Her goals were straightforward.
- Win more new business.
- Complete projects on-time and under budget.
- Make more money.
Sounds like a formula for success, right?
So we worked to fire up her marketing so there were more leads coming in. We instituted project reviews to make sure the work was good quality and was getting out on time. We set her up with a bookkeeper who would keep the books up to date and provide feedback on what needs to be collected, where the cash leaks were, and how profit was shaping up.
This should be an easy process to follow, right? But it didn’t work.
She hates writing proposals, so leads were coming in, but the proposals were piled up on her desk. She was “too busy” to attend the project reviews, so most projects were reviewed right before they were ready to be delivered to the client — any changes she found meant late nights for the team—scrambling to make the work better. The meetings with the bookkeeper were a bummer, so much “bad” news (that she didn’t always understand). So she started blowing them off.
When we sat down to review her progress her reply was, “I am the boss, I get to decide what the rules are, and one of my rules is that I don’t have to follow the rules.”
If that’s a rule you’ve established in your company here are some things that rule is costing you.
- Your team respects you just a little bit less. (They may justify your choices, “Hey, she’s the boss, she’s earned that.” But they’d respect you more if you followed your own rules!)
- You respect yourself just a little bit less. (Don’t you feel like you’re getting away with something like you’re cheating just a bit? You know that not doing what you are telling your team to do isn’t right.)
- You create permission for others to *cheat* the rules. (Instead of believing that these ways of working were created because they make a better business, people feel they are more like rules to be skirted when possible.)
- Your lack of discipline in these areas likely means you are undisciplined in other areas of your life. (How do your personal finances look? Where are you on health, diet, and exercise?)
- What other ways can *you* think of that this is costing you? Hit reply and let me know!
Now, I’m not trying to make you into some kind of rule follower (like that was even possible). I’m just suggesting that before you start trying to “fix” your team you take a look at how you are doing first. Are you asking your team to do things that you aren’t willing to do?
One of the defining characteristics of the best business owners that I work with is that they are willing to be held accountable.
In fact, in areas where you are willing to be held accountable your company will make progress. In areas where you are not willing to be held accountable your company will not make progress.
You want to get more customers, but you aren’t willing to have a weekly sales meeting where marketing and sales activities are reviewed to make sure they are getting accomplished. Your sales aren’t growing!
You want to grow your business, but proposals languish on your desk for a week or more. No proposals out the door means no growth.
You want the company to deliver projects on time, but you review everything at the last minute and make changes. (“Why can’t this team get anything right?”, you say!)
You want to make more money but won’t spend time every week reviewing the numbers to see where our spending is getting off track.
Where in your business are you resisting accountability (especially accountability for yourself)? Are you willing to change that?
Once you’re able to accept accountability then we can start holding others accountable more effectively…more about that on Thursday.