Did you ever play on Scalextric as a child? Maybe you play it with your kids or grandkids now. There’s a lot of skill involved, getting the cars to just the right speed so they don’t fly off the track. It’s fun, and it can take a lot of concentration. Here’s a picture of me after playing Scalextric with my son. As we were playing though, I noticed that the cars don’t really go anywhere, do they?
The effect is similar to what happens in business where there’s no accountability. Because, if there’s no accountability, there’s no responsibility for direction or speed of travel either. You become like a Scalextric car, despite a lot of effort, you keep finishing up in exactly the same place every week, every month, every year…
Genuine accountability has two parts: You have to be clear on the growth indicators to measure success, and you have to be accountable for delivering them. Never change your goals if you aren’t meeting them, but re-evaluate your strategy and your key actions and adjust these instead.
So how do you set realistic goals and achieve them so you don’t get to the same point every month?
Many businesses I come across don’t know their basic growth indicators. They tend to make hopeful (rather than realistic) estimates of their pipeline value, conversion ratio, average transaction value, acquisition costs, client lifetime value and so on. By guessing, they have nothing against which to gauge their success and influence it. This often means that they undertake the same activity week after week and month after month and hope to get the same results – the prospects will land soon; I just need a lucky break…
Accountability is a fundamental element of strategic growth. It means knowing your real growth indicators, setting your targets and being made responsible for reaching them. And, as Covey points out, it means being able to respond and make changes when needed.
Who is making you accountable? If you don’t have a board to report to, there’s no one asking you these uncomfortable questions. Your other half probably doesn’t want to talk business in the evenings, so who is it that holds you to account for delivering your targets? How do you know your targets are realistic – not too much of a stretch, but not so easy that you’re missing out on income you could easily be earning? And who guides you when you’re not hitting your goals?
I’m made accountable on two fronts. I have a business mentor who will challenge me on my targets if I’m not meeting them, and stretch me if I’ve easily hit them. I also have a monthly meeting with my accountant during which we look in detail at my performance against my growth indicators, so there really is nowhere for me to hide. This gets me focused on the key actions for success and delivering the results I demand.
Get clarity on your direction
So, do you know what direction your growth indicators are and how they are trending? And how will you ensure you’re accountable for pushing them in the right direction?
US President Theodore Roosevelt said: “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, they wouldn’t sit down for a month.” So who is kicking you in the pants to make sure that you’re responsible – not for your business troubles – but for its growth and success?
One of the best investments I ever made was engaging with a Business Mentor that had the track record, experience and skills to not only guide me through the tricky stages of business but to act as a sounding board and to hold me to account and make sure I hit my numbers.
Sure it was, and continues to be a huge investment but the right expert will deliver a return over and above the time and money invested. Having a plan with strategies to help you hit your targets and someone to hold you to account, is critical to the success of any business.
Or, you could keep going round and round and round with the same lack of results and nobody challenging you.
Developing a dream team is one of the essential building blocks to running a successful business. If you are working too many hours or are frustrated about any element of your team, it’s time to take action.
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