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Articles > Positioning Systems Newsletter # 67 3-26-07 "Accountability"

I’m I the only one having difficulty getting results from my people? No matter if it’s a floor employee or manager it seems I’m always having difficulty getting my team to get the work done the way I expect it to be and on time.

Accountability starts with getting agreement on not only the result but on the process to get the result. If you believe that you have to work with each individual, and each believes they have to get results by doing it their way, then you are going to struggle. The first agreement you need to make with your staff to gain accountability is to get their agreement to how you do it. It should be your unique, time tested way for getting the exact outcome you want and your customers expect every single time. What does that mean? It means developing a documented system for doing the work. That starts with how you answer the phone, take messages, and how you greet a prospect or convert them.

For a long time as a sales manager for a broadcasting company I had no system. We would hire salespeople, train them, but we had never documented the process of selling into a step by step procedure that any one could expect to reasonably follow. Indeed, I had not learned that way so why would I have expected to teach others that way?

If we explore any sales force that is not following a system you would find that there are achievers and underachievers. Approximately 20% are getting 80% of the results. Why? They are following a system. They’ve developed their own system, and in most cases they are protective of their systems due to fear someone else will learn it and then begin to disrupt their hold on the commission they are earning. In Fortune 500 companies they recognize the value of a system, and their sales people follow a regimented system that is tested, measured, retested and innovated regularly to insure it continues to perform consistently.

So accountability, whether it is with your sales staff, your administration or operations arm of your business, first needs to have agreement on what to do and how to do it. That means creating a system that is documented so that everyone in that area of business can follow it every time.

Once we agree on that system, then measurement benchmarks must be established to insure that not only is the system being followed, but that the expected results are being achieved.

In a dentist office if appointments are expected to start on time, then the time of the appointment should be documented and when the patient is placed in the examination chair should be quantified. The dentist may want to quantify when the patient arrived, or how long each appointment is taking.

As Michael Gerber points out in his E-Myth Seminar CD, if during a SWAT operation, the leader is getting shot at the perpetrator's door, its time to change the system. This is where using the measurements comes in. Quantifying your results provides the accountability. You need to create a reporting system that either monitors the position that is accountable, or the system that is doing the work. It may require both in many cases.

Set yourself up properly to insure you are getting accountability by first getting your managers to get their staff to agree on the system. Then build accountability by providing feedback loops that report both the measurements for achieving the result and whether the system is being followed. Staff positions should be held accountable for delivering their work as expected, and as discussed in an earlier newsletter this requires the development of daily reports.

Accountability is hard work, but is the work of the disciplined leader. If you’re not getting accountability, start with yourself. What are you doing to be accountable? Are you systematic in your approach, and do you demand that you have documented systems throughout your business? Do you require your managers to document and gain agreement on their areas responsibilities or is everyone free to get the job done their own way?

Systemization may seem like the answer to most of the questions that arise in our business, but in reality I believe there is a higher level of consciousness that must be operating at the top tier of the business. We will explore that question in another newsletter. Is accountability a problem in your business? Do you need help establishing systems and reporting tools to achieve the results you want in your business?

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