Manage Your BusinessManagementAccountability: The key to becoming a better SMB owner

Accountability: The key to becoming a better SMB owner

Achieving success as a manager or leader may hinge on a crucial factor often overlooked: accountability. However, holding oneself accountable in isolation isn’t easy. Often, support from a trusted accountability partner is needed to stay focused and motivated toward achieving short or long-term goals.

Here, you’ll discover more about the importance of accountability, the advantages of accountability partners, and insights into the various types of accountability methods. You’ll also learn useful tips for implementing accountability in your personal and professional life.

The Benefits of Accountability Partners

One of the main benefits of having an accountability partner is increased motivation. By having another trusted individual hold you accountable, you’re more likely to follow through on your commitments. Having someone there that is invested in your success inspires you to use your time effectively and prioritize important tasks, ultimately improving your productivity.

A study by the American Society of Training and Development reported that people are 65% more likely to meet a goal after committing to another person.

Types of Accountability Methods

Different accountability methods suit different people. The three most common are:

  1. Individual accountability. This requires self-discipline to hold oneself accountable for personal goals and progress, which may be challenging for some to maintain.
  2. Peer accountability. This involves working with someone in a similar role, who can provide an outside perspective and support. The other person needs to be committed to the process for this to work successfully.
  3. Team accountability. This involves working with a group of people towards a shared goal. It can be an effective way to enhance accountability, but again, everyone needs to be committed to the process.

It’s crucial to use the method of accountability that best suits your specific requirements. For example, if you’re more of an introvert, individual accountability might be the best option. If you thrive on competition, peer accountability could be more beneficial. Alternatively, if you’re more comfortable in a collaborative environment, team accountability could be the best choice.

Each person and team is unique, so it's often helpful to experiment with different accountability methods until you find, or the team finds, the best fit.

Sometimes, a combination of individual, peer, and team accountability is the best way forward. Flexibility is key.

Accountability in Practice

Here are some examples of businesses that have successfully implemented various accountability methods: 

  • Microsoft launched a program called “One Microsoft” that promotes peer accountability by encouraging employees to collaborate and share information across departments. The program holds teams accountable for their contributions to the company’s success.
  • Salesforce implemented team accountability through its “Ohana” culture, emphasizing teamwork, collaboration, and accountability by holding regular team meetings and encouraging employees to set and track their goals.
  • Google established individual accountability through its “Objectives and Key Results” (OKR) system, which encourages employees to set specific goals and track their progress towards them over time, and provides regular feedback and coaching to employees to help them stay on track.

The Role of Business Coaches in Achieving Accountability

Business coaches can act as accountability partners by providing guidance, feedback, and support. They can help individuals and teams establish clear accountability goals and plans, identify specific areas where accountability is lacking, and provide solutions to address them. They may also provide training and resources to cultivate a culture of accountability within an organization.

Having a coach as an accountability partner means you get an outsider’s perspective. This is especially helpful if you’re stuck or unsure how to overcome a specific challenge. Coaches can provide ongoing motivation and support through regular check-ins, progress reports, and collaborative goal-setting sessions.

Incorporating Accountability Into Business and Personal Life

Making accountability a constant habit, in both your business and personal life, is key to achieving long-term success and growing as a person. Setting clear goals, identifying necessary steps, and ensuring that you or others follow through on those steps are key to achieving accountability. This requires discipline, dedication, and consistency.

The next step is to find a reliable accountability partner. This partner could be a business coach, colleague, friend, or family member, but they should be trustworthy and have a supportive and committed attitude toward your goals. Set regular check-ins for progress tracking and feedback, using phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings. Make sure you stick to the schedule to ensure accountability remains consistent.

Commitment and follow-through are also crucial. Being transparent about the consequences of failing to meet commitments and holding oneself or others accountable is essential. Obstacles and setbacks are common, but you can overcome these by revising goals, exploring new strategies, or seeking additional support. 

Here are a few extra tips for implementing accountability in your professional life: 

  1. Surround yourself with supportive individuals – people who will help you stay on track.  
  2. Encourage open communication and feedback among team members.  
  3. Set up regular check-ins and stick to the schedule. 
  4. Clearly define expectations and responsibilities with your colleagues and team members.  
  5. Always be transparent and honest about your progress.  
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments, however small they may seem. Use them as motivation to continue improving. 
  7. Continually evaluate and modify your accountability methods to meet your evolving needs.  
  8. Keep a journal to track your progress, reflect on your experiences, and set new goals.  
  9. Take responsibility for your mistakes and treat them as learning opportunities. 

Maximize Your Potential With the Help of Accountability

Achieving success in leadership demands commitment and accountability for your actions. Using the accountability techniques outlined here, and partnering with a trusted colleague or business coach, can provide the necessary support and encouragement you need to overcome obstacles in both your personal and professional life. Ultimately, harnessing the power of accountability leads to better business outcomes and personal growth. If you constantly struggle to achieve your goals, take action and start implementing some of these accountability methods to unlock your full potential.

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Anna Delvillar is the editorial coordinator and a staff writer at ASBN. She graduated with a B.A. in English Composition from Georgia State University and has five years of experience developing content strategy and writing for automotive, tech, and small business media.

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