A business coach can take on many roles, but in the case of working with a business that is looking to improve and turnaround its performance, often one of the main roles required is that of accountability partner. This is because a common situation for businesses that are under performing is a lack of accountability.
The problem of accountability is not usually isolated to management but occurs right through the company. A lack of systems and structure to the business means that no-one really knows what they are accountable for, let alone being actually held responsible for any outcomes.
Why Is Accountability Lacking?
There are many reasons for lack of accountability. Managers aren’t held accountable for poor results in case they might leave. Employees aren’t held accountable for fear of harming the relationship. Customers aren’t asked for timely payment in case they don’t come back. And so on. However, this lack of accountability can be crippling, if not fatal if it is not addressed.
Improving accountability is not always an easy thing to do as it can be confrontational for many people. Nobody likes to be told they are doing a bad job or they are under performing, but if the guidelines and objectives for their performance are clearly outlined and agreed to, this situation is much easier to handle for everyone.
As a result, the key to accountability within a business is to identify what needs to be measured, how often it should be measured and the formality of the reporting structure. Making these outcomes clear and agreed to by all relevant parties is critical. This means that accountability becomes a lot more straight forward – a result or target must be achieved or a process of review is required to ensure the result is achieved going forward. Ultimately, if the target isn’t reached, there is somebody that must be held accountable.
Although this sounds harsh, it is a fact of life and business. The buck has to stop with someone if there are problems within the business and if it is clear who that ‘someone’ is, then they must be held responsible. Experience shows that when people do know exactly what they are accountable for, their endeavours to achieve the desired result will significantly increase. If this is multiplied and replicated across the board, then a business turnaround is inevitable.
Types of Accountability
There are different levels of accountability and these will also depend on the size of the business, number of customers, number of products and the structure of the business. Typically however, most businesses will at least need to be accountable to owners/shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers.
For example, owners of a business will be interested in such parameters as profit levels, business growth, customer acquisition etc. It is therefore important to clearly outline what measures will be used by the owners to strategically manage the business along with the frequency of the reporting. For a small business with an owner who works in the business, the process will be a lot less formal than for a stock-listed company with hundreds of stakeholders.
How A Business Coach Can Help Accountability
Often, it is not so easy for business owners to set up the necessary systems and structures for accountability. This is where a business coach can help! They can approach the situation objectively and work with all parties to get these things in place. Once the systems are setup, they can provide a platform for review and adaptation as required.
The biggest benefit the business coach offers in this situation (apart from the fact that accountability will actually be in place!) is objectivity. It can be difficult for people working day-to-day in a business to see it from a perspective other than their own with real consideration for all stakeholders in the business. A coach helps by taking all these stakeholders into account and ensuring the solutions will benefit the business as a whole
A business coach can work with all parties to not only help set up the structure and systems for accountability, but also help to facilitate their implementation. Lastly, as required they can work with the business to modify and develop the process for continual improvement.
If you would like to improve accountability within your business, Kestrel Solutions can help with services forbusiness coaching in Brisbane and across Queensland.