The value in accountability


In an accountable business the staff all take responsibility… for their tasks, their customers and their results.

That responsibility drives them to succeed and deliver their goals.

Accountability has to be led from the top and starts with staff having a clear understanding what’s expected of them. You can motivate and engage a team to move forwards, but they won’t deliver unless they know where they’re trying to go and understand the road they need to take.

That understanding is driven by a vision of what your business is trying to achieve, whether that’s Top 10% in customer experience or a 1.8% ROI, a business needs a vision that can be shared with your staff and will give them direction.

The overall vision should then be broken down into sections, firstly to create departmental goals, and then individual ones that are specific and unique to each staff member. Every person in your business needs a clear SMART path of the goals they need to achieve to deliver their share of the overall success:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

These goals then translate into KPIs, in themselves a great way of tracking performance, but don’t forget to focus on areas other than the end performance too. If you target staff on achieving the little tasks, you’ll find that the results will deliver themselves and these bite size chunks are often much easier to focus on and achieve.

In a sales team these tasks could include the following:

  • Five outbound sales calls / day
  • Follow up email leads within 1 hour

Or in a service team:

  • Service red work conversion %
  • Five outbound CRM calls / day

Setting clear objectives and tracking performance against them over time isn’t enough though… Managers also need to review them both regularly with staff on a 1-2-1 basis.

Holding these formal reviews requires discipline. Managers will need to set dates, stick to them regardless of short-term challenges and not be frightened of giving honest feedback where needed. For the best results they should adopt a coaching style to work through challenges, identify solutions and develop actions to improve.

Using visual management against the objectives as well ensures everyone knows where they as individuals and as a team, at any time. This helps develop team engagement, along with feeding some healthy competition to drive the results forwards even further.

Staff who are held accountable own their own performance are likely to deliver stronger results, be more engaged and much less likely to leave.

A short-term time investment here to develop objectives and hold regular 1-2-1 performance reviews will pay huge results for your business in the medium term.

About the author: Innovation

Innovation was established by Sally Fyffe in 2015 to provide real support to automotive leaders as they navigate the challenges created by a period of intense change. Sally’s leadership experience includes board level OEM roles such as Network Development and Quality Director (PSA UK), Parts and Service Director (Citroen UK) and Head of Parts and Service (Honda UK). This is coupled with dealership experience from initially being a Non-Executive Director & more recently the Managing Director of Corkills Motor Group.

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