Tips from the Top - July 2014
Ownership and Accountability
The managing partner of a professional firm is preparing for partner review meetings, where goals are set for each partner for the upcoming year. Each year, he surveys the partners prior to starting the process, asking "What are the most important things we should be considering when we set individual goals?"
Each year, "greater partner accountability" is at or near the top priority. When he follows up with individuals to clarify their concerns, every partner answers, "None of the other partners are as accountable as I am…"
Developing Key Accountabilities for Company Positions
One of the hardest things to do when hiring is to identify exactly what the position requires to be successful. When you evaluate the person you have hired in three or six months’ time, what will be the criteria you use to decide whether they have been successful or not? If you can identify that up front then you have a much better chance of matching the person you hire to the job you want them to do…Read more
Delegating Responsibility Tells Employees You Trust Them
While trust is arguably the most important element for building a "Top Gun" organization, many business owners fail to foster a culture of trust in their businesses. The uncomfortable feelings we associate with our loss of control as well as our impatience are common reasons. As a result, the business underperforms, with the owner often working long hours just to maintain the pace. In addition to the obvious, there are other occurrences that break trust – evading blame, withholding information, and cutting corners are a few. It’s easy to break trust…Read more
You Get What You Tolerate
When making a major equipment purchase, our supplier selection kept slipping as other work took priority. In all honesty, we were not always working on the important issues and I admittedly was not holding myself or my organization accountable. It is often said that "you get what you tolerate" and my tolerance was causing an important decision to slip. Our business clearly lacked a deadline culture and I needed to change. Upon setting a deadline to make the final selection within 30 days and holding everyone accountable, we finally had the information needed to make our selection. Also, holding myself accountable made it easier to hold everyone else accountable.
Making Your SIC Accountable
All too often business owners are tempted to solve a given problem and move on rather than take the time to delegate the issue to a second-in-command (SIC) and hold them accountable for developing a thoughtful, timely and effective solution and executing it. Being intentional about this kind of delegation and accountability is training your SIC to lead and that makes them and, by extension, your business, more valuable.
Delegating Profit and Loss Responsibilities
Delegating (not abdicating) P&L responsibility to your management team gives people ownership and accountability. They will think and behave more like business owners. My service department was spending several hundred dollars every couple of months on rag cleaning. They saw the numbers, bought a washing machine, and now clean their own rags. It has saved the company more than $1500 annually and the team is proud! It was hard getting to a place where I could give my management team P&L responsibilities for their functional areas but it has made a huge difference to the bottom line as well as freeing up some of my time to focus on other strategic activities.
What TAB Stands For
The Alternative Board really stands for "The Accountability Board" because that is what your fellow board members do for you — hold you accountable!