hard. I'll admit it! It can be downright disheartening, annoying, or unappealing to complete some tasks that are critical to your business. Unfortunately, hiding from them doesn't get them done. That is where an accountability partner can come in handy.
An accountability buddy is someone you share your business goals (and actionable steps to complete them) with. It is usually a two-way street of sharing information, pep talks, and responsibility. With your accountability buddy, you create a system that forces you both to check-in and report progress. When one of you falls short, the accountability buddy is there to remind you of WHY you are doing this, inspire you to keep working, and push you to get results. They are your cheerleader, and you are theirs!
Now, accountability buddies don't just have to be a pair of people. It can be a group of friends, colleagues, your team, or even like-minded individuals. For example, I host the Froggy Hour! In the Froggy Hour, anyone is welcome to join me for an hour of work. We simply state our goals at the beginning of the hour, turn off our cameras, get an hour of work done, and then report back on our progress. I know that this greatly helps me to conquer the Sunday Scaries and the Monday Morning Blues! If you would like to join, we meet every Monday at 8 am EST for the Froggy Hour.
Step 6: Delegate Tasks and Hold Helpers Accountable
Staying accountable for yourself is always a work in progress, but I know you will achieve results. The next step is learning how to delegate tasks to others and hold them accountable as well. If you have a partner, team, an assistant, an employee, or even a whole company worth of staff who helps you achieve your business goals, the path is the same.
For those working for you, you will need to:
Communicate your goals and explain why they are such
Prioritize and break down tasks into actionable steps they can reasonably achieve
Provide performance indicators to monitor their progress
Assess their shortcomings, determine why they happened, and help them to get on track
Celebrate their wins and reward them for their hard work
Keep them accountable with regular check-ins from you or managers
See? It's the same process that will lead to success. However, I want to remind you that your business goals are the most important to you. You will work the hardest for them because they are your dreams. To achieve success, you must tie the success and the dreams of those you delegate to your own. Working towards a common goal that everyone benefits from is what will make everyone be invested and work harder.
Step 7: Believe in Yourself
The last step you need to take to be accountable is to believe in yourself. We are our own worst critics. You must push the negativity, the doubt, and the disbelief to the side so that you may conquer all you set your mind to. When you fail, get back up. When you succeed, share your wins. You can do this; I believe in you.
Go Confidently with Me
Do you need help with any of the steps above? Being a business owner isn't easy, and having a business coach that can be a soundboard that also provides tools to help you achieve your goals can be an incredible asset. I can do that for you. Whether you are looking to create key performance indicators for your business for the remainder of the year and into 2022, or you need someone to hash out business goals with, I am there for you. Book a FREE discovery call with me today to learn more about how you can Go Confidently.