We all have business goals and know what to do to achieve them – but without accountability this is often where it falters.
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) statistics reveal the probability of completing a goal is only 40%, according to Kieler Career Consulting.
All is not lost, however.
The ASTD also reports your chances of successfully completing your goal rise to:
• 50% when you plan how to do it.
• 65% when you commit to someone else that you will do it.
• But it soars to 95% when you have a specific accountability appointment with the person you’ve committed to.
ACCOUNTABILITY CASE STUDY:
Paula is a business owner who knew what she wanted. She had thought long and hard about how to grow her business. She was confident, competitive, strategic – a high achiever. Her friends were amazed at the amount of energy she could muster and her clients respected and trusted her.
Paula knew, however, that she looked more confident than she really was. She knew her weaknesses and ignoring them could be costly. So, she decided to join an Advisory Board I chaired to keep her on track and to support her areas of weakness.
A problem threatened the business
A while ago, Paula discovered that she had a serious problem – the sales budgets were not going to be achieved. Less sales would mean a year without growth. A year totally wasted. A year without money to reward for her for all her hard work and many weekends and late nights spent at the office.
Paula realised she needed a high achieving sales manager. She had promoted Jim to the role because he was an excellent sales person. She thought, at the time, that his expertise in sales would allow him to assemble a talented team. The sales needed to grow significantly and Jim was the man to make it happen.
Unfortunately, Jim turned out to be a very poor manager with no leadership skills. The morale of the sales team plummeted and good sales people were leaving.
She decided she had to sack Jim.
Procrastination made it worse
The problem was – she could not bring herself to act upon her decision. It took three months for Paula to discuss her procrastination with her advisory board.
Once she presented her issue it didn’t take long for the board to get to the heart of the problem. Paula was terrified at the prospect of losing Jim. She was consumed by the risks involved instead of concentrating on a successful outcome.
Paula needed a strong push.
She agreed with her advisory board that the solution was for them to hold her accountable. She agreed, by the next meeting, she would have implemented her plan and Jim would no longer be with the company.
The following meeting it was obvious to the board that Paula was proud of herself when she reported that she had replaced Jim with a superior manager. The budgets were being achieved and the business literally leapt forward.
Accountability: the antidote to procrastination
Of course, Paula is not the first, nor will she be the last, to procrastinate when having to make a difficult decision. But luckily for Paula she had the support of her advisory board, in the form of an agreed accountability action. This helped her push herself out of her comfort zone to achieve her desired outcome.
In business, becoming accountable means taking responsibility for an action or a future outcome, in front of our peers. Once we commit to others, the powerful psychological motivation to avoid losing face helps us follow through on our commitment.
When you are alone at the helm of a business access to an advisory board to hold you accountable is a powerful business tool. You’ll not only appreciate it, you’ll seek to use again and again.