Nobody cares as much about your business, your customers, and the future of the company as much as you do.
Most of my clients are mid-market private firms with revenues ranging from 10M to 1BN per year.
I’ve worked with a lot of them now, and more often than not, we learn that important things we think are happening aren’t actually happening.
All the current management-myths claim that extreme generosity and lavish perks will create a different type of working atmosphere – one where employees don’t think like employees, and one where the agenda of the company takes priority over personal interests.
We’ve seen it happen in a few cases, but nothing could be further from the truth. My experience over the past few years has shown me that we must resist all temptation to believe that people are doing what we want them to be doing, or what we expect them to be doing!
The most famous line is that you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
This isn’t about micromanaging, instead, it’s all about process and making sure that the things we want to be happening are happening, and they’re happening the way we want them to be happening.
And if nobody’s checking in, I can almost guarantee you they’re not.
This isn’t about bad employees either. It’s quite the opposite. Most of the people are darn good, hardworking people. But people naturally find new ways to do things, or ways to do them faster, or ways to fit them into their already busy schedules.
But you can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
Accountability almost always improves performance.
Here’s a real life example.
A $125M company created an “optional” program for the sales people of one of their divisions. They invested and committed to “raising the bar” and continuous improvement in five key areas.
In just one quarter, the people who participated increased their average sales by 17%. The ones who didn’t participate stayed the same.
Aside from the word “optional,” the real key to this program’s success had nothing to do with the content.
All they did to execute was have a monthly debriefing on what they did, what the results were, and a sharing of best practices on what they did to improve those areas.
Debriefing and accountability were the secret sauce.
Had there been nothing in place to keep people accountable, the program would have flopped. It would have been viewed as “just another useless initiative from management.”
First you focus on the right things. Then, you assign accountabilities, and after that, you continue to improve and share best practices.
Today’s Key Questions:
1) When you see a new prospect, or when your company starts working with a new client, what are the top 2-3 things that should happen every single time?
How do you know these things are happening?
For example, it might be something as simple as a testimonial book being mailed to a new prospect or lead. Or, it might be a welcome package being sent to a new customer. What’s the evidence that these important things are happening every single time?
2) Where do you think your people could use more accountability for their actions and efforts?
3) Hold a meeting this week with your customer-facing people and have everyone share 2 or 3 interesting things have happened over the past 30 days. What best practices can you learn from these examples?