Build clear lines of accountability

So today I’m talking about why you want to build clear lines of accountability and use them consistently. There’s no point in having accountability in the business if you don’t use those lines of accountability consistently.

One of the biggest things that I do for my clients when I work with them on my business accelerator programs is hold them accountable to the things that they need to do in order to increase profitability, in order to increase team performance and in order to systemize the business for growth.

Because at the end of the day if we come up with a grand master plan and we build a roadmap to get them from A to B but then I just say sayonara and let them crack on and they don’t actually take the actions that we’ve agreed they’re gonna take, they’re not likely to get the results that they want to get. And ultimately they can’t come back at me and say well it doesn’t work, because I’m just gonna say well have you done X Y and Z? And they’ll say no, it’s like well if you haven’t followed the roadmap if you haven’t taken the actions, how can you expect to get a result?

Accountability is absolutely crucial for success in anything that you do.

Whether it’s business life or otherwise.

Make sure you have critical lines of accountability built into your business and it’s very clear who is responsible for what. This ties into the previous blog about KPI’s and everybody having a number (you can read that here), this is taking that one step further and saying okay, everybody has a number, we know what success and failure looks like, who is going to be responsible for making sure that happens at multiple levels in the business.

So usually you have operational, you have management and you have executive.

In a very basic, very simple way.

So how are the lines of accountability filtered up through those different levels of the business?

You’ve got operatives down here who report to managers, managers who report to executives, the executives then report to the non-execs on the board – that’s the way it has to flow.

You don’t have the non-executives sat on the board then checking with the individual operatives as to what they’ve got done or whether they’re hitting their targets. They check in with the executive directors who in turn keep an eye on and check in with the managers, who in turn keep an eye on and check in with the staff in their respective departments.

That way everybody knows who’s responsible for what and ultimately there’s always multiple levels of checks and balances to make sure the things that need to happen, happen when they should.

Systematisation is a massive massive part of this.

When you’ve got your business processes written down in core systems documents so that everybody knows what the standard practice way of doing things are, for every aspect of your business in your business – that is when you can create consistent results.

I’ll tell you a story, a couple of years ago in my previous business, we had a situation where we were growing. It was 2016 and we were in the process of growing our revenue from 2.2 to 5 Million in just 12 months. It was a phenomenal journey, but we made a lot of mistakes along the way and one of those mistakes was we didn’t have any systematisation or structure in the business.

We had no lines of accountability, so what happened was I remember having conversations with my design manager at the time, where he’d been in London for six weeks and he’d been doing project management, he’d been doing client liaison, he’d been doing design works but just been doing all this different stuff.

And it came down to, as inevitably it would, things getting missed, mistakes getting made, things going wrong, on and off site, in the office of beyond. Then there was no recourse to put any of it right, because no one person was responsible.

So he was doing this, he was doing that, he was doing that and then whenever the conversation came up of okay well this has happened, this mistakes happened, this got forgotten, who was responsible for that? No one could answer because it was a case of well everybody’s doing a bit of everything. So I thought John was doing it, I thought Chris was doing it, I thought Jodie was gonna sort that.

And then you as the business owner, because there’s no direct lines of accountability, you don’t have any option as to how you can solve the problem in the future.

What we found that as we allow that to perpetuate, was that we had the same problems happening again and again and again and again. This is one of the key things that I teach and I work with business owners to achieve in their businesses in the accelerator programs is making sure that there are very clear lines of accountability, everybody knows exactly what they are and aren’t responsible for in the business. So that we produce not only consistent results but also, and almost more importantly, when mistakes happen when things go wrong we can trace exactly why they went wrong, who exactly was responsible and that’s different to placing blame.


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