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Building Accountability and Responsibility In Your Team

Business owners often comment that no one in their business is as passionate or committed to the business as they are. On some levels this is true. It can also be symptomatic of people not being properly engaged in the business. Building accountability and responsibility in the business will increase that level of engagement.


The first thing to do in building accountability and responsibility in your business is to check if your team has the beliefs, attitudes and desire to fulfil the roles you expect of them. This need not be a difficult or confronting process. Typically, an open and honest conversation can reveal useful information. One option is to sit down with each of your team members, in a confidential setting and ask the following questions about the roles you expect them to fulfil:

  1. What aspects do they think will / do work well?
  2. What aspects do they think could be done better?
  3. What's important to them about the work they do?
  4. Do they feel they have the opportunity to express or do what's important to them?
  5. What aspects to they think are "deal breakers" in their workplace? That is, what would have them leaving their job?

Take their responses on board as useful and valuable feedback. Revisit your plans for how things should function in your absence, determine any strengths and weaknesses and refine your plans accordingly. You may discover there are roles in the business that current team members are neither willing nor able to fulfil. If this is the case you may need to consider in-sourcing or outsourcing resources or restructuring your processes.

Secondly, ensure you team has the basic skills for functioning effectively. Your team needs to capable of being accountable and responsible for the work they do. Make sure they are competent with tools and techniques for:

  • Goal setting
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Learning

There are some really simple models around, such as the GROW Model, that when instilled into a team can have them performing at a completely different level. The One Minute Manager series also offers some simple techniques. The emphasis here is on keeping it simple. Your team has enough on their plates to deal with already.

Finding the Time

One of the biggest hurdles for people getting what they want from their business is finding the time to actually make the transitions and changes that are required.

It's an inescapable fact there is a lot to be done to extract yourself from your business and there is very little time on a daily basis to get it done. That's why you can't leave it to the last minute. Starting to think about how you are going to get out 1 or 2 years before you do, is leaving it too late. To achieve the desired outcome in such as short timeframe would require an enormous financial and workload burden to be placed on the business.

That's why it's absolutely essential that you begin the process of getting out of your business from the very first day that you are in business.

If you have an established business then at least plant the seed for change today. Don't leave it for another month, or six months, or year. Take some sort of action now. This may include, putting aside a half day for planning, or seeking staff feedback, or writing down some of the 'tricks' to doing your job well. Often it's the little adjustments you initially make that provide you with the evidence you need to begin putting greater priority on change. Then you will become motivated to get on with getting out.

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"EWO excelled from helping to clarify our strategy and message right through to the development of exceptional digital and physical branding for Xacom."

Matt Kirwan-Hamilton, Chairman Xacom

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